According to global tech research and consultancy company Gartner, the market for electronic devices in India is expected to grow a strong 5.7% until 2019, with mobile phones seeing the strongest increase at 8.1%, thus increasing the installed base of phones by 20% to about 775 million. Investments in Data Center systems will reach 2.9 bn USD in 2016. Consultancy firm EY meanwhile expects white goods and televisions in India to show steady growth at ~17% annually, which, given the sub-par market penetration levels, presents an attractive opportunity to manufacturers in this space.

At a well-attended industry conference “Preparing for Tomorrow”, jointly organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry and DHL, regional industry leaders, logistics experts and senior government officials gathered to discuss growth in India’s technology sector and critical issues required to support this growth, such as business readiness for Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the adoption of new technologies in the supply chain to help tech companies capitalize on the upward industry trend.

Opportunities for growth

Speaking on a buoyant note, Rob Siegers, DHL’s President of Technology, said, “The strong momentum in India will make the crucial difference to business development going forward. The government’s constructive initiatives on GST and ‘Make in India’, together with the increasing consumer demand for electronics, will provide attractive growth opportunities for technology companies.”

“It is now critical to get the supply chains prepared for this growth and at DHL, we are poised to support tech customers with supply chain consultancy and also new technologies, such as Augmented Reality glasses currently being tested in warehouse plus investment in innovation solutions, specifically in India to support e-commerce,” he added.

Implementation of GST and the need for inter-state cooperation was discussed in depth at a lively panel discussion. Smita Bhandari, Executive Director – Tax & Regulatory Services, Ernst & Young, further emphasized the importance for companies to start planning well in advance as it would take between 8 to 10 months for them to prepare and become GST ready.

The recent Diwali shopping period has highlighted the exponential growth of e-commerce in India, especially for the technology sector. Nitin Kochar, AVP, ShopClues and Ashish Chitravanshi, SVP – Supply Chain, Snap Deal, shared their insights on what is needed from logistics firms to support this sharp growth, highlighting the strong need for greater flexibility to align with industry dynamics. Additionally, delivery to Tier 3 and rural areas, localization, payment solutions, elimination of fraud and faster returns with improved tracking options were stressed as key.

Blue Dart, the domestic express and e-commerce subsidiary of Deutsche Post DHL Group in India, is part of DHL eCommerce and has made significant investments in this sector, including automatic sorting, mobile payment options and the recently launched groundbreaking Parcel locker systems. “We collaborate very closely with the e-tailing industry and are constantly innovating new solutions for our customers to help them keep up with market dynamics,” said Thomas Damman, VP Technology Sector Strategy. 

‘Make in India’

Rajeev Chaudhari, Director – Operations, ASUS, was confident of the opportunities the ‘Make in India’ campaign bring for the Technology sector. “Logistics infrastructure and operations play an important role in this model,” he said. “We need to have the right attitude of collaboration and trust between brands and logistics partners to achieve the goals of Time to Market, geographical reach and a delightful customer experience,” he added.

“New technologies such as big data, the internet of things and augmented reality will create greater opportunities to improve logistics for the technology sector supply chain. These are the focus areas of the newly-opened DHL Asia Pacific Innovation Center in Singapore where the team is leveraging these technologies to develop customer solutions.” He further added, “DHL is studying improved analytics on volume data to allow for optimized network planning and capacity management”.

DHL expects mobile technologies implemented in the supply chain to allow for higher flexibility and faster reaction time. Augmented reality solutions applied in warehouse operations will result in greater efficiency.

With over 30 years of experience in India and the combined expertise of its four business divisions, i.e. DHL Express, DHL Global Forwarding, DHL Supply Chain and DHL eCommerce including Blue Dart Express, DHL is well prepared to support and work in close collaboration with the technology industry to meet the challenges ahead, to help India take the great leap forward in this sector.

Published: January 2016

Photos: Xavier Arnau