India VS Bharat – The Future Debate in Logistics

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India’s performance has seen a rise along key dimensions like customs (up 27 ranks from 2014) and tracking and tracing (up 24 ranks from 2014). It has shown modest improvements in international shipping (up five ranks from 2014) and timeliness (up nine ranks from 2014). However, it is worth noting that India has moved up since 2014 in all key six indicators used to compute international LPI. This shows that despite the trade shrinkage due to prevailing international conditions, Indian logistics providers are seeing improvements in customs procedures, tracking of shipments and improvements in infrastructure within the sector.

From being a trucking/ warehouse a.k.a  godown/ cargo/ parcel business, logistics has transformed itself to an integrated logistics business. The past two decades have brought about many changes, such as the conversion of roadline companies to integrated logistics companies, followed by the emergence of logistics companies like TCI, GATI and SAFEX; that have changed the way logistics was done or thought of. The MNC players have amazingly refined the way express business was carried out in Bharat, wherein Bluedart Express, AFL and DTDC made their presence felt.

The further enhancement in Bharat’s logistics was marked by more than 4-5 years of gen-x transformation as well. Hence, technology, automation, data analysis formed the crux of it. The new age logistics in India now surpasses our imagination. Companies like Delhivery, Ecom Express, Gojavas are the live examples of this vigorous conception.

Now, beyond Indian logistics, another alien has emerged. On-demand logistics for B2B, B2C and C2C startups with cutting edge tech and user/ customer apps have taken it to a different level. Our company, City Link (formulation of 30 years’ experience by Mr. R. Jayakumar and conceptualized by Mr. Puneet Prakash) is an example of this disruptive business.

  • The enterprise services in City Link comprise of customized Trucking Solutions for small / medium & large business setups, with high-end technology for smart fulfilment of in-city logistics.
  • Book a truck in a click for instant, on-demand services and expect reliability & transparency while you deal with City Link.
  • The hybrid model is based on “Commitment meets Convenience” mantra, where one can commit the number of trips and City Link will guarantee you the convenience of express services

 

In the years ahead, India should aim to improve performance along key dimensions on the international as well as domestic LPI, where it is relatively a laggard. These include focusing on the timeliness of shipments and on removing infrastructural bottlenecks and improving the quality of infrastructure. It has done well on this year’s Index owing to the commitment to improve connectivity with the world. Hopefully in the years ahead, along with focusing on Make in India there is also a commitment to Move in India.

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To further bolster the digital eco-system of the country, the government should announce dedicated spending on ICT just like some other sectors like education, health and other infrastructure. A fixed percentage of the government budget spend on digital infrastructure will give multi fold returns to India’s GDP and help bridge the digital divide by bringing more and more Indians to the digital main stream.

The union budget 2016 focused more on skill development and improving our infrastructural capabilities. As India advances on its path to gain technological supremacy, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and big data will be the key drivers to economic growth. It is now an opportune time to up skill our brain pool with the right skill sets to ensure they are increasingly kept relevant to the growing needs of the industry. The country is now looking towards a more connected tomorrow. With a projection of estimated 20 billion connected devices by 2020. It is necessary that India channelizes all its resources to ensure we are ready for this rapid technological sprint. The 2017 budget should continue to focus on ‘ease of doing business’ and its thrust on the development of the technological infrastructure.

[By Mr. Raman Kaul – GM – Corporate Planning (Jayem Logistics)]

The Logistics Prep for Natural Disaster

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Within 48 hours after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal in April 2015, the country’s main airport was flooded with humanitarian aid supplies and rescue and relief teams coming in from all around the world. However, about a week or so later, large aircrafts were unable to land at the airport as the runway was damaged from the influx of flights delivering aid.

Airports play a critical role in channeling humanitarian teams and relief goods quickly after a disaster strikes. Besides having the necessary infrastructure, to smoothly deliver the lifesaving support to the affected communities, the team on site needs to be trained in the necessary protocols and know-how to handle the dramatic rise in air traffic and flow of goods and people following a natural disaster. The 2015 earthquakes have shown that adequate level of infrastructure and effective logistical operations would not only save lives but help reduce economic loss.

Disaster logistics, or humanitarian supply chain management, has attracted research attention in recent years.

Float Your Boat

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Map your supply chain to improve visibility and mitigate risks

Companies need to rethink supply chain risk management, and it begins by mapping their supply chains. The sad reality is that most companies have blind spots in their supply chains.

Only few companies invest the time, money, and resources to map their supply chains in sufficient detail and keep the information updated.

Do you track the history and frequency of disruptions that occur at each facility and geographic region, due to either natural forces (hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, etc.) or other factors (labor strikes, power outages, quality issues, etc.)?

If your answer is “no” to most of these questions, then it’s only a question of time before you get blindsided by a supply chain issue or disruption. Start mapping your supply chain today, or be prepared to pay a big price down the road.

At Point Blank Range

In 2015, Jayem Warehousing, Ahmedabad was struck by floods almost after 50 years of time span. Situated in a low-lying area, the water had reached the plinth of the warehouse, but it allowed the locals enough time to shift the warehouse to a safer location, ensuring the upgradation of safety standards. Similarly, our warehouses in the other cities followed suit.

Although, the contractor’s trucks were submerged and ran faulty, the shipments were slightly delayed; it didn’t have much impact on our SLA. We were soon up and running after that.

Since then, to deal with such uncertainties, accounting for any natural disaster, the main Health and Safety Equipment (HSE) Department keeps track of the safety equipment of warehouse labour, as well as the requisite fire safety drill.

For Jayem, Toyota’s coping mechanism for Japan’s earthquake debacle is a better case study to look upto. Various precautions can be defined well, considering the case study.

The twin earthquakes that struck southern Japan on April 14 and 16 had ripple effects far beyond the disaster zone, forcing Toyota to suspend production at most of its factories across the country, and affecting other manufacturers as well.

