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InsurTalks Podcast with Deepak Singhvi: Covid-19 & the Disruption in Supply Chain Management

7 minutes, 14 seconds read

The outbreak of pandemic Covid-19 has disrupted global supply chains and international trade. Social Distancing norms and restrictions on cross-border travel have made supply chain management extremely difficult. This has set off a chain reaction where many small and medium industries have been hit. 

To discuss the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the supply chain and how technology can help create better supply chain flow during and post-pandemic, we interviewed Mr. Deepak Singhvi from SAP.

Mr. Deepak Singhvi is a Software Architect for SAP Ariba; where he steers designs and solutions for B2B E-procurement marketplace. Deepak has more than 15 years of experience in Big Data, Analytics, and platform development for various industries like e-commerce, banking, and semiconductor. 

Connect with Mr. Deepak Singhvi – LinkedIn

Excerpt from the interview-

SCM Challenges

What are some of the challenges organizations are facing due to disruption in global supply chains?

Mr. Deepak: We can gauge from the current situation how this pandemic is different from the outbreak of SARS in 2002. That time, China was contributing around 4% of the world’s total GDP and now China contributes somewhere between 18%- 20%. China is like the world’s factory which is present in every aspect of the business and production process. China is manufacturing for the world. 

In the post-pandemic world, we will have to adapt to the volatile environment. Especially, the continuous change in consumer behavior is creating a Bullwhip effect which is troubling the manufacturers. This effect makes it difficult for them to estimate inventories, plan production, set logistics in place, etc. The impact is going to be huge mainly because of China’s major contribution towards world GDP.

Is money also a challenge for the organizations in the supply chain?

Mr. Deepak: Money is an issue, maybe not for big companies. However, for SMEs and startups, who are also contributing to the supply chain, cash liquidity has been a concern. They need to maintain cash liquidity by reducing their operating costs and plan for short-term needs. 

Many governments have introduced provisions for SMEs and start-ups like the Government of India through Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), France has announced a 4 billion euros package, Germany has introduced a 2 billion euros package and so on. 

Small scale industries need working capital/short-term capital/short-term cash liquidity. Manufacturing units will have to ensure that they have enough supplies because they are somehow surviving this quarter. But, in the next quarter, they’ll have difficulty putting together everything in place. 

Role of Technology in Supply Chain Management 

As per a March survey conducted by the ‘Institute For Supply Chain Management’, nearly 75 percent of companies reported supply chain disruptions due to coronavirus-related transportation restrictions — how is technology going to address these concerns moving forward?

Mr. Deepak: Technology will play a very important role in Supply Chain Management. We need to understand the kinds of problems that are there and how technology can solve it. There are three dimensions to it. 

First is Cost. The USA and many other countries moved their manufacturing units to China three decades ago. That time, Supply Chain was mostly about Cost —  how to reduce cost and improve operational efficiency.

Second is Risk. In the past 5-10 years, another factor has come into place — Risk. Government tariffs and restrictions had a huge impact on the supply chain. It is difficult to import goods from China as there was a lot of opposition to it. 

Third is Resilience. The outbreak of pandemic COVID-19 tested the resilience of organizations to the disruption. 

It if was only about cost, a single human could have managed the cost by taking the assistance of tools and technology. But with increasing dimensions, humans alone cannot manage it. Therefore, technology is helping humans in holistic and better decision making. The supply chain dimensions will keep on increasing and will get more complex. Hence, technology will be important to adapt to the dynamic environment. 

AR and VR in Supply Chain

Do you see technologies like AR & VR playing a greater role in the procurement process?

Mr. Deepak: Technologies such as Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality will help enhance the User Experience. Social Distancing will be in practice for a long time. People might not get the same in-person experience as before. Therefore, AR and VR can help provide a similar experience to their customers. Moreover, these technologies will help significantly in the Customer Support function. VR can help in employee training and real-time assistance in manufacturing plants or offices. There will be a wider application of these technologies in various business units across different industries.

[Also read – 25 Disruptive AR Use Cases]

AI and Automation in Supply Chain Management

How does AI-based technologies like Machine Learning, Automation play a role in supply chain management? Is the investment in AI still relevant for enterprises during this Pandemic crisis?

