The global pandemic has exposed the weaknesses of traditional supply chain models and the ensuing lockdowns and disruptions have compelled manufacturers and retailers to rethink their supply chain models and re-imagine them for tomorrow’s needs. Digital supply chain models present a huge window of opportunity for business executives to drive growth, mitigate risks and optimise costs. In addition, modern customers expect to personalise products and make purchases across different channels. As the demand for customer value, speed and ease-of-access increases, organisations have to design a supply network to deliver instant success. Hence, business executives have risen to this opportunity of embracing the disruptions and leveraging digital technologies to increase business performance.
CNBCTV18.com in collaboration with SAP got in touch with industry experts on an extremely insightful forum at the Industry Knowledge Exchange Conclave to discuss how businesses can make the most of this opportunity to herald a vibrant new era of resilient and sustainable Supply Chain Management. The forum kickstarted with a keynote address by Sudhendu J. Sinha, Advisor, Infrastructure Connectivity – Transport and Electric Mobility, NITI Aayog. Talking about the importance of robust and digital supply chains in a post-pandemic world, Sinha said, “During the pandemic, it was seen beyond any reasonable doubt that countries which had control over the supply chain end-to-end and those who had proper tie-ups and ensured the robustness, resilience, sustainability and the ethical standards of the supply chain are retained, they were the countries which were able to properly bounce back to the normal position.
Future-Ready Supply Chains
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed vulnerabilities in the existing supply chain models and reiterated the fact that organizations need to be agile and future-ready. Supply chain leaders are at the forefront of this dynamic scenario offering businesses the right tools to propel growth by building responsive, resilient and sustainable supply chains. In addition, India is now being viewed as one of the biggest growth markets with the potential to become the manufacturing hub of the world. The government has also been making massive investments into improving cities and connectivity. However, turning this growth potential into reality requires a realignment of the supply chain model into a digital supply chain network. Hence, to talk about resilient and sustainable models, a panel of experts came together, consisting of Atul Gupta, Head of Corporate Optimisation- Indian Oil Corporation Limited, Samrat Sehgal, SCM Head- Dabur India, Pushp Kumar Nayar, Head SCM- Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, Swaminathan R, Chief Supply Chain Officer- Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Limited, Rajesh Gupta, Head Supply Chain- JK Tyre and Industries Limited, Mohit Jauhari, Head SCM- Shriram Pistons and Rings Limited, and Rateesh Trakroo, Head-Digital Supply Chain, SAP Indian Subcontinent, SAP India Pvt. Ltd.
Diving into the challenges faced by the supply chain sector during the pandemic, Mr Mohit said, “It was a catastrophe of unknown proportions. We had huge inventory challenges wherein all the material which was in transit landed up with us. It was not getting consumed, so we had to live with a piled-up inventory. While the digitization effort was already there, we had to fast-track it and make them more aware of what they needed to do. For a supply chain professional who has to actually be on the ground, working from home was a major challenge”. He further added, “We had to actually digitally make our people literate on that front by giving them VPN access and teaching them how to manage calls. However, once we were able to do it, the catastrophe that came our way actually ended up becoming a boon”.
There are multiple facets to the supply chain structure from manufacturing to demand planning, sales, operation, warehouse, and logistics. It is evident that there is a need for them to be seamlessly integrated which can be done through innovations in digital technologies such as the ones provided by SAP. Shedding some light on how SAP India has been enabling businesses to bring all these processes together and create an integrated and seamless supply chain network, Mr Rateesh said, “Supply chain is an integrated process and hence all of SAP’s supply chain solutions are closely integrated with the digital core. SAP's approach to the digital supply chain is spread across five integrated pillars namely design, planning, manufacture, delivery and operation with sustainability, innovation and analytics spanning across each one of them. We are leveraging industry 4.0 to improve productivity and build intelligence across operations ultimately leading to self-learning systems and we're delivering all of this with our strategic partners. With this integrated end-to-end view and coverage, we are helping customers build agility and responsiveness to these ever-changing market conditions”.
The digital transformation wave has brought in a revolution in supply chain management which is here to stay and change the way businesses perceive supply chains. Focusing on the key changes for supply chain leaders and their top priorities in the coming years, Mr. Rajesh said, “One thing which is going to be a common theme across everything that we do is going to be the 3-C approach wherein we are going to Connect, Collaborate and ensure that the Customer is satisfied. Localization is one focus area and most importantly we are going to focus on skilling and upskilling our personnel and the supply chain as well to make the best use of whatever information and data we have so as to drive efficiencies in the supply chain”.
The Bottom Line
Businesses need resilience and agility not just in products but also in processes and people to meet the changing demands of the new normal. While the pandemic and the resulting evolution of the markets has caused disruptions across industry sectors, it has also provided business executives to make their value chains more robust and efficient. Thus, in order to actively pursue future resilience and ensure business continuity, it is imperative for businesses to embrace digitization and make it an enabler of growth.
Get customer-centric products to market faster and at less cost with global supply chain management (SCM) software and tools from SAP. To know more, check out the whitepaper – “Building Resilience and Sustainability in Asia-Pacific Supply Chains”
This is a partnered post.
First Published: IST