‘Huge improvement’

The stoppage likely cost Toyota hundreds of millions of dollars and perhaps around 100,000 units of lost production.

Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., said plants in Japan building Lexus and Prius models for the U.S. would resume production on Monday, April 25, 2016.

“It sounds to me like we are in good shape,” Carter said, adding that there is no known disruption to North American production.

The hit could have been worse had Toyota not rolled out several crisis containment measures since 2011.

“It’s a huge improvement,” Takaki Nakanishi, an auto analyst who runs his own research firm in Tokyo, said of the rebound.

“I think 3-11 helped everything,” Nakanishi said of the March 11, 2011, catastrophe that killed more than 15,000 people, shattered the supply network and interrupted global production.

“They have a new supply chain management system built in.”

Japanese automakers have strengthened offices and factories in Japan, adopted improved practices to track parts and implemented plans that will keep their businesses running in emergencies.

Toyota, for example, completed a survey of suppliers in 2013 to pinpoint weak links and now uses a database known as Rescue.

Rescue stores information about thousands of parts stored at 650,000 supplier sites, helping the automaker bypass bottlenecks when one supplier gets knocked out of commission.

Indeed, when the 6.5-magnitude quake struck on the night of April 14 near the city of Kumamoto on Japan’s southwestern island of Kyushu, Toyota knew right away of trouble.

For Jayem Logistics, selecting a warehouse away from the low-lying areas is a must. Unlike Delhi, Mumbai and Jaipur warehouse-demarcated zones, one must look for a space that is not congested, wherein a fire van can freely maneuver and access, as required. Hence, the HSE defines the warehouse designs way before settling in for the deal.

The Disruption Claw

Finally, it’s important to note that natural disasters are not the only things that can disrupt supply chains. For instance, Tesla was reported saying that its “Q1 delivery count was impacted by severe Model X supplier parts shortages in January and February that lasted much longer than initially expected.”

The Packaging Rush

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“Doing the bow 500,000 times is not easy. Some people just cannot do this,” Britta Fleck, the president of Glossybox USA, told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). The contents of each box come nestled in packing material, which in turn is wrapped in tissue paper. A sticker fastens the tissue paper, and there’s a black ribbon tied around the whole package. It doesn’t really need the ribbon, but it adds to the customers’ experience. “It sounds ridiculous, but if the box is open and it’s not a nice bow, the experience is already lower.” Yet it’s not a robot that ties that nice ribbon.

Over just the past two years, we’ve seen subscription box services of all kind seemingly pop up from out of nowhere. Need gourmet, gluten-free, sugar-free, farm-to-table, ready-to-eat meals delivered daily to your front door? Then you need look no further than Freshology. Want premium cosmetics delivered each month to your door? Then Birchbox has you covered.

Everything from shoes to candy/snacks such as Graze (featured above) offers, to accessories, personalized outfits and what-have-you are now readily available from these services. But, with this fad, and amid all the hyperbole surrounding it, one thing was left overlooked for many of these startups: The logistics that are involved, and just how nightmarish daily operations can quickly become once your business takes off; if you are not prepared, that is.

Logistics and getting packages fulfilled when they are typically hand-packed and different each month has caused some trouble for startups in this category, according to WSJ.

It’s the most tempting type of splurge: a gift to yourself. A growing industry of stylish subscription services is banking on the joy of the unexpected gift, offering to deliver a box of surprises to your doorstep every month.

Boxes of fashionable goodies, often assembled—or “curated,” as the services say—by a well-known personality or brand, are proliferating. Recently, Actress Kate Hudson launched a monthly subscription service for fashionable exercise wear, called Fabletics, with prices starting at $49.95. For $100 per quarter, Project Runway judge Nina Garcia offers her Quarterly.co subscribers a selection of chic items. A bevy of clothing subscription services, from Trunk Club to Buck Mason, are available for men who can’t bear to enter a mall to get T-shirts and slacks.

Quarterly.co, led by Netflix co-founder Mitch Lowe, offers subscriptions to packages assembled by personalities including chefs, hip-hop artists and bloggers. “Businesses have gotten so good at offering many choices,” he says, “that people now want curation.”

To deliver their colorfully decorated packages, monthly subscription services must defy some of the fundamental rules of e-commerce.

 

5 Ways Subscription Box Fulfillment Differs from E-Commerce

The subscription box boom sweeping the country is giving rise to a new kind of order fulfillment. While many subscription services have an online component, their order fulfillment needs are considerably different from those of e-commerce fulfillment. As a recent article in The Wall Street Journal points out, “. . . the logistics of shipping subscription packages often go against conventional rules of e-commerce.”

Subscription box fulfillment is typically a very complex, customized, labor-intensive process, conducted within a tight delivery window. Space, labor and expertise are just a few areas where the needs of subscription box companies differ from those of e-commerce retailers.

How an experienced fulfillment provider can help and the five key areas of distinction are:

  1. All hands on deck

While e-commerce orders ship on a fairly steady basis throughout the year, the monthly (or quarterly) delivery cycle of subscription orders leads to brief periods of intense volume – much of which is handled manually. Adjusting labor and space to suit these dramatic peaks and valleys can be very challenging. It can also be quite expensive to pay for space and staffing to accommodate the highest volume each month when operations are only at capacity for a limited number of days.

  1. It’s all in the presentation

Unlike typical e-commerce shipments in non-descript corrugated boxes, subscription boxes are designed to delight the recipient and must arrive looking consistent and professional. For added appeal, packaging may include tissue, ribbon, stickers, etc.

“Presentation is important for subscription-box customers, who swap unboxing videos, photos and reviews online,” The Wall Street Journal notes.

  1. To each his own

While the packaging must be consistent, the contents of subscription boxes are not. Part of their appeal is that the complete product mix changes every month. To further complicate operations, many subscription companies allow customers to pick and choose the contents of their subscription to suit their personal tastes.

