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White Paper to be presented at Logistics 2003

By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI SEPT. 23. Setting industry standards and benchmarks for different segments of supply chain management (SCM) will be the focus of the two-day national conference on logistics, which will be part of the five-day Logistics 2003 Summit and International Exhibition to be held here from October 8 to 12.

The fourth edition of the biennial event, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry-Southern Region (CII-SR), will feature nearly 90 exhibitors in the fair, to be held at the Chennai Trade Centre from October 9, while the two-day conference being held offsite from October 8 will feature, among other things, case studies of successful and cost-effective SCM from different industrial sectors such as steel and edible oils.

According to B. Sridhar, Chairman, Working Group on Ports, CII-SR, the confederation would come out with a White Paper at the conference highlighting key issues to be addressed by governments and industry, like legal changes, taxation and transaction costs. The paper was being prepared by Raghuraman (Professor, IIM-Ahmedabad) and Janat Shah (IIM-Bangalore). Another theme paper, highlighting the huge business opportunities offered by the logistics industry and the scope for leveraging logistics to enhance the competitiveness of all economic sectors in India, was being prepared by N. Viswanadham, Deputy Director, Asia Pacific Logistics Institute, Singapore.

Talking to The Hindu, Mr. Sridhar said the introduction of State-level value-added tax and proposed phasing out of Central sales tax would bring about a sea-change in the business models and warehousing, plant location and supply chain strategies adopted by companies in India. An understanding of the dynamics of logistics in an economy increasingly exposed to domestic and international competition, opportunities in outsourcing of logistics by companies and the techniques adopted by leading companies which handled their own logistics and SCM would be invaluable to professionals and entrepreneurs.

A new area of interest, Mr. Sridhar said, was outsourcing of IT and documentation tasks related to logistics and SCM by companies located abroad, which were looking at India for this purpose. The concept of supplier parks and clusters was also being developed.

Themes to be dealt with at the conference included SCM-driven business strategies, SCM transformations-national and international case studies, technology and SCM, good practices and logistics outsourcing. D. K. Mittal, Joint Secretary, Commerce Ministry, and Ramesh Chandra, Secretary, Empowered Committee on VAT, would be among policymakers taking part in the conference.

A new format had been adopted for the exhibition, with separate pavilions devoted to services (ranging from transportation — road, rail, sea, courier — labelling and packaging), hardware, technology and SMEs. In addition, commercial vehicles, finance and insurance, publications and portals would be a separate category.

A 15-member mission from the U.K. ports and terminals, besides delegations from Singapore and Sri Lanka were expected to participate in Logistics 2003.

The CII-SR, which had established an Institute of Logistics as a Desk in the regional office and offered programmes for staff of member-companies, would go ahead with full-fledged implementation of imparting education and training in logistics in the near future, Mr. Sridhar said.

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