Among the other things shaping the logistics sector in India, there are several technological disruptions enabling leaner and smarter logistics by ensuring smoother interface among logistics stakeholders for seamless delivery. According to the World Economic Forum, digital transformation of the logistics sector could translate into value of $1.5 Tn for players in the logistics sector and an additional $2.4 Tn worth of societal benefits by 2025.
From IoT to Blockchain, digital technologies create propelling opportunities for emerging businesses. To discuss how such technologies are changing the game for the logistics sector in India, we interacted with Divay Kumar, Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director, O4S. He leads a team that leverages technology to provide higher freshness index of warehouses, better demand estimations and product placement and helps in elimination of counterfeit products from the supply chain.
In this interview, Kumar discussed how technologies such as AI and ML can be utilized in logistics and shared the top skills in demand in the sector.
Can you throw some light on technological trends in the supply chain sector? How are these trends impacting the businesses?
The emergence of innovative technologies, such as IoT, blockchain and AI/Machine Learning, is disrupting the supply chain operating models, helping brands innovate with their solutions and amplify their businesses. These cutting-edge technologies enable brands to increase sales through seamless and secure supply chain operations, facilitate product tracking and traceability, and protect brand image by identifying counterfeiters. Further, they also allow the brands to create a dialogue with consumers and help in verifying the product’s authenticity.
How can new technologies such as AI and ML be utilized and adopted by companies in this space?
Emergence of technologies like AI and ML, have automated several supply chain processes such as predictive maintenance and demand planning while facilitating a shift to comprehensive supply chain automation. Additionally, these new-age technologies enable companies to improve risk mitigation by examining large sets of data, continuously detecting evolving patterns, and forecasting disruptive events along with possible resolutions.
Have companies been able to make the most of the opportunities these technologies provide? Where are they lacking?
While companies have been able to make use of most of the benefits these technologies provide, there are still gaps when it comes to seamless implementation and deep integration of emerging technologies with supply chain operations to drive the desired outcome.
Recent studies have revealed that only a few organizations are able to perform core practices which helped them realize the true potential AI/ML.
It is the unavailability of right talent, absence of an efficient strategy, and functional silos which are affecting adoption of these technologies.
What sorts of skills does the company need to be able to harness the value these technologies can add? What are some of the top hiring requirements in your company? What skills are most in demand?
AI & ML are having a disruptive impact on how companies are understanding and gaining visibility in their supply chains. Brands are in a better position to predict their stock consumption and movement through the markets. These technologies enable us to provide predictive analytics because of being able to find patterns in data. In order to increase the confidence score of our predictions, it's important to have large sets of clean and structured data.
Data modelling is a core skill required to extract patterns.
Knowledge of a programming language (preferably a compiled one) along with a fair bit of experience in working with algorithms is needed to build models and compute on neural networks.
Being a mobile first company, we are always on the lookout for talented mobile engineers. Core services of O4S are architected leveraging the microservices pattern.
We need technical architects and engineers who are looking for challenging roles especially in the domains of microservices and distributed systems.
Engineers with a bent of mind for emerging technologies such as IoT, Machine learning and blockchain would find many opportunities to sharpen their skills and grow in these fields.
How does the future of this new emerging market look like to you? How is the competition, currently?
With the rise in consumption levels and manufacturing capacity, there are high chances of increase in counterfeit goods too. Such growth in the circulation of fake goods in the market not only questions the brand’s credibility but also drops consumer loyalty.
As a result, it becomes crucial for companies to cater to the growing demand for efficient tracking of evolving demand and supply patterns. Companies need to ensure that the right product is delivered to the customer to gain and retain their confidence. A few companies are offering a similar set of services, however, we believe that O4S’ edge lies in the fact that it covers all the aspects of a supply chain and offers the required traceability to detect frauds and flaws impacting brand’s equity. Also, with our SaaS platform we strive to offer assurance to companies by being partners in their growth.