Mr. Deepak: Artificial Intelligence will be needed more than ever. As the dimensions — apart from Cost, risk and Resilience will increase, it will create a need for an Intelligence System which can use rule-based computing. The system should be able to handle the effects of the bullwhip and enable automatic stock verification. AI will have a bigger role in developing Supply Chain solutions in the New Normal to automate manual operations and increase operational efficiency for Business Continuity

What are the main pain points in supply chain management which AI technologies or automation can address?

Mr. Deepak: Today, most of the systems and processes are in place. Suppliers and Buyers can collaborate on a system. Even SAP Ariba has a Supplier Collaboration platform. Everything works seamlessly under normal circumstances and there are intelligent solutions that make the Supply Chain a bit more flexible. 

Technology can automate manual collaborations. Normal rule-based decision making works most of the time but now we need more complex decision making. Systems need to consider external factors of COVID-19 such as disruption in any specific country or manufacturing plants. These factors can act as inputs to enable better decision-making.

Supply Chain in the New Normal

What lessons can you share for buyers and suppliers operating in the New Normal?

Mr. Deepak: One of the important lessons we learn here is to keep innovating. We need to introduce technologies like AI, AR, VR, RPA, etc. to automate manual processes wherever possible. 

Employees need to be trained in new technologies. Stakeholders need to get ready for the change. Those collaborating on systems should make their systems more agile. Also, businesses need to plan their cash flows to survive in the long term. 

The Future of Personalization

The growth of ‘web content management systems’ is driven by the demand of organizations to deliver personalized content and increase the interactions with customers present online — what does the future of personalization look like?

Mr. Deepak: We have been seeing personalized content for the past couple of years now. There are two aspects to this.

First, in the current situation, we need some kind of personalization. Companies that are ready to deliver personalized content will make a mark for themselves. Whereas, those who were not ready for it will be left behind. 

Second, in the post-pandemic world, many new people will be using digital platforms for the first time. They need better experiences that go beyond the traditional way of buying and selling. The companies that will add personalization into their products and services will have an edge over those who don’t. 

Start-ups in the Post-Pandemic World

It will be a survival issue for the start-ups for the next 1-2 years. Which sectors should start-ups focus their technological innovations which could add value not just to them but society at large?

Mr. Deepak: Many start-ups have been hit due to this pandemic. But now they need to evaluate whether to continue in the existing line of business or make a shift to an area where there’s opportunity in the post-pandemic world. 

The technology-led business model will be critical. It will have a key role in defining strategies. Start-ups have opportunities in the area of security and performance engineering as more people are working from home creating gaps in the data security. We are learning many lessons from this pandemic. They are reinforcing and validating our current model of getting out of the global crisis. There is a scope of growth as long as we keep building innovative solutions. 

In a nutshell

In this session, Mr. Deepa Singhvi shared his insights on technology innovations needed in the time of this crisis for start-ups and how supply chains can be improved through a new set of technologies like AI, AR, VR, and automation in the post-pandemic world. 

Podcasts in this series:

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8 Best Ways to Reduce Android App Size

5 minutes, 29 seconds read

With the increase in mobile storage spaces that have gone up to 256 GB, app size is also growing. App size is sure to grow as developers are adding new features, trying to meet customer needs, and also trying to support their apps on various screen sizes. Around 74% of the world uses Android, and 70% of users consider app size before installing them. Moreover, as humans are getting accustomed to instant gratification, they ponder on ways to download apps as they take up storage spaces. Despite the cloud support for photos, videos, and files, android users face issues, such as mobile hanging due to app size. As customer expectations are increasing, android app developers are considering other ways to reduce app size while still incorporating significant additional features and keeping in mind the customer experience.

Below are the 8 best ways to reduce android app size:

1. Use Android App Bundle to Reduce App Size

When generating the release version of your app, you can choose between APK and Android App Bundle.  The second option will make Google play to generate the APK with only those features a specific user need. 

