Technology is the only thing that can hold logistics networks together
Digitalisation and smart transportation solutions might be the answer to several issues this pandemic has unveiled.
At DACHSER, what fundamentals go the extra mile to define Supply Chain Management during times of a crisis?
DACHSER has always been a customer centric organisation. Our approach as well as our processes are designed based on customer expectations and maintaining high quality services. Besides, we are constantly guided by our DACHSER values for enhancing our customer and partner relationships.
During the crisis, it becomes even more important that our teams are close to our customers, even if it is practically not possible to meet them in person. As such, we haven’t seen any challenge to connect to our customers and understand their requirements, considering we have robust IT solutions and systems in place to serve our customers digitally. We have implemented our in-house air and ocean freight management system, Othello, last year in India, which is backed by SAP as a financial system, this helped us to support our customers seamlessly, even while working from the safety of our homes.
Indeed, there were some snags initially pertaining to slow internet connectivity for a few staff due to the lack of bandwidth in their homes but these issues were well tackled by efficient IT teams. After these concerns were addressed, our teams enjoyed a better bandwidth to be able to connect to our systems and keep processing shipments for our customers from their remote locations.
Our teams have always been our biggest strength and especially at this unprecedented juncture, they have once again done a remarkable job. Even during the first phase of the lockdown, they were continually engaged with our customers for organizing their urgent & critical shipments, especially for our LSH customers which were shipping out critical medicines and were relying on us to manage their shipments.
We are continuously trying to alleviate the potential impacts of the pandemic by supporting the global supply chain with the efficacy of our global network, and are constantly finding solutions for our valued customers to continue their operations.
I recall, there was an urgent requirement of raw materials from Europe for a ATIRA (Ahmedabad Textile Industry’s Research Association) to manufacturing masks, our team of experts worked round the clock including the weekend, and made sure that the shipment arrived on time. There are many such examples where our teams ensured that timely solutions were found albeit the arduous circumstances.
We have received several testimonials from top customers for the critical support extended by our teams and continue to receive a lot of appreciation from our esteemed clientele in India and overseas.
How do you manage to keep your people aligned to service your customers more abruptly than ever? Any challenges you had to deal with in internal and external communications?
Ensuring the safety of our teams has always been the topmost priority during the pandemic. As soon as the outbreak took over India, the first thing that we did was to start framing guidelines with regard to working from home, maintaining health and safety, and communicating the same with all our people across India.
It’s only because of our collective teamwork that we were able to internally communicate faster and effectively with all the colleagues.
Our 500+ people are on the job even today moving both regular and time-critical shipments for our customers from all the major airports and seaports across India.
Currently, how are airfreight volumes distributed between India and the rest of the world?
There was a huge surge for Personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical essentials from China into Europe as well as the US, during the period from March to June.
Until the end of October, DACHSER Air & Sea Logistics has handled close to 50 charter flights from the APAC region and transported more than 60 million respiratory masks plus medical items, such as personal protective equipment and protective gloves and made sure the requirements of the US, European governments and the distribution to the hospitals across these regions was carried out smoothly.
Talking about India, the movement was largely for pharma goods by both air and sea freight. The regular volumes were missing because across sectors, manufacturing was almost at a standstill during the lockdown; there was not much demand for air freight, other than the pharma shipments and a few time bound automotive shipments.
However, we are now seeing some project imports for the automotive sector and other industries. Also production is reviving gradually and we hope to get back to our normal business soon.
Managing Director of DACHSER Indian Subcontinent
What trade lanes currently exist at Dachser Air & Ocean India and what are additional ones planned for 2020 and beyond?
Being a German company, the largest trade lanes for DACHSER India has always been Europe followed by Intra Asia and USA. In recent times, we have seen an exponential growth in the Intra Asia markets and currently the US trade is also booming with all vessels running full capacity.
For the future, in addition to Europe and Intra Asia, we see USA as one of the major trade lanes for our growth. The markets of Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, holds the potential and we look into exploring and enhancing our business in these markets, considering that we already have a well-established DACHSER offices in these countries.
What are the most sought after developments in India’s aviation sector that can help address growing freight transportation demands?
One of the sector’s biggest developments has been the expedited practice of rapid-process-digitalization, the focus—investments and innovation—from the stakeholders and the industry towards the adoption and enhancement of IT capabilities have been phenomenal.
Also, the airport infrastructure that has seen overwhelming developments over the years has contributed directly to the country's international competitiveness.
Can you help us understand DACHSER’s role in future logistics, and services evolving around this concept? Are similar developments in Europe also planned for India?
We firmly believe that our air and sea business in India will continue to grow steadily in the years to come. Contract logistics: warehousing and distribution has also been a mature business for us in Europe as well as Asia. In the next five years, we expect similar developments to happen in India. Our focus has always been to provide high quality services and this has been our USP for growth over several decades.
Even during the crisis, the recognition and recommendation from our customers bear testimony to our solutions and tech-driven efficiency in logistics.
About Huned Gandhi, Managing Director of DACHSER indian Subcontinent:
Huned Gandhi was born on 10th March 1972 in Mumbai, Maharashtra. He began his career with the Cargo Division in Airfreight Ltd on 1st July 1996 as a trainee in sales and then moved on the Pune branch where he grew steadily from a Sales executive to Branch Manager and then took over as the General Manager for Western India in April 2007.
In addition to the General Manager position he was also asked by the Management to take over the position of Trade Lane Manager for Japan and Korea in 2008. After managing Japan and Korea lane for 3 years, he took over the Trade Lane for Europe which was the biggest trade lane for DACHSER India.
In 2012, he moved on to Malaysia for setting up DACHSER in Malaysia where he was based for 2 years. His success in establishing a new and profitable DACHSER country organization in Malaysia is remarkable.
He then moved back to India to take over as Managing Director of DACHSER India Private Limited on July 1st, 2014 and later appointed as Managing Director of DACHSER Indian Subcontinent.