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Blue Dart has been investing in infrastructure for AI support and upskilling the workforce: Manoj Madhavan, CIO, Blue Dart

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During a recent interaction with Express Computer, Manoj Madhavan, Chief Information Officer, Blue Dart, discussed the company’s recent digital initiatives. These include prepaid cards for real-time payments, geocoding for accurate deliveries, and AI-driven mobility solutions. 

He emphasised the growing influence of GenAI in logistics, highlighting benefits like route optimisation and sustainability. Madhavan addressed challenges such as data management complexity and integration costs, stressing the need for meticulous planning and interdepartmental collaboration for successful AI implementation. However, he noted that Blue Dart is still in the process of fully leveraging AI capabilities.

Furthermore, he stated that the company prioritises cybersecurity through comprehensive measures like lifecycle protection and continuous verification. Regulatory compliance remains crucial for transparent and secure AI-driven operations.

Here are the edited excerpts:

Can you take us through some of the recent digital initiatives you have taken? What has been the impact?

We’ve led transformative digital initiatives to enhance customer experience and operational efficiency. Our Digital Prepaid Cards offer real-time payment visibility and hassle-free recharge, simplifying booking management. Partnering with What3words, a digital geocoding system, has revolutionised delivery accuracy. It ensures precise deliveries within a 3m x 3m square, enhancing satisfaction, and reducing errors. Our focus on technology-enabled mobility solutions for returns ensures error-free operations, thus improving service quality. At the DHL Group level, we drive AI initiatives like Generative AI and Intelligent Automation (GAIA). Although AI isn’t fully integrated into our CRM yet, we’re attentive to industry advancements. Our eventual adoption will align seamlessly with our customer-centric approach and commitment to excellence.

How do you plan to integrate AI strategically into the organisation’s IT roadmap, and what challenges do you foresee in this implementation?

At Blue Dart, technology adoption plays a vital role in addressing global disruptions faced by the sector as a whole. As an express logistics company, we recognise the significant contribution of the logistics industry to the national economy. We have been investing in our robust infrastructure capable of supporting AI applications, ensuring scalability and efficiency. We have also been focusing on upskilling our workforce. Moving forward, we will focus on harnessing AI capabilities effectively, providing comprehensive training programs to equip them with the necessary skills. We will emphasize the importance of change management to facilitate a smooth transition, addressing any resistance and ensuring buy-in from all stakeholders. We have plans to prioritise ethical considerations, implementing measures to ensure transparency, fairness, and accountability in AI-driven decision-making processes.

Challenges in this implementation include data management complexities, such as collection, standardisation, and privacy concerns. Additionally, integrating AI into existing systems may require significant investment and could potentially disrupt current workflows. Addressing these challenges will require careful planning, collaboration across departments, and a commitment to ongoing optimisation and refinement of AI algorithms and processes.

How do you see the traction for GenAI in the industry? Is your company leveraging it?

Generative AI in logistics market is driving a revolution in the supply chain and transportation industry, fundamentally transforming operations and enhancing efficiency. This growth is fueled by various compelling factors like route optimisation; AI algorithms streamline delivery routes, effectively reducing transportation costs and enhancing delivery times. AI’s prowess in demand forecasting revolutionises inventory management, minimising stockouts, and ensuring smoother operations. Furthermore, AI’s role in inventory optimisation ensures effective management of stock levels, thereby reducing carrying costs and strengthening supply chain efficiency. Real-time tracking capabilities provided by AI enhance visibility and customer satisfaction by monitoring shipments promptly. AI also plays a crucial role in fostering sustainability by optimising logistics for efficiency and reducing emissions, thus contributing to a greener future. While we acknowledge the transformative potential of GenAI technologies in enhancing customer management, we are still in the process of fully integrating AI into our systems.

With the increasing importance of cybersecurity, what measures are you taking to ensure the security and integrity of its IT systems and sensitive data?

In response to the growing significance of cybersecurity, we are implementing multifaceted measures to fortify the security and integrity of our IT systems and sensitive data. We prioritise safeguarding the process of generating insights by securing the entire lifecycle—from data collection and model training to deployment and ongoing operations. This entails stringent protection of system data and models crucial for insight generation. Additionally, we employ compartmentalisation techniques, segmenting processes to mitigate risks. By separating and restricting workflow phases, we shield critical training data and model parameters, thus minimising the impact of potential breaches. 

We ensure a continuous verification process for both internal users and systems. This strengthens  security through rigorous assessment of trustworthiness, authentication, and authorisation. As regulations in our industry evolve to address AI integration, we remain committed to balancing innovation with regulatory compliance, thereby ensuring transparent, fair, and secure AI-driven operations within our organisation.

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