Personalizing orders is a complex, labor-intensive process. Effective third-parties are equipped with the staffing, processes and space to handle a variety of configurations based on client profiles, wants, interests, etc.

  1. Timing is everything

Unlike standard e-commerce customers who have come to expect fast, free (or low-cost) delivery, subscription customers count on the arrival of their package at a certain time every month. Since subscription products are often promoted extensively through social media, delivery dates must be carefully coordinated.

Packing and shipping is timed so that boxes go out in waves. Those destined for the farthest regions go first, so packages to customers in one region all arrive on roughly the same day, to avoid spoiling surprises.

  1. Quality counts

While order accuracy and quality are important for any company, it is especially critical for subscription-box businesses. Customer feedback is shared widely via social media, so inaccurate orders, damaged products and subpar service can lead to customer dissatisfaction on a large scale.

E-commerce monthly subscription boxes are one of the newer fads that’s trendsetting across the internet, and for ample good reasons, too. They involve, typically, a flat-priced monthly offering for high-demand goods, delivered to your front door in a presentation-enhanced gift box that’s fun to open.

But just how popular have these startups become, and is there really room for growth in this industry?

Dollar Shave Club Sets The Standard

To put it into better perspective, Unilver recently tendered $1 billion to acquire Dollar Shave Club, denoting one of the largest sums ever tendered for a tech startup that’s only been around for four years. This massive, and unprecedented, transaction also helps us better assign an actual face value to the subscription box services industry.

Back in 2012, during the first year of business for Dollar Shave Club, the company posted a viral YouTube video (shown above) that resulted in 12,000 orders in just 24 hours, and that resulted in over $240 million in revenue. In just a few years, the startup had garnered 8% of the market share of a multibillion men’s shaving industry that was previously untouchable.

Was Dollar Shave Club really doing anything different? Nope. They were selling cheap, mass produced razorblades to a price-weary target market, in hopes that convenience, branding, catchy commercials, packaging and front-door delivery would make the difference. The venture also proved another thing: These services can generate billions of dollars inside of multiple niches, thus leading to the spawning of an industry within an industry.

Popularity Has Led To Creation Services

In the years that followed the rampant success of a generic razorblade reseller, countless other entrepreneurs got on board the e-commerce bandwagon. They began selling everything and anything in a subscription box that could be sent inexpensively via USPS Priority Mail within just three days- be it subscription boxes for men, women, teens and even kids. Of course, with such high demand, you know that another industry had to get on board the cash flow express: The shopping cart and frontend IT industry.

Most subscription box services have to resort to manual fulfillment because the boxes are so customized, and the monthly content varies so greatly, that it’d be nearly impossible to use robotic fulfillment methods. This means that many turn to fulfillment houses to get their packages sent, which cuts deeply into their baseline profit margin.

The experts at Econsultancy dug deeper into the worries that e-commerce monthly subscription services providers would have to fester when it comes to risk versus reward.

  • Discount entry points can really cut into profit margins, and can leave a retailer breaking even or losing money on the first sale.
  • Spend versus return can sometimes even out, especially when costly marketing campaigns are being used.
  • Cross-channel selling can deplete profit margins, and can make it hard to turn around cost in the long term if acquisition is too heavy.
  • Stock on-hand can become an issue when supplies are short, resulting in an exodus of subscribers.
  • Risk of cancellation, returns and long term viability of customers as well as chargebacks and fraud always need to be considered in the long term.

Things To Consider Along The Way

In spite of the risk, where entrepreneurs see a cash cow, they flock like sheep to the opportunity. Not to say that you can’t make a good amount of money in with a subscription box store, just to say that the market is quickly becoming diluted, and that you shouldn’t be overzealous or delusional in your approach.

The services that do take off are using the right model, HubSpot infers. They explain how the successful subscription model works in a nutshell. It involves knowing your LTV, or the lifetime value of your customer, versus existing subscriptions, which is the first place that you’d want to start.

“For example, if your subscription is $100/month (and it’s all pure profit, in a real scenario you’d factor out costs of goods and services and retention etc.) and 1% of your customers cancel each month, your customer life time value (CLTV or just LTV) is $100/1% (100/0.01) which is $10,000.”

Jayem Logistics agrees that the innovation of premier services like these helps us better understand just how multifarious the internet’s offerings can be. As they continue to gain in popularity, they are adding billions of dollars in value to an already rapidly expanding e-commerce industry; one that’s only going to continue to grow as time passes.

The following infographic explains the rise and boom of this niche market industry.

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Stacking and Packing Take Center Stage in Warehouse Games

To understand the extent to which e-commerce is transforming U.S. retail, look no further than the warehouses up and down the New Jersey Turnpike, where packing boxes and moving pallets stacked high with customer orders has become a booming business.

Jayem affirms that the special challenges in subscription boxes include customers’ expectation of luxury packaging and the need to ship containers full of small and fragile containers of expensive cosmetics.

 

Subscriptions enable retailers to predict demand and know they won’t have to offer leftovers on sale later on. If you get someone locked into a subscription you can guarantee their revenue stream more than if you try to count on them coming into the store.

While clothing subscriptions generally allow customers to return what they don’t want for a refund, many others, including Svbscription and PopSugar, don’t allow returns of individual items in the boxes.

There’s just such an allure to opening up a box every month and not knowing what you’re getting, according to Sugar. She predicts subscriptions will be a major part of Popsugar’s business in 2014. Coming soon from Popsugar: bridesmaids’ and new-baby subscription boxes.

With Subscription Beauty Boxes, Rules of E-Commerce Don’t Apply 

The most successful online retailers, by contrast, are the ones that make the most efficient use of warehouse space and automate as much of the shipping process as they can. The subscription services are a more manual business, and each company has distinct logistical complications.

