India MSME Summit 2022: How supply chains can become resilient and future-proof

During a panel discussion at India MSME Summit 2022, industry leaders came together to discuss the role of MSMEs in developing the supply chain ecosystem.

An Accenture report said COVID-19 spotlighted the importance of supply chain management. At a time when the world was in a lockdown, supply chains helped ensure the movement of medical supplies and other necessities. The pandemic may be at its fag end, but other global challenges such as the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine necessitate countries and businesses to build supply chain systems and structures that are resilient and future-proof. 

During a panel discussion at the India MSME Summit 2022, industry leaders Sandip Chhettri, CEO of TradeIndia, and Nilesh Ghule, Co-founder and CEO of TruckBhejo, discussed supply chain management and the role of MSMEs in developing the ecosystem.

Tackling crises

Nilesh said whenever a crisis knocks at your door, it is not just you but your entire organisation that is affected. Freight and fuel costs go up, creating a problem for every supply chain player. “Getting the customer to agree to the new pricing is also a challenge.”

However, he said the silver lining during the war was that the pandemic had better prepared the industry, which helped tide over supply chain disruptions. 

Sandip, on the other hand, said the war helped Indian sellers as the world started looking for alternatives. 

He said they witnessed an 18 percent increase in inquiries on the TradeIndia platform as buyers eyed India, Europe, and the Middle East for alternatives. 

Technology to the rescue

Nilesh said technology turned the tide and helped them deal better with the crisis.

Citing the various advantages of technology, he said, “It helps in efficiently routing orders. Artificial Intelligence helps in analysing data, which has given rise to new delivery models such as 10-minute delivery or quick commerce,” he said. 

He added that the reason there is so much innovation happening in the supply chain industry is that players have “data at their fingertips”.

The role of MSMEs

The MSME sector comprises over 63 million enterprises spread across India, contributing about 30 percent to the nation’s GDP. 

Sandip highlighted that MSMEs play a key role in supporting the economy’s supply chain ecosystem. 

He added that the government has a much bigger role to play in supporting the growth and development of MSMEs that support supply chain management. 

 “They need to identify the underlying problem of MSMEs,” he said, singling out issues such as financial assistance, technological awareness, upskilling, infrastructural facilities, and more. 

“MSMEs need strong hand-holding,” said Nilesh, adding that the government needs to focus on ease of doing business to give the sector a push. 

What lies ahead?

Both panellists concluded that for supply chains to become resilient, MSMEs need to focus on leveraging technology for better decision-making, have a diversified supplier base, and identify hotspots where maximum loading takes place.

This way organisations will be able to forecast external challenges (war, pandemic, etc) as well as internal challenges (disruptions within the organisation or nearby regions).

Edited by Teja Lele