The continual improvement in technological developments that are flooding the market have taken centre stage and are making huge waves in the industry today. Each challenge faced by supply chain professionals is being identified and addressed, and tech-enablers are introducing game changing advancements to ensure a boost in efficiency. Let’s peek into the future with these industry experts who share their experiences with prominent issues and the corresponding tech-enabled solutions.
Bharat Ramanath, Director & Industry Principal, ShipX
Technological advancements will continue taking place in a bubble, and these do not need to happen with an end of solving business problems. It is tech application/product developers who have the responsibility of building solutions to specific business problems. Often, these tech application developers get caught up in the frenzy and hype of new technology and start to build ‘cool solutions’ using these new technologies, which are then force fitted to business problems. This is unfortunately a case of a ‘solution’ seeking a problem and is thus a perversion of means and end! Thus, as Supply Chain practitioners, we need to be cautious as to which technologies we implement solutions with. We need to be grounded in reality and adopt technologies that enable building meaningful solutions to real problems. We must lead with the problem and not with the technology. Technology is truly only an enabler in this context. If this isn’t done with care, one would end up over-investing in technologies which would barely be of practical use. And always remember that in any solution, the ‘product’ is only one-third the recipe. It is vital to align the ‘processes’ and the ‘people’ in order to build the complete solution. In my experience, not enough time and effort is spent on the latter two ‘P’s’, and solutions consequently do not have the impact that they should.
Prasad S R Akshintala, VP & Head - Center of Excellence, Future Supply Chain Solutions
Integrated Supply Chains are Enabling Organizations to Deliver Value to the Customer and the Organization in a Seamless manner by marrying demand to supply in the fastest and most optimum possible manner. Automation and Digitization are becoming more and more affordable thanks to scale. Service Providers who are able to integrate supply chains with effective processes which could be monitored to deliver scale and efficiency through digitization and automation initiatives would be emerging as partners of preference for customers by offering them clear competitive advantages and scalability.
Naveen Rajan, Global Business Transformation Consultant, HPE India
The world of supply chain has evolved greatly in the recent years. Many of the order to cash processes need to step-up into a more pull-based customer centric flow, that focuses on customer value, speed, predictability and zero defects. In today’s interconnected world of supply chain, the transformation needs to be hinged around cross functional areas of Plan, Source, Make and Deliver. Each of these areas have innovations of their own that bring in the technological advancements required to speed up tactical/operational and strategic metrics. These innovations mostly come in the form of digital enablers that are implemented by technologists to ensure the removal of possible bottlenecks. For instance, the digital trend of using 3D printers is catching on fast to manufacture spares & NPI prototypes in MAKE space; Integrated e2e control tower across partners ecosystem in the PLAN and so on and so forth.
Pratap Singh Chauhan, Vice President – Logistics, Trident India
Over the years, an evolution has taken place when it comes to goods delivery with regards to the visibility of the product that they are expecting. This has been a dramatic change and has brought in a plethora of new technologies which are implemented to enjoy numerous benefits. There is now a high demand of detailed visibility among the patrons who order items from online delivery portals and more. The client expectation is now to have total visibility of the product as it traverses from its designated dispatch point to their doorstep. Considering this major change, the evolution of the supply chain industry has to incorporate traceability as one of its constant features. The industry has to evolve in the direction of including track-and-trace features at every interface that a patron interacts with to cater to their demand of visibility.
The growth in the Indian Economy in the coming decade will be driven by manufacturing, Infrastructure development, government policy reforms and the service sector. The supply chain sector will have to employ an integrated approach to provide value propositions in logistical solutions. The key verticals for integration will be Human Capital, Technology, Investment, Automation, Procedural simplification and Intermodal Transport Mix. To ensure the success of this integration, I strongly feel that there is a need to impart the special skills, required for the logistics sector, through educational curriculums. The challenges and expectations in the near future will be consistent and to perform upcoming challenging tasks and implement technology efficiently, the industry needs a systematic educational back-up. To cope with the need of talent in the industry, private logistics players have established their own training institutes. I believe these players should join hands with well-established educational institutes by adopting the partnership approach and help the industry to face upcoming challenges in the service sector.
Kushal Nahata, CEO & Co-founder, FarEye
Delivery tracking has become commonplace in the supply chain and logistics industry. Every party expects delivery to be made with every single stop accounted for, right till the end-customer’s doorstep. This trend has been more popular in B2C environments than B2B, but the latter has been catching up very fast. B2C tracking is relatively a lot simpler in terms of implementation because of the straightforward nature of data availability. The details that are expected by the customer are simplistic in nature and do not need to go through filters of customization. On the other hand, in a B2B environment, priorities are highly fragmented. Each stakeholder who has access to the system expects to only receive information that is relevant to them. This is the kind of digital ecosystem that needs to be created in B2B that connects all logistics stakeholders on a single platform and provides them with information collected from all the available data sources at the right time with an added layer of predictive intelligence. This enables businesses to make data driven decisions and pro-actively manage supply chain transportation.