Improved Logistics Movement Visibility Allows For Better Decision Making
"Technology helps guaranteed safe, secure and on-time delivery while enabling customers to maintain complete control and visibility over the entire shipping process", CTO, Spoton Logistics
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Rajesh Kapase, CTO, Spoton Logistics talks about technology transforming the logistics sector.
How is technology helping the logistics sector?
Supply chain managers are masters at ensuring company products or raw materials are readily available, wherever and whenever. In fulfilling their goals, they want inventory moved safe, secure and cost-efficiently while maintaining complete control and visibility over the shipping process, in some cases even diverting part or whole consignment to newer destinations even during transit. As an express logistics provider, we apply technology to guarantee safe, secure and on-time delivery while enabling customers to maintain complete control and visibility over the entire shipping process.
What kind of technologies do you use at Spoton?
Our custom developed technology platform applies the very latest in Cloud, Mobility, IoT, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies making it possible for customers to implement supply chain innovations that deliver increasing quantities at a faster rate to the market and help provide the edge in a highly competitive marketplace.
Describe some unique solutions that you have enabled with technology? What is its impact on operations and SLAs?
Piece Level Tracking (PLT) is one such solution that enables tracking of a consignment and every piece within as it moves from the consignor (the person sending the shipment) to the consignee (the person receiving the shipment). Every incoming piece (of a larger consignment) is tagged with a unique barcode that contains information about the consignor, consignee, package details, date of shipping, expected date of the delivery, route, etc. All this information is entered into our database and a unique number/ code assigned to each piece and is used to identify it as it moves to and from warehouses, while in transit between hubs or when out for delivery to the consignee. PLT technology has allowed us to reduce our overall error percentage by .07%, a major achievement, and helped reduce misrouting percentages as well.
E-Stock taking is another tech-enabled initiative that we have successfully rolled out at all our warehouses and hubs. Inventories are taken of all the stock present at our warehouses and hubs aided by software developed in-house. E-stock taking allows us to have a highly organized inventory, where we can pick-up any box/ shipment and identify its history such as where it is going, delivery status etc by simply scanning the barcode. This software has also helped reduce cases where we don’t have clarity at the consignment level.
Beyond operations technology, do you also use technology to drive business marketing and other such areas?
We have built an exclusive smart mobile app and a portal for our Pickup and Delivery partners (PUD). Using this app or portal, our pickup and delivery partners can access all the information they need about the consignments they pick up or deliver and related commercials. With 24x7 tracking now available on this PUD app, partners can also track the status of vehicles in terms of its current location, whether moving or stalled, the route being taken, in real time. Upon finding that a vehicle seems to be not moving they can also contact the driver and identify the reason. Through this app, PUD service owners can now proactively keep track of all their truck assets, remain in control of pickup and delivery operations resulting in fewer disruptions and better service for customers.
Logistics is an asset-heavy industry where business success is largely dependent on optimal asset utilization. How do you use technology to improve asset utilization at Spoton?
Using the same PUD portal described earlier, Spoton service centre managers track all PUD partner's truck movements, loads they are carrying, consignment pickup and delivery status and planned availability for new pickup and drops. Earlier, without the app, centre managers depended totally on information provided by PUD partners and had only marginal control over PUD operations.
Improved visibility into this critical process has allowed Spoton managers to make better-informed decisions. In addition, they are also able to better manage emergencies or sudden spikes in pick and delivery operations, especially during peak seasons. For e.g. say a PUD partner’s cutoff time is 2 PM but the customer wants a consignment to be picked up after that time, a service manager can easily identify the status/capacity of other vehicles in the vicinity and assign one that has the necessary space required by the customer. The app also helps find a pickup that hasn’t been done for whatever reason.
We also use an internal platform to collect data on the capacity of our trucks. Optimizing loading and capacity in a truck helps us to deliver a consignment more efficiently and at a lower cost. Also, if a customer needs to suddenly transport a large consignment we can use the data we have collected to identify a truck which has the necessary space and thus fulfill our client’s request quickly.
The logistics industry employs a lot of semi-skilled and unskilled manpower. How do you make technology more usable amongst not so tech savvy workforce?
All the information presented in the PUD platform is graphically represented in the Route Tracking and Management System portal. Meaning one can now see pickup & delivery vehicles move on a map, analyze their travel times, rest breaks, load capacity, the status of consignments etc. presented in an easy to read and understandable interface. As most of Spoton’s workforce, truck drivers, warehouse employees or service centre employees, are on a strict timeline with very little room for errors, a graphically presented tool makes it easier to absorb details and execute operations with fewer errors.
Do you believe customer enablement using technology has helped Spoton expand its business opportunity?
Customer enablement through technology has helped us to better integrate our solutions within customer’s ever dynamic supply chain needs, gaining their trust, respect and appreciation. In addition, it is helping us drive growth in deferred income and helping work with clients over the longer term.