The top priority of e-commerce logistics is timely delivery, which has led to the establishment of fulfilment centres and warehouses closer to customers, resulting in significant changes to transportation routes and distances travelled per trip. The emphasis is now placed on intra-regional and last mile runs to ensure prompt delivery. To guarantee speed and reliability, there has been a noticeable shift towards organised transportation options. The adoption of e-commerce has also led to the evolution of road transportation with customer-first solutions.
There are many challenges faced by logistics companies in meeting the demands of e-commerce businesses in India. A wide range of delivery models, such as Same Day Delivery (SDD), Next Day Delivery (NDD), Exchange, and Appointment-Based Delivery, require continuous upgrades of systems, last-mile apps, and operational SOWs. Furthermore, there is a need to continually train the last-mile delivery teams on new working models. Ensuring the safety of consignments is a significant concern, particularly with the end customer’s tendency to order high-value items such as phones, tablets, laptops, and luxury fashion. A large array of technology requirements, including customer and end consignee technology interventions, system changes, analytics, and dashboards, demand continuous engagement and upgrades to tech capabilities. Logistics companies have had to move from a service mindset to a technology-first mindset.
Impact of technology
In the realm of e-commerce logistics, cutting-edge technology platforms and advanced equipment and applications are now the standard. However, the true revolutionary force in this field is the widespread implementation of AI/ML, and analytics throughout the entire e-commerce logistics value chain. Analytics has become an essential component of e-commerce logistics, and that helps in optimisation and creating an efficient supply chain.
As the e-commerce industry expands, the increasing volumes of orders necessitate the automation of processes to meet customer demands. From picking and packing to sorting millions of parcels and transporting them to their respective destinations via robots, minimising human intervention can reduce errors and enhance productivity. With the potential to serve up to 15–20 million parcels daily, a highly automated approach is crucial to staying competitive in this growing market, and all players are expected to invest in such technologies.
Some of the key factors that contribute to the success of e-commerce logistics and road transportation companies in India include:
- Customer first attitude: ensure that the customer’s needs and requirements are prioritised and responded to.
- Tech adoption: adopt best-in-class technology to ensure that the rapidly evolving demands of the customers can be met.
- Product Development: Stay ahead of the curve in terms of being able to foresee the product requirements and be the first mover in the market.
- Green Initiatives: Ensuring that the logistics leg is as environmentally friendly as possible for a better tomorrow.
The Indian government has introduced several policies that have benefited the overall industry, such as the National Logistics Policy, Gati Shakti Mission, Make in India, the National E-commerce Policy, and other initiatives. These policies have created a favourable environment for the growth of the logistics sector. The government’s emphasis on enhancing the infrastructure, particularly roads, rail, and inland waterways, coupled with the VAT regime that has facilitated the smooth movement of goods across the country, has boosted the speed and productivity of the logistics industry. By maintaining its focus on infrastructure and adopting policies that anticipate future needs, the government can ensure further expansion of the industry.
The Indian government has introduced several policies that have benefited the overall industry