Blue Dart: Augmenting Modern World Logistics

Blue Dart | Manoj Madhavan
Blue Dart

Transport has evolved in history, following a wide range of factors, which enhanced the fundamentals of why and how people moved and transported goods between places. Mobility demand is constantly being driven by the need to access opportunities related to work and services depending upon the historical and cultural context.

Since the beginning of civilization, mankind had a crucial need of transporting items from one location to another. As we have evolved with time, we are becoming better at getting things to where they needed to go. Improved equipment and resources meant that we could get more items to more locations with fewer efforts. Advancements in technology allowed us to hastily get items to more destinations. However, nobody had imagined the world would rely so heavily on logistics services as it has in the past few months.

In the last few years, we have seen a dramatic shift in technology. This has allowed us to wave goodbye to horseback and welcome modern transport methods such as trucks, trains, ships and aircraft.

The advanced world of today demands that items are moved from a location, stored in a warehouse, and then distributed. The world relies on trade, and logistics is at the heart of any trade deal. Everyone seeks—integrated transportation and distribution offering secure, reliable, personalized and time-definite express logistics services—Certainly, Blue Dart is the company that fulfils these ever-evolving demands since its inception.

Under the leadership of—Manoj Madhavan, CIO—Blue Dart’s significance is its exceptional service quality, an unparalleled reach as well as reliability, resilience and responsiveness like none other in the industry.

The Remarkable Legacy

Blue Dart is South Asia’s premier express air and integrated transportation and distribution company, offering secure, reliable, individualized and time-definite express logistics solutions across an extensive network of 35,000+ locations in India and over 220 countries and territories across the world.

Blue Dart’s ability to deliver excellence is supported in the backend by its fleet of six Boeing 757-200 freighters, extensive ground network, technological expertise as well as its dedicated team members, who go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that the company remains India’s Trade Facilitator and a Provider of Choice, an Employer of Choice and an Investment of Choice for all its stakeholders.

A Benchmark of Excellence

Blue Dart has always championed future-ready technology. Numerous industry-firsts have been pioneered at Blue Dart including but not limited to the use of COSMAT IITM, contact less delivery and leveraging drone flights to ship mission-critical equipment into the interior most regions of the nation. The use of drones to facilitate last-mile delivery is a natural extension of Blue Dart’s fleet of Boeing 757 aircraft.

The company remains aligned with the DPDHL Group’s ‘Strategy 2025 – Delivering Excellence in a Digital World’ and this encourages its search for innovative solutions, making it one of the best technology solution providers in the nation.

Blue Dart follows an Insanely Customer Centric approach, and this is its key differentiator. The company works very closely with its customers to co-create solutions which help their businesses grow and at the same time make their customers happy.

Most importantly, the company always analyzes all feedback that it receives from internal and external stakeholders and constantly improve. Leveraging technology through continuous upgrades and deploying new tech stacks Blue Dart engages with its stakeholders thereby improving its performance and delivering premium service standards.

A Plethora of Remarkable Innovations

The Express Logistics industry is highly competitive with new players emerging at a quick pace. In an environment like this, Manoj and his team realized early on that Blue Dart’s market differentiators will attract brand loyalty and build customer trust.

Premium service quality at value, user-friendly technology that enables Blue Dart’s customers to leverage its services on-the-go, individualized solutions that cater to its customers’ every logistics requirement–from temperature sensitive shipments like pharmaceutical and vaccines to 100 kg shipments, each and every facet of the organization reflects its core competency–Customer Centricity.

The company firmly believes in ensuring its customer of choice is at the center of its business being—Blue Dart’s—biggest market differentiator apart from its capabilities. Moreover, every offer, capability addition and technological expansion launched is made keeping the customers in mind.

For example, the pandemic has been the most challenging period for most of Blue Dart’s customers, across segments. Keeping in mind the predicament its customers were in, Blue Dart launched several offers to reduce their burden such as the ‘Fight COVID-19 Price,’ delivering medicines to NRIs who were away from their loved ones, pioneering the Contactless Delivery Service, launching the ‘My Blue Dart’ mobile application to allow its customers to book a shipment etc. on the go.

The Blue Dart Med-Express Consortium was also launched to leverage the use of drone flights to build a robust healthcare logistics infrastructure in the remotest areas of the nation. It is such initiatives that sets Blue Dart apart in a very competitive environment.

Eloquent Leadership of Qualities

Manoj Madhavan began his journey with Blue Dart in 2017, his tryst with information technology and systems development spans over two decades. As a part of South Asia’s Most Innovative and Awarded Express Logistics Provider, he took the baton and continued to lead the digital transformation that the organization has initiated early on.

Apart from supervising the key areas of Digitalization and its Impact on Customer Experience, Process Optimization, Cost Management and Productivity Enhancement, Manoj also enabled endowment of the Analytics and Data Science function; he also introduced and developed the Data Lake (BI) project within the organization.

