Pandemic helped us understand our true resilience: Blue Dart CMO Ketan Kulkarni

Pandemic helped us understand our true resilience: Blue Dart CMO Ketan Kulkarni

Blue Dart has recently launched its first women-led service centre in India.

Ketan Kulkarni

KERALA: At a time when the entire nation is facing the wrath of the Covid-19 pandemic, logistics company Blue Dart has been working round the clock to ensure supply chain continuity. With the #WeMoveSoYourWorldCanMove campaign, the brand ensured quick delivery amid the pandemic scare and ensured that the shipments are moving in perfect conditions.'s Nirmal Narayanan spoke to Blue Dart CMO and head-business development Ketan Kulkarni to know more about the company's operations during the pandemic times, and understand how it pivoted during the pandemic to ensure supply chain continuity across the country.

Edited excerpts: 

On navigating the Covid pandemic.

The logistics sector is crucial for the business continuity of all industries. It is seldom in the spotlight, but it received due credit for the work done during the pandemic. The resilience of the sector was tested given the restrictions imposed on the mobility of any sort. With the ensuing lockdowns and the fear of contagion rampant, people became increasingly reliant on online services that delivered shipments to and picked up shipments from the customer’s doorstep. This heightened trend, spotted across customer demographics, was enabled by an agile logistics sector.

Blue Dart stepped into action the minute the lockdown was announced, gearing up with its business contingency and continuity plan (BCCP) to aid customers in their time of need. Initially transporting only essentials, we worked with vigour and determination like never before to fulfil our role as the trade facilitator to the nation and continued to do so as the economy ‘unlocked’. We leveraged the power of technology to continue to deliver the premium service quality associated with Blue Dart.

On the challenges faced to deliver shipments on time.

Transport restrictions on the ground put a spoke in our wheel. However, our market differentiating air express service won the day, as we leveraged our Boeing 757-200 freighters to transport essentials across the country as well as to our neighbours internationally as part of the government’s Lifeline Udan initiative. We pioneered the Contact-Less Delivery service that eliminated contact by allowing access to over 14 digital wallets, netbanking, credit and debit cards, UPI, and BHIM. The pandemic helped us understand the resilience of Blue Dart. The success mantra we followed was to tackle challenges head-on with an ‘improvise – adapt – overcome’ perspective and it worked. 

On Temperature Controlled Logistics Solutions (TCL) for pharma products.

Blue Dart has been a Temperature Controlled Logistics (TCL) industry expert for a significant period. Our solutions are developed, keeping pharma and life science in mind. It provides a secure and validated supply chain for all temperature-sensitive needs and ensures safe and compliant transport in frozen, chilled, and ambient conditions. Using appropriate cooling mediums, the packaging performance delivers temperature for the range - 20°C, 2°C - 8°C, and 15°C - 25°C for varying distribution times.

We also design customised packaging to meet our customers’ unique requests. We have pharma grade conditioning rooms at strategic locations like Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune, Kolkata, Delhi, and Bangalore. These rooms are close to our Blue Dart Aviation Stations which reduces our turnaround time and aids in the speedy delivery. With our TCL Solutions, we can deliver excellence to 9,000 pin codes within 24 hours and 12,000 pin codes within 72 hours. Additionally, as part of the DPDHL Group, we have access to several additional assets such as reefer vehicles, cold storage trucks as well as a global network spanning 220 countries and territories worldwide.

On the #WeMoveSoYourWorldCanMove campaign.

Blue Dart’s USP is our quick delivery and fast turnaround time, all while ensuring shipments move in the perfect condition. When the pandemic hit, this was only reinforced further as we put in an extra 100 per cent to ensure supply chain continuity. We understand that every shipment, something as small and yet so meaningful as a Rakhi, something as valuable as bank documents, or something as crucial as a vaccine or medicines matters to our customers, and hence, it matters to us. Therefore, the phrase ‘We Move So Your World Can Move’ and ‘If It's Important, #BlueDartIT’. 

On Blue Dart's first women-led service centre in India.

We value the diversity of our teams as a genuine strength. Our organisation brings together people from a wide range of cultural backgrounds – all with different skills, experiences, and viewpoints. We perceive diversity as something that goes beyond gender, race, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, or any other characteristics protected under law. We promote inclusion because an inclusive team leads to happier and more innovative employees. We wanted to take one step ahead to help our nation bridge the gender gap that is widening as we speak. The All-Women Service Centre is a step in the right direction towards achieving this feat. Diversity begins at hiring and in the future we will continue to hire more diverse talent, increasing our Diversity and Inclusivity ratio.

On getting certified as a Great Place to Work for the 11th year.

Blue Dart has always championed a ‘People First’ philosophy. Therefore, we ensure our colleagues and their families are taken care of. ‘A Happy colleague equates to a Happy Customer’ – keeping this as the foundational tool of our business, Blue Dart has launched several initiatives, including several internal campaigns that highlight the outstanding work done by our colleagues.

We have also launched the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to increase mental health awareness. For the outstanding work done during the pandemic, we offered a special Covid-19 appreciation bonus. Additionally, in case a team member falls victim to the virus, special Covid leave and a special medi-claim policy have been put in place to ensure that the individual feels supported in their time of need. Our HR initiatives include the Death Benevolent Fund (DBF) to help resolve the financial crisis of the family rising due to the death of a team member.  Upstairs is another program that aims to help children of team members by offering a scholarship program that provides them with Rs 1 lakh per year along with a mentor.