Bhavik Chinai is the Founder & CEO of Vamaship. He laid the cornerstone for Vamaship, the world’s first integrated logistics platform that provides the most cost-effective, on-time shipment fulfillment through air, ocean and surface. Vamaship intends to integrate the largely unorganised logistics industry globally. In an exclusive conversation with Lionel Alva he discusses the implications of the Internet of Things (IoT) on the supply chain.
How would the advent of IoT impact the supply chain?
IoT is going to be adopted across industries, and we’re looking forward to viable solutions for the supply chain. Forthe entire supply chain, mass adoption of IoT use cases will revolutionise efficiency benchmarks through analytics. It’ll enable last mile enablers, courier companies and freight forwarders to monitor and optimise real time owing to M2M giving the real scenario. Due to lack of visibility today, we cannot analyse the exact reasons of delay of a shipment or parts of a route where the shipment experienced extra vibration or the warehouse handler who handled without care, and with cost effective IoT use cases, all of these get activated. Deeper analytics will help identify challenges and help us eliminate those to reduce costs.
Do you foresee a future where a consumer would be able to know the exact time of delivery?
It is going to be very interesting but, even today when you and I use google maps and put in a destination, we see an estimated time to reach the destination. However, this is misleading knowing traffic conditions and some unusual factors in developing nations which lead to a commensurate delay that goes beyond the estimated time. Nevertheless, we would definitely be able to see delivery within a certain specific window.
UPS, the courier giant, has started tracking real-time and they show users an exact dot of the package on the map. So, it is not telling you that it has left the hub, but it is in a specific location. We strongly believe that will be replicated in India soon.
What is the nature of collaboration that is required to address the challenges pertaining to security concerns with information sharing in the supply chain?
Information would be accessible by all stakeholders in the chain on the web, which means anybody can track any shipment, regardless of the intention. This poses an immense security threat, especially in the case of valuable cargo where security is of utmost importance. While there are trade-offs with the adoption of IOT, much of it depends on how company policies are designed to mitigate these risks. For instance, if a jewellery shipment can be tracked real-time by entering a tracking number on any website, it’s extremely risky. But, if you add steps like compulsory log in with an email ID and password to access the information, or through limited API usage, you’re sharing information while simultaneously limiting exposure. Designing the right policies could help prevent untoward exposure for all.
What are the challenges with technological adoption?
Vamaship is a tech aggregator and the stakeholders that we work with are not too tech friendly. Despite them having a smartphone, the amount of time taken to adopt newer technology is long. This occurs despite having a very clean user interface.
Another challenge is internet penetration in developing countries, where there is lack of connectivity in non-metros. For IoT in supply chain to work effectively, we need internet connectivity across all geographies, which could take over a decade.
It is important that the government incentivises investment in the telecom space.
Furthermore, there is also a mindset challenge as for a majority of SMEs, investment in technology is perceived as an expense and not an investment. Owing to the initial upfront cost, many companies are not adopting automation which pays off handsomely in the long run.
How would automation impact turnaround times for shipments?
Visibility in the supply chain across multiple stakeholders will help avoid wastage of time and allow just-in-time in last mile operations. Because of various tools usedtoday,the delivery officers know when to pick up, the mobile app shows the best route to use to reach the destination, the customer can know the ETA and this together reduces the turnaround time for the shipment. With research and further automation, the origin to shipper time will reduce greatly, reducing the overall shipping time.
How would 5g impact IOT?
5G would help improve the speed of communication from, to and between machines. Since IoT fundamentally depends solely on internet, 5G would help time sensitive industries like stem cell and organ transportation immensely, with excellent information flow to each stakeholder in the supply chain.