Fueling Future Ready Logistics Through Digital Technology

In Conversation With Dr Ambrish Kumar, LogYcode

The latest and most prominent changes to freight forwarding are related to cross-border e-commerce, Blockchain and Big Data. Such developments are resulting in technology-enabled supply chain solutions and e-fulfilment, but without the necessary know-how about logistics and the infrastructure required for moving shipments internationally, the technology is wasted.

LogYcode Tech Solutions is one such company that provides innovative IT-enabled solutions and services to re-engineer logistics business processes to meet the demands and the desire arising from digital transformation of the industry.

Logistics Insider spoke to Dr Ambrish Kumar, Founder and Managing Director, LogYcode Tech Solutions to understand the dos and don’ts for companies in this arena and how embracing digital technology and the boom in e-commerce is the way forward for established logistics companies. Excerpts follow:

Recently, you have been awarded as the ‘Best E-Commerce Start-up of the Year’ at a prestigious industry event. How do such accolades drive you to deliver even more?

The award and getting recognised as the ‘Best E-Commerce Start-up of the Year’ among the logistics fraternity just within a span of 18 months of establishment is a great impetus to the whole team of LogYcode. The award has re-iterated the fact to us that we have chosen the right arena to battle out the odds and heading the right way. While our customers’ perspectives and requirements had driven us most of the while to develop the logistics services software, the recognition adds a feather on the hat. The team is more enthusiastic and is set up to achieve further milestones in the journey of digital logistics. The award has also helped the customers develop more confidence in us and our services.

There is cut-throat competition in the market for solutions providers trying to transform logistics and freight forwarding. How do you manage to stay afloat amidst such strong competition?

Yes, it is a fact that the market is getting increasingly dynamic every passing day. Consumer demands are skyrocketing with their addiction towards cost-effectiveness and service levels that the e-commerce and e-retail courses are rendering in the contemporary era. From our research of the logistics companies who have embraced technology and those start-ups who are offering technology services to logistics companies, we could understand that service and entity-level digitization has been largely carried out. However, a platform integrating and providing digital services of all the processes of the freight forwarding and supply chain cycle is scarce.  

Thus, LogYcode, was coined and developed that integrated almost all parties and stakeholders right from the freight forwarders who require getting live air freight quotes, online booking, air freight tariff reference; online AWB and documentation convenience for CHAs, e-dockets and electronic transmission of documents for Customs purposes; Online bookings, e-AWBs and electronic transmission of shipment information for Airlines; Live tracking of their shipments for freight forwarders, exporters and importers, and finally electronic Invoices. Lately, we also came up with an ingenious feature of Auto-Airwaybills on our portal which is an automated alternative to the users for a time-consuming task of preparation of the document.

With a team that consists of experienced personnel from every corner of the logistics sector, we could manage to develop the software after thoroughly understanding the base need and convenience of the user, and not what we wanted to bring out in the market. The users wanted their existing painstaking workflows to become seamless. With prompt implementation based on regular feedback and concerns raised by the users, we kept on nurturing features reckoning the ground facts.

How has technology integration been able to increase the productivity of logistics companies? How can Automation and Artificial Intelligence transform the functionalities of the logistics sector?

With right eggs in the right baskets and precise and flawless operational work-flow designs, there are examples of companies like Maersk Line, who are successfully digitally ahead since half a decade. However, on a whole considering Logistics sector globally, technology integration has suffered a step-motherly treatment, the need of the hour has been only recently garnered.

While the integration of technology for logistics firms comes would call for an initial investment, but the long-term purview of benefits like time and cost-effectiveness, saving of man-hours, enhanced service levels, increased sales upshots and profit margins and so on, far outweigh the inceptive expenditure. As we can see, there is immense scope in the logistics market which is phenomenally growing and expected to mount to $215 billion by the year 2020 at fast-paced CAGR of 10.5%.

Automation will lead to more single-window solutions. Presently, the logistics sector is fragmented and unorganized, one of the major reasons for high operational costs. There are fragment level costs involved at every stage that affects the stakeholders helplessly. Automation will lead to streamlined processes through integrated gateways. The data and information will be more accurate and visible.

With a database of accurate information and data accumulated from the right channels by the competent authorities, Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence plays a vital role. AI would help in assessing market conditions and behaviour, predictive analysis of future events, optimization of operational efficiency, mitigation of risk by analysis and anticipation, forecast business and investment opportunities and consumer demand thereby rationalising supply, condense revenue loss with speculated decisions by the stakeholders of the sector, improve timelines and schedules.

How predictive analytics can strengthen supply chain processes? Can you brief us the benefits of predictive analytics?

Some of the advantages and benefits of predictive analytics are:

  1. Better predictability of customer demand, imminent risks and disruptions.
  2. Balancing the supply and demand portfolio based on real-time inventory data. 
  3. Assessing customer preferences, and supplier status.
  4. Identifying and targeting prospective and highly profitable business opportunities, production optimization and improving operational coherence.
  5. Greater visibility across supply chain processes by obtaining and analyzing various sources of data that is gathered from all parties involved.
  6. Improved supply chain agility through shortened reaction time and order-to-delivery cycle times.
  7. Have a better understanding of supply chain bottlenecks through increased supply chain visibility,
  8. more efficient inventory, working capital, demand and replenishment planning.
  9. Increased visibility and control over tiered networks of suppliers to guide risk management activities and resources to the most critical areas.
  10. Categorize the customers based on their past purchasing behaviour, assess carriers and vendors based on their vending trends, increase or reduce pricing based on seasonal fluctuations, and improve sales negotiations thereby avoiding loss of business and helping plan strategies and implement actions optimizing revenue and negate revenue leakage.

Virtual visibility of cargo is becoming the trend now in the logistics sector. How virtual visibility of air cargo shipments help a shipper streamline his supply chain process? How successful has LogYcode been so far in providing accurate virtual visibility of air cargo?

We expect our goods to be handled with care and to reach the destination intact without having to face discrepancies or damages on transit. The key to an unblemished air cargo transportation requires virtual visibility of your cargo at every stage, that is, a piece level tracking availability and automated source of information, which would help the logistics players enhance transparency to their end customers thereby developing business prospects.

In this era of superlative automation, where services and real-time information require only a touchscreen or a few clicks, manual feeding of information and checking shipment status on phone or e-mails becomes looks primitive. We believe it is an easy incorporation for the logistics industry to provide specific and real-time piece level information of cargo, with the technology already in place. The RFID solution for tracking shipments at the piece level renders the information to the logistics service providers to improve their operational efficiency in addition to offering customers incredible visibility with exemplary accuracy.

So far, we have developed a one of a kind tracking facility available to the customers on their portals as well as on our website. The portal for the user offers live stage-wise tracking of their shipments right from the time of the query till the delivery of the cargo at destination. This helps the customer track their shipments right on their portal rather than depending on anyone to provide accurate information and without having to browse through multiple tracking websites.

What are your upcoming plans for more technological advancements in the near future? Is LogYcode planning to give more attention to road and ocean cargo?

LogYcode has already offered customers with the convenience of working on Mobile Apps both on Android and iOS with fully loaded features. We will be soon coming up with a gamut of other digital services in diverse verticals. The Ocean module is in the pipeline and will be rolled out soon. We are also working on integrating inland transportation with the major cross-border trade gateways with warehousing as an integral fragment. The aim is to offer digital solutions for seamless last-mile and mid-mile connectivity for hassle-free trade movement. Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence plays a pivotal role in our future ventures.

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