26 Apr 2021  |   05:51am IST

Supply chain coping well with demand uptick as hard lockdown seen unlikely

About the same time last year, during the hard lockdown, there was huge uncertainty and panic buying as there was no clarity on supplies and logistics. This year people, distributors, retailers and even manufacturers are confident that the supply chain will not be broken. VIKANT SAHAY finds out how stakeholders see the emerging scenario
Supply chain coping well with demand  uptick as hard lockdown seen unlikely

VIKANT SAHAY

Supplies were badly affected when the COVID-induced pandemic started in March-April last year. There was panic buying and there was shortage of essential items from the shelf of all stores and malls. That was because there was no clarity and a sudden lockdown. 

KiritMaganlal, partner atMagsonssaid, “We are back in time to April 2020, right? And this time, we are no wiser from our past experiences. We still prefer to run with the hares and hunt with the hounds and refuse to take a strong stand over the safety and wellbeing of either ourselves or of the community around us. So the smart thing to do is to act smart and help prevent a situation, wherein the local authorities are forced to force us down to curfews and lockdowns. Break the chain of the virus spreading, rather than facilitate breaking down the supply chain of essential goods. History is supposed to make us wiser.”

Maganlal who has a chain of over a dozen stores in Goa added that the graph of the days to follow is largely uncertain because we cannot really fathom the swing that the new wave of infection will take on society and neither are governments in a position to clearly define the so-called ‘stringent measures’ that they intend to take. Understandable, so far. So whether we shall follow the shortages and disruptions in logistics and supply chains as had happened last year, or whether we are going to learn from them, is, as of today, anybody’s guess. But certainly it would not be as brutal as it was the last time around.

“As of today, there are few disruptions in supply. But one needs to remember that Goa is not a resource State for goods and produce. Hence, closure of borders in other States would stop the critical movement of these goods and produce into Goa. Remember last year we faced acute shortage of daily staples which come from neighbouring Maharashtra, meats, eggs, milk and poultry that come from neighbouring Karnataka and so many other daily use consumables that come from up-country. If transportation and freight across borders is brought to a standstill, these will again be affected,” cleared Maganlal.

He went on to say that hoarding and stocking in excess is not a good idea because these are essential commodities with short shelf lives and wafer thin margins. The inventory carrying cost of these goods does not make it worthwhile. Even households have realised this after the last time, because post lockdowns, many have complained that products bought in excess out of fear, have expired in their homes.

“Last year, at Magsons we suffered nightmares on how to reach the old, elderly and the sick at their homes with essential goods. To our credit, we did manage it well. It had taken a deep toll then and we shudder to think of a repeat act,” added Maganlal.

Chairman of the Logistics Committee of the Goa Chambers of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) Sandeep Sood felt that the matter is of grave concern. 

“Every sector in the industries is worried. There will be 100 per cent disruption of supply chain which will take place, as they operate on micro-zones and if that particular zone falls under that micro containment zone then the business goes for a toss. This has no boundaries. It is about long term inter-business contracts. Even as the Prime Minister Modi has assured that there will not be a lockdown, States are free to declare micro containment zones and that is where the business can be drastically affected,” explained Sood. 

ChetanKapdi, General Secretary of All Goa FMCG and Telecom Distribution, which has over 375 members across Goa is confident that they can manage things much better on the supply side. “We have two active Whatsapp groups and there is no concern as of now. “In my view, the supplies are fine as of now, as I have no news from distributors, stockists or retailers of any shortage in Goa. I feel that the supplies will not be hindered in the FMCG category compared to last year,” said Kapdi.

NihaalBorkar, director at Borkars, believes that as of now there is no effect of any restrictions. He said that they have enough stock even though there is some panic buying. “Yes, there is less human interaction on stores and there has been panic buying and surely not as it happened last year but surely there is a spike which we are observing, but we have stocks and there should not be any problem as far as the situation exists now,” said Borkar. 

Partner atDelfinos, Anil Pereira is of the view that with the assurance from the Prime Minister the lockdown is not likely to happen but the individual States may take their call. “Yes, we have enough supplies and we have increased our purchase so that our customers do not face any hardship. We have also seen that there is a spike in purchase by our customers but it is nothing compared to the last year. We are well stocked for three weeks but we do not know after that. Also, the supply chain has not been disrupted as yet and all is clear for the next one week,” said Pereira. 

IDhar UDHAR

IDHAR UDHAR