Logistics to emerge as a key player in driving Indian economy: Suresh Prabhu

Artificial intelligence, technology-based customer service and cold storage supply chain are set to change the game for the sector that will determine how the Indian economy takes a leap in the years to come.


By Pallavi Majumder


The fifth edition of Supply Chain Management & Logistics Summit 2018 concluded on an optimistic note with Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu hailing the logistics sector for contributing towards economic growth in the country. 
With over 200 industry stakeholders and policy makers deliberating on end-to-end functions of supply chain management, several government policies were also in focus. “Our economy is poised to grow up to $5 trillion in the next 7 to 8 years and up to $10 trillion in the next 15 years. Logistics will play a key role in driving this growth. It has always been the backbone of the economy, determining how fast an economy grows. So, we are working on an economic plan to create logistic hubs and see how to efficiently manage logistics. We are identifying hindrances and removing them. At the same time, we are trying to digitalise the entire supply chain. The idea is to prepare a proper integrated logistics plan,” the commerce minister said.
The minister called for an integration of the Japanese concept of ‘Just in Time’ and how it will go a great way in upholding the sector and integrating the vendors and all parties aligned to reduce cost. “This will need precision, planning and a clever implementation in India. And, now that we have a dedicated logistics division, and efforts made by the railways, airways and roadways, we will step it up,” Prabhu said in his address. He recognised logistics to be the backbone of a healthy economy and added that the government is working on a concrete plan to build logistic hubs in India to build a network of better access and digitalise the entire logistics chain. 
Adding to what the minister said, Keshav Chandra, IAS, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce & Industry said, “The government is committed to eliminate obstacles and ensure smooth functioning. A separate division for logistics has been set up. It has also identified three sectors – warehouse, cold chain and multi-modal logistic park – and upping the infrastructure status. It has also simplified the process and eliminated the logistical fragmentation for both EXIM trade and domestic trade.” 
The trends that emerged after exhaustive panel discussions revolved around how artificial intelligence will be the key player in years to come, bringing value and generating improved customer satisfaction. “The expectations of the Indian customers are changing rapidly. Younger generations are technologically savvy and companies have to keep the pace up. Also, these technologies will have to be more affordable to be used frequently by the companies,” Sanjay Mukherjee, Senior Director, Supply Chain Management, Whirlpool said.
Adding to the discussion about technology, Samir Chaturvedi, Head of Supply Chain, Patanjali Ayurved said that as far as technology in India is concerned, we are on the first lap of a marathon, but are sure to catch up fast. “As technology costs become competitive, and we are already witnessing outbreak situations where we have started leveraging technology to bring in efficiencies across the value chain,” he added. Chaturvedi also pointed out that technology usage in supply chain is continuously increasing. It has emerged that in some areas, technology is extensively being used, especially tracking of consignments, be it primary transportation or last mile delivery. “WMS which used to be optional sometimes back is almost a necessity now,” he said. 
The advent of game-changing reforms has the supply chain industry stand at cross-roads. By bringing together industry leaders, the focus of the summit is to push past traditional boundaries, drive innovation, and uncover new sources of value for today’s enterprises, thus helping businesses achieve future successes and script new growth stories. Organised by The Economic Times and DHL, the annual Supply Chain Management & Logistics Summit 2018 was recently held in Delhi. 

Managing Editor

Nidhi Raj Singh is the Managing Editor of L'Officiel India. You can find her hidden behind a book when she is not writing or taking photos.