by Madhav Mohan

IT Energizes Logistics Industry in 2016

Jan 27, 2016
AnalyticsBusinessE-commerce Services

The top guns of logistics companies talk about their focus areas with respect to IT in the logistics industry. 

A panther’s agility lies in its athleticism. The speed it generates is the byproduct of its organic capability to deliver its power with accuracy and speed.

 Logistics is the science of meeting the requirement of customers in time with its quality and optimal cost intact.

Trucks in India move at an average dead pan speed of 20kms per hour!! They are left to marinate at interstate borders trying to wade through the interminable delays due to arcane manual documentation. From the warehouse to the delivery points, the containers are subjected to calisthenics, due to multiple handling and sometimes destined to dead ends due to error in tagging by weary minds and tired hands.

The promise of ‘digital India’ and the dream of better highways married to the tech savvy companies adopting innovative supply chains, promises rainbow rides from start to finish. This exemplifies the legacy of athleticism in business for the power of delivery of which even a panther will be proud of.

It’s the commencement of a new age for the Indian logistics sector—drawing more investment, creating more employment and also the buzz about ‘Make in India’ campaign. Riding on the back of a vigorous GDP growth, globalization, FDI in logistics, growth in e-commerce, and increasing government support, the logistics sector is set to make an indelible impression in 2016.

Increasing investments, fast evolving regulatory policies, mammoth infrastructure projects have driven the Indian logistics market, at the same time, also overcoming infrastructure-related limitations and logistics-centric inadequacy. 

According to a study by the Confederation of Indian Industry, the logistics sector in India is expected to touch $200 billion by 2020, with the costs nailed at 13-14 per cent of the country’s GDP. Interestingly, in developed countries, logistics costs account for 8-9 per cent of the GDP.

Today, every enterprise is looking for ways and methods to put forward their competitive advantages and capture a larger market share. The implementation of technology is the most vibrant tool for any enterprise to be ahead of their peers. Also, the logistics firms are moving from a customary set up to the incorporation of IT and technology to their operations to decrease the cost incurred and meet the service demands.

 The logistics sector in India is expected to touch $200 billion by 2020, with the costs nailed at 13-14 per cent of the country’s GDP.

Tech Bazooka in 2016

Technology has been a significant enabler to the growth of the logistics industry.  On research and development with respect to technology, Rubal Jain, MD, Safexpress said, “We have team members who are a part of the core operations and business teams, working closely with knowledge team to drive innovations. They run pilot project and take it across the country. My long term-vision is to drive decision making, get a lot of data for research and plan everything accordingly.”

Talking about the focus areas with respect to IT, Anjani Kumar, CIO of Safexpress, said, “we have plans to host our mobile application on the cloud to give it more flexibility. During the festive season, our workload goes up with many online shoppers in action. Additional computing power for core applications through the cloud could help us a lot in our business.”

At the same time, Kumar said, “We want to add an application to track the field sales force, and monitor their efficiency. When they reach the location, there would be an automatic check in and check out. On the operations side, features like loading and unloading consignments from the truck are going to be added. This will show us, if there are any deficiencies. Interestingly, everything could be done in real time.”

Another area Safexpress will focus on is data analytics. The movement of the trucks is being monitored via GPS and ERP data. Also, they have created customer portal to provide transparency to the customers and the next step would be to enhance e–billing.


 Shreesh Patwardhan, CIO and VP IT, Dynamics Logistics also has plans to host the mobile application on the cloud this year.

A huge distance separates manufacturing points and delivery points. Today the capturing of data from a remote location to a centralized location takes a lot of time. “Providing information to the right people at the right time is one of the challenges. There is a delay due to distance and manual intervention,” says Patwardhan. Tracking through the cloud gives the company operational efficiency.

Today, logistics companies take a lot of trucks from different vendors and it becomes difficult to calculate manually who is deviating from the correct route. That’s why, Kumar is also planning to implement analytics in the area of vendor performance management and efficiency measurements. “If we could run analytics on that data, we would know who is faring better,” says Kumar.

Kumar also plans to do tighter integration with social media in the customer experience team. When someone posts a comment on social media, that information goes into their CRM.

This year, Logistics companies would be looking to better leverage technology to drive efficiency in operations and this is where IoT could play a key role. The entire fleet of VRL logistics will be connected to the system on real time basis.  Currently, “we have fitted anti-collision and anti-sleep devices in our buses. We plan to install more of these devices on all our trucks this year,” said L Ramanand Bhat, Chief Technical Officer, VRL Logistics.

Talking about IoT, Kumar says, “We want to put more dashboards so that our hub managers, operation managers and workers know when the trucks are coming. It will be connected via GPS.”

 Logistics companies are spending immensely on new information and communication technologies to operate better and are looking forward to shift gears this year in order to come up with new investments, new opportunities and integration of IT and technology