Infra Woes and Wows

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Infra Woes and Wows

When we asked the industry veterans the one immediate supply chain concern that the government needs to address, the unanimous answer was speeding up of the infrastructure development. While this may sound as quite an obvious response, read ahead to know what exactly each respondent said and how a collaboration between the government and the industry can be the way forward to drive the CHANGE!

Nidhish Kuchhal, GM – Demand Chain Management, Mahindra & Mahindra

Nidhish Kuchhal, GM – Demand Chain Management, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.

I think infrastructure bottleneck is one of the most immediate concerns that the government must focus on to take the growth story ahead. Having said that, infrastructure development has been gaining momentum in the last couple of years, but the pace needs to be faster. Now we are past one year of GST implementation but still the time taken for transporting goods remains a big challenge. While the check posts have gone, the flying squads have taken their place, consuming the same amount of time taken by check nakas earlier. Because of this, we are not getting the desired benefits of GST, which we were supposed to get. Secondly, I would want the government to think from a long-term strategy perspective. If we want to become the manufacturing factory for the world, we have to adopt global best practices such as what China has adopted. Government has to spend money on infrastructure, as well as create an environment to gain efficiency. Today in India, the trucks are not plying more than 300-400 kms per day whereas in China the figure stands at 700-800 kms a day, which itself talks about the immense magnitude that China is displaying to the world.

L Prakash, VP & Head – Hydrocarbon SCM Platforms, Reliance Industries

L Prakash, VP & Head – Hydrocarbon SCM Platforms, Reliance Industries

To me, infrastructure and road development are still greater woes for the industry at large. Yes, the government has been on the right direction to o¬ er a growth momentum, yet there needs to be speed in the development, which will enable faster turnaround across the country. We would like to appreciate the way certain projects such as Golden Quadrilateral is shaping up, but again it’s about time that the government hastens the development process. We would like to see fast paced development of the much-anticipated projects Sagarmala and the Dedicated Freight Corridors. Once that happens, the supply chain industry would actually be transformed in a big way, resulting in faster turnaround and efficiency boost. In short, multimodal transportation is the need of the hour.

Atul Barve, GM – Supply Chain (B2B), Philips Lighting
Sudhir Kadam, Head – Warehouse & Logistics, Bombardier India

Atul Barve, GM – Supply Chain (B2B), Philips Lighting India

From a supply chain perspective, one of the major concerns that exists today is the recently introduced e-way bill implementation. Many bottlenecks exist in the smooth implementation and those need to be resolved on an immediate basis to fructify the desired impact. E-way bill is creating teething issues for courier and the overall transportation industry. Rather than decreasing, documentation it seems to have increased, which has become a major cause of concern for us. Not only supply chain, but the finance department also is feeling the heat because of the GST compliance issues. The good thing is that the ministry is taking cognizance of the matter and is working in unison with the industry and has been taking our suggestions to streamline the process. The GST implementation wave is more or less settled, we need to be little more receptive in deciding its impact as such reforms take their own course to reflect the desired impact. There are other facets of transportation such as the mobile check posts which are being created and the impact is yet not seen by the industry and the intent of the ministry for deploying such measures are still not clearly understood by the industry at large. For me, these are bigger issues, and once these get resolved, we will be witnessing supply chain renaissance in the country.

Sudhir Kadam, Head – Warehouse & Logistics, Bombardier India

The slow pace of infrastructural projects remains undoubtedly the most immediate concern for us as an industry. While the government has started activating major projects, I feel that they are not integrated with the industry requirements. Collaboration is the key and the government needs to involve the private sector in key decision making. This will essentially result in the desired pace of development and would catapult into major boon for the industry at large. The government also needs to focus on the long term business strategy so that we can actually see the dream of ‘Make in India’ become a reality in the future. I would also like to divert your attention on the constant debate between the WANTS and the REFORMS. For instance, while the government rolled out GST a year back, some of the industry verticals are still feeling that it is not pro-industry. Yes, we agree that there are pros & cons of each policy reform, but that should be skewed more towards the positives rather than the negative side of it. In order to achieve this, the government really needs to take the industry along to percolate the desired impact of each policy initiative in the right direction.

Basavraj Biradar, GM & Head – Supply Chain, Siemens

The one concern that is unanimously coming from all the industry peers is the infrastructure in terms of land & road development and additional infrastructure requirements related to warehousing development. While we are bullish about the prospects of Indian economy and it becoming the toast of manufacturing to the world, if we can’t support that growth with the development of necessary peripheries such as state-of-the-art warehousing facilities and road network, we will not be in a position to actually gain the title of manufacturing magnet of the world. Agreeably this must be the most talked about subject across the podiums, yet this still remains the reality and the more we harp on the issue at the right forums, the more are the chances of getting it developed sooner.

Anirudha Karnataki, Head – Logistics, Asian Paints

Anirudha Karnataki, Head – Logistics, Asian Paints

The government needs to set the infrastructure right be it road or any support that is required to develop the warehousing industry. Apart from this, the government needs to have a solution in place for some of the IR related issues pertaining to the contract labor, which is the larger workforce in warehousing and transportation operations. A lot of agencies have talked about this but the way this entire workforce needs to be dealt with in terms of training as well as social inclusiveness of the drivers and laborers with, is industry. In order to achieve the desired result, the government can have an incentive mechanism in place. We as industry stalwarts need to empower these most crucial partners of growth. More than employment and training, social inclusiveness is what they are seeking for with the support of the government and the industry. We believe that the industry on its own will not push towards the cause till the time the government doesn’t pass any regulation and incentivize them. There needs to be a major thrust towards CSR initiatives towards the cause and the government needs to play a bigger role in bringing the task force to a certain level of productivity as well as inclusive development.

Vivek Gaurav, Heading – Planning, Customer Service & Logistics, General Mills India Business

Vivek Gaurav, Heading – Planning, CS&L, General Mills

I strongly look forward to the supply chain community & the government coming together to take initiatives towards a seamless engagement. One key step in this direction would be that the government should facilitate the creation of a National-level Supply Chain Forum with the following members: Members from Logistics arm of Ministry of Commerce; Members of Skill Development Cell of Ministry of HRD; Supply Chain representatives from Industry, ideally a mix of various industries like FMCG, Pharma, Auto, E-Commerce, etc.; Independent Supply Chain Professionals like Consultants, Trainers, etc.; and Supply Chain Service Providers from areas like Real Estate, Transportation, Warehousing, Shipping, Tech-companies, etc. The key objective of this forum would be to envision, drive partnership, policy making and implementation with respect to priorities like talent creation and skill development across the logistics sector, right from drivers to data scientists, making policies which are business-critical for supply chain and business at large, ensuring continuous improvement in ease of doing business, and finally striking a right balance between the government’s priorities and companies’ business goals.

Jasjit Sethi, CEO, TCI Supply Chain Solutions

A key factor in a country’s growth is productivity and avoiding wasteful activity. A very simple element that can go a long way is to improve the Road transport e©ciency while addressing the tra©c issues also by removing Tolls and adding it in Road tax of all vehicles; allowing Fitness of a commercial vehicle at any RTO in the country removing empty miles and allowing National Permit vehicles to also load within the state for anywhere in the country, thus giving a free market economy within India.

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