When the problem is big you cannot solve it alone. You need a friend or a “DOST” as he or she is called in India. Sometimes joining hands with your enemies (“frenemies”) may also make sense. The mythological background of collaborating with enemies lies in the story of “Samudra Manthan” when the “Devas” once wanted to churn “Kshira Sagar”, the ocean of milk, because it was said that many treasures of the world lay dissolved in it. Devas collaborated with “Vasuki” the king ofserpents to be the churning rope, “Mandara” the king of mountain to be the churning rod and “Akupara” the king of turtles to provide rotation support. In the end they had to collaborate with their enemies “Asuras” who had equal power to churn the ocean of that size and finally taste “Amrut”
Indian logistics sector truly reflects the regional diversity of India. It is not one market. It is a sum of local and regional logistic opportunities (and problems). It looks alike but is very different locally in structure, governance and size because of dependence on local resources like spaces, labor and drivers, local geographical terrain, local policies, local consumer preferences and business culture.
Thus for churning of this ocean of opportunities (and problems) called “Indian Logistics” and taste the “Amrut”, Devas have to ally with Asuras. Businesses will always feel and behave like Devas and look at Transporters as Asuras. So be it. But the alliance is inevitable.
Technology can play the role of “Vasuki”-the rope to churn the ocean of the problems by bringing transparency and enabling collaboration. but alone it cannot move. Governments, both at centre and local level, have to play the solid role of “Mount Mandara”-the churning rod and provide their policy support.
In the story, as Devas and Asuras churned the rope, during the process released the lethal poison known as “Halahala” from the mouth of the serpent king Vasuki. The poison was so powerful that it could destroy all of creation. Then “Shiva” the hermit-god swallowed all the poison so that Samudra Manthan could continue. Similarly, someone has to swallow the “poison” coming from churning of Indian logistics sector, someone who can keep investing in innovation, trials and technologies till sustainable models evolve. Only Investors can play this role of Neelakantha Shiva and help this manthan continue.
Finally, there is need for an “Akupara”, the Turtle at the base of the churning rod bearing all the pressure and enabling collaboration by providing a platform.
One such “Turtle” is DOST- a collaborative logistics platform started from Jaipur, Rajasthan connecting various local stakeholders of logistics and co-create a sustainable solution. India will need many such “DOST” in every local market who can bring Devas, Asuras, Vasuki, Mandara and Shiva together for this gigantic churn and let the “Amrit” emerge.
(Story inspiration from Indian Mytholoy, illustration inspiration from the book “Pashu -Animal Tales and Hindu Mythology” by Devdutt Patnaik, and solution inspired from experience of building DOST platform)