Glossybox packs its products in sturdy gift boxes that don’t fold or stack, which are then placed inside another cardboard box to be shipped. The boxes take up so much space that it is costly to transport the packaging from its supplier in China to its warehouses around the world, Britta Fleck, president of Glossybox U.S.A said. Fleck and her team sent almost 200 test boxes to themselves when the company first started to find packaging that looked attractive but was still strong and small enough to ship profitably. The Berlin-based company ships 275,000 boxes each month.

Rival Birchbox ships 100 different combinations of products, or kits, and a total of over a million boxes globally each month. The order in which products are arranged for assembly is important, said Pooja Agarwal, vice president of operations. Workers must be able to finish packing one kit and start on the next, with a minimum amount of rearrangement, and in as little time as possible.

Though Birchbox has reached a scale at which it can at least automate the placement of address labels, much of what it does is still manual, Agarwal said. Warehouse workers have to be trained to do multiple jobs such as receiving and stocking products as well as packing and shipping them so they’re not idle in the weeks between shipments. And at peak shipping times, the company sometimes borrows workers from other shippers, and hires temporary workers. Birchbox uses Geodis SA’s logistics provider OHL which operates the warehouses.

New Beauty’s TestTube, a bimonthly subscription, makes instructional videos for warehouse managers showing the optimum placement of every product because they ship in a cylindrical package that can be a tight fit.

Hudson, the actress, says she chose the subscription model for her fashion line because it allows her to sell each piece of apparel for less.

Of course, the customer might not have bought those white fudge-covered corn snacks or that tin of seasoned salt at any price. And does anyone who is not a yoga teacher or personal trainer really need a full new exercise outfit every month? Style subscriptions require faith on the consumer’s part that whatever will come will be welcome.

A Complete Guide To Become A Supply Chain Wizard

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What does your internet browsing history tell you so far?

Do the Flipkart ads poke on your screen every now and then?

Yes, the Indian logistics is running a major marathon, unlike ever before, after having received a confounding push, looking into ten years ahead. So, why not gear up for it? This is where Supply Chain Management (SCM) steps in.
Raman Kaul, GM – Corporate Planning at Jayem Logistics Pvt Ltd shares, “The majority of traditional logisticians/logistics industry veterans, today, had acquired business from their forefathers.
“But, the next-gen population is into the startup phase of things. Now, there’s formal logistics education on the individual’s platter. He can look forward to an exciting internship at a logistics firm.
“Only until late 90s and early 2000s, there was a prominent calling for SCM. As Ford and later Toyota organized the skillful lot, great evolution took shape with SCM education in 2007.”
From his personal book favourites lined up ahead, Raman expresses, “One must be able to grasp the best practices around the world in Supply Chain Management books, instead of simply banking on an expensive course. Inclusion of case studies and relevant exercise modules in these books determine the right standard for learning.
“However, books have certain limitations that only a course can overcome in ascertaining a perfect career path in logistics, when one needs to possess the secure credentials for its practice in the industry.”

To match up to your level of knowledge and experience, here’s a complete guide to master the wizardry in logistics.

1. Supply Chain Management: Strategy, Planning, and Operation, 6th Edition- by Sunil Chopra, Northwestern University and Peter Meindl, Boston Consulting Group

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Highlights: Borne from a course on supply chain management taught at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, “Supply Chain Management” introduces high-level strategy and concepts while giving students the practical tools necessary to solve supply chain problems.

The Sixth Edition weaves in compelling case study examples, providing students with clear insight into how good supply chain management offers a competitive advantage. On the flip side, students also learn the dangers of poor supply chain management, and how it can damage an organization’s overall health and performance.

2. Logistics Management – by V.V Sople

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Highlights: The increasing importance of business logistics makes it necessary for students of business management to understand logistics, its basic framework and its practical utility. Keeping this in mind, the book has been designed for students studying logistics and supply chain management in BBA, DBM, PGDMA, MMS AND MBA across various business schools and universities in India.

3. Lean Logistics – by Michel Boudin

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Highlights: This book helps you determine whether you have the right supply to meet your customers’ demands, as well as the ability to organize and deliver that supply. In this cutting edge work, Baudin addresses the physical infrastructure of lean logistics and the flow of information that composes its nervous system. He demonstrates the methods that will allow you to avoid shortages while maintaining low inventories, while showing you how to take advantage of the increased capacity and flexibility generated through lean manufacturing.

4. Principles of Supply Chain Management by Joel Wisner

Highlights: Now, you can introduce purchasing, operations, and logistics with a strong supply chain management focus found in the latest edition of Wisner/Tan/Leong’s Principles Of Supply Chain Management: A Balanced Approach. This unique new third edition presents extensive content you won’t find covered in other books. The authors’ expansive approach helps you guide students through the management stages of each supply chain activity while addressing real-world concerns related to the global supply chain. With this edition, you can follow the natural flow through the supply chain with one of the most balanced supply chain management approaches available. Well-organized chapters demonstrate the practical applications of supply chain management in today’s workplace while intriguing profiles throughout the text build on topics to reinforce learning.

5. Theory of constraints by Eliyahu M. Goldratt

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Highlights: Theory of Constraints walks you through the crucial stages of a continuous program: the five steps of focusing; the process of change; how to prove effect-cause-effect; and how to invent simple solutions to complex problems. Equally important, the author reveals the devastating impact that an organization’s psychology can have on the process of improvements. Theory of Constraints is a crucial document for understanding what it takes to achieve manufacturing breakthroughs.

The Startup Vanity Is For Real

Most of the startup stories that make it to the front page depict an entrepreneur under the Bodhi tree having a vision or brainwave that presents itself in the form of an answer to a persistent question. However, on the other side of the mountain are the entrepreneurs who gather years, even decades, of intel on an issue, through observation, trial and error, and, in order to provide a solution that is current, state-of-the-art and right on the money.

