Are Logistics Firms now Becoming Multi-Dimensional?

Srinivas Lingamuthu, CEO & Co-Founder, 72 NetworksA seasoned professional with over 21 years of success leading business development and competitive market share expansion, Srinivas offers sterling cross functional exposure across Sales & Distribution, Operations Management and more areas.

COVID-19 has disrupted operations in every sector across the globe. From the unprecedented transformation of organisational functioning to a complete shutdown of many businesses, the repercussions have been harsh. As several cities and countries observed absolute lockdown, its strong ripple effects have jolted the logistic industry.

Increased border regulations and custom norms resulting in longer wait times, and lack of capacity for long-haul along with last-mile fulfilment had created major challenges for logistics organizations. Also, the absence of manpower from the system has brought the entire supply chain management to a halt. Orders lay pending as companies, factories and warehouses were closed in a prompt response to the global health emergency for quite some time, which in turn has weakened the smooth orchestration of trade.

However, now it's vital to make some recommendations on how Indian logistics should change immediately and carve out a new future by adapting multidimensional role. Companies have an opportunity to revamp their logistics operating model to increase effectiveness, efficiency and resilience. To sustain the business and maintain employee capacity, a lot of companies forayed into other domains as well as delivering food, essential items, parcels, veggies, and others. Besides, there are several other pragmatic steps which are helping logistic firms to become multidimensional and respond to the immediate challenges by adapting to the new normal. Let's see a few of them -

Time to go Digital
COVID-19 is not going to go anywhere this soon. Therefore, India should fix its supply chain and can help this ecosystem go digital. For the regular wage workers like drivers, it is quite difficult for them to handle the digital payment procedures because of their illiteracy. So, one should help them with that. Moreover, customized payment app should be developed,
which are not as complicated as the ready-made app available in the market. The app should contain simple features for making payments that are easily understandable even for the uneducated workers.

Increased Workforce
It should be noted that the issues and the overall burden have grown manifold once business operations resumed. Pending orders along with the new ones are further stressing the logistic network after the lockdown. In such a situation, urgent and mass hiring of delivery personnel is becoming the need of the hour. A more robust system is an absolute requisite to brave the impending storm and deal with the scenario efficiently by calling for higher workforce.

The app should contain simple features for making payments that are easily understandable even for the uneducated workers

National Registry of Truckdrivers
It is perhaps the best time to create a National Registry of Truckdrivers. One of the major challenges today is to trace and bring back the truck drivers who have gone home. This is likely to result in losses for the transporters and the nation at large. The registry will enable the government to request and arrange for safe passage of truck drivers in such times of need, to allow rapid mobilisation.

Respond, Reset & Renew
Logistic businesses are now innovating and adopting digital tools faster than ever in order to minimize disruptions. Leaders must take immediate action to RESPOND to new conditions, support the workforce and sustain business activities. Also, they should use this opportunity to RESET their operations with digital handlings and RENEW their logistic models. It will not only help strengthen the operational efficiency and effectiveness, but the companies will also emerge from the present crisis with more strong supply chains.

Advanced Technological Implementation
There's no doubt that technology has been providing a great deed of help to businesses to remain in shape. There is a broader opportunity for the logistics industry to survive with technology. Technological advancements such as IoT, AI, big data, and others, are assisting the logistics industry in keeping their production running. You can always remain in touch with your drivers, pilots, and employees to share crucial information in times of need.

Communicate Effectively
In this time of intense disruption, regular, transparent and effective communication across the whole logistics ecosystem is essential. It is vital to ensure proactive communication with onsite and remote workers, suppliers, carriers and customers. Logistics teams are actively collaborating with different supply chain functions, such as procurement for new carrier agreements and planning for supply and demand alignment. They are also quickly adopting new ways of working to manage remote workers. Besides, much visibility to wholesalers, distributors, channels and consumers about the impact of COVID-19 disruption on service level agreements is also being provided.

Undoubtedly, the pandemic and the unfortunate turn of events have acted as a wake-up call to many companies to strategize their future policies and actions to survive such unforeseen circumstances better. Also, the outbreak has tested the resilience and flexibility of distribution networks and logistics operations globally. Therefore, it’s time for logistic firms go multidimensional and they are actively working towards a similar way. The industry is disrupting by rethinking, renewing and resetting logistics and supply chain management for it’s long-term benefit and the communities they serve.