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Emerging Technologies: Panacea For Dynamic Asian Supply Chains

Logistics organizations can be more efficient and can boost the economy by adopting more intelligent technologies.

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According to some studies, 50% of the Asian population will be based in cities, which will lead to tremendous pressure on already reedy infrastructure and supply chains. The task of keeping supply chains up and running does not fall on the delivery organisations only, it also comes in the purview of the logistics value chain. In addition to this, 70% of the world’s container traffic crosses Asia Pacific making the whole task of managing and maintaining a supply chain becomes even more complex. Logistics organizations can be more efficient and can boost the economy by adopting more intelligent technologies. 

No place for Siloes

Like all other sectors and industries, the logistics sector is being transformed by emerging technologies like AI, automation and blockchain. For a long time, supply chain management has been working in siloes and hence compromising on agility, which is non-negotiable for the success today. Diversity in terms of economies, geographies, cultures, language barriers and compliance across Asia presents another pressing challenge in the region. Certainly, technology cannot solve the diversity, however, it can definitely help in solving problems like inefficiencies and other underlying challenges being put forth by diversity. 

Digital technologies have enabled us to move away from depending upon third-party service providers, which used to cause further gaps in visibility and challenges.  Digitalization has empowered all the logistics partners to facilitate shipments across Asia impeccably. 

Time for Action is NOW

Pre-empting the complexities stemming from local logistics industries, the authorities in Asia have opted for digitalisation. The authorities are perceiving the opportunity not only to catch up with digitally mature markets but also to leapfrog into the times of integrated business-to-business and business-to-government processes. Singapore is upgrading itself with Tuas Mega Port, which will be double the city state’s current cargo handling volume by the year 2040 while leveraging technologies like ML, drones and driverless vehicles. 

India is also aiming to finalise its draft national logistics strategy and making a national logistics e-commercial centre as a one-stop for exporters and shippers, and at the same time as single learning and data sharing instrument for all parties. With more than 20 government agencies, 40 partnering government agencies and 37 export promotion councils, India’s logistics regulatory landscape is extremely complex. Therefore, having a one-stop portal will significantly improve transparency and cost management, and will facilitate better shipping from end to end. 

Given strong government support for the logistics industry, the clock is ticking for businesses to catch the next ride to digitalisation or risk losing out on the opportunity to expedite first-to-last-mile logistics.

 Logistics in the cloud

The cloud empowers every participant inside any supply chain from delivering parcels to food -  to control the data, to identify any issue and to manage inventory. The same information can also be relayed to original suppliers. Example of such transformation is Transworld Group, which created an integrated cloud-based technology platform that improved efficiency across its shipping and logistics businesses and also resulted in enhanced customer satisfaction. 

Cloud solutions are critical in leveraging new-age technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine learning (ML) and robotics, which are driving force behind more efficient supply chains. Robotics, for instance, has been a backbone of manufacturing for a long time now, but with upgrades like Machine Learning and sensing, robots can analyse massive troves of data and can predict outcomes or propose solutions in a jiffy. Moreover, AI and Machine Learning can further harness the data collected by the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, which remotely locate, manage and control shipping containers and fleets, enabling businesses to instantly access an unprecedented level of real-time information across the modern supply chain and thus enables them to diagnose and address any anomaly that can snowball into any major issue.

Dynamic supply chain in a cloud world

There is no ambiguity in the statement that the eventual fate of supply chain management is hyper advanced. Asia Pacific, home to more than eight out of the best 20 worldwide economies by 2050 with its versatile and internet business market anticipated to reach US$1.6 trillion by 2021, must move supply chains to the cloud to stay competitive .  

Every player in the supply chain from e-retailers to logistics providers – need to get on the cloud to leverage new age technologies including AI, Machine Learning, IoT and robotics to enhance efficiencies, automate processes, empower employees to build customer loyalty and better economy societies in turn.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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supply chains asia pacific

Anand Maithani

The author is Head Of SCM and IT, Apollo Tyres

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Pradeep Agarwal

The author is Director – ERP Cloud, Oracle

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