Covid-19: Now, companies reshaping their logistics operating model

Source: The Hindu

The Covid-19 outbreak has had a significant impact on supply chains, forcing freight carriers to cancel, reduce or otherwise adjust services. Ironically, the pandemic has also emphasised the key role of logistics and the importance of supporting people in this critical function.

Several logistic majors have reshaped their operating models and increased efficiency and resilience.

“Logistics is a very operationally intensive sector and needs feet on the ground. However, the current lockdown has got teams dispersed at various levels,” said Prasad Sreeram, founder of Cogos, a city logistics aggregator operating in 150 cities.

The company has designed a 24/7 War Room dash-board to monitor operations. “Dissemination of right information is key for the smooth working of the supply chain. Cogos’ virtual War Room was created to address this very need. The entire team is kept on the same page and issues are resolved instantaneously,” said Sreeram, adding digital transformation is the need of the hour for all start-ups and MSMEs to help cope with the current situation.

Tech-driven logistics company Mavyn is taking a digital route for its shipments. The company is “completely faceless, paperless and digital, and operates all its shipments virtually. The services are based on a no-human interaction model,” said Sachin Haritash, founder and CEO, Mavyn.

Haritash said, “There have been complaints of shipment delays between India and China for quite some time. A sharp drop in the dry bulk cargo movement was witnessed since the third week of January this year. Keeping this situation in mind, Mavyn has been providing end-to-end transportation solutions.”

The company uses AI to refactor the end-to-end transportation process. The official said the USP of being completely paperless has helped customers with continuity in their production lines and completion of timely orders.

As the e-commerce sector witnesses a boost, the need for logistics services also is on the rise. Mavyn is increasing its trucker base and currently has over 1,000 truckers and 7,000 vehicles associated with the company.

E-commerce supply chain

Driven by heightened consumer expectations from interactions with online retailers like Amazon, Big Basket and Grofers, logistics businesses have introduced real-time order monitoring and end-to-end inventory visibility.

Start-ups like Sequoia Capital India-backed MamaEarth, a personal care start-up, have also repurposed their logistics and supply system to respond to the current crisis. The company is seeking new manufacturing facilities to ensure continuity in the product supply chain.

Similarly, larger e-commerce firms are gearing up their supply chains to meet the increase in demand of non-essentials.

Flipkart is seeing an increase in searches for consumer electronic products, including personal grooming equipment (such as trimmers) especially in Orange and Green Zones across India, as it continues to bring products to consumers through a safe delivery system.

Anil Goteti, Senior Vice-President at Flipkart, said: “We continue to serve customers by providing them products at their doorsteps through a safe and sanitized supply chain. This is carried out via robust SOPs (Standard Operating Procedure) which are in line with the guidelines shared by the government and local authorities.”

The company has also seen an increase in searches for products in categories such as laptops, consumer electronics, mobiles, air conditioners, coolers, t- shirts, and other essentials.

Smaller businesses are not staying back and are innovating and adopting new digital tools to minimise disruptions. Vayana Network, a B2B network that offers supply chain financing, has rolled out several features.

“The current outbreak poses a number of challenges for brands to market themselves and stay relevant. Recognising this as a new reality, we have sketched out a new navigation,” said Vinod Parmar, Global Head-Sales & Marketing, Vayana Network.

Vayana Connect programme

The company, which has enabled over $3.5 billion in trade financing and is operational in 160 cities in India and 20 countries across 24 different industries, from manufacturing to e-commerce, has initiated a Vayana Connect programme and will hold live webinar series from industry experts, influencers and policy makers to help enterprises overcome the business crisis.

The webinar series also aims at helping enterprises understand government reforms and policies extended for businesses across industries.