Manoj firmly believes that leadership, guidance, keeping communication channels open, and recognizing and rewarding talent is amongst the key parameters that make a good team member, great. Moreover, from an IT and Systems Development point of view, ensuring systems and processes are made seamless and efficient for the colleagues is one of the best ways in which Manoj ensures that Blue Dart continues to remain a Great Place to Work.

For example, during the pandemic, Manoj together with his team was at the action stations, prepared to tackle any oddballs coming their way. Crisis is the mother of all innovation and through this challenging period—Manoj shared, “I am proud to say we innovated, not only at the speed our customers demanded, but most importantly, innovated at the speed our colleagues demanded as well. ‘People First’ will always be a part of our DNA.”

Evolving around the Emerging Technologies

Sharing his opinions on how the adoption of modern technologies like AI and ML is impacting the Tech Solution space and how Blue Dart is adapting to this changing scenario, Manoj expressed, Leveraging AI and ML is opening up new possibilities and hence the impact these technologies can have both; on humans and business is huge. These technologies help us learn and scale at a pace that was never seen before and at the same time augment the human cognitive abilities.

Adding to this, Manoj also shared, “Autonomous supply chain is something we can foresee eventually. Right from self-driven trucks to intelligent robots that manage warehouses, the whole industry is witnessing the rapid deployment of technologies which is driving this huge shift. We have been adapting new technology architectures like redesigning our ERP to a micro services-based design. Implementing BI stack based on data lake to support the business for analytics and insights. The intent is to make sure that decisions are based on data and not just gut.”

“Deploying ML in areas where it can help in driving operational efficiencies through optimized routing or address correction and also helping operations by predicting volumes and manpower requirements. We keep exploring new avenues and areas where we could make use of AI and ML to impact operations and drive better efficiencies or optimizations,” stated Manoj.

Overcoming the Adversities of the Pandemic

The lockdowns imposed at the onset of the pandemic dislocated supply chains and halted operations. The need of the hour was to acclimatize people, systems and services to a ‘new normal’ while simultaneously ensuring the safety of every team member and customer.

Manoj and his team seamlessly rolled out a Business Continuity and Contingency Plan (BCCP) which gave them a first-mover advantage to leverage their strengths and deliver excellence to their customers. Work-from-home was enabled for all the teams who supported at the backend while the Contact Less Delivery Service was pioneered keeping the health and safety of their frontliners in mind.

Manoj and his team successfully created a proposition that “our workplace is a safer and healthier place to be” as they left no stone unturned in ensuring the health and safety of their employees by providing thousands of hours of safety SOP Training.

Moreover, technology became the cornerstone of their ability to function impeccably in this VUCA environment. Leveraging the power of technology, Manoj and his team were able to turn the crisis into an opportunity to continue providing exceptional service quality associated with Blue Dart.

Pearls of Knowledge with Expertise

As a piece of advice to emerging business leaders who wish to make their organizational environment better for their employees, Manoj shared, “Understanding and getting immersed in the business is the first and foremost step for any tech business leader. This will provide insight into the areas which need improvement and others which need stabilization or innovation.”

Moreover, he also stated, “Getting to know your internal and external stakeholders is another very important focus area. Customer expectations can be gauged by this and one gets to know the ‘REAL’ customer experience. This would help design solutions which have a high impact. While embedding or deploying new technologies, it is important to communicate the reason ‘WHY’ it is being done.”

“Some solutions need more communication for them to be effectively used. Change management becomes a very critical part of the overall project and special attention needs to be paid to it. Last but not least simplicity of the design and focus on the problem being solved play a great part in the success of the projects and its acceptability in the user community,” shared Manoj.

Embracing the Ultimate Prospects

Digitization across the supply chain from the first mile to last mile is the future of the industry and the company is excited to experience what the future holds in terms of technology-led logistics solutions. Blue Dart will continue to focus on leveraging technology and automation to strengthen a sustainable supply chain.

Technology has been a major pivot for the company, and it plans to steadily incorporate future-ready technology-based solutions into its portfolio to remain one step ahead of the curve to deliver exceptional service quality. The Blue Dart Med-Express consortium was only the start of what we believe is going to be a digital transformation.

Technological innovations such as real-time ordering, end-to-end inventory visibility, autonomous warehouses, drone delivery, significant use of robotics and an increased emphasis on leveraging AI/ML-based solutions will dictate the future of the logistics industry. Our focus on consistent innovation and passion for tech-based solutions will continue enabling us in ‘Connecting People, Improving Lives.’

Therefore, the company constantly keeps avenue and seeks strong partnerships with every customer, envisaging and creating the connections to achieve business success, always. Wherever the future is heading, Blue Dart will continue to offer game-changing solutions with a competitive edge to all its stakeholders—a continuum of innovations.

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