Though, in an article by The Economic Times (ET), dated Jan 21, 2017, bunch of entrepreneurs who had big dreams to revolutionize the Indian logistics sector have been assumed to be “retired hurt”.

However, the buzz that consumed techies, industry heirs and college friends to unite over a logistics startup in India is not fading. The article brags about 2016 marking a dry spell for startups, especially those related to offering tech solutions in logistics.

“Atleast six startups, namely, TheKarrier, Truckmandi, Trucksumo, Loadkhoj, Zaicus and Sastabhada, all dealing with truck aggregating for intra as well as inter-city transport have pulled the plug on their operations. The challenges are many and it majorly boils down to the fragmentation of the Indian logistics sector and the inability of technology alone to resolve the brick and mortar business,” states ET.

But, not really! The tweet here has a different version by Arun Rao, co-founder, Trucksumo.

 

 Puneet Prakash, Founder & Director, City Link( #1 IT-driven trucking logistics platform/startup, that hails a profitable revenue-generation model and is a subsidiary of Jayem Logistics), the engineer turned logistics professional in the past 20 years shares his success story of constant improvisation, by undergoing the drill of Indian impediments.

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“The industry is fuelled by trust and cash transactions. The expenses in transportation, such as toll taxes and diesel are all paid in cash. So, there often is an air of suspicion around what drivers quote. Introducing transparency and accountability in the system to make the industry respectable was a key challenge. Moreover, with almost no online penetration, the demand-and-supply dynamic were often warped, due to a lack of reference points. Idling losses, occurring when cargo is shipped and the vehicle returns empty, are also substantial. Due to this chaotic state, the Government of India recognizes transportation only as a ‘sector’ and not as an ‘industry,’ even though it constitutes about six percent of our GDP.

“The space was highly fragmented, with vehicle ownership not averaging more than 1- 1.5 vehicles, and even the largest fleet owners didn’t hold more than a few vehicles. “We saw this as a big challenge on the enterprise side. On the demand side, we saw the hegemony of the stands – fixed-rate operations devoid of any rationale, which badly needed reform akin to the new-age taxis,” expresses Puneet.

 

‘We are no Ola or Uber’

Here, Puneet grabbed the opportunity of building a defined marketplace for intra-city on-demand trucking.  Rather than going the ‘I came, I saw and I conquered’ route, he used decades of domain expertise and was sure of himself when he decided to take the leap last September.

Clipped

Jayem Logistics seconds the thought that since the advent of Ola and Uber in the Indian startup marketplace, all the aspiring entrepreneurs have found technology aggregation attractive to add to their business models and catch investors’ attention. But the number of such startups shutting shops suggests that that is not enough

The inadequacy of technology is not the only reason for these firms to go down under. The logistics sector of India is a sprawling one that is plagued by a number of issues and the shippers’ and fleet owners’ woes are somewhat conflicting. While a shipper struggles to deal with high freight rates when benchmarked against global standards and non-transparency of transactions, bill reconciliation with clients and idling of vehicles without load are issues that haunt a fleet owner. And seldom has a startup been able to address both parties’ woes in a balanced way. Jayem adds, “The inexperienced techies who found this business lucrative could not analyze the industry / customer behavior.”

“2017 is set to be a landmark year for logistics in India. With the introduction of GST and a major push towards a digital, cashless economy, we can expect significant buzz and traction for technology enabled logistics startups. However, we do believe that while the opportunity is huge, only a handful of very resilient companies that are creating real value in the market will survive the year going into 2018,” Raghav Himatsingka, founder and CEO, Truckola pointed out.

Can we have a chalk and cheese solution?

“Our customers are mainly cargo guys, who are not at all savvy or intelligent. The solutions are like chalk and cheese, so we offered multiple booking channels – web, mobile, as well as a call centre to attend to queries. We aggregate supply and front-end execution with standard tariff plans. However, for both our offerings we complete the transaction on the platform, thereby ensuring a seamless experience for our customers,” explains Puneet.

The enterprise business is more specific to customer requirements, and is governed by long-term contracts. Having a robust web platform, mobile app and call centre operations, with features like fare estimate, pricing intelligence and vendor rating, City Link aims to create value for anybody who moves cargo using trucks within the city. Hence the portfolios are diverse – large enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), traders like timber merchants, glass merchants etc. and finally individuals.

“‘Top-line is vanity; bottom-line is sanity and cash-flow is reality.’ This principal was followed by the company through and through. Vision and mission are overused expressions. What matters, in fact, are the right strategies, and the ability to execute with a clear focus on numbers. We always wanted to address the complete ‘in city’ requirements,” says Puneet.

 

Does promulgation of Uniform Civil Code mean The End to an ancient sport?

What is Jallikattu?

Jallikaatu could be referred to as bull taming event typically practiced in Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebrations on Mattu Pongal day, third day of the four-day Pongal festival. The term ‘jallikattu’ is derived from the Tamil words ‘jalli’ and ‘kattu’.  Jalli refers to gold or silver coins. Kattu means ‘tied’. Therefore, combined together it refers to coins being tied to the bulls’ horns, which is considered the prize for whoever tames the bull. The bull that wins is used to service numerous cows preserving the native breed. It is renowned as an ancient ‘sport’, believed to have been practised some 2500 years ago. It is controversial because the sport often results in major injuries and even deaths.

Why is PETA keen on banning Jallikattu?

In January 2016, the Central Government lifted the ban on request of Tamil Nadu Government. This notification was challenged by PETA and Other such welfare Organizations in the Supreme Court. PETA insists that ‘cruelty’ is not limited to slaughter but includes unnecessary suffering and torture induced on animals for the purpose of human entertainment.
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The Media Watchdog On Supply Chain Of Food Essentials

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What keeps your phone buzzing?

The answer can be your favourite person in the world.

What keeps the world buzzing?

