Interview with R. S. Subramanian

R. S. Subramanian
R. S. Subramanian
MD and Senior Vice President
DHL Express, India
DHL Express, India

What are the latest technologies used in fashion logistics for faster delivery of fashion products?

Apparel companies turn to technology to help meet the do-or-die supply chain demands that characterize this hypercompetitive environment. Custom tailored ERP systems, Warehouse management systems, Inbound Logistics software systems help them combat the supply chain obstacles. Advances in RFID capabilities, web-based technology, and reverse logistics applications, among others, also push the industry forward. These technologies dish out real-time visibility information that lets apparel companies better track product across global supply chains, and make timely decisions on changes to style, color, size, price, where products are sold, and distribution patterns, among others.

How important do you think are good political relations between different countries in the shipment of fashion goods? Do you suppose that fashion goods reach easily to another country if the political relations between two countries are good? In short, do political relations between countries affect its trade in the fashion industry?

One of the more interesting areas in the supply chain network is international customs regulations. When importing and exporting shipments, customs can be complicated and daunting so DHL works in close partnership with the world's regulatory authorities and negotiates complex international shipping regulations at every major port, airport and border crossing point.

Do you suppose SMEs make a higher contribution to the fashion logistics industry as compared to the high profile fashion giants? Can you elaborate?

Government of India's several cluster development initiatives involving technical assistance, subsidies for technology up gradation and marketing support has strengthened the competitiveness of the SMEs. They have provided them with economy of scale, bargaining power, networking opportunities and competiveness they are also challenged by various limitations. Due to intense competition among various players, 65% of the merchandise is sold at a discounted rate as against 40% earlier. Intense competition from the leading brand and their attractive discounting policy has made SMEs difficult to operate and hence they curtail their logistics expenditure. Demographic challenges due to Low disposable income and hence they cannot afford delay in production which forces them to invest more on the machineries. Due to limited capacity restriction these SMEs cannot operate beyond a certain level. Additionally, inadequate logistics and improper supply chain managements have created huge problems for the smaller players.

How important is e-commerce in fashion logistics?

The Internet offers the B2B and B2C areas new sales and purchasing possibilities. Reliable logistics ensure that fast delivery follows upon the electronic order. It is nothing but a complete web shop solution. Information technology guarantees the fast forwarding of the order, maximum transparency and the complete documentation of all processes. Hence as a solution provider, they strive to optimally integrate the existing software solutions of the customer and to reduce interfaces. From the virtual marketplace to the real buyer, demand is increasing and you need more space for your products. Hence, warehouse management system including supplier management, inventory management, picking, value-added services, individual packaging, shipping and handling, return service and the integration of call centers becomes the order of the day!
Published on: 02/06/2014

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of

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