Logistics is Key to Ensuring Rural-Urban Connectivity in India
Companies that have already invested in the following features can adapt to the supply chain complexities quickly, and meet the growing requirements with ease
With the unprecedented growth of trade in India and all over the world, logistics is at the heart of global connectivity. Aside from benefiting industrialists, entrepreneurs, traders and discerning consumers, there is a huge gap that is being bridged in rural areas. Although India has a large and diverse transport sector with its own share of challenges, they can be overcome by energy-efficient technologies and customer-focused approach.
Are Indian Villages Lacking Behind
An essential aspect of economic growth in rural and urban areas is good physical connectivity. Since the early 1990s, India's growing economy has witnessed a rise in demand for transport infrastructure and services. For a farmer, even a good production year amounts to nothing without access to the market within a stipulated amount of time. With rapid fulfilment centres, cold storage facilities and tech-enabled transport solutions, every farmer get access to the national market, thereby solving a prominent agricultural problem in the country.
The development of rural logistics has an important significance to the development of rural areas, reducing the cost of agricultural products transport, increasing farmers’ incomes, narrowing the gap between urban and rural areas, improving farmers’ life quality and promoting the construction of rural markets. The development of rural logistics aims to improve logistics efficiency.
Economy as Whole
The Indian economy poses a tricky and complex situation as it consists of both, organized and unorganized markets. As a result, there is a segment of the rural population that resorts to urban migration for access to opportunities, leading to a population overload in some places. Providing urban e-commerce, the logistic abilities of last mile connectivity, will not only open a huge market of consumers in rural areas but indirectly start a network chain of trade and business opportunities in rural areas as well. Taking this first step to enable reverse brain drain and the organization of an unorganized market will help ensure sustainability and consistency in the country.
Furthermore, a particular challenge concerning rural-urban connectivity is the last mile transportation. This challenge is more severe in developing countries because these distances are usually much larger. Another consideration is that rural communities can be quite disconnected to infrastructure and transport options which enable access to the opportunities urban areas offer.
While India has several on the road logistical issues to resolve, there are also digital roadblocks to take into account when designing a distribution channel. Predictive analytics plays a vital role here, expanding the capabilities of the digital network both from the company’s and the customers’ standpoint. While companies will have the necessary information over time to know which regions to anticipate more supply in, the routes and resource planning, thereby avoiding any hurdles in the process, as a result of being fed with data on logistics which becomes more specific after crossing the initial stages of operations. This also puts the customer at ease because customer engagement will be able to garner a good reputation as the company will be better prepared to handle schedules for delivery and any damages that may occur.
Same Day Delivery
It is because of these improvements that same day delivery has become an increasingly viable option for customers. Companies that have already invested in these features can adapt to the supply chain complexities quickly, and meet the growing requirements with ease.
Since most rural communities depend on agriculture (including crops, livestock, fisheries and forestry) for subsistence and income generation, after creating logistic channels in the previously unreached parts of the country, a sizeable volume of economic activity will start to emerge, bringing a larger percentile of the population into the income generating section of the society.
While digital connectivity is still a work in progress for the nation, key improvements in logistic capabilities will enable us to tap the potential in these markets and further developments in digital connectivity to reach the end goal together, a Connected India. The overall impact of having efficient supply chains can indirectly cause a boom in exports, making Indian arts, handlooms and agriculture a strong sector that finally gets the respect it deserves, and level the playing field in the global landscape.
Mr L R Sridhar, One of India’s logistics pioneers, who designed and implemented logistics and supply chain solutions since 1981. Starting his career in express logistics early in the 1980s, he is one of the key people who built networks and organizations like SKYPAK, Overnite Express and Corporate Couriers –the Indian joint venture of TNT Express Worldwide. At the acme of his career, Sridhar was Group Managing Director of Sical Logistics Limited Chennai, one of South Asia’s largest bulk and container cargo conglomerate. It was in that capacity that he realized that skilled manpower was a big constraint for the logistics and developed an interest in skill building. Connect India currently has over 8,000 franchise outlets in 75 locations across India, reached over 5000 pin codes and is being used by e-commerce giants like Flipkart, Amazon, Pharmeasy, and Fed-ex among others.