Safeguarding E-Goods in Transit: Strengthening Supply Chain Security

E-goods play a pivotal role in driving growth and serve as catalysts for fostering innovation, expanding markets, and enabling digital transformation. From electronics and software to digital services, they have become the backbone of numerous industries and contribute significantly to the economy. However, the importance of protecting e-goods during transit cannot be overstated. During the transportation process, e-goods are vulnerable to various risks such as theft, damage, or tampering. Safeguarding them is vital to ensure uninterrupted supply, maintain customer satisfaction, and preserve the economic benefits they bring.

Tech-driven solutions

An advanced route optimization software can be used to plan the most efficient and safe transportation routes for e-goods. By selecting routes with better road conditions, reduced traffic congestion, and fewer chances of accidents, the risk of damage to the goods can be minimised. Implementing tracking and monitoring systems allows one to track the location and condition of the e-goods in real time. This helps identify any potential issues or deviations during transit, enabling prompt action to prevent damage or mitigate risks. Nowadays, many businesses are actively researching the application of machine learning algorithms to predict which products are more susceptible to damage during transit. By analysing historical data and identifying patterns, they aim to take preemptive measures to prevent damage. This proactive approach not only minimises losses but also enhances customer satisfaction by ensuring that products arrive in optimal condition.

Pepperfry, a leading online furniture and home decor retailer, has demonstrated an impressive low damage rate of approximately 1.2% for its transported products. This achievement is particularly noteworthy considering the delicate nature of the items they handle. To further enhance their damage prevention efforts, Pepperfry has implemented several strategic measures. One of the key steps taken is their investment in specialised packaging materials and techniques, ensuring the utmost protection of products during transit. Recognizing the potential of technology to further reduce damage rates, Pepperfry plans to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced tech solutions. They are exploring the utilisation of sensors and Internet of Things (IoT) technology to monitor product conditions in real time during transportation. This proactive approach allows them to identify any potential issues early on and address them before they escalate into larger problems.

Harnessing technology to prevent retail theft

Implementing advanced surveillance systems, including CCTV cameras, motion sensors, and video analytics, can help monitor and identify suspicious activities in warehouses, distribution centres, and transit hubs. Real-time monitoring and recording of activities can act as a deterrent and provide evidence for investigations. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and barcode systems enable accurate tracking and inventory management. By tagging products with RFID tags or barcodes, one can have real-time visibility of products throughout the supply chain. This allows for immediate identification of any discrepancies, such as missing or tampered items.

E-locks, or electronic locks, play a vital role in ensuring safe goods transit. These advanced locking systems utilise electronic technology to enhance security and streamline logistics operations. With features like GPS tracking, tamper alerts, and remote access control, e-locks provide real-time monitoring and protection for goods during transit. They enable seamless integration with transportation management systems, allowing for efficient tracking, scheduling, and inventory management. Additionally, e-locks offer increased accountability and transparency, as they record data such as entry and exit times, providing an audit trail.

Proper packaging

Businesses can ensure that e-goods are appropriately packaged using suitable materials and techniques. This may include using cushioning materials, shock-absorbent packaging, and sturdy boxes to protect the goods from potential damage during transportation. One can implement strict quality control measures at different stages of the transit process. This can involve inspecting the e-goods before shipment to identify any pre-existing damages or defects. By ensuring that only high-quality products are dispatched, the risk of damage during transit can be reduced.

Different e-goods may have unique packaging requirements. Logistics transport companies can offer customised packaging solutions based on specific characteristics of the products. This may involve designing and implementing tailored packaging solutions that provide optimal protection during transit. Certain e-goods may require special handling due to their delicate nature or sensitivity to factors like temperature, humidity, or vibrations. To safeguard electronic items, it's essential to cover them with a protective layer of anti-static wrap. This helps prevent damage caused by the accumulation of static electricity, which can harm circuits and other components during transit.

Implementing a floating deck, specifically designed to absorb shocks and energy during shipping, offers an additional layer of protection. This deck allows controlled movement in different directions, including front-to-back, side-to-side, and up-and-down, reducing the risk of damage to the goods. When transporting goods via ship, it's crucial to use vapour-barrier bagging. This protects electronic items from corrosion caused by high humidity, especially in salty ocean air environments. Placing items in a vapour-barrier bag along with an activated desiccant, sealing it securely, and removing air with a vacuum tool helps maintain a controlled environment. Including humidity indicator cards or plugs allows for monitoring humidity levels during transport.

Importance of e-goods

The development of a robust supply chain is crucial for the growth of electronic manufacturing in India, particularly for achieving higher domestic value addition. Electronic components, being the fundamental building blocks of the electronics industry, involve significant value addition. Thus, establishing a thriving ecosystem for electronic components manufacturing is vital for sustainable long-term growth and achieving a net positive Balance of Payments (BoP).

The Government of India has set forth its objective of expanding and strengthening the country's electronic manufacturing ecosystem. The National Policy on Electronics 2019 (NPE 2019) aims to position India as a global hub for Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) by fostering capabilities for core component development, including chipsets, and creating a conducive environment for the industry to compete globally. The implementation of the SPECS scheme under the NPE initiative may help address the challenges faced by the electronic manufacturing sector in India and encourage domestic production of electronic components and semiconductors. By providing financial support for capital expenditure, the scheme aims to strengthen the electronic manufacturing ecosystem and boost value addition in the country's electronics industry.

Final Thoughts

When e-goods are protected during transit, it fosters confidence among businesses, encourages investments, and promotes a healthy business ecosystem. India's supply chain ecosystem has undergone remarkable advancements over the years, leading to substantial improvements in service quality and a significant reduction in costs associated with wastage. Investments in transportation infrastructure, such as roads, railways, ports, and airports, have improved connectivity across the country. This has facilitated the movement of goods and reduced transit times, enabling more efficient supply chain operations. The widespread adoption of technology and digital solutions has transformed supply chain processes. Automation, data analytics, and cloud-based platforms have enhanced visibility, inventory management, and demand forecasting, resulting in better coordination and reduced wastage. India has witnessed the growth of organised logistics providers, including third-party logistics (3PL) companies and e-commerce logistics players. Their presence has improved the efficiency and reliability of transportation, warehousing, and last-mile delivery service, leading to reduced losses and wastage.