Harpreet S. Malhotra, Managing Director, Tiger Logistics India Limited

Logistics companies are deploying, smart solutions in various areas, including supply chain management, delivery and storage with the aim of streamlining operations and deriving business benefits. Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), internet of things (IoT) and big data analytics have also started marking their presence in the logistics sector, with a number of applications emerging around these technologies. Going forward, blockchain is expected to impact the sector in a big way by driving transparency and efficiency in supply chain management and enhancing the customer experience. Se­ni­or executives of enterprises operating in this space talk about the emerging IT trends in logistics, the status of technology adoption and the future outlook…

What role is ICT playing in the logistics and transportation sector?

ICT is playing a crucial role in the logistics and transportation sector, providing linkages between chain participants and ensuring effective management of the time, cost and quality of services rendered. The supply chain management processes are also becoming a significant value addition with the extensive use of ICT. Supply chain in­formation systems comprise both hardware and software. Hardware includes the computer’s input/output devices and storage media, while software includes the entire system and application programmes used for transaction management, decision-making and strategic planning. A wide range of ICT tools and techniques, which are part of electronic commerce, help conduct businesses more efficiently and create a paperless environment.

What are some of the key ICT solutions dep­loy­ed by your organisation? How is it benefiting your operations?

At Tiger Logistics, we are using electronic data interchange (EDI), e mail, electronic fund transfers, electronic publishing, image processing, shared databases and magnetic/ optical data capture. Through ICT, we are able to automate the process of transferring documents between suppliers and customers. EDI has provided benefits such as quick information processing, better customer service, reduced paperwork, in­crea­s­­ed productivity, improved tracing,  and cost efficiency and improved billing. It has also reduced the distortions and exaggeration in supply and demand information, and facilitated real-time sharing of demand and supply information.

What is the scope of new technologies like IoT, big data analytics and AI in the sector? How are you leveraging these technologies?

The future of logistics will depend on four key elements – customer-centricity, sustainability, technology and people. The industry is witnessing the emergence of AI and new concepts such as smart containerisation (new container formats to enhance urban logistics) and connected life (integration of logistics services with smart home environments). Robotics and software automation will redefine the structure of the logistics workforce in the future.

What are the key challenges faced in the adoption of ICT solutions? How can these be addressed?

New technologies in computers and mobile devices are changing the way the world co­­m­municates. Companies are realising that their conventional supply chain integration will have to be expanded beyond existing peripheries. In such a scenario, a clear visi­on, strong planning and technical insight are needed for better supply chain management. This will ultimately improve their competitiveness. Companies must harness the power of technology by leveraging new supply chain management applications, the internet and other networking links.

“A clear vision, strong planning and technical insight are needed for better supply chain management.”Harpreet Singh Malhotra