Abans Group Director Dr. Saroshi Dubash
- On an industry that is becoming the deciding factor of business success – Abans Group Director Dr. Saroshi Dubash
Taking charge of building and expanding a logistics business while exploring the immense potential of this competitive field, Saroshi Dubash of Abans Group shares her experience in a key industry that is recreating business norms.
With rapid development in the country taking over daily operations, businesses have been motivated to keep transforming in order to stay in the game. It is a vital factor for each enterprise to maintain a strong supply chain that works smoothly, in order to display an outstanding performance. Logistics is a pivotal component of this supply chain which needs to be viewed as a separate unit. Meticulous care needs to be taken in the management of logistics or the businesses will suffer in the long run.
The logistics sector is evolving at an amazingly fast rate and how a business approaches logistics will give it a definite competitive advantage over others
Digitalisation has caused a shift in the power of choice, causing customers to be more demanding. Due to the increase in demands of customers, the pressure is on to deliver accordingly. If not, they will move onto a better option if they are not provided with their necessities on time and in the promised quality.
Therefore the ‘last mile’ – the final product or service being delivered to the end customer has become a key factor, giving any business the competitive advantage. A few years back, the last mile was the responsibility of the customer, who had to visit the outlet and make purchases. However, now this responsibility has increasingly been placed upon the shoulders of the retailer, who is required to deliver the product to the customer.
More businesses need to move towards an omnichannel approach that caters to more diverse customer requirements, when seeking access to the products that are on offer
Technology is an essential component for today’s fast-paced world and for businesses to conduct their operations in an efficient manner. It is now possible to utilise embedded technology to better connect with customers by creating data movement platforms to seamlessly share data back and forth with customers. Using the proliferation of GPS and location sensors, along with real-time traffic updates, now deliveries can be optimised regardless of factors like construction, accidents and such.
This, in turn, minimises fuel consumption and thereby reduces the harmful impact on the environment and increases operating margins through efficiency gains. Another massive data outcome related to route optimisation is the decrease in mileage which also saves money, and wear and tear of vehicles. The unavoidable truth is that a business must adapt new technologies to ensure a long-running and proficient operation.
Today, the logistics industry looks completely different from what it used to be a decade ago. The question now posed is what lies in wait for the next decade. Market trends, such as those outlined previously, are going to impact the future of the logistics sector. However, the successes of trending technologies require integration with existing solutions and infrastructure.
Abans Group was founded in the late 60s and rapidly grew to diversify into many sectors. Since the year of 1968, Abans’ sphere of influence has been extending to every corner of Sri Lanka. From a solid presence in key industries that include retail, commercial real estate, manufacturing, logistics, environmental management and finance (amongst many more), Abans has always strived for a transformative impact on the Sri Lankan economy as a whole. All of this is to ensure that people fulfil their dreams of leading an enhanced life.
Abans Logistics came into existence as a result of this expansion – as the business arm that specialises in an extensive range of logistics solutions including freight forwarding, cargo handling, cargo clearing, warehousing and reefer containers. Abans Logistics is also pivotal in the part it plays for the other companies under Abans Group, such as the electrical and home appliance retail business.
"Today, the logistics industry looks completely different from what it used to be a decade ago. The question now posed is what lies in wait for the next decade"
Since Abans Group is in association with over 50 international partners and over 400 retail outlets islandwide, it is vital that the logistics arm conducts operations smoothly to result in less wastage and efficiency in spends.
Commenced in 2007, Abans Logistics was a small enterprise that handled only the Group’s freight forwarding requirements. During the last decade, the business has grown to be a well-established name in the logistics sector of Sri Lanka.
More recently, Abans has commenced deliveries from store to customer all over the island for better customer satisfaction in the e-commerce business. Digitalisation has also played an immense role in the operations, where artificial intelligence has replaced monotonous routine work and real-time data management has ensured more efficient functions.
A key factor for the success of Abans Logistics is the right balance of experienced personnel and the adoption of new technologies. In a country where businesses require constant evolving to stay relevant and in the game, climbing aboard the digital revolution taking over the world and adapting it to the nature of the industry has helped Abans Logistics to perform excellently in the field.
The employment opportunities in the logistics industry a few years ago were only catered mainly to males. The main reason for this was that the industry was seen as only transporting of goods from one destination to another, which contributed to the view of intense heavy duty labour career opportunities. With time, as explained above, the industry evolved with more digitalisation and technology taking over, and the necessity of analytics coming into play.
As with any sector, for logistics too, it is important to ensure inclusivity as the diversity brought forth by females is vital
As a member of Women in Logistics and Transport (WILAT), we are looking forward to mentor many young and aspiring women seeking to break social norms when selecting a career to pursue. Abans too has many women in key positions in the group, which has enabled the business to be more balanced and progressive.
In conclusion, it is essential to always keep in mind the cliché saying of ‘customer is king’. Being constantly aware of the swift development taking place in the market (and in the country) and being nimble enough to enable the flexibility to change and change fast, are significant points that will assure that a business or organisation will thrive in this ambiguous and highly competitive industry.