Logistics

National Disaster Management Act has brought clarity for logistics firms: Stellar Value Chain Solutions’ CMD

P Manoj Mumbai | Updated on March 30, 2020 Published on March 30, 2020

Anshuman Singh, CMD, Stellar Value Chain Solutions Pvt Ltd.

The nationwide lockdown imposed by the government to halt the spread of Corona virus is posing huge challenges to logistics firms to ferry essential commodities to grocery stores. With the lockdown entering the sixth day, how are logistics companies rising to the challenges? BusinessLine spoke to Anshuman Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, Stellar Value Chain Solutions Pvt Ltd to know what they are doing to keep the supply chain moving. Excerpts:

How prepared were you to deal with the restrictions arising from the lockdown?

It’s been a tough few weeks for everyone across the globe. In the first few days of March, our decisions were constantly evolving with the operational aspects of the crisis.

In the initial days, communication was the key priority for us to dispel any fears, anxiety and/or confusion in the minds of thousands of our staff and associates. All managers had conducted sensitizing and training sessions on safety and health, including use of sanitizers, washing hands frequently, and keeping a meter distance.

Were the vehicles on road caught unawares by the announcement?

Our vehicles were stranded at various locations across the country. Since vehicles are fitted with GPS tracking devices and cold chain is further fortified with temperature sensors, we were able to track them and enable delivery or bring them to the nearest safe locations.

How are you dealing with glitches in operational continuity?

Ever since the announcement of the lockdown, we are only operational for our customers in food and grocery, FMCG, and healthcare sectors, which are part of essential services, such as Nestle, Mondelez, Metro Cash and Carry, Reliance Fresh etc, Kimberly and a few other healthcare companies.

It was very challenging initially since different state were working with different plans. With the Centre invoking the National Disaster Management Act, we have now got a good clarity in last two days. Our customers have given us letters for operational continuity based on which we have obtained Special I-Cards and Curfew Passes to ensure that our staff and associates are able to travel without any hinderance.

We have also offered support to food, FMCG and healthcare companies with our ready space and transportation operations especially in areas near manufacturing and ports, even on short term/temporary basis.

How are you coordinating human resources which is key to your operations?

We set up a Stellar Protection Group (SPG) at the Head Office with teams at the regional level as a single point interface to ensure control and monitoring. This Group is ensuring real time monitoring of all preventive actions at all operational locations, continuous liaison with local authorities and ensuring information management especially prevention of spread of rumours.

How are you motivating staff?

Keeping the staff motivated is the biggest challenge. For our staff, associates and drivers, working for essential services, we are encouraging them to come to work and SPG is continuously sensitizing them regarding the precautions that they are required to take.

We are also continuing to on-board new employees online. Our teams working from home, are connecting more, there are more virtual meetings and we are using the collaboration tools to their fullest. In that sense, our entire organization is working, whether on or off the field.

How are you working around safety issues?

Safety protocols have been defined and described clearly and plugged into the current processes. These include preventive measures to be taken during loading, unloading, working within warehouses or for drivers who are on the move.

Has the adoption of technology eased your hardships?

Stellar's technology platform is chugging along quietly in the background empowering all business activities as if its "business as usual". All our transactions solutions are cloud-based and hence accessible from anywhere anytime. Our vehicles are fitted with GPS tracking devices and cold chain is further fortified with temperature sensors. All these devices augmented by their corresponding software tools are working round-the-clock to give our business teams, a complete traceability on the whereabouts of vehicles as well as temperature breaches of the cold chain movements (including door-open, door-close alerts).

CCTV cameras are tracking branch and hub operations, and stream the live video feeds directly to laptops of key personnel operating from their homes. Business teams are using multi-party video conferencing tools like Zoom to stay in touch all the time. Our cloud-based collaboration platform Zoho is helping us access all the company info from anywhere and share it with all concerned online.

Published on March 30, 2020

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