Technology as a Key Enabler for an Efficient Supply Chain

In conversation with Lalit Das

As digitalization is taking place in the logistics sector, companies are investing and focusing on fortifying their technological advances. Along with other tech-metrics, predictive analytics has become an indispensable tool to bring visibility to the supply chain processes. To keep pace with this digital age, the logistics industry needs to be empowered with digital integration. Many software solutions providers have emerged in recent times serving the need of the hour.

Gurugram based SS Supply Chain Solutions (3SC) is one such company which is making digital adoption easy for the logistics companies working in traditional ways until now. Comprised of a skilled and experienced taskforce, SS Supply Chain Solutions holds the insight and capability to help companies develop supply chain processes that boost performance, with their technologically advanced analytics tools.

Logistics Insider interviewed Lalit Das, Founder and CEO, SS Supply Chain Solutions Pvt. Ltd. to have a better understanding of the requirements for digital integration and their vision on the same along with the services they offer as a software solutions provider. Excerpts:

How has the Indian logistics industry transformed on the digitalization front in recent years? Do you think Indian companies are ready to embrace new technologies such as Blockchain, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence in their supply chain?

The Indian logistics industry has partially transformed on digitalization with the advent of e-way bill and GST. The manual disintegrated form of operations is migrated to integrated automated forms with new digital platforms, advanced analytics and control tower.

Indian companies are embracing new technologies at a fast pace but the implementation of Blockchain in the supply chain is far away. It is predominantly more into the financial sectors. Machine Learning and AI apply more in the space of predictive analytics, more prevalent in demand forecasting, inventory predictions and predicting estimated time of arrival, considering all the external parameters.

3SC is ahead of the curve, with respect to the Indian companies. We adopted predictive analytics in 2014 when it was hardly used by any other Indian supply chain company. We have global customers, predominantly based in Europe and the US, forcing us to move towards digitalization of supply chain or adoption of AI and Machine Learning.

Companies across the globe are rapidly evolving their supply chain management practice into ‘Supply Chain 4.0’. How does 3SC help organisations in building a rapid, scalable, intelligent and connected supply chain that drives sustainable growth and value?

In terms of the practices, Supply chain 4.0 is cognitive, with the application of IoT, robotics, advanced analytics, sensors to create network and automation. One needs to do a lot of process automation such as data capturing from sensors, integrated process optimization and chatbots in customer service associated with logistics.

Our products are creating a lot of profitable impact in the industry. One of them is the Demand Curve which is highly scalable. It is an intelligent SaaS-based product using AI algorithms, primarily to process demand planning databases. Inputs given by a human demand planner are replaced with AI algorithms, which are basically modelled. A typical model is tested and trained. We train with 70% of the data and test with the remaining 30%. The model is robust and scalable, driving sustainable growth. This removes obsolescence due to better predictions in the supply chain, reduces price elasticity variability, eliminates loss of sales and improves market penetration, thereby adapting to disruptions and creating value.

Predictive analytics has gained much prominence in the recent years with global supply chains reshaping their logistics network around it. What role do you play in enabling organisations to turn data into valuable and executable information?

Demand planning and supply planning, the key components of predictive analytics lie on top of the supply chain pyramid. An effective predictive analysis makes the whole network of supply chain more robust.

3SC believes that data speaks for itself. Fetching this data is a real challenge in Indian and global space. It is either in a discrete format or lacks adequate hygiene. At 3SC, we use Machine Learning to do data cleansing which creates the base of data. We use ETL technique to build databases. This improves forecast accuracy by 2%.

What are the challenges faced by companies in India while profiling the demand? Explain how supply chain industry can be benefitted from demand profiling.

Profiling of demand has wide variations, categorized into two factors- intrinsic and extrinsic.

Predicting these kinds of factors is a major challenge because relevant data is never captured by any industry. As a result, a huge amount of data need to be aggregated from various agencies. Also, the influence of these factors in data profiling remains a major challenge for the industry to adopt. Indian companies face a huge challenge while dealing with the demand that has got high sparsity and variability. Data science is one of the solutions to deal with demand with sparsity and high variability. Adoption level is low because risk-taking is high.

Supply chain industry undoubtedly gets benefit if one executes proper demand profiling because it impacts the supply planning, production planning, inventory planning and distribution planning.

Could you please elaborate about the 3SC Control Tower? Also, how can it help in the use of supply chain data to streamline processes for an unbroken supply chain?

3SC built up the Control Tower in early 2013, at Gurgaon centre and then migrated it to Pune in the World Trade Center with a capacity of 50 plus people. Control Tower has got 5 functions today- Procurement and Contract Management, Planning, Event Monitoring, Performance Measurement and Matrix Reporting, Freight Bill & Audit. Control Tower is more than just giving visibility. 3SC Control Tower is blended with analytics. Real-time decisions and pre-alerts can be given before an event occurs. When a crisis is predicted, desirable actions are very categorically put forth in front of the customers.

The 3SC Control Tower gives the right execution form to the customer. All the unbroken part of the supply chain are interconnected. 3SC has created a unique and innovative product, Visilog, which is a platform where every stakeholder in the supply chain collaborates to orchestrate an unbroken and smooth supply chain.

What are some of the major areas 3SC is looking into in the immediate future?  Can we talk about some of the projects in pipeline?

3SC would be developing more intelligent software in the coming months. We are bringing Blockchain as one of the key applications to be incorporated in Visilog. We would use more advanced techniques to build intelligent networks and are hopeful about bringing a significant change to the present scenario.

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