Interview: Ranjeev Menon

What challenges are impacting the logistics sector, and how are industry players addressing them?

RANJEEV MENON: The logistics sector continues to grapple with supply chain volatility due to aftershocks from the Covid-19 pandemic, geopolitical tensions and trade disputes. Rising fuel prices and transport costs continue to strain profit margins, especially for road freight and shipping firms, while adapting to evolving regulations has added an extra layer of complexity.

To navigate these challenges, industry players are implementing strategic initiatives to enhance resilience and efficiency. Leveraging technology and digitalisation optimises operations, while collaboration and partnerships drive innovation. Additionally, diversifying service offerings and exploring niche markets helps to mitigate risk and capture growth. Meanwhile, sustainability sees investment in ecofriendly technologies and waste-reduction initiatives.

How are logistics operators providing solutions to challenges facing the sector?

MENON: Logistics providers, including GWC, are crafting solutions through strategic investment in technology and infrastructure development. By leveraging advanced logistics management systems and implementing solutions such as automation and digitalisation, providers are optimising supply chain efficiency and streamlining operations. Additionally, investment in enhancing infrastructure, including port facilities, transport networks and warehousing capabilities, is bolstering the logistics ecosystem.

In what ways do automation and digital technologies contribute to the logistics industry?

MENON: Automation and digital technologies are playing a pivotal role in revolutionising the logistics industry, by enhancing efficiency, accuracy and customer service. Through automation, tasks such as freight management, order processing, inventory management and route optimisation are streamlined, which helps to reduce manual errors and improve operational efficiency. Digital technologies, including internet of things, real-time tracking systems and predictive analytics, provide greater visibility and control over the supply chain, enabling proactive decision-making and faster response times to changing conditions.

These technologies optimise performance by enabling real-time monitoring of shipments, identifying potential bottlenecks or delays, and dynamically adjusting routes in order to ensure on-time delivery. Additionally, warehouse operations are enhanced through robotic automation, which increases throughput and reduces labour costs. Moreover, digital platforms facilitate seamless communication and collaboration between stakeholders, which helps in improving transparency and customer service.

Where do you identify opportunities for smaller firms to leverage digitisation, and how is the logistics sector fostering the growth of this segment?

MENON: For small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), embracing technology solutions is crucial for streamlining operations and enhancing competitiveness. This involves adopting cloud-based software for inventory management, implementing e-commerce platforms and employing digital marketing tools for customer outreach. Additionally, SMEs can benefit from data analytics to gain insights into market trends and customer preferences.

In alignment with the goal of fostering SME growth, the logistics sector is expanding its capabilities in order to cater to the needs of smaller organisations. This includes offering solutions such as shared warehousing and transport services, which helps to ensure scalability and cost-effectiveness. Furthermore, logistics providers are investing in digital platforms and partnerships to equip SMEs with access to logistics capabilities and facilitate expansion both domestically and globally.