Five key learnings from COVID 19 for Indian logistics sector

Logistics and supply chain sector, although active through-out the national lockdown, has suffered a series of challenges. Aditya Vazirani shares a few learnings that one needs to implement to be more prepared in the furture.
Five key learnings from COVID 19 for Indian logistics sector

Even as the world gears up for resuming a ‘new normal’ way of life and work after the lockdown, several industries and businesses will be looking to implement the learnings from the COVID 19 pandemic. The logistics and the supply chain sector, although active through-out the national lockdown has suffered a series of challenges and has learnt its own set of lessons. From labour issues to mobility, technology and access to remote warehouses, lack of international trade and tackling food wastage, the Indian logistics and supply chain industry has faced many such challenges during the lockdown. Listed here a few learnings that one needs to implement, to ensure a more prepared and advanced network of logistics and supply chain service providers:

1. Local labour: During COVID 19, access to labour was extremely difficult, because many of them were migrant and returned home with no surety of their future in the place of work. Those who commuted via public transport were also deemed redundant without access. Sourcing people locally will alleviate the migrant crisis or long-distance travellers, this also creates employment in the area but also there is better control on their whereabouts and communicating with them.

2. Relay Drivers: With transportation being affected with the closure of borders and restricted movement led to a large number of drivers abandoning their vehicles and finding the easiest way back home. Setting up relay systems for drivers to be contained to a state would increase efficiencies but also keep the drivers closer to home.  

3. Dual/ Multiple Sourcing: Due to the lack of labour and transport, there was a scarcity in essentials as well a lot of wastage due to the lack of adequate storage facilities. Even though GST has been a major driver for consolidation of warehouses, the flip side has become dependency of distribution from a single location. Companies across several sectors have not been able to provide products in different parts of the country and continue revenue generation. Agile supply chains with options for dual or multiple sourcing can help not only in the face of crisis but also in the long run, with enhanced speed, reduced costing, and a well distributed, diversified network.

4. Remote working/Work From Home: Even as the world learnt to cope with, adjust and appreciate the new ‘work from home’ format, the ‘new normal’ for the corporate world is set to be remote workplaces. Similar to IT and other industries, Logistics and Supply chain networks are also considering work from home options for their administrative staff if they have managed to migrate to cloud computing software. Apart from creating a cost-effective work model, that allows them to cut office rentals, the process will also help provide a leaner organisational structure that is more productive and well connected.  

5. Data driven operations: One of the key learning of the lockdown for most businesses has undisputable role of technology in surviving and functioning during the lockdown. This realisation is set to drive accelerated adoption of digital practices and setting up of data driven, automated and cloud-based operations, that can provide a secure IT infrastructure to the organisation, especially supporting the new ‘Work from Home’ mandate. The use of technology-enabled systems has also brought forth the dangers of the ‘World Wide Web’, making cybersecurity another major area of concern and development. 

Given the thrust on developing India as the next global manufacturing hub for the world, logistics and supply chain networks are going to play a key role in driving the growth and development of the country’s economy. Resuming international trade, manufacturing, and other industrial activities, it is vital for logistics as a sector to adapt to the challenges and develop as an indomitable pillar of the economy, ready to face any crisis in the future.   

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About the Author:
Aditya Vazirani is the CEO of Robinsons Global Logistics Solutions (RGL) - a warehousing and distribution company that brings a strategic combination of technology, international best practices and deep domain expertise to the Indian market. Aditya Vazirani is a passionate and meticulous professional with a vision to transform the logistics and warehousing industry by leveraging the new age technological advancement.

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