Supply chain visibility will avoid time wastage and allow just-in-time in last mile operations.

6 Jun

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.

Bhavik Chinai - CEO

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.



Carrier’s innovative refrigeration solutions

3 Jan

Leveraging the industry’s most advanced technologies, Carrier provides commercial refrigeration solutions to meet the needs of all types of stores, from large supermarkets to smaller convenience stores. In conversation with Vikas Upadhyay, Assistant Director, product management and marketing, Carrier Air Conditioning &Refrigeration, elaborates on the company’s initiatives in the cold chain space.


1. What are the new initiatives that have been undertaken?

Carrier is a member of the National Centre for Cold Chain Development, which is a government body formed to prescribe technical standards for cold chain infrastructure for perishable food items. Carrier’s involvement enables the company to contribute to the development of technical standards for the cold chain industry in India.

As far as commercial refrigeration technology is concerned, we have adapted the best suitable technology to India. Energy efficiency is very important for India and Carrier commercial refrigeration products can reduce energy consumption by up to 30 percent in particular applications.

In frozen cold storage, we offer two-stage compressors, produced by Carlyle, a part of Carrier. In two stage applications, we are able to generate savings up to 30 percent in cold storages for frozen products. We also provide turnkey solutions to customers who want to set up a cold storage.

2. Please tell us about your network in India.

Carrier has a strong national presence with a network of offices and facilities as well as authorized dealers throughout India. We have a project management and installation team, application engineering professionals along with sales and aftermarket team to support our customers.  Since the cold room market is fragmented, we have our own infrastructure in the metro cities supported by dealers in tier II and III cities.

3.What are your future plans?

The large consumer market and entry of multinational retailers indicate that the Indian food industry is poised for significant growth. Carrier continues to invest in research and development to introduce innovative, energy-efficient technology into the marketplace while supporting the development of an integrated cold chain in India.

4.  How do you provide sustainable solutions to your clients?

Carrier offers its environmentally sound CO2OLtec® refrigeration system, which helps improve a store’s energy efficiency and reduce its carbon footprint using the natural refrigerant CO2.The use of CO2 eliminates direct emissions because CO2 is climate neutral and reduces indirect emissions through increased energy efficiency. Carrier also offers multi-compressor refrigeration racks that offer energy savings and at the same time have optimum product lifecycle costs including capital investment and operating costs. The maintenance is also easy as the customer has one service contact instead of multiple providers.

5.What is the main challenge in the Indian market to adopt to the cold chain?

We are hopeful that the cold chain development in India will grow at a faster pace due to the country’s drastic need. India is the largest producer of fruits and the second largest producer of vegetables in the world, however, a large portion of this produce is wasted due to inefficient methods of storage, handling and transportation. Despite huge supply advantages, India has a very small part in the global food trade.

There are a lot of multinational companies coming in to India to explore business opportunities. The consumption potential is huge with a population of more than

Surviving the “butterfly effect” of disruptive consumers

17 Dec

A new white paper commissioned by DHL, the world’s leading logistics company, argues the retail and consumer goods industry must re-evaluate its approach to its supply chains and logistics to survive the “butterfly effect” of disruptive consumers. It identifies today’s digitally empowered consumer as a key source of disorder in supply chains and sets forth the case for building consumer-adaptivity and cost-effective flexibility into the industry’s logistics to manage such disruptions.

 The ‘butterfly effect’ is a small change at a localized point in the supply chain which can result in much wider consequences for the business, such as loss of customers or brand reputation, and billions of dollars off their bottom line. “Consumer as Disrupter” – a report by Lisa Harrington, President of the lharrington group LLC, prepared in collaboration with DHL – identifies the key trends that are shaping the sector globally to help understand the need for the evolution of supply chains to protect against such eventualities. Harrington is also Associate Director of the Supply Chain Management Center and lecturer of supply chain management at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland.

Lisa Harrington says, “We can see that rapidly changing and often unpredictable consumer-buying behavior – enabled by the internet, mobile connectivity and growing spending power – is now making volatility and complexity the norm rather than the exception in the retail and consumer goods industry. In the same way as the corner store gave way to the high-street and eventually larger retail outlets, the global telecommunications boom has revolutionized the number of channels open to consumers and given rise to highly volatile and unpredictable consumer purchasing patterns. The result is fragmented sales channels, escalated service demands, shortened product lifecycles, ratcheted up cost and margin pressures, and new production challenges for businesses.” 

 Three major trends are reshaping the retail and consumer goods industry and the associated risks of each are identified in the report: 

  1. The Big Bang Disruption and the Cascade Effect. Quantum innovation and revolution in product cycles, fueled by instant access to information and consumer power, which have the capacity to instantly disrupt or destroy existing product lines and markets. 
  2. The Digitally Empowered Consumer. By 2016, smartphones used as part of the online shopping experience could influence up to 21% of retail sales in the US alone. Online shopping channels continue to morph, adding more uncertainty and complexity to the retail and consumer goods business model.
  3. Rise of the Global Middle Class. Income levels in emerging markets increased by 96% from 2000 to 2010, and are expected to grow 45% from 2010 to 2016, driving a wave of consumerism for all types of goods, from basics to luxury items.

These forces are driving tremendous change in the retail and consumer goods industry, particularly in supply chain networks and operations.

Tom Kimball, SVP, Global Consumer Sector, DHL Supply Chain says, “In this sector, resilience is contingent on being asset light but having access to full scale and capacity on an on-call basis. It is clear that retail and consumer goods manufacturers should be re-thinking their supply chains with an eye toward one thing: building out a portfolio of options, risk tolerances and capabilities to support cost-effective flexibility. This enables their supply chain to be resilient enough to withstand shocks, agile enough to respond quickly to sudden or unexpected change, flexible enough to customize products and efficient enough to protect margins.”

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