Automation in Logistics, its 7 Advantages, & Ground Realities in India

With the hustle in the e-commerce and manufacturing sector across the world over the past few years, another industry had to adapt and grow alongside to support it — logistics. As innovative supply chain management techniques have revolutionized warehouse management, fleet management has gradually improved, and documentations have been streamlined; new logistics automation technologies have conclusively enhanced transportation and storage.

But, in India, there are multiple challenges on several levels. The Indian logistics industry is estimated to be worth about 10 lakh crore rupees (~USD $150 Billion). This implies that even the smallest of industry problems are relatively humongous in magnitude. Before jumping to conclusions, one must look at and analyze these specific problems that the industry faces.

Prevalent Problems have been Causing Inefficiencies…

Here’s a snippet: Due to an inefficient logistics engine, India is one of the largest logistics spenders in the world in terms of relative share of GDP! With a compound logistics expenditure of 13% of total GDP, India’s logistics expenses are exceeded only by China which, on the other hand, also has a manufacturing sector approximately double the size of India.

…but, Rising Players are Transforming the Logistics Industry

On the brighter side, in recent times certain rising startups have dug deep to identify the challenges and have started bypassing traditional methods, as depicted in the infographic here. For starters, they are focusing on the problem parameters that have, over the years, slowly induced inefficiency into the fleet management and logistics sector.

An infographic depicting the challenges and extent of success in their mitigation by the rising logistics firms.

Automation is a Growth Driver for the Logistics Sector

One thing is for sure — automation in logistics is going to be the growth driver for the industry with quick turnaround times and efficient process-handling. But, how and where can automation be implemented in the processes? Let’s have a look at a few pointers that can be better handled via automation.

7 Advantages of Logistics Automation:

  • Registering the requirements of the shippers as soon as they post a load query.
  • Updating a curated database to register and modify the freight requirements.
  • Allocation of appropriate truck(s).
  • Route mapping and identification of the best route at any given time.
  • Backhaul (i.e. return load) allocation for an identical or similar reverse route.
  • POD (Proof Of Delivery) handling and records management.
  • Client database/records management.

Implementation of Automation & Ground Realities in India

Currently, at least in a developing country like India, automation of process in logistics is hardly implemented to the same extent as in the USA or the European countries. The majority of the sector is driven by manpower, and that reflects in the massive amount of money that is poured into logistics services here.

For such a traditionally fixated and rapidly developing market like India, sudden introduction of complete automation isn't the way to go. The sector has to be made aware and given time to acclimatize. The industry, after all, is not as acquainted with technological tools as their counterparts in the developed nations.

Automated tracking + Human Assistance = Perfect Implementation
Automation of certain processes also requires adept human actions at various points, which we can call triggers. These triggers automate the initiation of further processes at various steps. This is an example of what might require human intervention for avoiding confusion for the technologically less aware among us.

Here, the combination of manpower and technology can make for a viable model that is fast, efficient, and yet, convenient. The right mix of human assistance and automation can positively alter the output and also achieve quick turnaround times. The introduction of the GST bill is sure to spice up the logistics industry even further, and the time is perfect for calculated steps by the players in the right direction.

Although there are quite a few firms that are trying to transform Indian logistics via automation; the Quikhop way of ground level impact along with the amalgamation of logistics automation and human assistance might just be the way to go, or at least that is what we believe.

  • The above piece elaborates the perspective of and hence, may or may not comply with certain reader reservations. Your comments are welcome.