“India has an important place in building an efficient and trusted global supply chain and let us remember that a connected world is not just about connection through technology. It is not only about shared social platforms but also about a shared purpose, shared planet, shared prosperity, and a shared future.”
India holds an important place in building an efficient and trusted global supply chain
As the fastest-growing world economy, India holds enormous potential in technology-led business transformation. Various business sectors are yet to incorporate modern-day, industry 4.0 technologies such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, Machine Learning, Simulation, Additive Manufacturing, Blockchain, etc. and yet to build a resilient digital infrastructure that is robust enough to respond to challenging business landscape.
This realization, however, is not new in India and as India holds the G20 presidency this term, the need for technology-led lead sustainable business practices has been amply highlighted by India’s Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi. In the recent, Business 20 (B20) summit which is the official G20 dialogue forum with the global business community (held between 25th to 27th August, New Delhi), Modi highlighted, “Today India has become the face of digital revolution in the era of Industry 4.0” and “India holds an important place in building an efficient and trusted global supply chain.” This comes as India has ramped up its efforts to develop a strong, robust global supply chain network starting with the National Logistics Policy (NLP) in September 2022.
The National Logistics Policy stressed building a robust supply chain that is based on technology and rooted in sustainable business practices. It underscores the need to bring down the Indian Logistics costs from 13-14% of GDP to 6-8% of GDP as in the other globally leading countries. The NLP also aims to create a Unified Logistics Interface Platform- ULIP, which will bring all the digital services related to the transportation sector on a single portal. NLP and GatiShakti (India’s highly ambitious mission to connect the entire country through expressways and highways) together have the potential to achieve these targets.
The theme of the B20 business summit 2023 is RAISE (R.A.I.S.E), which signifies responsible, accelerated, innovative, sustainable, and equitable business which perfectly sums up India’s efforts towards technology and innovation led business market that is deeply rooted in sustainable business practices and offers equal opportunities to all (potential) stakeholders.
Global Supply Chains and Internet of Things Technology
As India stressed the need to incorporate technology in business and the fact that India has become the face of the digital revolution in the era of Industry 4.0, the use of the Internet of Things in building a robust supply chain, eliminating supply chain bottlenecks, and preventing supply chain disruptions globally cannot be a choice any longer but it is a necessity.
The Internet of Things is playing a significant role in enabling real-time tracking of shipments, pallets, and supply boxes whether it is indoors or outdoors. IoT technologies like BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy), UWB (Ultra Wideband), and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) etc. are frequently being used for item-level tagging identification and tracking. This has led to increased item-level visibility in global supply chains.
Internet of Things (IoT) as a technology is defined as a set of wireless standards, gateways, and physical devices connected to each other over the internet and sharing information. In simple words, IoT connects the physical world with the digital world via the use of technologies such as RFID, BLE, UWB, Wi-Fi, etc.
Businesses such as Retail, e-commerce, healthcare, etc. are heavily dependent on supply chains and logistics partners that are reliable. However, these businesses currently have two important problems that cannot be ignored or stalled. One being real-time visibility and the other being order fulfillment.
Internet of Things, Supply Chain Visibility, and Order Fulfillment
As businesses navigate the post-pandemic world, changes in customer behavior are big issues along with supply chain disruptions. Customers now want instant updates on shipping and accurate estimates on the delivery of their orders. As the global supply chain struggles with supply chain visibility and order fulfillment, various Internet of Things technologies such as RFID and BLE have become the go-to options for item-level tagging and tracking and indoor navigation respectively.
RFID, as a wireless technology, is capable of automatic identification and data capture. When you tag an object or pallet with an RFID tag, it creates a digital identity for the same and allows you to wirelessly identify and track the same. RFID technology uses a combination of RFID tags, Readers, antennas, and an RF subsystem (computer software system) to record and store the information for future use.
RFID tagging not only provides businesses with real-time visibility in the inventory but also helps with order fulfillment as well. It accurately tracks orders and provides you with data regarding the estimated time of arrival of supply consignments.
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is another popular IoT technology that is very helpful in creating a robust supply chain and inventory management for businesses. BLE as a wireless technology is developed on the Bluetooth standard and consumes low power while transferring short packages of data wirelessly. Its PAwR (Periodic Advertisement with Response) feature allows for indoor positioning of tagged items within a warehouse, allowing for 100% visibility. BLE beacon, a small wireless device based on BLE, can be attached to items/pallets and employees can track the Bluetooth pulse signal with the help of a smartphone to accurately locate the item in the warehouse. BLE based smart electronic shelf labels (ESL) also offer great item visibility via smart shelving of items in a warehouse.
Since the BLE beacon is a low-power consuming device, it offers great battery life resulting in a cost-effective technology with long-term gains.
Apart from BLE and RFID, various other IoT technologies are now being used to create a robust and reliable global supply chain and India is playing a significant role in the global supply chain. The large business market and growth opportunities are attracting global manufacturing companies such as Foxconn (Apple smartphone manufacturer), Samsung, Honda, Tesla, etc., to manufacture natively in India. As the Indian Prime Minister highlighted in the recent B20 summit in New Delhi, India holds the key to the global supply chain networks with its unique position and large business market opportunities backed by business policies aimed at sustainability and ease of doing business.