It was September, 2022 when the Indian Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi emphasized the need of creating a robust supply chain network and pushing for new age logistics practices in India that can bring international collaboration in business and technology to Indian manufacturing, and Indian Trade. Earlier the Indian Prime Minister launched the Gati Shakti Mission to boost the multimodal connectivity across the nation and to bring down the logistics costs. Keeping that objective in mind, India, in September 2022, launched the new National Logistics Policy.
The new logistics policy aims at using technology and cooperation between various arms of business and govt. to bring down the Logistics costs to 8% of GDP (as in countries like USA, South Korea, Singapore and some EU nations) within this decade, from the current 13¬%-14% of current GDP. For that, a platform referred to as the Unified Logistics Interface Platform (ULIP) will be developed to bring together seven government ministries including the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Ministry of Finance, and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology onto a single platform. This platform will provide logistics operators with up-to-date information regarding cargo movement across the country.
India also aims to bring down the Logistics Performance Index (LPI), prepared by the World Bank, to the top 25 and to implement a DSS (data driven decision support system) for a futuristic Logistics ecosystem.
What Technologies can be used in Logistics?
The new National Logistics Policy certainly looks promising but like they say, planning is nothing without execution and technology is the only thing that can help India execute these new plans. The Industry 4.0 lists out various technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), AIDC (Automatic Identification and Data Capture), Simulation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Predictive Analytics, IIoT (Industrial IoT), IoMT (Internet of medical Things), Additive Manufacturing, Digital twin, and Big Data etc. to achieve everything this decade aspires to.
More often than not, it is best suited to businesses to use these technologies in combination to get the best results. Use of IoTand AIDC technologies along with AI and ML can provide the best results when it comes to India’s Logistics push.
How IoT can Strengthen the Supply Chain across India?
Internet of Things has become the internet of everything with approx 14B connected devices across the world as of now. With technologies like BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy), RFID, NFC, Wi-Fi, LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network), and Chipless RFID etc. at helm IoT has the potential to eliminate supply chain bottlenecks and streamline the entire supply chain across India. Logistics businesses can incorporate IoT to create a network of connected devices from the factories to the warehouses and to the end users or consumers, gathering data at every stage.
This data is very crucial to establishing a robust and responsive supply chain. Visibility doesn’t only means where a certain track is but what’s on it, and which customer it is going to, how long it will take. Without this data supply chain companies are just flying blind.
While IoT can provide businesses with 100% visibility of consignments whether in the warehouses or in transit, the gathered data can be analyzed by leveraging Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Technologies such as Big Data and predictive analytics can move away the data from data silos and make sense of that data by generating insights and creating patterns. AI and ML can forecast consumer demand, supply chain bottlenecks and suggest ways to reduce logistics costs and enhance growth.
Use of technologies such as BLE and RFID can help logistics businesses to not only monitor consignments throughout the supply chain but to identify and track assets throughout the warehouses in real-time.
What Logistics Business Should Look Like in 2023
India is on the cusp of realizing its full potential in manufacturing and industrial output but there remain certain challenges, one being Logistics and supply chain and lack of data and data analysis due to lack of interconnectivity between departments. US Retail giant Walmart in 2022 made it mandatory for its suppliers to tag supply boxes relating to home and electronics and toys to be tagged with RFID tags. The reason being? Visibility and lack of data. But Walmart is not alone in this endeavor, other retail businesses such as H&M, Zara, Macy’s, Target etc. are following suit and now retail business has become the largest consumer for RFID technology, RAIN RFID being the most preferred.
For the Indian trade to grow, logistics has to be strengthened, be it supply chain, warehouses and inventory control or delivery fulfillment. So, what should a logistics business look like in 2023? Given the technologies we have on our hands, and that’s a handful, logistics businesses should look to incorporate these modern day technologies to to track consignments, gather generated data and to makes sense of such data. While technologies such as AI, ML and cloud computing can help create a robust digital infrastructure, IoT and RFID can help at item level tracking.
Apart from that, last mile connectivity for manufacturing stakeholders including MSMEs can also be digitized and IoT can help with that.