Amidst the nationwide lockdown, companies are struggling to maintain efficiency and are operating at 40-60% capacity as only essentials are moving. However, considering the demand from FMCG, e-commerce and pharma industry, the warehousing sector is likely to witness a demand surge in the post COVID world.
At the times of pandemic, Logistics Insider provided the warehousing community with a platform to discuss the current situation via its e-conference on 27th April on the topic “Warehousing Sector: Rising to the COVID-19 Challenge.”
The e-meet witnessed a participating of 280+ delegates and gave an opportunity to the supply chain professionals to connect and discuss the prevailing issues from the comfort of their homes
Mr Gaurav Dubey, Co-founder, Logistics Insider commenced the e-meet with welcoming the panelist and the attendees.
He noted, “The virus and its consequences will leave a lasting impression on industries thoughout the world, especially the unorganized ones. It is no secret that the warehousing industry in India is largely unorganized and highly fragmented. which means it is taking a major hit in the present scenario. Now, a warehouse is a fundamental part of business infrastructure and is one of the key enablers in the supply chain. So it is crucial for players, stakeholders and government agencies to cushion the impact.”
Jasjit Sethi, CEO, TCI Supply chain solutions while moderating the e-meet began his address with a quote from Lenin: “There are decades when nothing happens and then there are weeks where decades happen.”
Proceeding on the same lines, he added, “Nothing could be truer of the last four weeks of what we have seen compared to maybe decades of change even in a country like India which has a lot of pace of change.”
Bringing in light the earlier pandemic such as Ebola, Dr Bikram Lamba, Chief Advisor, Warehouster said that COVID-19 is not new for the world however the spread of the virus and disruptions caused to supply chain is major.
He says, “The mortality rate of the virus is 0.6% but the spread is fast and mostly caused by asymptomatic carriers. The supply chain has been disrupted badly, the economy has been shattered and we are going into new normal.”
While agreeing to Dr Lamba, Mr Amartyaa Kumar Guha, Associate Director-Supply Chain, Flipkart added, “I totally take Dr Lamba’s point that it’s not new for the fraternity, but its also true that none of the ecosystems was prepared for this shock.”
He said the retail and e-commerce are facing the same challenges as the other industry. What will be the situation in the next two-three months or how will we fight it is not anticipated in advance.
Mr Atul Holkar, Head Supply chain, VBL PepsiCo, shared an opinion on exaggerating the lockdown. He said, “There is no natural disaster that has taken place, all the infrastructure is in place. The consumer is waiting and the moment you release the consumer we will come back on the rhythm again; the consumerism will increase.”
Further, speaking about the elephant in the room, the Lack of manpower he said, “The impact on manpower is not adverse, I accept that manpower is not available right now but they are there. It may take a few months for everything to be in place but the fact is that everything is intact. And, everyone will adopt the new changes and make a comeback.”
The preparedness of the Indian warehousing sector in terms of automation was questioned by Mr Satendra Pathak, Head-Warehousing & distribution, Adani Logistics.
He said, “India was not prepared for the COVID-19 situation as compared to the European countries. The have fully automated warehouses. We also, amid the lifting of the restrictions will have to consider automations and decrease our dependency on manpower.”
Mr Xavier Britto, Chairman, Kerry Indev called upon the warehousing sector to step in and take care of the congestions caused at the ports
He said, “Now the ports are getting full and are congesting. The governments demand from the ports to give waivers have given importers an excuse to use the port as storage. Even the CFSs and ICDs formed by the government are on the verge of getting clogged. It’s high time that Warehouses step in and moves the cargo to unclog the ports.”
Click on the below link to watch the highlights of Logistics Insider’s Warehousing e-Meet –