Nilesh Ghule is the Co-founder, CEO of Forza Logistics Techlabs Pvt Ltd – a technology-led logistics company, popularly known under the brand name ‘TruckBhejo’. The company is focused on connecting both supply and demand sides to deploy the most efficient logistics network. Catering to all 3 delivery miles – first, middle and last mile of logistics, TruckBhejo has all the leading FMCG, E-comm, E-grocery, Telecom, manufacturing, and retail majors as its client. With a fleet of over 3,000 active trucks and 40+ city network, the company has shipped over 2 million tonnages and fulfilled over 1 million deliveries. From being a son of a truck driver to a successful entrepreneur, Nilesh incorporated TruckBhejo with pure passion and sheer grit. Strategizing and charting out the plan to achieve results being his forte, Nilesh is focused on building scalable and sustainable business at TruckBhejo. With an MBA degree from IIM – Bangalore, and B-Tech from College of Engineering Pune, Nilesh has a keen interest in cricket. He has played at various levels and continues to play for the Fiery Cricket Club (FCC) Pune. Nilesh enjoys running and cycling as both remind him that every step has to be prudent and forward.
The Covid-19 pandemic was a ‘perfect storm’ that forced businesses across the world to rethink and realign their strategies to first tide over the crisis, and then, adapt to the ‘new normal’. Truck drivers crisscrossed the length and the breadth of the country without a break to keep the economy moving, underlying the fact that logistics is the backbone of any economy.
The pandemic has emphasized the importance of ever-evolving technology in every aspect of human life, including logistics. It is largely because of technology that most businesses were able to avoid bringing operations to a standstill, and the scenario is no different for the logistics industry. Even when people were in a tearing hurry to stock up on essential items during the lockdowns, technology was the key factor in ensuring that the logistics sector was able to ramp up its efficiency to meet the surge in demand. Like every coin has two sides, the pandemic brought many learnings and innovations for good.
Communication with the customer is of utmost importance
The nation witnessed a reverse migration at the height of Covid-induced lockdown last year. Large swathes of labourers returned back to their villages from not only metro cities but also from Tier II and Tier III cities, resulting in huge demand on e-commerce platforms. The logistic sector is the bridge between e-commerce platforms and consumers. Providing real-time updates to customers regarding their orders and addressing queries in a timely fashion was a huge challenge that the sector was able to meet thanks to technology.
Effective and efficient communication with customers became even more important as the pandemic unsettled business operations. There was anxiety all around and customers needed to be assured that their orders will be delivered safely and on time. With the help of technology, logistics players were able to provide real-time updates regarding deliveries and addressed queries in a professional manner to improve end-user satisfaction.
Adapt, innovate and stay agile
A strong supply chain depends on a transporter’s capability to resume operations in the “new normal”. As customers’ needs changed, the most important factor for the logistics sector was to adapt according to the situation. Interestingly, we had to adapt to the new technology and at the same time, technology helped in the quick adoption of the new normal. Technology also brought agility to the business. The deliveries which were initially mapped to the pin codes are now getting GEO mapped with the accuracy of the building names. The delivery timings that were updated based on days were moved to the accuracy of time slots, and we have Express deliveries now that give us minute-wise updates. The logistics sector is now no more about just delivering goods from point A to B. It is now delivering the customer experience. With logistics partners becoming more agile, customers are moving from multiple vendors to the D2C model.
Tech and the shift in the logistics sector
The availability of advanced technology has provided the logistics sector with the ability to adapt to recent imperatives such as constant innovations, customer centricity, and agility. The past couple of months have provided that if we choose to not adopt an advanced technological approach, the weight of old approaches may hold us back from the advantages that technology brings.
The truth is, in the world where we are in, it is impossible for transport and logistics companies to hold on to old systems. Some of the most obvious advantages of advanced technology include:
1. Transparency and Data Automation
Logistics companies have always had a lot of paperwork to deal with and also plenty of data. Recent advances in the collection and analysis of data, such as Artificial Intelligence, will only work more to benefit the logistics data. It will also help the logistics players to optimise their network routes. Artificial Intelligence will also be able to optimise the number of drivers and trucks that logistics companies will need every day. It also makes it easy for them to track their deliveries on time. These have been problem areas for companies for years and they have been looking for ways to optimise them.
But with advanced technology, they can now do that with ease. Technology also allows them to forecast all their requirements including operating expenses, personnel time and other necessary capacities. They can also introduce technologies that are game-changers such as augmented reality, and the omniscient control towers (which gives them overall visibility of their supply chain) because they have transparent and shareable data.
2: Digital Platforms
This is one of the biggest advantages to the logistics sector as digital platforms enable connecting the whole value chain under one roof. Like, at TruckBhejo, our platform connects the demand and supply side and offers capacity agnostic trucking services to various sectors providing efficiency and better visibility to both customers as well as truck drivers. In the highly unorganized and fragmented sector, digital platforms are creating networks of newer opportunities and solutions.
3: Advanced technology brings new means of transportation
Already, some e-commerce companies are experimenting with the use of drones, handling robots and driverless vehicles in their operations. There is no doubt that the logistics industry is adopting the digital transformation brought along by advanced technology.
4: Real-time supply chain visibility
In 2021, the logistics sector needs to take another step forward – becoming real-time. This real-time data is now a must-have, which means logistics setups need to focus on implementing cutting-edge supply chain visibility solutions into their operations. The logistics sector must embrace technology that promotes quick response to change by allowing companies to use real-time data, including traffic patterns, weather, or road and port conditions.
It is important that logistics companies start to look into the opportunities of this transformation and try to find the right balance that places the sector in an even stronger position.