The flagship warehouse of Mahindra Logistics at Luhari is a Grade-A facility. Ashish Bhatia with Sumesh Soman looks at its role in multi-client fulfilment and distribution

Third-Party Logistics (3PL) is not the same anymore. ‘Just-In-Time- has given way to ‘Just-In-Case’ with supply-side shocks accounting for half of the price rises. The cost of logistics in India is at 13-14 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and must come down. In the hub and spoke model, warehouses have assumed a renewed significance for various segments including e-commerce and consumer goods movement. Faced with its own set of challenges during the pandemic and supply-side bottlenecks, first with migration and then with reverse migration resulting in labour shortage. According to Rampraveen Swaminathan, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mahindra Logistics Ltd. (MLL) Notably, companies are acting out of fear and stocking up in the case of any contingency with disruptive events continuing to plague the industry. Be it the Russian war in Ukraine, alternative procurement strategies, container shortages or the semiconductor shortage. “People are stocking up with the apprehension of not just Covid-19 but the China+1 strategy and the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The market is more volatile than ever and this leads to new patterns where contingencies have taken priority. No company wants to be caught in a situation where they are at a standstill and since 2020, multiple factors have stalled the market and movement,” he opined.

Rampraveen Swaminathan, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mahindra Logistics Ltd.

At the flagship, Grade-A warehouse among three such facilities of Mahindra Logistics, the company continues to challenge the status quo of 3PL. Approximately 80 kms from the National Capital and christened as one of the best, sustainable and tech-enabled facilities, the floor bearing capacity is about eight tonnes per sq. m. with a 13 m height clearance. The entire facility is tech-enabled and functions in a paperless fashion As its sustenance model. MLL, informed Swaminathan, boasts of recycled and sustainable practices being integrated in and around the facility so much so that the last mile delivery is done by ‘eDel’ e-bikes along with in-facility transportation of goods as well as employees. The company’s partnership with eDel has added over 500 electric vehicles to its fleet with over 60 charging hubs. The company claims that with this partnership, they have covered more than seven million kilometres, served over 1000 pin codes, saved over 700 tonnes of CO2 and are expanding over 14 cities.

Other noteworthy mentions are customisable and flexible spaces, easy access to key industrial markets and fully equipped with standard amenities. Rampraveen averred, “If you actually integrate across these supply chains, you can create significant improvements in product outlets. We can actually move and take all services together, bundle these together and get a lot more visibility of the supply chain. It makes it more flexible and voluminous for a multi-client facility.”A rack at the facility can hold up to 30,000 pellets with over 50 docks. There are over 25 exit points for the safe evacuation of staff along with an underground passage designed for emergencies. The company currently has about 3.2 million sq.ft.of multi-client facilities operational at 10 locations across the country, along with 2.8 million sq. ft. of multi-client facilities under construction at seven locations. The company brags sub-48-hour TAT of market access to over 70 per cent of consumers in the country. MLL warehouse caters to A-listers like Bajaj Auto, Godrej-Boyce, and Panasonic to name a few.

Sharing the future aspirations and preparations in line, Rampraveen said, “We have right now about four million sq. ft. under construction, of which 2.6 million is ready. Another 1.4 million sq. ft. is actually under fairly advanced stages of construction. I think we will be able to launch two facilities over the next three months, fairly large ones.” The company, it is clear. Is building a pan India network. Starting from Luhari in the NC and ending at Coimbatore. In the middle, MLL is trying to cover all the major cities: Bhiwandi, Nashik, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Karnataka, Hosur, Chennai, Kolkata, and Patna for example. “Each of these will be a gateway of access to the major cities. The network focuses that the customers are engulfed in a 200 km radius of the closest facility and that’s to ensure the quickest movement and delivery of commodities,” he mentioned. In a testimony to operations being inclusive and one that embraces diversity, the staff recruitment body is claimed to hire a diverse workforce including from the LGBTQ community. During the warehouse visit, the demonstration of Material Handling Equipment (MHE) like forklift being operated by a woman named Kunti was testimony. Her skill set of displacing goods-laden pellets at a height of over fifty feet impressed along with her capability to meticulously load pellets on the racks at the warehouse.

To ensure seamless movement, the goods are marked with a segregated ID that matches the consignment to the loading truck that is assigned for delivery. The entire process runs on a portal and is digitally monitored from end-to-end in a bid to strive for a zero-error margin. In a case of goods not matching the delivery truck, the system does not register the entry and thus a faulty shipment is not released from the dock.


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