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The Post Pandemic Future of Supply Chain Management in India

Last updated:
16th Feb, 2021
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The Post Pandemic Future of Supply Chain Management in India

The disruptive nature of supply chains and increasing globalization of businesses have brought about rapid changes in the way Indian industries perceive supply chain networks. The pandemic has presented before the country a unique opportunity to redefine global supply chain operations by proactively leveraging its resources and workforce to enhance efficiency and responsiveness to disruptions.

In his speech back in May 2020, the honourable PM Narendra Modi acknowledged the propitious position the pandemic had put the nation in. He reflected on his ‘Aatma Nirbhar’ vision for India and highlighted the key role the five guiding pillars — economic recovery, a technologically-driven infrastructure, governing system, demography and consumer demand — would play in realizing this vision.

Economic recovery in India in the short term is heavily dependent on pharmaceuticals, agriculture and consumer products. In the long term, there are several factors that drive the recovery from disruptions in the supply chain. 

What’s commendable is that India is on the right track to success and the efficacy of the implementation of this vision will determine the stable recovery of the Indian economy. 

Future of Supply Chain Management in India

Supply chain in India amidst the pandemic was wrought by risks and uncertainties which have the potential of reversing the recoveries the Indian economy has made in the short term. Since 14% of India’s GDP is spent on logistics, it is the need of the hour to explore supply chain management in India and devise strategies to improve it. 

However, the COVID-19 pandemic was the catalyst businesses needed to drive innovations in the supply chain. Surprisingly, even companies that were under-equipped to respond to disruptive events and had limited resources rose up to the challenge by adopting analytical practices and technical standards to provide solutions. 

But the challenge does not end here. It would require constant effort, efficacious upgrades and rigorous risk assessment and management to ensure supply chains stand the test of time. Companies worldwide must rethink their business models to create agile and resilient supply chains that help stabilise growth and ensure sustainability. This would mean relying heavily on digital technologies and agile methodologies to respond efficiently to the ever-evolving technological domain.

The good news is India is blessed with the resources and intelligence that would take to succeed on the global platform. Furthermore, there are abundant opportunities for aspiring supply chain managers to upgrade their skills to align their expertise with the needs of the country. Acquiring a Master’s Degree in Supply Chain Management would equip them with the analytical approach that is imperative to making effective decisions for the future of the supply chain in India. 

With the backing of cutting-edge technologies, an active interest in the diverse cultures around the world, and skilled workforce, India can adapt magnificently to the emerging challenges and recover stably in the post-pandemic world. 

Key Trends in Supply Chain Management in 2021

As traditional supply chain strategies are being discarded to make way for cost-effective technological interventions in the supply chain, companies will have to re-examine their business models, diversify manufacturing processes and reconsider trade channels.

Some of the largest components in the EU, the Americas, and Asia are realigning their business goals in a similar manner to better mitigate risks. Japan, for instance, has set aside USD 2.2 billion to help businesses move production out of China since disrupting events soured the relationship between the two trading partners.

There are some progressive supply chain trends expected in the future:

1. Automation 

Automation is poised to become the norm in the supply chain industry. Manual and repeatable tasks like data entry shall be replaced by automation software and will help businesses free up resources to allocate to more important tasks. This will reduce errors, speed up the process, and ensure seamless availability of information. Technological developments such as these help companies witness invaluable growth and gain distinction in the competitive marketplace. 

2. Sales and Operations Execution (S&OP)

By subscribing to agile management methods, companies will be able to effectively strategize and execute plans in the face of unpredictable changes in demand and inevitable disruptions. This will allow them to respond to unforeseen internal and external risks more efficiently. 

3. Sustainability 

Businesses will increasingly adopt sustainable development frameworks in their supply chain management to combat environmental challenges. More and more large scale companies around the world are discarding traditional practices in favour of eco-friendly and sustainable standards. 

India has a gigantic role to play in bringing about this transformation. As the second-largest producer of food and energy demand that is expected to double in the next 20 years, India’s position is integral to the success of sustainable goals. And efforts are already underway to drive these changes in their global supply chains. 

