Deploying Technology to Uplift the Transport & Logistics Industry in India
India’s logistics Industry has witnessed an exponential growth in the last few years. Now contributing to around 14% of our country’s total GDP, the logistics market in India is expected to move up to a staggering US$ 301.89 billion by 2020, serving as a backbone to the economy. As India becomes more open to trade and investment in recent years, the need for logistics services are also increasing proportionately, providing more opportunities for service providers.
It is alsotrue that the logisticsindustry is facing some major challenges at present such as poorinfrastructure, high cost of transportation, lack of integration oftechnology, lack ofuniformity of rules and regulations, and shortage of skilled and trainedmanpower. No wonder, this industry remains unorganized and largelyfragmented till date, leading its customers to suffer issues such as untimelydelivery of goods, loss of goods’ value while on the go, and variations ofprice at different locations of the supply chain.
LogisticsIndustry in India: Present Challenges
In India,inter-state trade and logistics isconsidered to be a complex and critical issue, increasing the cost of doingbusiness up to a great extent. The lack of sound inland transport infrastructure and poorstate of national and state highways have been hindering the growth of theindustry for a long time now, leading to high transit times. Probably oneof the most significant challenges faced by the industry today is theinsufficient integration of information technology in transport networks,warehousing and distribution processes. Besides, regulations in our countryexist at a number of different tiers imposed by national, regional and localauthorities, and may vary from city to city, thus creating bottlenecks in thecreation of national networks. Last-mile delivery for e-commerce continues tobe a pain-point, even for the established delivery companies.
A majorshare of this industry in India is dominated by unorganized playersresulting in barriers to entry for new technologies and innovations and global supply chainmodels. Also, the industry is facing shortage of skilled human resource withsound operational and technical knowledge of supply chain management, in-turnmaking it difficult to employ latest technologies to the benefit the customers.With 65 per cent of freight moving on road, transportation delaysnot just impacts the transit time, but also adds to the costs. Curbing roadblocks can cut freight time by 20-30 per cent and logistics costs byapproximately 30-40 per cent, suggest industry estimates.
Findingthe Answers with Technology
Like severalother industries in India, tech-integration is bound to offer immense value forthe Indian logistics industryalso. On-demand consumer logistics space in India is burgeoning, with severalstart-ups coming up with innovative technologies and approaches to revolutionizelogistics. Tech-driven solutions for this sector are getting better and smarterwith every passing day, addressing various pain points in the supply chain inIndia.
Byusing tech-aggregation models, start-ups are nowadays allowingindividual fleet operators to expand without losing on the profitability part,thus also reducing the problem of fragmentation in the industry. Solutionsbuilt on artificial intelligence are assisting fleet owners in designing routeoptimization for vehicles, enabling optimum utilization of their assets.Further, real-time GPS-based vehicle tracking has introduced‘never-known-before’ transparency and reliability to India’s trucking industry.
By combiningcore capabilities of Internet of Things (IoT), data assessment and automation,moving and tracking of cargo have been made easier than never before. In thepast one year, more than 200 start-ups have come up to solve infrastructure andlast-mile problems and help businesses smoothly operate their distributionnetwork. New inventions like mobile DGPS, RFID, etc. have helped the industryin minimizing the issue of identification and location of the products alongthe supply chain, eventually leading to better profit margins.
Technology is alsohelping in the reduction of lot of paperwork involved in lorry receipt, proofof delivery, invoicing, and other processes in logistics. New-age cloud-basedsolutions have proven to be particularly useful in this context. Post-GSTimplementation, it is predicted that swift billing will become quite essentialfor customers to claim GST input credits, and again banking on IT andtechnology integration will be the only way out.
In aconsumption-driven economy, there always lies a definitive need for efficientand reliable logistics solutionsconnecting every household for inclusive deliverables. In the logistics andtransport industry, start-ups that provide powerful back-end technology,hyper-local delivery services, and truck aggregators were seen to be in thenews recently.
Come 2017,and we see India been ranked second (only after China) on theEmerging Markets Logistics Index,a welcome news for the logistics fraternity. With the proliferation of smartphones and call for ‘Digital India’, the logistics sector does not want toremain constrained and backdated anymore. Investing in better dataanalytics to forecast customer demand has become the need of the hour.While start-ups have already begun to reinvent the supply chain with freshideas and resources, real emphasis must be put at the moment on embracingtechnology by stakeholders at each and every level of the supply chain.
Written by Mr.Subhasish Das,Co-founder and CEO of Trukky