A webinar organised by the All India Transporters Welfare Association (AITWA) saw technical experts delve on innovative tech for the transport industry.

 

Story by Deven Lad

With representatives from companies like IRIS Logix Solutions, Ceat, Freight Tiger and ClikTruk present, the webinar on innovative tech for the transport industry organised by the All India Transporters Welfare Association (AITWA) threw some interesting solutions. Connecting transporters (as members of AITWA) from all over the country, the hour-long webinar, moderated by Mahendra Arya, President, AITWA, focused on the ground reality and how transporters could hold their ground with the use of innovative technologies. Witnessing the attendance of over 500 people, the event, taking note of the gradual pick-up in supply chain, delved on how the business environment has changed in the last few years. Also delving on how the lockdown has affected the transporters and brought new disruptions to the supply chain, the webinar stressed on the necessity to adopt technology to stay in the game.

Of the opinion that things are gradually picking up and an increase in e-WayBills is evident, Arya mentioned, “The situation has changed a lot in the last 20 years.” Pointing at the e-WayBill data released by Goods and Service Tax Network (GSTN), which claims that 99 per cent bills are issued by the transport industry, Arya averred, “The last 10 years have been truly evolutionary.” Informing that the e-WayBill count shrank to 86 lakh in April 2020 against the count of 534 lakh bills in the period between April 2019 to February 2020, Arya said that upon monitoring the truck movement AITWA found out that 18 per cent of the total truck parc (European term for registered vehicles within a defined geographic region) was moving. The e-WayBill count shrank to 406 lakh in March 2020, he added. Stating that they monitored the truck movement using GPS data, Arya explained that the pandemic has forced transporters to work from home. This was made possible by the strong hand of technology, he added.

 

Easy Way Bill

Stressing on the need to look at innovative solutions to run businesses, Arya drew attention to the tech solution mastered by Iris Logic Solutions. Speaking about the same, Gautam Mahanti, the company business head mentioned that they have been working with the Government in the area of e-WayBill. Revealing that they are also a provider of GST ‘Suvidha’, Mahanti averred that they are partnering with AITWA on issues like e-pass. Stating that the e-pass concept was provided by AITWA to Iris, Mahanti explained that their tech solution, ‘Easy Way Bill’, provides benefits such as auto extension of e-WayBills in the warehouse, eliminates the need to prepare Lorry Receipt (LR) by fetching e-WayBill data from National Informatics Centre(NIC) and completion of billing by fetching monthly E-WayBill reports. Of the opinion that the ‘Easy Way Bill’ tech solution eases daily business operation, Mahanti said, “Digitisation is rising and will do so at a more rapid pace in the wake of unprecedented challenges like Covid-19. Against such a backdrop, tasks like generation of consignment notes and delivery tracking are going to get paperless.”

Enhancing business efficiency and lowering the operating costs of transporters, the ‘Easy Way Bill’ tech solution rides on the fact that the e-WayBill in itself is quite innovative. It also rides on the fact that some of the large transporters have been using it to their advantage. Of the opinion that the Novel Coronavirus will force transporters to adopt such technologies to sustain, Mahanti mentioned that they have begun working with transport companies to help them manage their data. Iris, Mahanti explained, has also begun working to help transporters to build solutions on the collected data. Announcing that they are not competing with the NIC portal, and are instead of striving to complement it, Mahanti explained that their tech solutions are engineered to facilitate better compliance. Stressing on ‘Easy Way Bill’ being useful to transporters as an add-on solution, which makes it easier to track, trace and take action on the user’s e-WayBill on a real-time basis, Mahanti said, “The Application Programming Interface (API) of our solution enables it to be integrated by various Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) programmes in use with the transporters.”

 

Real-time visibility

Claiming to have more than 80 transporters as their clients, Iris, according to Mahanti, is adding new features to its solution as per the feedback received. Offering real-time visibility to its clients by means of a single view of active e-WayBills being managed, Iris is working with its clients to lower the risk of non-compliance and reduce operating costs. While the auto extension feature automatically updates e-WayBills, making it easier for transporters with big consignments to move the cargo by using the pin code of the warehouse and of the destination, the ‘Easy Way Bill’ eliminates the need to prepare the LR by fetching e-WayBill data through NRC. The solution also helps to complete billing by fetching monthly E-way bill reports online, said Mahanti.