The stunning media reports, perhaps.

Now, what does the media really buzz about?

 

The media watchdog has constantly been at the fore of everything in your vicinity, gauging the important trends to the utmost flaws in the government to as specific as your local municipality.

In this piece, we zoom into the controversies of food manufacturing firms that media has uncovered and caused a large scale impact on its brand value and logistics.

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Food for thought from an MIT research team 

Much of what we eat comes almost exclusively from other countries—like 80% of the honey you stir into your tea, and 90% of the shrimp in your cocktail. And more often than not, it’s coming from developing countries that lack the basic quality controls we have here at home. In 2015, the United States imported more than 40 million individual shipments of food. The Food and Drug Administration has the resources to check only a very small fraction of those shipments to ensure they do not have harmful bacteria, contaminants, or additives. “They have to rely on risk models to make decisions,” said Retsef Levi, a professor of operations management at MIT Sloan. “On the one hand, they can’t allow harmful stuff to penetrate our food supply. On the other hand, they can’t delay commercial activity. That’s a tension the FDA has to balance, and it’s a very demanding and challenging task.”

Three years ago, FDA officials engaged MIT in a contract to support and improve the risk management system of the FDA related to economically motivated food adulteration.  A team led by Levi drew from MIT Sloan, the MIT Center for Biomedical Innovation, and across campus. With additional funding from MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab, the team has conducted a systematic study of how food is grown, processed, and shipped to the U.S.—and of the risks involved.

Now, even as the team makes its recommendations to the FDA, it’s delving deeper. In a new multiyear, multimillion dollar partnership with the Walmart Foundation, Levi and colleagues are launching a new study of supply chains in China, the world’s third largest food exporter. Recently, Levi explained the quest to protect our edible imports.

What’s risky about the way our global food supply chains work today?

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There’s a continuum of risks. Food can become contaminated with bacteria, like listeria or salmonella. That’s typically the non-intentional scenario, and that happens when you don’t have good practices or are negligent. The other extreme is terror-motivated, when an organization or individual has malicious intent like putting anthrax into the food system. And in between, there’s the economically motivated scenario. That’s mostly about financial benefits of some sort rather than intentionally causing harm. The FDA—and governments around the globe—are worried about all of the above.

What did you discover?

Our research indicated that a key issue to understand is the risk related to the product category and its supply chain. We know that, for example, the melamine case was motivated by external pressure on the milk supply chain—regulatory pressure. In other cases, our research focused on poultry in China, and there, in response to outbreaks of avian flu, there was an increase in extensive use of antibiotics, antiviral, and herbal medicines to fight the outbreak. In the shrimp case, we’ve seen that a disease called early mortality syndrome killed shrimp in Asia. There was big outbreak in 2009, and in again 2013, that lead to increased use of antibiotics and other additives. All of these cases indicate that you might be able to assess whether risk is likely to increase if you understand what kind of socio-economic and environmental drivers could increase the level of risk. Our research gave rise to a much more comprehensive, holistic understanding of the risk factors of a product category.

In addition, you have to look within the product category. We were able to look at massive amounts of shipping data. We looked at bills of ladings—papers that shippers have to file with the weight of shipment, content—and used them to reconstruct the different layers of supply chains. That kind of info has pointed out companies that are more likely to be engaged in the adulteration of food. If you look at economically motivated adulteration, about intentionally doing something, people who are intentionally involved behave in similar patterns. We can pick up those patterns and signs.

What are some of the signs?

They might use a third-party country and cross in and out of borders. They tend to ship with a lower number of shipments, or maybe have many transient partners.

Even the very structure of a supply chain is predictive of risk. For example, in China you can have “dragon head” companies, which are large companies contracting with thousands of household farmers. Each farmer is going to bear a high level of risk. That’s a big issue in the sense that if they are under pressure, they are going to do whatever it takes, including engaging in bad practices, like giving chickens antibiotics or chemotherapy drugs. We have mapped in China well over 95 illegal drugs farmers are buying publicly and using. There are cases where one chicken had residuals of 19 types of antibiotics. We see similar phenomena in other farming supply chains and this is suggesting that the fundamental structure of the farming supply chain is a major risk factor.

Then there are the importers. In 2011, President Obama signed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. It aims to make the way food products are managed more similar to pharmaceuticals. In the past, importers dismissed responsibility; in the near future they will not able to get away with that. They will be held accountable to verify their supply chain. Our research indicates that that’s a key aspect of being able to manage risk.

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How the factory churned out events?

 In the recent timeline of events, issues in the food supply chain were spotted, followed by the banning of the product. But, the repercussion and settlement remained a blurred picture.

The spicy saga

In July last year, the Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regularity Authority had banned the import of chillies from India. The ban followed a laboratory test conducted by BAFRA, which found that all three varieties of chillies imported from India (hybrid, teransani and akashi) indicated the presence of chlorophenol – a pesticide classified as moderately toxic by the World Health Organisation. In addition to chillies, Bhutan’s Agriculture Minister Yeshey Dorji said that BAFRA banned the import of cauliflowers and beans from India for failing to meet food safety standards.

It didn’t take long for the price of chillies in Bhutan to shoot up. Local organic chillies, usually sold for up to Rs 900-Rs 1,500 per kilo, were being sold at Rs 2,900 a kilo. Imported chillies, which cost Rs 25 to 50 per kilo in the past, were now selling at Rs 500 per kilo.

With a population of over 700,000 people, Bhutan requires 1,527 metric tonnes of chillies during the winter months of December, January and February, as per the Agriculture Ministry’s official estimate. The total chillies consumed in a year is estimated at 2,291 metric tonnes.

While the farmers of Bhutan do produce chillies, this is not sufficient to feed the entire population. To produce the required quantity, the country will need to cultivate chillies on nearly 770 acres of land, which it cannot do at present. To manage the crisis, on December 4, the Ministry of Agriculture again began to import 20 metric tonnes of chillies from Kolkata.

