Sourcing Journal’s Chain Reaction is a global resource for news and information tailored for textile and soft goods executives working on the supply chain side of the business. It provides daily updates on news changing the retail industry, commentary and opinion from industry experts. Here, Nishith Rastogi, CEO of Locus—a real-world-ready dispatch management platform—discusses how it’s pushing the boundaries of innovation to help businesses adapt to rapidly-evolving market conditions and meet the demands of the end consumers.
Name: Nishith Rastogi
What industries do you primarily serve? Which industry do you think has the most to teach fashion about improving their supply chain logistics?
We primarily serve courier and third-party logistics (3PL), retail and consumer packaged goods (CPG) and e-commerce industries. Fashion is also a highly dynamic industry with equally discerning consumers who crave novelty in expression. They prefer variety, but also convenience and flexibility in how their purchases are delivered to their doorstep.
I believe the fashion industry can learn a lot from e-commerce and retail companies on how they cater to their customers’ expectations and how they handle returns, exchanges and cancelations in a way that is seamless for all stakeholders and cost-effective for businesses.
What are some of Locus’ latest initiatives?
We launched two offerings in the past year. First is Delivery Linked Checkout, a first-of-its-kind integrated capability that enables retail businesses to deliver orders on customer-preferred timelines while maintaining optimal capacity and service efficiencies. The feature is a strategic enhancement to Locus’ Dispatch Management Platform—a platform that transforms last-mile operations—specifically designed to help retailers unlock new fulfillment capabilities and meet increasing demands quickly.
Next is ShipFlex, a unique platform that helps businesses expand their reach and achieve break-neck delivery speeds by simplifying third-party deliveries. ShipFlex automates the entire third-party carrier workflows for the optimal price and delivers end-to-end visibility of order-to-doorstep deliveries across in-house, contracted and outsourced fleets on a single dashboard. Additionally, it enables businesses to offer same-day and next-day delivery capabilities in new geographies. The platform also gives businesses access to Locus’ global carrier partners, helping with their delivery orchestration in a much more efficient and cost-effective manner.
What are the main things brands and retailers could do (or stop doing) right now that would immediately improve logistics?
Companies can take a data-centric approach to their logistics decisions. When each decision is backed by data, it eliminates—or drastically reduces—the flaws of human judgment, thereby increasing efficiency and reducing costs at the last-mile.
Appropriate technology solutions can also be used to elevate the overall quality of decision making. For example, route planning—which was earlier done manually and would take hours to complete—can now be done dynamically in a matter of minutes for thousands of orders.
When it comes to supply chain logistics challenges, there are things companies can fix, and things that are beyond their control. How can the former help the latter?
As we’ve seen in recent years, we can’t control the uncertainties affecting our supply chains, but we can swiftly react to minimize the impact. To that end, agility and resilience have become prized traits for any supply chain.
However, adequately responding to uncertainties in a swift manner often requires having accurate, on-the-ground information as quickly as possible. As a result, instead of supply chains trying to anticipate uncertain events beforehand, they can improve their preparedness by focusing on enabling end-to-end visibility, diverse communication channels and automated notifications.
What areas of logistics aren’t receiving the industry attention it deserves?
Drivers are the backbone of supply chain and logistics operations. Ensuring their well-being in a highly competitive environment is key to the overall success of supply chains. Drivers that are motivated can go the extra mile in bringing that level of delight that customers seek from any service.
However, it’s the drivers that are on the losing end right now. For one, they are under immense pressure to meet steep delivery targets from businesses. Additionally, they are countering multiple obstacles on the road that hold them back from making timely deliveries. Over time, this results in poor well-being and driver attrition.
What is the one thing brands and retailers could be doing to make better use of technology to improve logistics?
Doing more research on the real-world benefits technology yields, meeting multiple logistics solutions providers, and keeping an open mind are all important. If brands and retailers are already using a solution, having an active conversation with the customer excellence teams can go a long way in discovering new ways to achieve excellence at the last mile.
Are you optimistic about the state of supply chains in the next few years?
The past three years have shown how committed the industry is toward enabling resilience and discovering new growth opportunities in the face of adversity. With this growth mindset, we feel optimistic about the state of supply chains and innovation in the upcoming years.