With tyres increasingly looked upon as a service rather than a commodity or an aggregate, the E-Tyre Module tech, according to Kohinoor Banerjee, Senior Manager — Sales, Ceat Tyres, would help collect Cost Per Kilometres (CPKM). Doing this would ensure an improvement in tyre life by five to 10 per cent, he mentioned. Stating that tyre expenditure is one of the major expenditures after fuel and staff (vehicle crew), Banerjee expressed that tyres are a costly entity and can be made to deliver more by collecting and analysing their usage data; implementing the findings, and in the process improving safety and security. Touching on the use of tyre pressure monitors and how they could help to reduce the TCO, Banerjee averred, “The need for digitisation is rising in the wake of acquiring, analysing, processing and maintaining the data.” We, at Ceat Tyres, are working on Radio-Frequency Identification(RFID) technology to track a tyre on a real-time basis to know its durability and various other factors, he added. Stating that a RFID device is placed inside a tyre, the information from which could be accessed through a smartphone.

 

Tyre tech for lower TCO

Stating that the company is also working on applications like NSD gauges to keep a check on the condition of the tyres, Banerjee averred that integrating tyre monitoring functions with other functions such as track and trace, driver behaviour, fuel consumption, etc., would help in significantly lowering the operating costs. Of the opinion that sensor-based systems would take centre stage in tyre management hereafter, Banerjee explained that TPMS systems will soon become standard from an operational point of view. Along with TPMS, the outlook of the transporters henceforth will be to outsource tyres to the company that builds it as a service, he added. The near-complete change in how tyres are perceived by transporters henceforth will lead to a drastic rise in dynamic maintenance, quipped Banerjee. It is only a matter of how the transporters take the initiative or are forced to do so, he added.

Stating that the control tower supported ‘FT Trace’ tech solution has been designed to manage the complete trace and track function online, Yash Sippy, Director, Freight Tiger, mentioned that in the current environment it is necessary that transporters are able to execute their role as easily and smoothly as they could. Informing that his company provides ePOD, a simple digital way to shrink payment cycles to keep records of delivery and avoid loss of physical files, he averred, “Our solution presents the transporters with an ability to avail real-time, in-depth visibility and tracking.” “The solution also tracks non-GPS market trucks with a customisable degree of accuracy, bulk processing trips and indents through excel import, full visibility of indent fulfilment process,” he added.

 

FT Trace


 

Working with the aid of a control tower, which gives a cockpit view of entire journey management events in phases like pre-transit, in-transit and post-transit, ‘FT Trace’, in pre-transit, displays the number of indents published, accepted, assigned and reported for the past 48 hours. In transit, it gives an idea of the number of trips at origin in-transit, last mile and untracked trips for the past 48 hours. Providing data of a number of trips at unloading point and closed trips for 48 hours in post-transit scenario, ‘FT Trace’ makes for an electronic Proof of Delivery (ePOD), which helps to shrink payment cycles for transporters. In ePOD, delivery details, documents related to the invoice number, e-WayBill number, post-delivery report and more are had. Improving speed, efficiency, accountability and visibility of deliveries as well as payment cycles, ‘FT Trace’ enables the company to provide mail-based ePOD, IVR based ePOD, OTP based ePOD and app-based ePOD.

 

Allowing transporters to place their truck hire requirements and procure a truck load, the ClikTruk app., according to Ajit Nair, Founder and CEO of the company with the same name, is designed to enhance their efficiency and the ability to do business. Accompanying full data streamlining and (or) digitisation, the ClikTruk app. is claimed to possess the ability to get the truck hired by effectively highlighting truck hiring requirement. “Our platform helps transporters to digitise; to increase their operation and connect with the supply network,” mentioned Nair. Expressing that it also helps to reduce operation cost and improve visibility and transparency, Nair, touching upon the current environment, averred that the ease of doing business comes from the ability of the app. to automate processes, centralise hiring and purchase, maintain transparency, increase supplier base and connect to the supplier network. Helping transporters with analytics and intelligence, the ClikTruk app. supports a transparent and fair bidding process that is devoid of anything hidden. It provides end-to-end tracking of the shipment, place and bids against capacity, location and availability.

Providing transporters to analyse the performance tracking of all vehicles, drivers, support staff, renewal of documents and maintenance alerts, the ClikTruk app., according to Nair, sends regular SMSes and notification alerts. It helps in cost points, capacity optimisation, proximity, a performance that results in a major reduction in cost on a truck hire and results in reducing down and idle time, which eventually increases the number of trips or shipments and ups the profitability ratio, he added. Helping AITWA members much like three other companies mentioned earlier, ClikTruk is gathering knowledge as well as taking steps to further improve its offering. Mentioned Arya, that they are helping the association members in their time of need. “They have been helping the members for the last few years and without interruption even during the lockdown,” he reiterated. Hopeful that the four solutions will help transporters beat the challenges, Arya said, the times ahead are going to be very challenging. They will call for an ability to innovate and find new ways of doing business, he signed off.

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