The import from Kolkata, apparently met food safety standards, and was sold at the subsidized rate of Rs 50 per kilo. But even this was not enough – by now, the local demand for chillies had increased. People were hoarding chillies, local vegetable vendors had begun importing them secretly (but were caught by BAFRA officials). The media attention on the crisis of chillies grew, and soon, officials were photographed dumping large quantities of seized chillies.

Finally, during a monthly press meet in late December, Agriculture Minister Yeshey Dorji told journalists in Thimphu that the government would resume importing of chillies, at least until the country was able to produce enough to meet its own appetite.

“As a regularity authority, we are obligated by the Food Safety Act to ban food products with toxic levels of chemicals,” he said, when asked why the ban had been imposed in the first place. Tests on chillies from Falakata still showed toxic levels of chemical residue, agriculture officials said, but the demand was simply too high to ban them.

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The local crop of chillies is expected to hit the markets only in early February 2017. Meanwhile, the government has launched a programme to boost vegetable production in the winter. At the press conference, Dorji assured people that by the next New Year, there will be no shortage of chillies in Bhutan. Most villagers like Zangmo are yet to be convinced.

Media coverage of food scandals affects consumption, but desensitization and the force of consumer habits may present challenges for food regulators, according to researchers.

An analysis of the dioxin food tainting scandal in Germany in late 2010 to early 2011, by researchers in Germany, Switzerland and Canada, combined reporting of the shopping habits and media consumption of more than 2,500 households from GfK Consumer Scan data with an extensive media survey from the period.

The dioxin scandal, where unsafe levels of the chemical were found in consumer chicken and pork products, after tainted animal feed entered the food chain in late 2010, was covered extensively by German media in 2011. The researchers analyzed this coverage to create a Food Scandal index for the period.

Irish Times in 2013

“When we began our authenticity survey of processed meat products in the Irish market last November no one could have foreseen that we would uncover an EU-wide food scandal.

The adulteration of products containing beef has resulted in numerous lines, including burgers, meat pies, pasta dishes, sauces and soup withdrawn from sale.

Our meat product survey was carried out against a background of increasing prices of raw materials used in food and feed manufacture, and the global sourcing of ingredients. This can lead to a temptation to cut corners. The longer the supply chain the higher the risk that something can go wrong, in this recent case it was the substitution of beef with horse meat.

As an enforcement authority we are familiar with calls from the food industry to reduce the regulatory burden and assertions that private sector standards are more rigorous than those of the public authorities.

Given that most of the food companies caught up in this scandal adhere to the private sector standards, this demonstrates that official regulations and standards need to continually evolve to be ahead of the curve to identify fraud in the food chain.

Many standards tend to focus on food safety and food hygiene, but clearly now they need to be strengthened to include food authenticity. For meat products this should include meat speciation and the use of DNA-based analytical techniques to test for animal species which may be present in raw ingredients.

Equally, claims that brands are a guarantee of quality and reliability have been deflated as a result of the horse meat scandal. Convoluted supply chains have done little to bolster confidence in traceability controls by manufacturers and suppliers. One of the positive outcomes of this issue will be routine DNA testing by the food sector and this will be beneficial to consumers.

The FSAI is now co-ordinating a monitoring programme to establish the prevalence of fraudulent practices in the marketing of processed meat products. We are also working closely with the Department of Agriculture in implementing a monitoring programme for the detection of phenylbutazone residues in horses in order to ensure that only appropriate products enter the food chain.

While the FSAI considers that there was not a serious food safety risk associated with our findings, it did show how effective our national food control system is in underpinning consumer confidence in the integrity of Irish food.

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As people become further removed from the sources of their food supply, trust becomes the key ingredient for businesses. Hence, regaining it will require much change.”

How about the 2012 EFSA aim?

Rebuilding European consumers’s confidence in the supply chain is a key challenge facing the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), according to its tenth anniversary report, which also sets out its achievements over the past decade.

In addition to “deepening public confidence in the food chain”, The European food safety watchdog faced three other challenges, being: strengthening the dialogue with risk managers, building the EU’s risk assessment community, and maintaining standards in times of economic austerity.

At Point Blank Range

Jayem Logistics determines a consequent loss of trucking capacity and revenue due to product elimination.

 

As the highly valued market products came under the scanner such as Coke, Pepsi, Nutella, Maggi, Cadbury, et al, another league competitor, Patanjali, strongly worded the authenticity of its ayurvedic products.

Now, a consumer will not purchase any chocolate spread brand due to the presence of carcinogenic palm oil, save butter; as the UK scientists call butter “fine”.

Well, India has seen Patanjali fighting for the rightful place of its herbal products, without palm oil. Baba Ramdev, a yoga teacher known for his work in Ayurveda, is running a campaign against excessive palm oil (around 30-40%) usage by MNCs.  However, the U.S and U.K have banned palm oil.

Jayem agrees to a drop-in sales due to sudden ban over a product. Though, one product, which isn’t for mass consumption won’t have a great impact on the market supply-demand process.

In Nestle’s case, Maggi, one of their highest selling products was impacted, with a revenue loss running in crores. Its mammoth-sized supply capacity brought a dreadful loss in the logistics arena. Since some companies are majorly dependent on the high brand value product manufacturing firms, their core business has to bear the brunt of it.

After the NASA conspiracy (some or all elements of the Apollo program and the associated Moon landings were hoaxes staged by NASA with the aid of other organizations; the most notable claim being that the six manned landings (1969–72) were faked and that twelve Apollo astronauts did not actually walk on the Moon), it’s difficult to buy any first world manufacturing firm’s theory about their products and processes.

The problem doesn’t revolve only about the business, but has political inclinations too- for instance the former U.S president, Barack Obama firing higher management Russian authorities for hacking into the US government system for voting victory in Trump’s favour.

