The Indian supply chain management sector was predicted to soar in 2020. With technological innovations such Blockchain and Machine Learning, supply chain was slated to be more efficient, reliable, safe and transparent that ever before.
However, when the global pandemic descended with no warning, it impacted every area. Supply chain management has been a core industry that was forced to change, innovate and transform to support consumer needs in the least disruptive manner.
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These changes gave rise to 4 supply chain trends that take into account earlier predictions and some latest additions triggered by COVID-19.
1) Local Sourcing Avenues
Most essential item companies in the food and healthcare industry were given the permission to function since the first phases of the lockdown. However, if they had been sourcing any products from outside India, especially China, it was no longer acceptable. This has been especially true of pharmaceutical companies who were importing vital items such as masks from China. It lead to a rapid change in sourcing to overcome this major disruption.
The sourcing problem has not only affected companies depending on Chinese products. It has affected all local companies who relied on international and even some interstate transportation of items. Hence, finding alternative sources of supply, establishing newer and stronger supplier relationships and building a strong local ecosystem of logistics partners are the need of the hour.
2) Last Mile Delivery
The concept of last-mile logistics was already in place before the corona virus hit. But now it is vital and customers expect their purchases to be delivered to them, in the safest manner possible.
To ramp up last mile deliveries, companies have been forced to re-look at the locations of their delivery centres and distributors. Warehouse management and front-end processes are being analyzed to ensure there are least delays in home delivery. Top last mile delivery companies are in great demand and this will be a booming business line for many years to come.
3) Inventory Management Technology
Though there’s nothing new in managing inventory, the latest scenario has urged online retailers to manage their inventories much better. This has resulted from a lack of supply caused by panic buying and hoarding in the early stages of lockdown. Added to this, there have been disruptions in imports and delays in local manufacturing.
Even now, there isn’t a free flowing supply of all types of goods. Online marketplaces are therefore required to keep a vigilant track of supplier inventory. Real-time updates in inventory management, barcodes and data capture technology are the necessary trends that have cropped up. All these are designed to track goods and ensure customers are not promised that which cannot be delivered.
4) Day-Zero Planning
Even if the end of the current pandemic scenario seems far away, the trend in supply chain is to plan for Day zero and beyond. Many companies have learned and adapted to the prevalent situation but its the ones who are equipped for Day Zero will continue to succeed, even on the other side.
Predicting what lies ahead is an encouraging trend and requires sound analysis of your business and its potential in years to come. Many supply chain companies have upgraded their business models to survive during and after the pandemic.
Hence, to sum up local sourcing, various suppliers, strong logistical framework, last mile & safe delivery and sound inventory management are the most practical trends boosting the supply chain management sector in India. Plus, clever planning for day-zero will ensure that those businesses that plan well today, are guaranteed to move seamlessly from one profitable year to another.