Delivering excellence in digital world to become underlying theme for future: Manoj Madhavan, CIO, Blue Dart Express
Logistics major Blue Dart Express has been leveraging technology and digital solutions, ensuring safe and seamless operations amidst Covid crisis. In an exclusive interaction with Express Computer, Manoj Madhavan, CIO, Blue Dart Express, shares the role of new-age technologies at the company
What are the major areas wherein Blue Dart has been adopting IT solutions, and what are some of the recent projects?
A need-of-the-hour during the current crisis has become adoption of a virtual work setup. Organisations have been tested in the last few weeks on ways in which business continuity remains consistent and smooth. As Blue Dart is an essential service provider, we focused on digitalisation and prioritised processes to drive productivity and efficiencies across various functions in the organisation. The intent is to ensure a smooth flow within the organisational functions to avoid road blocks in the processes.
Contactless delivery was introduced keeping situations like the current pandemic in mind. This is a mix of digital payments and OTP based secure deliveries to minimise or eliminate contact between the courier and customer during the delivery and collection of shipments.
Our data science team is using sophisticated predictive analytics to create a predictive modelling knowledge base that combines machine learning models with constantly evolving data to spot trends, predict problems, prescribe solutions, assist innovation, identify new business opportunities as well as deliver superior customer experiences.
At Blue Dart, the IT infrastructure is the backbone of the organisation, holding the different departments together and helping them optimise their output at all times. Our initiatives an focus remain on minimising risk for our customers and employees as much as possible while ensuring business continuity.
Please highlight the business benefits yielded by some of your key projects
An indigenous network modelling system has been developed and implemented which has enabled Blue Dart to dynamically respond to changes in network schedules and recommend fast and reliable network routes linking shipment origins with destinations. Blue Dart’s website has been revamped to engage with customers for additional touchpoints like exception handling with alternate instructions, dashboards for greater visibility on performance and billing information.
A control tower has been built for proactive ‘track and trace’ of shipment movement within the network. Teams operating using this real time solution can control nationwide activity, which involves first mile, network connection and last mile delivery.
An optimised network infrastructure with secure access into Blue Dart’s internal digital resources ensured we were operational and working from home right from the start of the pandemic enforced lockdown. Video conferencing and recording in administrative offices have been upgraded with interactive high definition display, wireless presentation streaming from any device to promote virtual meetings and seamless day-to-day functioning.
A shift to micro-services based architecture for its core systems with an underlying AI based engine has been made to drive agility in meeting business requirements with speed and also ensuring smarter and more efficient ways of working.
How are you leveraging digital technologies for enhancing customer experience?
We understand that the express logistics industry is extremely customer centric. Customer experience is what sets Blue Dart apart in a very competitive environment. Ensuring a smooth and hassle free experience for the customer is therefore a priority always. Application programming interface (API) based solutions for our customers have been enhanced for exchanging manifest at detailed levels to ensure an automated and seamless supply chain, from pre-pick up till post-delivery, inclusive of collections.
To provide customers with a superior experience, we use technology enabled mobility solutions for administering specialised pickups of product returns, which also include quality control checks, product image verification and close coordination for timely pickups.
At Blue Dart, our core values include a ‘Right First Time’ principal wherein we strive to remain error-free and bring great value to our service quality offerings. We therefore strengthened our offerings such as customised solutions built for our top customers to manage tamper-proof packaging checking and secure delivery to the specific recipient with OTP confirmation.
A personalised tracking tool for recipient shipments has been enabled on a unique URL link, which allows tracking, plotting delivery landmarks, visual display of the courier on the map as well as the option to provide NPA feedback on the service.
Contact-less delivery has been introduced keeping in mind the safety of our couriers as well as our customers. A must-have service during this global health crisis, contact-less service provides a mix of digital payments and OTP based secure deliveries to ensure customers have a variety of payment options.
While ensuring a safe and enhanced customer experience, at Blue Dart we also keep our focus on sustainability. In-line with the Deutsche Post DHL Group’s mission of ‘Zero Carbon Emissions’ by the year 2050, Blue Dart has introduced a green approach in the field by using the eNSG app for operations. With the implementation of the application, printing of NSG copies has stopped, saving printing and dispatch costs whilst reducing our carbon emission. The information on the eNSG App is updated to display real time information therefore, updates if any, can be flashed early.
The next big game-changer technology according to you
I believe technologies enabling near-autonomous facilities, robotics, drone-delivery systems, and 3D/additive manufacturing are going to be adopted very quickly. The reason being, in the event of another pandemic, organisations would want to ensure ‘business-as-usual’ as an efficient normal that can be put into action seamlessly, in short time – to cause minimal business disruptions. I believe a game changer for smart working would be the move from systems based on validation to smart systems based on AI and ML.
The key would be to design systems which do not tear the fabric of the business overnight, but is able to embed itself into the processes and drive the change in user behaviour through inbuilt smart suggestions and guidance. The user journey would be driven through the interfaces built for working on the tools, which are continuously learning and simultaneously using feedback and a feed-forward methodology.
What’s IT roadmap envisioned for the future, and what will be the IT best practices in a post-Covid world?
The underlying theme of a ‘technology-led transformation’ would revolve around creating business models that will survive in a ‘less-contact’ society. Features of this ‘post Covid-19 society’ would include micro-services based design driving agility and revamping existing systems to be AI and ML enabled, with enhanced cyber security, elastic and high speed bandwidth, cloud infrastructure, and gig based technology talent.
The key is to digitise as many transactions and transform as many manual processes into digital. For us, in the express logistics industry, delivering excellence in a digital world would be the underlying theme for the future.
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