The U.S food and drug standard controlling associations function effectively, unlike India. Hence, we still have rampant circulation of Crocin and Disprin in India, whereas it’s banned in US.

Politicians simply fool people and extract benefits out of the business oriented firms. A high share of media reports and awareness play a role in influencing the government in taking an action regarding such issues, which has a relative impact on the sales-demand curve in logistics.

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In PM Modi’s reign, Jayem expresses high hopes for flushing out all the signs of corruption and ultimately earn goodwill to the country and its citizens.

Orange juice disappearing from breakfast in America

In an article by The Independent, the orange juice was considered a breakfast staple for decades, and has long been featured prominently in nearly every cereal ad as part of a “complete breakfast.”

But Americans’ consumption of orange juice has been plunging in recent years, as awareness grows over the scant nutritional value of the drink.

A 12-ounce glass of orange juice contains 153 calories, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 27 grams of sugar, and 2.4 grams of protein. That’s the same amount of carbohydrates and almost as much sugar as a bag of M&M’s, as Brodwin points out.

That’s why nutrition experts and health bloggers have been railing against orange juice in recent years. When you Google “orange juice good for you,” the top results include posts titled “Why orange juice is slowly killing you,” and “The #1 reason to avoid orange juice.”

Perhaps that’s why sales of the juice are down 13% in the past four years, according to data from Nielsen.

Frozen orange juice has experienced the biggest drop in sales, falling 39% to $98 million since 2012, compared to a 10% drop to $3.1 billion for refrigerated orange juice in the same period.

Florida, which is the top producer of oranges used for juice in the US, is on track for the fifth straight season of declines in orange output — representing the worst decline in more than a century, according to Bloomberg.

On top of falling demand, orange producers have also been battling a bacterial disease that has been wiping out their groves.

As growers leave the business, orange-processing plants have also been shutting down.

Thanks to the rise of the juicing trend, however, a wide array of juices and smoothies are available as alternatives to orange juice.

Nutella maker fights back

Another article by The Independent states that Ferrero, the maker of Nutella, has hit back at claims that palm oil used in their hazelnut and chocolate spreads could cause cancer.

In May, the European Food Standards Authority warned that the contaminants found in the oil’s edible form are carcinogenic. It warned that even moderate consumption of the substances represented a risk to children and said that, due to a lack of definitive data, no level could be considered safe.

Palm oil is found in hundreds of household name food brands including Cadbury’s chocolate, Clover and even Ben & Jerry’s, but Nutella has so far faced the brunt of a consumer backlash.

Sales fell by three per cent in the year to August 2016 as consumers ditched the product for palm-oil free alternatives. Coop, the country’s biggest supermarket chain removed 200 products containing palm oil, though not Nutella, from its shelves in May as a precaution.

In response, Ferrero has launched an advertising campaign in an attempt to reassure customers that its products are totally safe.

Ferrero insists that the decision to keep palm oil in Nutella, despite safety fears, is about quality, not cost. The substance is used to give the spread its smooth texture which it says can’t be achieved by using other oils. “Making Nutella without palm oil would produce an inferior substitute for the real product, it would be a step backward,” Ferrero’s purchasing manager Vincenzo Tapella told Reuters.

Substitute oils, derived for example from sunflowers or rapeseed, could be used but would increase the cost of making the product by as much as $22m (£18m), a calculation by Reuters found. Ferrero has not confirmed the figures. The company was not immediately available for comment.

The cancer fears centre on a compounds known as glycidyl fatty acid esters (GE), which are produced in palm oil when it is heated above 200 degrees celsius, as it is in the processing of for many foods.

The World Health Organisation and UN Food and Agriculture Organisation have also expressed concerns about GE but have stopped short of issuing warnings about its consumption.

A spokesperson for Ferrero said: “The health and safety of consumers is an absolute and first priority for Ferrero.

“The presence of contaminants in food products, analyzed by the EFSA, depends on the oils and fats used as well as the processes they are subjected to.

“It is for this reason that for some time now Ferrero has been carefully selecting raw materials and industrial processes that limit their presence to minimum levels, fully in line with the parameters defined by the EFSA.”

It is not the first time that palm oil has caused controversy. In November Amnesty International raised concerns that global firms including Colgate-Palmolive, Kellogg’s, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser and Unilever have been using palm oil produced by children as young as eight, working in hazardous conditions on Indonesian plantations.

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2008: The California Warning

Heavy metal risk to the confectionery supply chain came under the spotlight in the US as health officials detected banned levels of lead in two different chocolate confectionery brands.

California’s department of public health warned consumers not to eat Huevines Confitados Sabor chocolate products, manufactured by a Mexican firm, after tests found that the product contained as much as 0.20 parts of million (ppm) of lead.

Oil Drive Towards Extinction?

A lot of these stories start with a bulldozer and a forest that is being transformed into a large-scale oil palm plantation. Through the supply chain and hidden in our products, it is then our consumption of palm oil that is pushing orangutans and other animals to the edge of extinction.
Palm oil is a type of edible vegetable oil that is derived from the palm fruit, which is grown on the African oil palm tree. It is the most widely used vegetable oil in the world, with roughly tens of millions of tons of palm oil produced annually. It accounts for more than 30% of the world’s vegetable oil production, 80% of which is used in the food industry. It is everywhere and found in approximately 50% of household products, including baked goods, confectionery, shampoo, cosmetics, cleaning agents, washing detergents and toothpaste.

If you go and look in your fridge, your pantry or your bathroom cupboard right now, chances are you will have products labelled ‘vegetable oil’. But the real question is, how many of these products are actually palm oil that you don’t know about it? What damage are the products you have in your house doing to the orangutans, the ecosystem and people? It is this uncertainty and the impending extinction of these orangutans that is driving the desire to re-label products that contain palm oil.