Technology changes creating new avenues in risk management
Dec 28, 2021
Pandemic lessons: Risks, resuscitation and resilience within the manufacturing sector

The VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity) world, aptly described by our keynote speaker, Bridgestone India MP Parag Satpute, has brought risk management to the centre stage in this new normal.  From merely a compliance activity to a contentious topic of discussion across boardrooms, risk management tops the agenda of every organisation the world over.  To understand the disruptions caused by the black swan event in the Manufacturing sector and its impact on supply chains,

ICICI Lombard & CNBC-TV18 organised a specially curated “Risk Masterclass 2021”. It is a special initiative under the aegis of India Risk Management Awards that recognizes India’s leading organizations that have taken the lead in managing business risks.

The session kickstarted with a context setting address by Sandeep Goradia, Head, Corporate Solutions Group, ICICI Lombard General Insurance.  He said, “As a part of the non-life insurance sector, we have always been working towards shifting our focus from being a risk transfer entity to playing a much more active role as a risk management partner." 

Sharing some alarming statistics on cybercrime, he said, “For cyber events 2021 has actually recorded the highest incidences ever--on an average 30,000 websites are being hacked every single day and there is a cyber-attack every 39 seconds." He welcomed Satpute to deliver his  keynote address.  Stressing on the importance of agility, Parag said, “What we have learned through this crisis is that the importance of agility and the importance of adapting to the situation very promptly will hold us in good stead during future crises also. So, this is the lesson we are taking from the COVID-19 crisis and hopefully this is what will help businesses to continue to thrive in future situations as well."

He discussed how at Bridgestone they followed a structured approach to counter the challenges during the pandemic by deploying the 4S -- secure, streamlined, sustained and shift.

Next up was an invigorating panel discussion with Industry leaders where Paromita Chatterjee, Special Correspondent, CNBC-TV18, had a conversation with Anil Chopra, Group Head–CEO, Apollo Tyres Ltd; Dinyar Manekshaw Jivaasha, Global Head & President, ESSAR; Abhay Baijal, CFO, Chambal Fertilizers; and Alok Agarwal, Executive Director, ICICI Lombard General Insurance.  Anecdotal references, insightful strategies, and contextual analogies were shared as the panelists unanimously agreed on digitisation being the driving force that kept manufacturing units well oiled and running amid the pandemonium.  

Anil shared how technology came to their rescue when 400 of Apollo’s trucks were abandoned midway during the lockdown, and with the aid of a GPS tracking mechanism they were able to avert a major crisis.  He also delved into interesting acronym coined at Apollo, called ‘DRIVE’ -- discovering new sales, inventory and production optimisation, value of cash, and elimination of bad costs.   He maintained that a blended combination of offline and online is needed to stay ahead of the curve.  Speaking of digital transformation, Alok shared how ICICI Lombard ramped up their IT systems for transitioning the entire insurance process one and also ensure seamless claims clearances.  Abhay shared valuable lessons learnt during this period of trial and rightly quoted that, “Risk is like a snake in your backyard and you will not know which way it turns and bites you”.  Being in a continuous process industry, he shared how the company navigated the challenges of labour, packaging material and maintenance of the plant through the first and second phase of the lockdown.

Dinyar reprimanded companies for not taking the role of risk management seriously and emphasised the growing relevance of the digital world, which he warned is not risk averse. He said, “Strong risk management practices are the backbone of a successful company and that will distinguish people, otherwise it is like an elephant in a room and we'll just be groping in the dark."   He spoke at length on leveraging tech tools such as Cloud computing AI, ML, blockchain, 3D printing, predictive analysis, which will have an important play in the days ahead.

Alok explained how the play of Internet of Things (IOT) is transforming the supply chain space. Use of digital supply networks and solutions are handy tools for seamless supply chain management.  In addition, ICICI Lombard has developed a Corporate India Risk Index which measures a company across six broad risk parameters, 32 detailed risk parameters, and comparing their risk preparedness versus what is the reaction time at the time of the risk event happening. This risk index then gives a benchmark to the company against the other peers in the industry.  He also drove the importance of self-sufficiency along with awareness of world events that cause disruptions to supply chain and preparing for vendor back-ups, he stated “the buzzword Just-in-time is replaced with Just-in-case."

Likening the pandemic to a war scenario, Alok summed up the session by stating, “We have to anticipate the risks, we have to prepare ourselves during peacetime so that during wartime we react better."

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