Ashok Gupta, Managing Director, IRC (India) Ltd. shared his thoughts on a range of issues, including the role of telematics in generating revenue and improving efficiency in logistics industry and more…
Q Could you share some thought on the status of usage of telematics at IRC?
We, as a corporate policy use telematics extensively. We have GPS installed in 100% of our vehicles. The GPS is used in sync with a separate software. This software has many additional features besides giving location of the vehicles and standard reporting etc., which are generally available with any good GPS. It also has automated SMS and email alerts facility to the key people in the supply chain. We are now working to improve this software for availability of consolidated data and report on the smart phones of our clients.
Q What is your view on the use of telematics in general across the country by the logistics companies?
The use of telematics across the country by Logistics companies is increasing by the day, primararily due to real time availability and monotoring benefits, resulting in over all improvement in the efficiency, revenue etc., thereby resulting in cost control.
Q Do you think telematics will brings improvement in revenue and efficiency in terms of logistics industry? If yes, has the logistics industry seen efficiency increase in supply chain by the use of telematics?
Like I said before, the use of telematics definitely improves revenue and efficiency in terms of logistics industry as well. Due to better monitoring one is able to utilise the asset more efficiently, thereby increasing the revenue as well as efficiency and also one is able better control costs. Improving efficiency also results in higher profits as fixed costs is attributed over a higher earning due to application of marginal costing formula, thereby resulting in higher profits. Logistics companies across the country have gained extensively by the use of telematics. In countries like US & Europe there are trucks/trailer stations which have an independent kiosk, connected through similar kiosks across the country through the net. These kiosks are permanently tied up with vehicle owners and are able to track the vehicles continuously. They get a pre alert if a vehicle is getting unloaded in and around that area where they are located, and accordingly they are able to arrange return load immediately for the vehicle. This way they are efficiently reducing the down time and increasing efficiency of the vehicles.
Q What are the challenges you see, as head of a major logistics firm in the usage/ implementation of telematics?
a. One of the prime concerns is availability of a reliable equipment supplier / manufacturer with service network all across the country. What is happening today is that there is a mushrooming growth of companies in this sector, who are importing the equipments from many different countries and selling in India. Most of them do not have any technical back up to support proper repair and maintenance of the equipment, even at the place of sale. In logistics industries repair and maintenance of such equipment is required to be available all across the country as these vehicles are moving across length and breadth of the country and in case of any problem in the equipment the same should be resolved immediately and definitely within 8-10 hours or so.
b. Another major one is mind set of the top management of the logistics companies, and that is because of the resistance they have due to initial investment and the recurring cost Vs the benefits that they can derive out of it. To be able to derive full benefit of the GPS devise or use of telematics, logistics companies must have two things:
1. A proper software in place which should have auto alerts of the deviations.
2. A proper team in place to analyse data generated by the software and take corrective actions for the deviation reported by the system
c. The drivers need to be educated about the benefits of the device, currently most of them are scared for unknown reasons. They really have no idea of what is this equipment and most of them feel that this has been installed to track their personal activities, stoppages (necessary or unnecessary) and whatever little hanky panky that they indulge in, and they have developed some kind of fear for this black box. This fear invariably results in their disconnecting the power supply to the equipment, defeating the whole purpose of installation of the equipment. Therefore I strongly feel that proper training and education to the driver should be given. Advantage to the driver is also there including seeking help in case of any emergency when he is in an isolated area, when the driver is not able to contact any body and is also not able to leave the vehicle unattended to travel the next available telephone etc.