How technology has solved complex logistics problems unique to Indian SMEs

September 25, 2019 1:30 PM

Logistics for MSMEs: Tech-driven logistics companies have been big enablers for SMEs to deliver in markets hitherto out of their reach.

The rise in demand for same-day delivery has altered the last-mile delivery services.
  • By Abhishek Bansal

Logistics for MSMEs: SMEs are considered to be the backbone of India’s economy. Until recently, their scope of growth was limited by their non-optimal resources and inability to reach distant markets. The rise of e-commerce and internet penetration has widened the geographical scope of SME’s potential markets. But any commercial transaction of physical goods involves a physical delivery of goods for the transaction to complete.  No amount of internet penetration alone can complete a physical transaction. This is where tech-driven logistics companies have been big enablers for SMEs to deliver in markets hitherto out of their reach. It has created a mutually symbiotic win-win situation for the SME and logistics players, some of whom are small and medium level logistics service providers themselves.

Before the emergence of e-commerce, traditional logistics was all about moving goods from manufacturing hubs to consumption centres. Internet-driven technologies have enabled logistics industry to metamorphose to be more inclusive and provide grassroots level delivery services with ease. The online retail has elevated the significance of logistics operations and has reshaped the business in numerous ways. On-request buyer logistics space in India is expanding, with companies devising imaginative technologies and ways to deal with change logistics. SMEs are benefitting all round from the amalgamation of technology in the logistics sector.

Effective solutions

Adoption of new technologies like augmented reality, advanced robotics, drones are some cost-reducing and effective solutions that ensure the competitiveness of both the logistics player and its client (any whether SME or MLE) and ups the satisfaction quotient of final customers. New age cloud-based arrangements are doing away with elaborate pen and paper formalities and processes so identified with the traditional world of logistics, and which were procedural nightmares for smaller entrepreneurs.

Increase in last-mile delivery operations

The rise in demand for same-day delivery has altered the last-mile delivery services. Logistic companies are diligently managing the pickups and last-mile delivery processes to ensure an exceptional customer experience. SMEs that opt for tech-enabled delivery partners can satisfy their customers by meeting the promised arrival timings, thus, ensuring service consistency, and, also keeping a tab on the distribution process of their goods.

Acing Reverse Logistics

Reverse logistics management is vital for SMEs to remain competitive and to keep up with customer delight. Efficient and functional reverse logistics is crucial for businesses to keep hold of their customers. Logistics technologies help to increase the efficiency in tracking, visibility and alternative pick up and drop off locations which ultimately creates more value for the SME brand name in consumers’ mind.

‘Undisrupting’ the Disruptions in Supply Chain

Countless factors cause disruptions in the supply chain which affect the production timelines, increase costs and upset delivery deadlines. Uncontrollable factors like natural disasters, transportation failures and unpredictable social situations adversely impact the supply chain most. But now it is becoming much easier for SMEs to access broader and diverse networks of potential suppliers, hence, reducing the risk factor in supply chains.

Customer Relationship Management

Integrating e-commerce with logistics gives SMEs the ability to incorporate and display multiple services and delivery options to customers. With added options of delivery, customers can now easily mould the deliveries to meet their specific needs, which enhance the buying experience and increases overall customer satisfaction.

Logistics is a third-party service provision between an SME and the final customer, but a satisfactory delivery, which ups the customer delight, benefits the SME brand name.

(Abhishek Bansal is the Co-founder & CEO at Shadowfax. Views expressed are the author’s own.)

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