Opera’17 Operations Conclave

Department of Management Studies, IIT Delhi, hosted Opera’17, the annual Operations Conclave on 23rd September 2017 with the morning session focusing on the theme “Industry 4.0 Risk Mitigation through Digitization in Supply Chain”. Following were the eminent panellists from the industry who not only dived into the depths of the topic but also covered its broad scope:
  • Akashdeep Gupta, Head-Supply Chain, Intex
  • Rajesh Gupta, Head-Supply chain, JK Tyres and Industries Ltd.
  • Gurpreet Singh Gill, Regional Head- Supply Chain and Logistics, Samsung
  • Rajiv Kapahi, Senior Director- Finance, Operations and Distribution, Boston Scientific India
  • Varinder Mittal, Head-Supply Chain, Contract Manufacturing, Nestle
The panel was headed by Mr. Varinder Mittal who initiated the panel discussion by introducing digitization as a much-needed revolution already in motion in India. This is getting reflected as a paradigm shift in consumer behaviour and the same is being adopted in the supply chain. He provided further insights into the topic by citing an example of Nestle which has started implementing the use of Big Data Analytics and SaaS to be technologically competitive. With shortening of product life cycle, supply variability and demand volatility, there is a need of a much more transparent as well as faster supply chain to ensure that it remains in sync with the consumer’s requirements.

The discussion was carried forward by Mr. Akashdeep Gupta who further elucidated on the topic. He focussed on certain key elements among which integrated planning and execution, logistics visibility, smart warehousing, procurement, efficient spare-part management and data analytics in supply chain were the key ones. He elaborated on each of these points to showcase how digitization can bring about an impact on core supply chain functions individually as well as in coherence.

Mr. Rajesh Gupta
elaborated on the topic of discussion under four headings namely:
  • Digitization
  • Coordination among human beings
  • Environment Cost
  • Reverse Logistics
He explained how the digitally accumulated information can be handled in an efficient manner by better coordination among humans. Illustrating beautifully through current and specific industry related examples, he broadened the horizon of the students. Moreover, he shed light on some strategies that have been used by JK Tyres for the same.

Continuing, Mr Gurpreet Singh Gill, had an interactive discussion where he tried to assess the understanding of students about Supply Chain. He shared his expertise of basic supply chain and the associated risks and also emphasized on how the risks are not visible externally, therefore must be observed on a regular basis. Adding on to it, he explained how India is unable to achieve maximum efficiency in spite of having supportive resources. He explained a lot of use cases to make students realize the importance of supply chain in the current market and how it is the best place to be in, right now.

Finally, Mr. Rajiv Kapahi asked the students to not be limited to the books when it came to tackling real world problems. Providing real life example of the growth of DELL, he laid the emphasis on being innovative. Innovation lies in the way they utilized digitization as a means to address their problems related to huge inventories, reinventing product and price transmission. His expertise in finance domain coupled with a rich experience in pharmaceutical industry provided a different perspective to the discussion.

Along with putting forth different perspectives, the floor was always open to questions for students who displayed a great deal of enthusiasm and these questions were followed with an in-depth discussion on different parameters. Our eminent panellists handled these questions based on their rich experience and expertise and successfully expanded the horizon of the students.

The afternoon session focused on the theme- “Sustainable Supply Chain – Responsibilities and Opportunities”. The Panel Chair was Ms. Monika Bahl, VP- South East Asia, VLCC. Following were the other eminent panel members from across the industry, who provided deep insights to our students:
  • Mr. Vaibhav Kulkarni, Head of North Operations, Marico
  • Mr. Jaya Chandran, VP- Operations, Shellz Overseas Pvt. Ltd.
  • Mr. Gurpreet Singh Gill, Regional Head – Supply Chain & Logistics, Samsung SDS
  • Mr. Tej Nirmal Singh, Head of Local Administration Services, Ericsson – India
  • Mr. Ramesh Agarwal, Airman in IAF, Chairman – Agarwal Movers Group
  • Mr. Birendra Jha, Country Supply Chain and Logistics Manager, M&S
  • Mr. Vinay Dhanani, Head of Network Operations, Rivigo Services Pvt. Ltd.
  • Mr. Mihir Mohanta, GM – Supply Chain Management, Mother Dairy Fruit & Vegetable Pvt. Ltd.

Prof. Ravi Shankar welcomed the renowned panel members and briefly introduced the accomplishments of DMS, IIT Delhi in this area. He urged the panel members to provide some insight on what the industry needs and how can IIT Delhi contribute towards it. Ms. Bahl, the Panel Chair kicked off the session by discussing the importance of the 3 R's-Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, in achieving sustainable supply chain and at the same time, tapping on the opportunities that come with it.

Mr. Kulkarni highlighted the fact that for an FMCG company, it is extremely important to have the product on the shelf, nearest to the customer, by optimizing cost and usage of resources. According to him, a sustainable supply chain has three aspects:
  • Economic Viability
  • Environmental Sustainability: Green supply chain, waste reduction, emission reduction
  • Product and People: No violation of labour laws and human rights and no harmful products for the end users

Further, Mr. Chandran added another aspect of encouraging good governance practices to ensure that the firms earn a profit while preserving the planet and the people. He stressed upon how India ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change to become the 62nd nation to join the deal to cut carbon emissions.

The discussion was carried forward by Mr. Gill who explained Samsung’s point of view of reverse logistics to refurbish and recycle the waste/plastic generated. He considers sustainable supply chain not only as a responsibility but also an opportunity for the firm to recycle the material instead of procuring from the suppliers at a cost. He then gave a key message to all the students that a sense of awareness is required as we are going to be the future leaders in sustainable supply chain management.

Next, Mr. Nirmal Singh asked the students to be responsive in terms of ecology management. He also asked the students to think of ways to dump electronic waste generated at an enormous level. He mentioned the fact that technology today becomes obsolete in a very short span of time and that is why proper electronic waste dumping mechanism is the need of the hour.

Mr. Agarwal elucidated the audience by discussing a case study wherein a product successful in the market for quite a few years was retracted because of an issue in supply chain and not because of the issue in the product. He explained the concept of Trucking Cube and emphasized that the product should not only be ISI certified but should also indicate the label ‘Transported By’ as a lot of truckloads gets spoiled during transportation. He further discussed the plight of the sleep-deprived truck drivers. Mr. Jha carried the discussion forward by discussing the initiatives taken by him and his firm, M&S to maintain a sustainable supply chain.

According to Mr. Dhanani, social sustainability is a major challenge in supply chain management. He emphasized that technology is going to be the next big thing in logistics and supply chain management. He highlighted some of the measures taken by his firm to reduce the pain points of the truck drivers like having an adequate number of drivers, using technology to monitor the route and provide them feedback. This will help in increasing the efficiency and hence decrease the carbon emissions. Last but not the least, Mr. Mohanta discussed perishable products management which requires specific conditions of transportation, storage, and utmost care in order to reduce the damage/wastage.

The end of the event was marked by the Q&A session. Our eminent panel members provided insights based on their experience and expertise.

The students of DMS, IIT Delhi extend their heartfelt gratitude to the panellists for taking out their valuable time and sharing their views on changing industrial landscapes.