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Unboxing Operations: Smart supply chain management

Supply chain managment conclave 2018

GenOps the operations club of SDA Bocconi Asia Center organized the second edition of OPCLAVE’18- Unboxing Operations “Smart supply chain management”. The conclave hosted some of the industry veterans who have experienced and shaped the digitisation curve in supply & demand chain management. The conclave updated on latest technologies and innovations, agile customer-centric supply planning, optimisation strategies, Risk and volatility management in a global economy, big data, IoT and smart manufacturing. The theme was set to achieve the change in the way we think, act & profit in supply chain management & logistics.

Mr.Abhijit Chaudhari, Mentor at Atal Innovation Mission, moderated and steered the discussion towards upcoming trends in digitalization of SCM. The discussion orbited around strategic view, preparation for execution, operations and management of operations.The use of analytics to interpret complexity demand information in omni-channel market in today’s age.

Mr.Naval Sabharwal, Global Head of Logistics & Supply chain practice, Ramco Systems, stated “Digital transformation is the tsunami that has hit us.” He emphasized that strategy involves people and innovation whereas technology and communication are enablers for implementing this strategy. Mr. Sabharwal highlighted that digitalization and technology should contribute to make customer and supply chain experience frictionless. “Supply chain management is not a game of technology, but a game of people.” Eventually, though automation will take over repetitive tasks, it will provide opportunities for people to develop and re-skill themselves. Addressing the ever rising concern of ROI in technology investment, he said that it can be measured by the ease introduced in the lives of consumers and employees, reduction of gap between planning & execution and the amount of waste removed in the entire process. Mr. Sabharwal also mentioned that data security is of prime importance when it comes to digitalization.

“Going digital is not a choice but a necessity to stay ahead of the curve” quoted Mr.Jaswinder Saini, Head of Procurement, Tata Sky Ltd. Mr.Saini also revealed that his three most significant KRAs at Tata Sky were heavily dependent on digital platforms and technological innovation. The inventory control which usually incurs heavy costs due to poor management has been handled seamlessly by going digital. He assured that the agenda of automation and digitalization is not to lay-off people but to eliminate drudgery. He highlighted that digitalization increases transparency both inside and outside of an organization.

Mr. Sambit Sathapathy, Business Head-Cold Chain, Rivigo, explained that we should not delve on jargons and complexities rather focus on understanding fundamentals and simplifying processes. He further expanded on the topic of cold chain in India being extremely un-penetrated and plagued by three core problems of speed, temperature integrity and visibility that cause large quantities of fresh produce to be wasted. “Real problem solving happens when you peel the onion” stated Mr.Sathapathy. Organizations don’t address the core problems and get stuck on surface issues that lead them to impotent solutions. Citing an example, Mr.Sathapathy described that introducing changeover stations in trucking improved the quality of life of truck drivers. Speed and productivity came as by-products of this fundamental change. Mr. Sathapathy underlined that centralizing distribution and warehouse increases ROI and decreases attrition rate of distributors.

To summarise, the panellists provided the attendees with a foresight of the way in which digitalization and technological innovation are changing organizations’ approach towards SCM. They painted a new picture in which SCM needs leaders capable of ideating and revolutionizing.

This article is written by Apeksha Kothari & Jeffin Johnykutty, International Master in Business | Batch 2018-20.

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