The Indian logistics industry has been on an upward trajectory for some time now. If expert estimates and annual economic surveys are anything to go by, the industry is currently valued at around US$160 billion. With the current government’s thrust on ’Digital India’ and progressive regulations, the sector is expected to benefit and reach US$ 215 billion in 2020, helping realize India’s vision to transform into a $5 trillion economy.
While that happens, the industry continues to be riddled with challenges around high infrastructure maintenance costs, energy consumption, environmental challenges, safety regulations, etc. Furthermore, for transport and logistics companies navigating through a complex network of multiple carriers, service providers, physical locations and unexpected disruptions in the supply chain, it is a continuous balancing act between embracing new ways of doing business, while optimizing costs and running the supply chain efficiently.
That said, technology advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning and the internet of things, promise to push the boundaries and transform the supply chain and logistics industry, both from a business and connectivity perspective. But one of the major drivers of change, despite being overlooked, that carries more potential for innovation and disruption, is location intelligence and analytics. Deploying location data and technologies can present innovative solutions to some of the unique challenges, businesses today face.
At HERE Technologies, we believe that as a form of business intelligence, location intelligence tools can help companies uncover undetected business challenges with real-time contextual geographical data, thus helping them take better control of their internal operations and win an edge over the competition. To put things in perspective, geospatial technologies such as geocoding can help optimize business performance and maximize return on investments (ROI).
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Let us take a look at few ways, in which transport and logistics companies can leverage location intelligence and some of the key benefits:
Fleet management– In a vast and dynamic country like India, fleet managers are forced with challenges such as diverse topography, an aging driver population, complex road regulations, rapid changes in technology, etc. With the help of in-vehicle cameras and location tracking technologies, fleet managers can gain greater insight into operations, real-time traffic and weather conditions. With customizable mobile solutions embedded in-vehicles that integrate re-routing, geo-fencing, etc., logistics managers can track driver behaviors in different locations to mitigate accident rates and increase driver retention rates.
Streamlining last-mile delivery and services- For food delivery services and courier companies, transporting of products from distribution centers to customers on time and at low costs is of utmost priority. Cloud-based location algorithms and solutions that offer aerial and satellite imagery, high definition maps can help evolve last-mile delivery process as orders get automatically clustered, drivers are empowered to avoid traffic and streamline deliveries. Through predictive alerts, fleet managers can plan efficient delivery routings based on travel time, fuel costs and road tolls, thus optimizing entire supply chain.
Optimizing first-mile delivery: Given the industry’s obsession with ’last-mile delivery’ to create business efficiencies and ultimate customer loyalty, the potential for optimizing the ’first mile delivery’ in the long supply chain remains virtually untapped. The reasons for first-mile delivery challenges are usually beyond fleet manager’s control. Unpredictable loading times, unexpected delays at customs or an intermediary center can cascade into last mile challenges such as stock-outs, short orders, etc. Innovative location platforms can deliver accurate insights into the availability of closest packaging centers and real-time location tracking mobile apps can offer businesses and logistics vendors complete control over the entire supply chain.
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Transport management systems– Location intelligence tools can also help drivers and fleet managers associate exact location or destination on maps with 2D physical building outlines, thus creating an accurate, precise, intuitive and engaging navigation experience on road. High precision interactive apps, geo-coordinates can help companies calculate distances and ETA for planned shipments while ensuring drivers and company fleet comply with local regulations.
All in all, location intelligence as a part of business strategy is all about understanding the end-customers, their preferences, and actions in the context of space and time. As we move towards a hyper-connected world, disruptive technologies, accompanied with location data will enable transport and logistics companies to unlock extra business value by planning their supply chain efficiently. For businesses of tomorrow, location intelligence will prove to be an essential factor in edging competition, revealing business insights and supporting better decision making.