The supply chain and logistics heads of Indian automotive and component manufacturers are still haunted by the disruptions that started with the Covid-19 pandemic. However, there are better solutions now available to tackle these issues with technology and digitalisation taking it up. “The global energy transition and changing emission norms are putting automotive and component manufacturers into a very unique and tricky position as we have to fund the existing product line to meet the tighter and greener norms and at the same time invest in the future energy.” This is how Shubhankar Chatterji, chief supply chain officer of Cummins India responded to the questions on how Cummins India is managing the changing business environment. He was speaking during the 7th edition of the Auto SCM Summit on December 5, 2023, organised by Indian Transport & Logistics News. Presented by Frankfurt Airport, AutoSCM Summit 2023 also had Dachser as Supporting Partner and Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals (Hactl) as Sustainability Partner. Chatterji also spoke about the investments and efforts they are putting into transforming the industry and business. “The good part is that Cummins India is into all alternate energies. For example, we acquired the world’s fourth-largest manufacturer of fuel cells and electrolytes,” he said. Talking about the importance of visibility in the supply chains, Mandar Vaidya, Director of Materials Management, Region India, ZF Group, said, “For at least the incoming supply chain we want to know where they are. The same applies to our customers who are the OEMs, be it for the manufacturing process or spare parts. Beyond resilience and visibility, if there is a shift in technology or consumer preference, the supply chain can plan or anticipate them.” He also mentioned the need for stakeholders to be agile when a disruption hits to deal with it in the short term as well as the efforts to take it back to normal in the long term. Digital solutions for disruptionsIt was on the same lines that Om Vijayvargiya, Head – SCM & Logistics, Schaeffler India, spoke about the rate with which the demand fluctuations happen in the market and how managing inventories is always a problem for automotive manufacturers and their logistics companies. However, on a positive note, he also mentioned that new solutions, particularly digital solutions, coming into the market.He said, “During the Covid-19 pandemic, the industry understood the need for agility and resilience. One of the biggest challenges was the absence of real-time visibility of our consignments and the inability to plan our production because of that.” “In the last three years, many visibility solutions have been coming to the surface and now with these solutions, we can plan our production accordingly. Production schedules are also getting settled accordingly. Sometimes the consignments arrive early is also an issue because the inventories are also going up. And in this case, visibility can help us to cut future orders,” he added. Building on the challenges in managing the inventories, Yogesh Ramtekkar, Head of Supply Chain Management, PV Clean Mobility Technologies, pointed out the importance of sales projections and predictions as well as the communication gap. “I think the communication gap between OEMs, Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 suppliers is one of the most important challenges. It applies to overseas suppliers as well, because for instance, the transit time from the US is 60 to 90 days and any challenge to the free flow of information can adversely affect the industry,” he said. Empowering the future of logisticsThe Japanese EV company Terra Motors’ chief executive officer Akihiro Ueda spoke about the EV manufacturing at Terra Motors, the charging infrastructure provided by Terra Charge and the financing solutions provided by Terra Finance with his presentation titled “Empowering the future of logistics.”In fact, in December 2023, Terra Motors announced the launch of its blanket solution to electrify last-mile delivery that includes L5 Loader vehicles, EV financing, charging infra, and software solutions. He also spoke about the current status of EV adoption in India and how the Return on Investment (ROI) for EVs among logistics companies are high. “It makes a lot of economic sense,” he said. Digitization of international logistics for auto customers“Automotive customers are looking for better visibility of rates and routes as there is a lot of uncertainty throughout the supply chain.”Madhumeeta Kumari, Enterprise Sales Lead at Cogoport was delivering her presentation and spoke about how the digital freight forwarder helps their automotive customers to navigate the international logistics arena. “The customers are looking for longer contracts and shorter routes to ensure better customer experience and faster deliveries. The digital freight forwarders are also venturing beyond international shipping into customs, CFS and last-mile delivery to…