There is a rigorous assessment of risks pertaining to supply chain operations as the economy targets carbon neutrality and Indian companies are increasingly embracing sustainable norms in their business initiatives with France, Japan, the UK and the US.

4. Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence 

Even though digitization of supply chain operations had been in progress all along the past decade, the pandemic has accelerated this process. From this point on, machine learning and AI implementation will gain momentum to influence decision-making practices by providing actionable insights through data collaboration.

Short Term Goals

  • There was a steep decline in consumer demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic and government-enforced lockdowns. How quickly consumer demand rises will determine the future of the supply chain. 
  • To complement the increase in consumer demand, there would have to be a proportional rise in demand for capital goods.
  • Furthermore, this unfettered rise in demand is likely to negatively impact the already disrupted supply chain which companies with inconsistencies in cash flow aren’t likely to survive. 

Long term goals 

A survey conducted by KPMG and Management Development Institute has concluded that the Indian industry, in the long term, would benefit from:

  1. Realigning supply chain goals with business goals.
  2. Allowing better integration of supply chain processes.
  3. Fostering productive partnerships with vendors to improve inventory management.
  4. Employing technological solutions to streamline supply chain processes.

What Is The Way Forward For India? 

India needs to position itself at the centre of the global supply chain market. This would require cultivating productive trade relationships with global partners and facilitating efficient supply chains built on protectionist policies. The key approach to realising this vision would include capital-intensive measures like:

  1. Establishing supply chains at the sectoral, regional, and global levels.
  2. Promoting a culture of accountability and transparency.
  3. Subscribing to sustainable and environment-friendly methodologies.
  4. Presenting India as an investment destination for global initiatives.

The long term goal would be to eliminate imminent risks in the supply chain by restructuring internal and external operations. In the short term, India needs to mend disrupted supply chains by driving consumer demand. 

For Gaurav Taneja, the Government & Public Sector (GPS) Leader at Ernst & Young LLP, effective collaborations and innovative approaches are the way forward for India. In his words, “I feel that the adoption of technology will surely grow 200% or more in the Central government and the State governments. Demand for the adoption of technology is expected to come from user departments of the State governments, which are trying to sustain the continuity of public services in the time of the pandemic.”

There are some immediate measures the Indian government is expected to take to safeguard its position in the global supply chain platform:

  1. Make promised incentives available to industries to resume operations.
  2. Establish Common Facility Centers (CFCs) to enforce technological standards in import and export.
  3. Diversify supply chain operations and promote the expansion of businesses. 
  4. Increase the operating hours in supply chain management.
  5. Provide support to businesses by making information readily available to all supply chain management services – vendors, distributors, buyers, logistics and consumers. 
  6. Renegotiate Free Trade Agreements with partners to include post-pandemic changes in policies of import-export in India.
  7. Invest in upskilling supply chain management professionals so that they can competently and meaningfully contribute to the growth of the country.

Parting Thoughts

Despite the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses, India has positioned itself as a lucrative investment opportunity for global investors with its undeniable suitability in demographics, economic recovery rate, and improved business environment. India also has liberal FDI norms, a large consumer base, and an improving rank in Ease of Doing Business for the Indian government and industries to leverage this emergent opportunity.

It is also necessary for India to adopt technological innovations to attract skilled employees with expertise in supply chain management which would benefit the country in the long run. 

Here’s hoping the proposed government vision, innovative solutions and global collaborations will help the Indian economy make a full and stable recovery!


The best way to capitalize on this opportunity is to enroll in a certification program such as upGrad’s Global Master Certificate in Integrated Supply Chain Management.

The course is completely delivered online. Considering that MSU ranks #1 in supply chain management, students get the exclusive opportunity to learn from top mentors and instructors in the field. What’s more is that they enjoy many other perks like live learning & interaction sessions, 360-degree career assistance, interactive quizzes, case studies, interview preparation, resume feedback, and career counselling.

Learn Supply Chain Analytics Courses online from the World’s top Universities. Earn Masters, Executive PGP, or Advanced Certificate Programs to fast-track your career.


Sandeep Pereira

Blog Author
Responsible for working with the various teams and other management to establish long-range goals, strategies, plans and policies and set up new programs at upGrad. With a demonstrated history of working in the EdTech industry.
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