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Buying handsets to map trucks: How Rodic is using tech to optimise supply chain in UP

Mamuni Das New Delhi | Updated on May 13, 2021

Raj Kumar, CMD, Rodic Consultants

To supply tech solution for Bihar, now readies platform to supply O2 at home care to serve UP

Rodic Consultants, an infrastructure consulting firm, that had put up an IT-based supply chain tracking system for Uttar Pradesh’ oxygen supply chain management war room, spent ₹10 lakh to buy smartphones (each costing ₹7,000-10,000) so that tankers could be tracked, their routes could be planned and vehicles could be diverted midway to the most needed places if there was a sudden increase in demand from some location.

“We did not have time to procure GPS devices and install them as trucks were on the run. So, our employees drove along the routes of trucks, crossed the trucks, waived the drivers to stop, handed over the devices and explained the basics to the drivers – without wasting much of their time,” Raj Kumar, CMD, Rodic Consultants, told BusinessLine. Diverting trucks for installing would have meant delaying arrival of life saving oxygen.

With several people being treated on home isolation and a higher demand for oxygen cylinder, Kumar’s company has readied a platform in Uttar Pradesh using which people getting treated at home under isolation can refill oxygen if they have a cylinder, doctors’ prescription, supported by a test of result of RTPCR/RAT/X-RAY/CT-SCAN. Rodic, which spent its Corporate Social Responsibility funds for this support, is importing three twenty-foot oxygen tankers from Dubai. They are now providing the same solution for Bihar as well.

“There was a need to make oxygen available wherever demand existed. This required optimal utilization of tankers,” said Kumar, a national level shooter and has roped in lots of shooters as volunteers for rolling out this project.

“Uttar Pradesh is procuring from varied places -- Jamshedpur, Bokaro and Odisha, though the farthest point of procurement is Jamnagar. As tankers have a speed limit of 40 kmph, we asked UP to put empty tankers on Air Force flights to quickly reach the filling point,” said Kumar, who got a SOS call from UP’s Health Secretary. He put a team of about 30 employees from various locations at Lucknow, UP’s war room. With this, time taken for oxygen transport improved to 47 hours from 63 (saving 16 hours) on Agra-Jamshedpur-Agra route; and to 54 hours from 66 (saving 14 hours) on Agra to Jamshedpur to Aligarh route. Also, UP’s oxygen capacity quadrupled from 250 tonnes a day 15 days ago to 900/1000.

DEMAND PREDICTION

Predicting oxygen demand for hospitals proved difficult. Hospitals could not predict the oxygen requirement as it varied based on the speed of oxygen consumption of patients. “We realised that hospitals were also diverting oxygen cylinders....by studying demand for various hospitals, their capacity utilisation and demand patterns.” Also, people – who were themselves scared -- were hoarding beds and cylinders, said Rodic who is working on premise of flooding the market with oxygen supply so that no one feels the need to hoard.

“Hospitals that would say they have oxygen for three days…within few hours would reach out saying they have oxygen left for few hours. Diverting industrial oxygen took care of supply side. Demand for oxygen increased and production was also increased.

“There were questions about accuracy, oxygen leakage and efficient use of oxygen. Lack of robust historical data made any forecasting very difficult….We need to dynamically re-allocate the supply to stay ahead of the demand curve…,” he said. “Hospitals did not have a dearth of beds, there was a shortage of beds with piped oxygen supply…,” said Kumar, a national level shooter who has roped in other shooters as volunteers.

Published on May 13, 2021

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