In For A Treat: Innovations that will reshape the Supply Chain


The writing’s on the wall. At a time when the world was thrown into a period of disarray and dilemma, innovations alone surfaced as an indomitable force to reckon with, bridging the gap between crisis and opportunity that have revolutionised supply chains and put them on a path of renewal and recovery. Amid a whirlwind of affairs and circumstances hurled by the bygone year, we look at the innovations that can emerge as gamechangers for the Logistics and supply chain industry.

Innovations Driving the Supply Chain in 2021

Companies are pushing for supply chain innovation to reduce their overall cost and increase efficiency.  While there’s just not one factor that will drive innovations, many factors will pave the way for revolutionising the entire spectrum of the supply chain.

The quest for satisfying consumer demand continues to drive innovation as the demand puts supply chains under continual pressure to lower costs and improve efficiency – which leads to the need and opportunity for continual innovation; as is rightly said: “Innovative supply chain performance demands technology, but it starts with people”.

Sanket Managave, Managing Director of ABLOY India offers his take on the way forward.

“Significant use of technology and innovation is leading to a process-driven supply chain function, delivering solvent sequels. Truck Platooning, Blockchain, On demand warehousing, Geolocations, sensors and tagging, Collaborative mobile robots, Fleet optimisation, Big data and artificial intelligence, last mile delivery services are some of the appreciable global innovations in supply chain”, Mr Managave adds.

~Sanket Managave, Managing Director of ABLOY India

Charlie Wilson, Account Manager, what3words underlines how the last-mile will be the key area.                                                                                        

“The most time and resource intensive component of the supply chain is the last mile and I see this as the key area in need of innovation. The last mile accounts for 41% of the total cost of moving goods and any saving in this area can have a transformative effect on the entire supply chain. This is even more important in 2021 when the supply chain has to deal with the after effects of Covid-19 and the increased demand and resulting strain put on the ecommerce and logistics sectors.”

~Charlie Wilson, Account Manager, what3words

Overcoming key challenges in last-mile delivery

High costs and low fuel efficiency coupled with dearth of consistent data connectivity are some of the problems that lead to challenges in last-mile delivery. But by integrating innovative solutions, especially with digital solutions like IoT and EV, a lot of these challenges can certainly be overcome.

Prasad Sreeram, CEO and Co-Founder at COGOS opens up about the underlying problems hindering last mile delivery and how emerging technologies will pave the way for heightened efficiency in performances.

“The urban transportation (including last-mile delivery) faces heavy challenges in India, as it depends on the under efficient drive technologies for snail-paced and stop/start urban traffic. The ratio of actual Highway to City mileage is mind-blowing 4:1, development and adoption of efficient drive technologies which have high efficiency and low maintenance in slow-speed urban traffic are the need of the hour.”

~Prasad Sreeram, CEO and Co-Founder, COGOS

“The emerging technologies- Hybrids, EV and Fuel-cell hold the future of the urban transportation, once they compete in volume and weight with their ICE(internal combustion engine) peers and the sticker shock could be avoided and the TCO(total cost of ownership) savings be realised in shorter period”, he notes.

Deepak MV, CEO and Co-Founder at Etrio, believes that electrifying last-mile delivery will be the key in overcoming challenges.

“Some of the challenges logistics players face are decreasing fuel efficiency, increasing maintenance and diesel cost, lack of true data connectivity of vehicle, remote understanding of vehicle and component health, sustainability and pollution, looming scrappage policy etc. To help them on this, we came up with a two-pronged approach of retrofitment as well as new EV vehicles with smart Etrio telematics and driver management which addressed most of the stated challenges and provided our customers with the much-required end to end solution.”

~Deepak MV, CEO and Co-Founder, Etrio

The Power factor: The rise and rise of Drone Deliveries

Drone Technology is on the road to completely change the way things operate.

As a revolutionary breakthrough, Drone Technology finds usage in almost every sector of the industry. However, the logistics and supply sector is one of the few that remain to fully harness the immense potential harboured by this invention.

Latest trends/innovations in Drone Technology

While talking about the latest innovations in Drone Technology,Dinesh Sain, Co-founder and COO, Drona Aviation highlights how endurance will be the game changer for Drones to be fully utilised by the logistics and supply chain sector.

“Certainly everybody wants to fly the drones for hours and hours but they can’t as of now. Endurance is one of the major roadblock for the people who want to use it for logistics and supply chain management. You can’t provide logistic services if you are just able to fly for minutes. Hence the innovations in providing power to drones to fly for hours will really redefine the use of drones in this industry.”

~Dinesh Sain, Co-founder and COO, Drona Aviation

Arpit Sharma,Founder & Lead, RangeAero highlights how Drones have evolved in the way they are being utilised over the past two decades.

“Future aviation is unmanned. Drones came to existence mostly to carry a small camera and established their potential in Aerial mapping & surveying. Now as we know, in the past 2 decades, the reliability of pilot-less & sensor-based flights have increased tremendously, we, the technology entrepreneurs, have started developing new platforms to increase the capacity of drones.”

~Arpit Sharma,Founder & Lead, RangeAero

While talking about reliable robotics of ex-Tesla & Spacex engineers & Elroy Air, he adds, “They are doing the automation of mid-mile. If we talk about first mile & last mile of logistics, we need VTOL (Vertical Take-off & lift) aircrafts and we need automation as 60% of the logistics cost is spent in first mile & last mile. If we automate, we are solving the biggest problem of logistics- the time spent by the vehicle on the road. Aircrafts are thrice faster & we need more robust drone platforms to lift heavy weight”.

Obstacles on the way to reaping the benefits of Drone Deliveries

Are there any hindrances on the path to complete utilisation of the many benefits that Drones have to offer, in India? 

Reaping the benefits of Drone Deliveries may encounter a slower phase owing to hindrances that can slow down its deployment. While valid concerns for security and privacy might often lead to unclear regulation and implementation, providing cost-effective solutions to companies may also lead to slower adaptation of Drone Technology across industries.

Mr Arpit Sharma clarifies, “I do not call them hindrances. Before adoption of any technology, we need to equally validate its usage in positive sense as well as in negative sense”, he shares.

This article was originally published in the February issue of the Logistics Insider magazine. To read the full story, click here.

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