Digitisation has brought about major improvements in a wide range of industries, logistics being one of them, which is usually considered to be fragmented and a tad slow. While it may have solved problems to some extent, there is still a lot of heavy investments involved when it comes to the logistics industry.
To overcome the challenges that the logistics industry faces and offer them with optimal solutions, Mumbai-based Transport Hub (TH) is exploring technologies such as IoT to come to democratise technology in logistics.
Curious Dose got in touch with Rohit Chaturvedi, CEO, Transport Hub, that claims to be the first technology ecosystem focusing exclusively on the transport and logistics sector. As Chaturvedi says, the key unique selling proposition of the startup is that it provides a real-time business view to decision makers by seamless integration of IoT, AI and customers legacy systems such as ERP and CRM. It also provides the flexibility to customers to integrate TH platform with their own systems in case they want to.
Integrating IoT For Logistics
Transport Hub uses IoT to deliver tangible business benefits. Chaturvedi explains that for example, their cold chain automation solution uses IoT to automate temperature maintenance and real-time temperature monitoring for moving vehicles (such as trucks) and warehouses (cold storages). It provides benefits such as the prevention of damage to cargo. The temperature can also be controlled remotely using a mobile app from anywhere in the world.
“We use IoT to automatically collect real-time data and automate business processes. Currently, we are using cloud-based IoT devices and developing edge-based devices for cold chain automation,” he added.
Transport Hub is deploying IoT and analytics for both sets of stakeholder viz. shippers and transporters. For instance, for shippers, it automates that entire logistics chain from dispatch to delivery including automated procurement, in -plant and outplant analytics and payments. It ensures more than a 50% reduction in manpower involved and ensures a better audit trail.
“For transporters, we are automating the processes to improve efficiencies through better fuel management, consumable management, vehicle turnaround,” says Chaturvedi.
The Evolving Logistics Scenario In India
Chaturvedi believes that although IoT devices are being utilized increasingly, the use is mostly at the operational level and reactive. These devices are now ubiquitous due to substantial efficiency gains. Penetration of sensing devices is also getting deeper with some of the players using temperature, door open/close sensors etc.
“However, the use of AI has still not started due to lack of understanding by the end users. We expect that to change soon with the plethora of new age companies wanting to change the landscape in transport and logistics in India,” he says.
Chaturvedi strongly believes that AI has not revolutionised the logistics space yet, however, there is a huge number of opportunities where AI can disrupt the way business is conducted. “For example, better predictive analytics shall enable shippers and transporters to reduce costs through advanced visibility. The shippers can plan precisely and reduce the inventory costs and the transporters can utilize the assets more efficiently with the help of AI, and more,” he says.
He adds that AI technology will give maximum benefits to those who can combine the data from IoT with sector knowledge. “Generic AI solutions and products are unlikely to help the sector in significant ways,” he said.
The startup has been able to grab good traction from clients and government in a short span of time. They are currently working with some of the largest companies in various sector such as Adani Wilmar Limited, Shree Renuka Sugars, Vadilal, Kanchan Pharma, Sakata Seeds etc. Bootstrapped initially, the company has been funded by HNI since October 2017.
“Although we started marketing our product just 6 months ago, we have received a great response from the market. In the coming years, we plan to grow geographically to Delhi from our current presence in Mumbai and Gujarat,” said Chaturvedi on a concluding note.
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