The Indian Cement Industry is looking at a major digital transformation to optimise its supply chain network. With the Government’s increased focus on infrastructure development under flagship projects such as the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) and PM Awas Yojana (PMAY), there is a need to ensure fast track delivery of quality cement. To cater to this increased pace of development, CMA Member Companies are investing in necessary technology interventions across the supply chain such as thermal and load sensing technologies, Transport Analytics Centers (TACs), Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags on trucks etc. These are enabling the industry to enhance logistics efficiency, promote driver safety and reduce the overall emissions of the industry.1
CMA Members Companies are adopting enabling technologies which are allowing them to achieve key logistic objectives. To take an example, Holcim in India (ACC and Ambuja Cement Limited) have deployed Artificial Intelligence Powered Transport Analytics Center (TAC) which serves 35 plants and digitally connects over 20,000 trucks for inbound and outbound movement. The solution has enabled Holcim to optimise its logistics for road safety, improved logistics efficiency and also promote sustainability by reducing overall emissions. It has helped achieve nearly 75% kms without any safety violations and 60% reduction in offsite incidents The success of TAC in India has allowed Holcim to expand it to 55 countries tracking 1.4 billion km of material movement each year from its India centre.2
Another CMA Member Company, Shree Cement Limited has adopted Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) at its plants. The system has been adopted across multiple systems, including vehicle fleet management, weighbridges and production facilities. It has several advantages such as it reduces the turnaround time for truck loading, enhances logistical efficiency and also promotes conservation of resources.3 In the conventional system when a truck entered the premises of a Cement Manufacturer, the security personnel had to manually check the papers, condition and fitment of the vehicle leading to trucks being stranded due to manual operations which took time and hampered efficiency. These issues were resolved through IIoT and the Manufacturers logistics efficiency was boosted.4
Cement being a hygroscopic material needs to be transported to the end consumer in a time bound manner.5 With key infrastructure projects requiring a consistent supply of cement, timely delivery becomes crucial. It is, therefore, important that visibility and comprehensive understanding is provided at each step of the supply chain to ensure operations are not hampered. Technology adoption is a pragmatic approach in this direction. Systems such as installation of RFID tags on vehicles and operating from a TAC can help the Cement Manufacturer monitor the location of each consignment, vehicle routes and also provide an interface with the factory Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to give the estimated time of dispatch/arrival in turn reducing the turnaround time of vehicles.6 Such monitoring can help ensure that the supply chain operation functions unhampered and issues arising, if any, can be troubleshooted at the first instance.
With Cement Manufacturers increasingly seeing logistics as a crucial component of the overall supply chain, it is important that vital technology enablers are introduced. With an increasing adoption of technology and innovation such as Artificial Intelligence and IIoT, which are a part of Industry 4.0, the Cement Industry is poised for significant technology advancements and make an important contribution towards nation building. This will lead to conservation of national resources and also promote environmental conservation besides driving efficiency across the supply chains.7