Ishaan Singh Bedi, CEO, Synchronized Supply Systems Limited

In recent times, there has been a rapid uptake of new-age technologies by enterprises in the logistics sector. Companies are increasingly deploying technologies such as internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain, which are set to disrupt the sector. These technologies are revolutionising the logistics sector  and are predicted to be the harbingers of growth as they will streamline supply chains, operations and warehouse management, leading to higher efficiency and productivity. Industry leaders share their views on the evolving technology landscape, the challenges faced in deploying new-age solutions and the future outlook for the sector…

How has technology transformed the Indian logistics sector? What are some of the key digital trends?

The Indian logistics sector has undergone a sea change in the past few years, owing to technology intervention. There have be­­en several factors driving this. The ad­vent of e-commerce has upped the game with exceptional customer service. Furth­er, all major international logistics players have made their strong presence in India, bringing in their technology with them, which has led Indian companies to adopt technology faster, to keep pace. With several start-ups in the logistics tech space, access to technology has increased.

The above factors have led to an inc­reased interest in technology from Indian players, which has transformed the logistics sector completely. The key trends we have seen recently are:

  • The use of IoT has moved vehicle tracking to the mobile app and also helped ac­curate inventory count in warehouses.
  • Applications such as WMS (warehouse management) and TMS (transpo­rt management system) are providing bra­nds a complete grip on their inventory and its movement.
  • The analysis of the consolidated data from these apps is helping supply chain leaders predict demand and plan their production cycles accordingly.

How are the trends of supply chain, warehouse and transport management expected to shape up in the digital era?

In India, though the adoption rate is high, most of the sectors are still not able to re­alise the long-term gains of technology in­vestment and have been reluctant to take up this one-time cost until recently. We have been living examples of how we have increased the efficiency of logistics operations for our clients with technology intervention. We have been sharing these case studies with clients and leaders in the industry and helping them see the bigger picture. The pandemic, thankfully, has changed the re­luc­tance into acceptance and we see the digital era coming up well.

What are the key use cases of new-age technologies such as AI, IoT, robotics, blockchain and AR/VR in the logistics sector? How are you leveraging these solutions?

The advent of these technologies has been a game changer in the industry. IoT has redefined the track and trace of vehicles and inventory management in warehouses. With robotics, large e-commerce companies have been able to automate picking, pa­cking and other operations to meet ex­ceptional customer delivery expectations. Augmented reality (AR) can be used in in­novative warehousing management, safe and accurate transporting, efficient sales and service, etc. Virtual reality (VR) finds its use case in training professionals in close-to-real scenarios.

Technology is the future of logistics. We realised this back in 2015 when we saw a lack of any logistics technology suited to the Indian environment. Since then, we have developed a technology stack to cater to brands in various industries in India and have implemented it with a couple of our clients. As the developers of this technology, we offer a high degree of customising capabilities to our clients, which is either not possible with off-the-shelf tech products, or the cost and time of customisation is very high. We have been able to offer high efficiency and long-term cost-effectiveness for several clients using our proprietary technology.

What are some of the challenges encountered while deploying new-age solutions?

The key challenges are:

  • Availability of a skilled workforce
  • Trainability of the available workforce
  • Acceptability
  • High technology cost (one-time)

What is the future of drone delivery in India? What are your views on Logistics 4.0?

The status of drone licensing for commercial use is still at a premature stage and I think it will take some time before we can actually see any drone deliveries. I am very excited for Logistics 4.0 as we see industry leaders more aligned now than ever on technology adoption thanks to the pandemic. Technology adoption is at an all-time high and is the biggest driver of Logistics 4.0. The industry has seen how technology has helped mankind by en­ab­ling material movement during those ti­mes and I see a fast reduction in resistance to technology adoption, and this will shape Logistics 4.0.