According to the Economic Survey by the Government of India, the country’s logistics industry which is worth around USD 160 billion is likely to touch USD 215 billion in the next two years. However, the industry is often plagued by bad infrastructure and lack of use of latest technology to streamline systems, the survey said.
Spoton Logistics is one company that is trying to tap into the growth potential of the logistics market in the country by implementing latest in technology and adopting best practices to improve its business processes. Spoton Logistics was started in 2012, as a breakaway from the domestic business of TNT India. The company operates a pan India network that is managed through a strong technology base.
In an interview with Priyanka Bhattacharya of Dynamiccio, Abhik Mitra, Managing Director and CEO of Spoton Logistics Pvt Ltd, spoke about technology innovations that is driving the company’s business.
Dynamic CIO (DC): A stable and flexible technology infrastructure is important for the smooth functioning of a logistics company. Can you tell us about the key technologies you are using within the organisation to ensure smooth business processes?
Abhik Mitra (AM): In order to have stable and scalable technology infrastructure, we have hosted our entire data centre on cloud. Also, all our offices are connected over a secure network being monitored and managed by third party, which is helping us to achieve 99.95% availability for all our applications.
DC: What are the challenges a CIO or the IT team faces today when planning the IT infrastructure? Can you talk about some technology deployment challenges you have faced within Spoton?
AM: We haven’t faced many challenges in terms of planning IT Infrastructure and execution of the planned projects. However, deployment of the tech solutions developed without impacting the existing applications is a major challenge the technology team faces, as the expectation of business in terms of delivering the IT project is very high considering the growth strategy of the company.
DC: What is your take on hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructure that is picking up within organisations today? What is the kind you are using within Spoton and why?
AM: These two computing models are the talk of the entire industry, however neither of them is new but the implementation of both of them is now more favourable than ever before. We are currently using hybrid cloud, and we plan to use multi-cloud infrastructure for our disaster recovery site from the BCP and vendor lock-in prevention standpoint. Also we have observed in some scenarios, vendor lock-ins really acts as the chains that prevent us from fully benefiting from a cloud based solution.
DC: There is so much talk about how AI is redefining the way organisations are working today and will in future, how are you looking at AI within Spoton? Are you deploying this or still mulling over the challenges/benefits that having AI driven processes brings to an organisation?
AM: We are already deploying Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in management of our consignments. We are currently working on a project to expand the usage of AI / ML across different parts of the business including customer analysis, network design, pick-up and delivery management and routing design etc. We believe that Artificial Intelligence will add significant value to the Express Logistics business such as Spoton. Spoton is extremely well positioned in this regard, having already used AI / ML. Spoton, also is heavily data focused with a strong culture of data usage within the organisation.
DC: As a logistics solutions company you are also offering tech solutions to your customers? Can you talk in detail about some of your key solutions? What is their USP?
AM: Customers can place orders automatically via our API platform without any human intervention, and perform all functions seamlessly using our web or mobile solutions with no or minimal inputs. They also get transparency about the shipments, all functions from order booking to invoicing and payments are automated. Additionally, we are providing tailored solutions to them which perfectly fit their needs.
DC: What are the technology innovations are you looking at for deploying in the organisation to prepare for future business growth?
AM: By providing an attractive basis for innovation, improving cost efficiency and differentiation, the synergy between technology and business processes is no longer optional, but a must-have. Therefore, technology innovations that are going to help us enable strategic business growth, which would be seamless, focused on customer centric solutions, improving our top line and bottom line using technology stack as an enabler for all the business aspects.
DC: Do talk about the innovations you are planning to offer as a service to your customers in the coming months. How will that benefit them and give you an edge over your competitors?
AM: We intend to make use of enhanced tech solutions for our customers mainly the mobility solutions to keep minimal human inputs during pickup execution, which in turn helps us manage our pickups electronically, update delivery info using mobile app including the capture of POD (Proof of Delivery) image. Also, the tracking info flows into customers’ system through the stable, robust & scalable API platform we have built over a period of time. We are currently in the process of reengineering customer self-service portal & the mobile app, which would be platform agnostic and it will have better layout, representation of the data, including many more additional features. These technology initiatives are helping us enhance the customer experience, and we will continue to explore all the options to do so using engineering & technology. Many of our competitors are still using the legacy systems/processes to an extent, whereas we use best in class technology to manage first mile, trans-shipment and last mile operations. Thus, the visibility of the shipment movement is maintained at all levels using our API, Notification, Voice Blaster, Self-Service Portal and Mobility Platform.