Anshul Singhal, Managing Director, Welspun One Logistics Park, shares his views on the growing warehousing industry where technology is bringing greater efficiencies, and hails the Government’s Gati Shakti and the National Logistics Policy as stepping-stones to the sector’s growth and competence, and bring it at par with global standards.
How has supply chain and warehousing evolved over the past 10 years?
We have seen a marked advancement in the warehousing sector during the last ten years. The post-globalisation era saw the government implement a slew of economic policies aimed at boosting the country's industrial growth. India's logistics and warehousing providers are required to keep up with the fast-growing demands of industrialisation while also supporting their supply networks' technological advancement.
Business and consumer behaviour trends have also changed dramatically. An unprecedented migration took place online with the exponential adoption of e-commerce due to the pandemic and its resultant nationwide lockdowns, making warehousing an obvious beneficiary.
Accelerated and worldwide adoption of e-commerce and same to next-day delivery, decentralised demand. Due to this, rapid digitisation and the consequent higher penetration of e-commerce and omnichannel retail in previously under-developed and under-serviced locations further secured the warehousing and logistics sector’s status as one of the most crucial lifelines.
Today, the Indian warehousing and logistics industry has evolved from an unorganised to an organised industry and the next decade will see even more technological disruptions towards the industry’s progress.
From warehousing being used as a simple go-down, we have now moved towards Grade A warehousing. Though at a nascent stage, there is a growing demand for avant garde logistic parks that are not only economical but also efficient and sustainable.
Adoption of automation and other technologies such as warehouse management systems is still very low in the Indian market compared to developed markets. But smart warehouses are soon becoming a reality as they seamlessly integrate technology with operations.
How will Gati Shakti help the logistics sector?
PM’s Gati Shakti Yojna finally presents the logistics industry with a comprehensive solution to transform India’s infrastructure and logistics requirements and enable the country to compete the world's leading economies.
The Gati Shakti initiative is a fascinating effort in which future infrastructural development is being designed in a multimodal setting with connectivity taking centerstage. Today, the logistics cost is considered to be 13-14% of India’s Gross Domestic Product, which is higher than in other countries. The Gati Shakti along with other government initiatives can help bring down the cost of logistics to 8% of the country's GDP.
Gati Shakti will create employment opportunities and enable the development of logistics platforms. The digitization of logistics has so far been led by the e-commerce industry, but now, Gati Shakti will put technology-driven logistics platforms on the map. The logistics sector in the country is unstructured, and platforms like these have the expertise and resources to address this issue. The integration of technology, real-time monitoring, marketplace features, and enhanced customer experience brought by the technology-based logistics platforms can completely transform the operating process and drastically reduce overall cost and time. Following the pandemic, technology implementation has enhanced the efficiency of the logistic sector throughout India.
What are your expectations from the National Logistics Policy?
The National Logistics Policy is the stepping-stone to the sector’s growth and bring it at par with global standards. While it aims at reducing the logistics cost (which is quite high in India compared to other countries), the focus on aspects like the single-window e-logistics market and generation of employment will be a must.
With infra development and higher and efficient connectivity along with the presence of in-city warehousing, there will be a reduction in movement, ultimately reducing cost. From a warehousing point of view, we are happy to see the Government’s focus on supply chain and infrastructure and are in full support to help action this as fast as we can.
How do you see SaaS transforming the logistics sector?
Businesses are implementing modern technology to convert their supply chain from a traditional operational hub to one of business innovations. Talking about the transformation within the logistics sector, what is essentially noticed is that SaaS has been the growth enabler for the supply chain, providing deep insights on ways to efficiently improve last-mile delivery. The growing use of machine learning has helped generate significant data used by businesses to identify new and faster ways to enhance customer experience.
From a business perspective, it plays an important role in reducing transportation logistics costs which have been a priority for the sector since day one. Automation not only creates cost efficiencies but also improves the quality of service, enabling brands to deliver products as per customers’ preferred time. The best examples that showcase the growing incorporation of SaaS within businesses are the e-commerce giants that have managed to revolutionise the concept of supply chain and fast delivery services.
What technology is being used at Welspun’s logistics warehousing facility?
Our vision while building our warehousing logistics parks has been to recognise and provide holistic solutions to the warehousing needs of our clients. We aim to set a benchmark for the best-in-class logistics warehousing facility across the country including in Tier 2 -3 markets. Keeping this in mind, our mission is to create the highest quality of Grade A assets that meet 100% compliance norms and safety standards. Our flagship Bhiwandi project is India’s first Pre-certified Platinum-rated Green project under IGBC.
With a high emphasis on using technology to disrupt logistics, our parks will have a state-of-the-art sorter to enable faster and more efficient deliveries. The parks are built with advanced features like a tech-enabled platform to manage and maintain the park, an IoT-driven traffic management system to minimise travel distance, and trucks with RIFD tags to predetermine directions and docking integrated with a smooth and seamless throughput. Our facilities also place a strong focus on utilising disruptive new-age technologies to revolutionise logistics.
Furthermore, our campus will be a zero-discharge facility by implementing effective strategies to reduce water consumption, facilitate rainwater harvesting, and provide rooftop solar power.
What is your expansion plan?
Welspun One Logistics Parks (WOLP) has signed a MoU with the Government of Haryana to explore available government land parcels for building Grade A warehousing facilities across key warehousing micro-markets. With a total investment of Rs. 1500 crores in the state, WOLP aims to develop approximately 5 million sq.ft. over a period of 3-4 year and to help generate over 4500 jobs.