Nilesh Ghule is the Co-founder, CEO of Forza Logistics Techlabs Pvt Ltd – a technology-led logistics company, popularly known under the brand name ‘TruckBhejo’. The company is focused on connecting both supply and demand sides to deploy the most efficient logistics network. Catering to all 3 delivery miles – first, middle and last mile of logistics, TruckBhejo has all the leading FMCG, E-comm, E-grocery, Telecom, manufacturing, and retail majors as its client. With a fleet of over 3,000 active trucks and 40+ city network, the company has shipped over 2 million tonnages and fulfilled over 1 million deliveries.
“Sustainability is taking responsibility for the steps that a product or service goes through before it gets to the consumer” – so interestingly sustainability is defined in the CII report on “Integrating sustainability into Indian supply chain”.
The word “responsibility” is aptly included here to emphasize the need to be cognizant of every action one is taking, from manufacturing to delivery to the end consumer. I would say that responsible consumption is also very much part of sustainability.
Fortunately, it is now well established that the concerns around environment and sustainable solutions are not just about carbon emissions. It is a much wider concept that includes waste handling, packaging, storing, water usage in various activities, distribution, working conditions, health and safety measures for the workers, and so on. But are we cognizant of these other factors? Not yet.
Let me share an example here
Thanks to the pandemic, the e-commerce business flourished to cover the growth of the next 2-3 years in just one year. The frequency of orders increased significantly with offline shopping moving to the online platforms But, was there an increase in demand and consumption too? Not really. Ordering online generally takes about 2-3 mins end-to-end. Due to this ease and speed, orders were placed as and when the need would arise vs. the shopping which was done at one go from the stores. The coffee powder got over today and was ordered online instantly. After 2 days we were short on salt and tea bags and we ordered it after 2 days. Over the weekend, upon cleaning the shelves we realized we need to order grains and this keeps going.
While there is no hassle in the overall purchase process, our actions are not responsible enough. Receiving everything at the doorsteps during the lockdown, was a boon. Logistics sector which ensured these deliveries also witnessed significant growth. Truck drivers worked relentlessly through the pandemic taking complete responsibility of their job and not shying away from their duty getting scared of catching the virus. But the deliveries which could have been combined in one trip per week/ ten days, were unnecessarily frequent, just because of our hasty ordering pattern. This one simple example is enough to explain how we end up contributing to higher carbon emission, wastage of packaging material, the cost involved in every single trip, and time spent in managing the deliveries. It surely satisfied our needs instantly, but is this a responsible behaviour and sustainable practice? This is the question we need to answer to ourselves.
Amazon has now come up with “Amazon Day delivery”, a well-thought step limiting the squandering of resources. As consumers, it is now upto us to choose the option and support the efforts.
Small alterations in our behaviours, whether it is online shopping or driving on the roads, can bring huge differences contributing to the sustainable environment
Do you know that driving on the highway at 80 kilometers per hour can save about 10 % of fuel? Keeping tyres at optimal pressure is an effective tool for keeping fuel consumption under control. Using tyre pressure sensors helps fuel consumption by up to 12 % at lower speeds, as well as extending the tire lifetime. Many such hacks can significantly reduce wastage, lower carbon emissions, ensure the health of the vehicles, and in turn reduce the incidences of accidents. At TruckBhejo, it is a customary for every driver to go through small trainings that we conduct at regular intervals. We educate and provide our truck owner-drivers with various vehicle maintenance tricks and tools in these trainings so that they can keep the vehicles in better condition, for longer periods, not get stranded on highways while on the long hauls, and most importantly keep themselves away from the mishaps.
Technology can play a crucial role in driving sustainable practices
Digitisation significantly changed the way of doing business. From organizing the data at one place to manage, monitor, and track is now possible through technology. Paperless transactions, swifter border clearances, fastags for toll payments, all these have reduced the time spent at borders thereby adding to fuel saving. Setting online reminders for timely renewals of the regulatory documents like licenses, PUC, vehicle insurance, are now within the grasp. The resulting benefits are – cost efficiency, quality control, adherence to compliances, better governance, and effective use of resources. TruckBhejo’s tech-based platform enables real-time tracking of the entire trip, video surveillance, and strict compliance with the Government norms.
Data analytics can help in charting optimum routes leading to reduction in empty miles
Data analytics is another tool assisting the logistics sector. Various heat maps are generated to study the location-wise movement of goods, required capacity at various points in time, and thus the actual logistics requirements. It helps in deploying the capacities more systematically, with better accuracy and most importantly in reducing the empty miles for trucks. It also assists in creating backup plans and schedule the deliveries in more refined ways to have minimum disruptions. Route optimization also brings cost-effectiveness. Reduction in transit time is possible through route management systems. The advanced algorithm calculates the shortest and most cost-effective route depending on the two locations. Everything eventually resulting in fuel, cost, and manpower savings.
Creating a conducive environment for truck drivers is a must
Sustainability is not just about responsible use of resources. Human capital is also very much part of the ecosystem. Truck drivers are pivotal to the logistics industry and enhancing their social quotient is as critical as it is to reduce carbon emission. For TruckBhejo, truck drivers are always first. We provide certainty of loads, timely payments, visibility in income, term insurance for the drivers and many other allied benefits. Drivers are hence able to better plan their family finance, improve their income cycle, buy more vehicles, thus feeling empowered with enhanced social quotient.
The electric vehicles (EVs) have already hit the roads. Adoption of EVs will further propel with the government’s push and a green & responsible approach from the businesses. However, these technologies will deliver the desired results only with our responsible behaviour.