August 2017

22 APAC / August 2017 , • Air Freight Services (GFS) • Domestic Airport-to-Airport Services • Interline Services • Charters What challenges have you had to overcome to be successful in the Asia-Pacific region? The industry is still inundated with several uncomfortable truths; high logistics costs, inadequate infrastructure, capacity constraints, low usage of technology, complex tax laws, over regulation, policy concerns and lack of skilled manpower make the task challenging as compared to developed markets. The last quarter of fiscal 2016- 17 has been extremely tough for the economy, the industry and Blue Dart, we continued to face insurmountable challenges every day. There has been a slowdown in economic activity due to the fall in discretionary consumption, the after effects of which could last a few months and will continue to impact us in the coming months too. Logistics is the backbone of the Indian economy, providing efficient, cost effective flow of goods on which other sectors depend. Hence in that perspective, we see Blue Dart as the nation’s “Trade Facilitator”. Finally, the long-awaited GST will become operational. It’s a good move by our Honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) will benefit the logistics industry greatly. Due to lack of proper execution and rise in prices, the initial 2 or 3 years will become difficult for everyone but in the long run GST will act as catalyst in the growth of Indian economy. The proposed Goods and Service Tax (GST) bill is expected to bring in more efficiencies. GST is expected to be implemented by fiscal year 2017-18 reducing multiple taxes. The inter-state sales transactions will become tax neutral which will bring the entire country under one single common market. The proposed GST regime will alter the entire landscape and its implementation will be a game- changing event for businesses and particularly for organised logistics players. While the logistics requirement for e-tailing will grow as exponentially as e-tailing itself. Logistics companies will therefore see a major change in the transportation of goods and location of warehouses, improved distances cover per day and consolidation of warehouses. We hope the Government keeps up with the pace of reforms. Despite these challenges, Blue Dart is an extremely dynamic organisation with clear strategic vision and robust plans for growth. Our approach of trying to constantly improve and excel beyond our customer expectations is what sets us apart. We believe in people power and completely rely on the experience gathered by its strong people force over the years. Our team is a healthy mix of old employees with industry knowledge and experience and new employees with path-breaking ideas constantly providing the new perspective. We have over the past 3 decades transformed ourselves to offer customer complete end-to-end supply chain solutions. Not so long ago, the express industry encompassed only small packages – mainly letters and documents and urgent deliveries. Today, it has metamorphosed to provide express delivery services for packages of all kinds and sizes to any destination. Our extensive pan-India air and ground network provide a significant competitive advantage. What is the internal culture in your firm? How do you ensure that all your staff are equipped to provide the best possible service to your clients? Blue Dart is the leader in the air and a strong player in the ground express industry in India and has a strong Brand Equity & Saliency. Blue Dart has a great work culture. When it comes to managing talent, Blue Dart has always taken the front seat. Almost 97% of the senior management team are home grown from the ranks – a very rare phenomenon today in most organisations. In view of the strong brand equity, market leadership position and best people practices, this the company attracts all prospective employees including the youngsters for employment. It has always remained an Employer of Choice to attract the best of the talent from the market. The people policies, work environment, learning opportunity, rewards and recognition and career growth opportunities supplements the employer brand equity in attracting and retaining the young talents. The company has an attrition rate of 13-14%, much lower than the average industry attrition rate of about 24%. In fact, Blue Dart is one of the fewest companies that still has its Day One employees. I am proud of all our people and the contribution they make and the passion and commitment for the brand that they display every single day. A noteworthy effort is the fact that despite of huge pressures during the recent slowdown, Blue Dart did not take the easier route of retrenching people, instead focused on high performance and involvement of the management and the front-line. Today, this approach is paying rich dividends for customers, employees and every impacted stakeholder. The passion and dedication of the 10,000+ Blue Darters is indeed commendable. They are never shy of expressing their love for the brand; that infectious spirit catches on with our customers too. Blue Dart also has an internal campaign called ‘I Love My Blue Dart: Express Yourself’. The aim of the initiative is to ensure and create strong Customer Loyalties, Motivated Employees and Strong Promoters of the Brand thereby facilitating sustainable market growth and strengthening Blue Dart as a Provider of Choice, Investment of Choice and Employer of Choice. The mandate of the initiative is to ensure that every single Blue Darter is empowered to display his loyalty and dedication for the organisation and that every single Blue Dart customer touch- point in the country. In fact, we have customers now saying ‘I Love My Blue Dart’ everywhere – through our customer service interactions as well as on our social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter etc. With regards to your industry, what developments do you foresee and how will you adapt around these? India’s logistics sector is poised for accelerated growth, led by GDP revival, infrastructure ramp-up (railways/roads/ports), e-tailing penetration and other initiatives like “Make in India”. The industry is a trade facilitator and enables inclusive growth beyond urban/metro areas. The industry is estimated to have grown at a healthy ~15% in the last five years. However, growth in sub-sectors varies, with the lowest being in basic trucking operations and highest in supply chain and e-tailing logistics. The Government also announced sweeping changes in India’s economic policy for various sectors. For example, in the Defence sector, under the new FDI policy, up to 100% will be allowed giving access to modern technology. In the road sector, the focus on highway developments, golden quadrilateral and increased traction to develop 40 kilometres a day is gaining faster momentum. The Civil Aviation Ministry has commissioned the National Civil Aviation Policy which lays down the directional guidelines for improvement of air cargo and setting up of international air cargo hubs in the country, both are welcome steps.