COVID-19: Key learnings for Indian logistics and supply chain industry

COVID-19: Learnings for Supply Chain Industry
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Even as the world gears up to return to a ‘new normal’ in terms of life and work after the lockdown, several industries and businesses will be looking to implement the learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic in order to prevent any future disruptions. The logistics and the supply chain industry, although active throughout the national lockdown, has witnessed a series of challenges and has learnt its own set of lessons. From labour issues to mobility, technology and access to remote warehouses, lack of international trade and tackling food wastage, the Indian logistics and supply chain industry has seen it all.

Here we talk about a few learnings that one needs to implement, to ensure a more prepared and advanced network of logistics and supply chain service providers:

  • Local labour: During COVID, access to labour was extremely difficult, because many of them were migrant and returned home with no surety of their future in the place of work. Those who commuted via public transport were also deemed redundant without access. Sourcing people locally will alleviate the migrant crisis or long-distance travellers, this also creates employment in the area but also there is better control on their whereabouts and communicating with them.
  • Relay Drivers: With transportation being affected with the closure of borders and restricted movement led to a large number of drivers abandoning their vehicles and finding the easiest way back home. Setting up relay systems for drivers to be contained to a state would increase efficiencies but also keep the drivers closer to home.  
  • Dual/Multiple Sourcing: Due to the lack of labour and transport, there was a scarcity in essentials as well a lot of wastage due to the lack of adequate storage facilities. Even though GST has been a major driver for consolidation of warehouses, the flip side has become a dependency of distribution from a single location. Companies across several sectors have not been able to provide products in different parts of the country and continue revenue generation. Agile supply chains with options for dual or multiple sourcing can help not only in the face of crisis but also in the long run, with enhanced speed, reduced costing, and a well-distributed, diversified network.
  • Remote Working/Work From Home: Even as the world learnt to cope with, adjust and appreciate the new ‘work from home’ format, the new normal for the corporate world is set to be remote workplaces. Similar to IT and other industries, Logistics and supply chain industry are also considering work from home options for their administrative staff if they have managed to migrate to cloud computing software. Apart from creating a cost-effective work model, that allows them to cut office rentals, the process will also help provide a leaner organisational structure that is more productive and well connected.  
  • Data-driven operations: One of the key learning of the lockdown for most businesses has been the indispensable role of technology in surviving and functioning during the lockdown. This realisation is set to drive accelerated adoption of digital practices and setting up of data-driven, automated and cloud-based operations, that can provide a secure IT infrastructure to the organisation, especially supporting the new work from home mandate. However, the uses of technology-enabled systems have also brought forth the dangers of the World Wide Web, making cybersecurity another major area of concern and development.

Given the thrust on developing India as the next global manufacturing hub for the world, Logistics and Supply Chain Industry is going to play a key role in driving the growth and development of the country’s economy. As we start resuming International trade, manufacturing, and other industrial activities, it is vital for logistics and supply chain as a sector to adapt to the challenges and develop as an indomitable pillar of the economy, ready to face any crisis in the future.   


This article has been authored by Mr. Aditya Vazirani, Chief Executive Officer, Robinsons Global Logistics Solutions. 

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