As the Covid 19 lockdown continues to create a mess on the global economy, organizations are putting their best to maintain stability. Lockdown has been applied in many countries, only the businesses that deliver essential services like groceries, vegetables, dairy, healthcare, etc. are functional. Companies across numerous verticals are facing the brunt of the pandemic. Multiple services like transport, travel, retail, etc., have been halted momentarily amid the Covid 19 lockdown. In the meantime, the logistics sector in India and other countries are trying hard to find ways to deal with the current scenario and coming up with innovative solutions that will be helpful in the longer run. So, how is the logistics industry handling the crisis efficiently?
India’s leading logistics intelligence platform, LogisticsNow has observed the present rapidly growing situation in the supply chain and Indian logistics industry, and has prepared a report named “The COVID-19 War: How India can win quickly leveraging its supply chain & logistics?” With the help of this report, they shared their perceptions of the present scenario of the logistics industry in India after Covid 19 lockdown.
The report highlights the logistics situation in India at the ground level and suggested advanced ways how logistics and information technology can work in the cycle to reduce the impact on the economy. Additionally, the report sheds the light on the concerns raised by giant industry leaders in the logistics and transport world:
Amid the global coronavirus outbreak, some trends are still driving the logistics market in India. Have a look-
As the demand for goods (especially essential items) has increased due to lockdown, numerous manufacturing factories have been shut temporarily. Due to this, the supply chain has come to a halt. A majority of international flights have been postponed which disrupted the global transportation of goods.
Furthermore, the enforced closure of manufacturing units has pushed the companies that are still operating to obtain materials using alternative ways to meet the demand from the people. While a smooth supply chain is majorly controlled by customer demand, the lack of resources like manufacturing and transport makes it difficult for the flawless functioning of supply chains across the globe. Once the pandemic will pass and the world will return to normalcy, it will again become challenging to cope up with the increasing demand for goods.
To improve Indian logistics, immediate unlocking of essential goods, which are already in warehouses, transit or with distributors becomes important. However, manufacturing and transport will take time to get back on track from the early disruption, the inventories available with distributors or in warehouses can be moved quickly to the retail consumers.
In the current scenario of the logistics sector in India, one of the major aspects is dealing with non-essential items. The non-essential materials or products would be piled up in the warehouses when only essential items and services are being permitted. Data reveals that between 10-20th March 2020 consignments that were stuck due to the lockdown were 9%, and delayed orders surged to 21%. Once relaxation is given and businesses resume their operations and manufacturing starts, the pre-existing stocks clearance will be a major concern.
The stranded trucks on the roads have disrupted the transport capacities and most of the drivers and supporting personnel were left without basic services. But now to meet the demands of essential goods in the market, there is a need for thousands of trucks with trained drivers. The Army Supply Corps (ASC), CONCOR, Indian Railways, Freight Marketplaces, and Freight Intelligence networks along with huge fleet owners/ truckers are among the few options that can fulfill the transport capacity from long haul to the last mile. It needs to be aligned rapidly.
Technology has led to a major transformation in the operating methods of Indian logistics and supply chain management sectors. During the crisis times when there are restricted resources available, technological innovations have become helpful in many ways. The current situation has left almost all workers across different verticals to perform remotely. Working remotely will reduce the chance of virus transmission. However, the lack or absence of manpower will boost the strain on the supply chain, which is where technology advancements come into play.
Making the use of multiple data sources such as image recognition, social media feeds, online payment data, data feeds from millions of cameras, etc. powered by interlinked AI algorithms to recognize and proactively quarantine the touchpoints of infected persons will be of great help. Such Citizen Information Systems would be effective in the logistics market in India and also, encourage workers to perform without the fear of virus transmission.
India has built the India stack for payments, leading to the digital payments revolution unmatched in our history. In the supply chains and transportation, a similar digital logistics revolution based on the “logistics stack” is needed to control our supply chains with intelligence, more visibility and agility.
Logistics is one of the most important sectors that help to boost the economy of a country. Even in the tough circumstances that arise due to the coronavirus pandemic, businesses are not giving up but they are using modern technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and robotics to sustain their business continuity.
In the near future, the e-commerce logistics sector in India could bring us drone delivery as e-commerce companies are urged to follow contactless delivery to customers. They are teaming up with the transport companies for seamless intra-city delivery of goods, especially essential items. These businesses are also expected to resume the inter-city movement of goods once the lockdown relaxation will be implemented across the country.
However, the COVID-19 cases are increasing in most countries, governments and private firms are teaming up towards containment and suppression. As the lockdown will be lifted gradually and industrial activity will be allowed, the Indian logistic sector, including warehousing will likely witness sharp demand reduction in the near-term. The complete value chain in logistics right from the movement of goods to warehousing would be adversely affected. The government of India has already permitted certain industries and manufacturing units to start and resume operations but with 20-25 % employee capacity. If social distancing, sanitation, and hygiene norms are followed strictly by the masses, the logistics and supply chain industry can avoid any further downfall and proceed towards routine in the coming weeks.
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