Use Android App Bundle

App Bundle Vs APK

Android App Bundle

  • It is a publishing format that includes compiled code and resources of your app, and delays APK generation and signing to Google Play.
  • With Android App Bundles, the compressed download size restriction is 150 MB. The app bundle cannot be used with APK expansion files.
Android App Bundle
Important: In the second half of 2021, new apps will be required to publish with the Android App Bundle on Google Play. New apps larger than 150 MB must use either Play Feature Delivery or Play Asset Delivery.

How to build android app bundles?

To build app bundles, follow these steps:

  1. Download Android Studio 3.2 or higher—it’s the easiest way to add feature modules and build app bundles.
  2. Add support for Play Feature Delivery by including a base module, organizing code and resources for configuration APKs, and, optionally, adding feature modules.
  3. Build an Android App Bundle using Android Studio. You can also deploy your app to a connected device from an app bundle by modifying your run/debug configuration and selecting the option to deploy APK from app bundle. Keep in mind, using this option results in longer build times when compared to building and deploying only an APK.
  4. If you’re not using the IDE, you can instead build an app bundle from the command line.
  5. Test your Android App Bundle by using it to generate APKs that you deploy to a device.
  6. Enroll into app Play App Signing. Otherwise, you can’t upload your app bundle to the Play Console.
  7. Publish your app bundle to Google Play.

Please note: Android Package Kit – As per developer console, by the mid of 2021, developers won’t be able to upload apk on play store)

  • Android operating system uses APK which is the package file format for distribution and installation of mobile apps, games and middleware. APK is similar to other software packages such as APPX in Microsoft Windows or a Debian package in Debian -based operating systems.
  • Google Play requires that the compressed APK downloaded by the users should not exceed 100 MB.
  • The expansion files for your app are hosted by Google Play which serves them to the device at no cost to you. The expansion files are saved to the device’s shared storage location (the SD card or USB-mountable partition).

2. Use Proguard

Proguard is probably one of the most useful tools to reduce your APK size. It reduces the source code files to a minimum and can reduce the APK file size upto 90%.

  • Use it in all variants whenever using “Proguard”
  • Helps to avoid conflict at the of generate apk or bundle if will use in all the variants.
  • We cannot let ProGuard rename or remove any fields on these data classes, as they have to match the serialized format. It’s a safe bet to add a @Keep annotation on the whole class or a wildcard rule on all your models.

3. Use Android Size Analyzer Plugin

This Android Studio plugin will provide you recommendations to reduce the size of your application.

With the APK Analyzer, you can accomplish the following:

  • View the absolute and relative size of files in the APK, such as the DEX and Android resource files.
  • Understand the composition of DEX files.
  • Quickly view the final versions of files in the APK, such as the AndroidManifest.xml file.
  • Perform a side-by-side comparison of two APKs.

There are three ways to access the APK Analyzer when a project is open:

  • Drag an APK into the Editor window of Android Studio.
  • Switch to the Project perspective in the Project window and then double-click the APK in the default build/output/apks/ directory.
  • Select Build > Analyze APK in the menu bar and then select your APK.

More details at: Jetbrains

4. Optimize Your App’s Resources

Whether used or not, every resource takes up memory. It is therefore necessary to have only those resources that you need, and to use those in a memory efficient way. In other words, you should consider the resolution of the image before finalizing on it.

5. Optimize Libraries

As large libraries consume huge amounts of space, it is advisable to remove parts of it in case you do not need them and if it is permitted by the license of the library. Proguard can aid you in this process but it is not always able to remove large internal dependencies.

6. Use Vector Graphics Wherever Possible

They are sharp and do not consume much space as they rely on mathematical calculations and not on pixels that need to be saved. However, they cannot be used for photography.

7. Compress Your Images

By using tools such as pngcrush, you can reduce the file size of PNG images. It is advisable to do this images as they still look the same. 

8. Only Support Specific Densities

If only a small portion of users use a specific density, it might be better to let Android scale your other densities for them as it would reduce your APK size.


As mobile storage space is growing, people are installing a large number of apps to meet a wide range of needs. But as app size is increasing, people are continuing to struggle with storage issues. With provisions such as Proguard, one can compress the APK file size and optimize libraries easily. Compressing images and using vector graphs are also useful in reducing app size.

About the author: Anand Singh is Tech Lead at Mantra Labs. He is integral to the company’s Android-based projects and enterprise application development.

Further Reading:

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