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CII experts predict digital overhaul of Indian supply chain network

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23rd May, 2020 17:33 IST
CHANDIGARH: The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) organised its North India virtual conference to understand from experts how to make India’s supply chain network more structured and effective.

The topic was ‘Reconnecting supply chain links: safe and efficient logistics empowered digitally’. Speaking during the inaugural session, chief guest Rao Inderjit Singh, who is Union minister of state for planning and Niti Aayog, said: “We are in the toughest times since World War II, confronting a pandemic that threatens people in every country. We need a stronger, more effective response to the social and economic devastation that Covid-19 is causing."

He said: "The response will be possible if private industry and the government join hands to serve humankind. The tough last three months have put fear in the minds of people. The government is developing digital platforms to help the public, industry, workforce and all stakeholders."

The ministers have said that supply chain management solutions such as using drones for product delivery are getting the attention of companies, who are testing and improving the technology. Besides, 3D printing is playing its part in combating the outbreak since the requirements of this technology are meagre.

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The government expects the automobile sector to be the growth driver of the Indian economy. The minister said: "The current disruption in China will mean reshaping of global supply chains, providing a window of opportunity to countries like India. As India is equipped with technological know-how, it is time to explore the opportunities while ensuring qualitative, sustainable enterprise."

He also said the pandemic had given the country a chance to look at localised solutions and leverage this threat into opportunity. "The government is ready to support the sector,” he added. CII northern region chairman Nikhil Sawhney said: “The reshaping and de-risking of global supply chains can position India as a sourcing destination, subject to the government's taking courageous and quick steps to boost export."

Sawhney mentioned land availability, cost of capital, technology, absence of global scale manufacturing, and poor logistic infrastructure as some of the pain points that might restrict the growth of Indian industry. He said: "The government should create an empowered joint industry-government task force to promote India as a sourcing destination. The CII will support the effort, since it works with both central and state governments in the key areas where supply chain is disrupted, production cycle halted, and inventories impacted.”

Former CII northern region chairman Deep Kapuria, who is chairman of The Hi-Tech Group, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic brought both challenges and underlying opportunities. Even amid a global health emergency, new business models are emerging. Companies are re-purposing their services and re-assessing their business strategies. It is difficult to predict the pandemic’s long-term impact as yet, but it is anticipated to inspire new innovations in the supply chain area."

Kapuria also said: "We are likely to see more supply chain localisation and a complete digital overhaul of the country’s supply chain network, as the potential is huge. The need is to reinvent logistics and the role of stakeholders.”

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