The Operations Club at SDA Bocconi Asia Center hosted its annual club event, “GenOps Virtual Conclave 2020” on October 11th, 2020. Mr. Alessandro Giuliani, the Managing Director of SDA Bocconi Asia Center welcomed the panellists and addressed the gathering. Mr. Parmeshwaran Iyer, Global Vice President of Supply Chain Management at Beiersdorf, kickstarted the conclave with his keynote speech on Supply Chain post-COVID. Mr. Parmeshwaran highlighted his journey at Beiersdorf and his experience and key takeaways from the cyber attack and COVID 19 crisis which he experienced in his professional journey.
The keynote speech led to the beginning of panel discussion between Mr. Mats Joseph Fernandes, National Logistics Head at Daniel Wellington, Mr. Sunil David, Regional Director at AT&T, and Mr. Amit Vora, Associate Vice President at Nykaa. The panellists hailing from a plethora of industries brainstormed solutions to build resilient supply chains. The discussion was moderated by Mr. Abhijit Chaudhuri, Professor of Operations Management at SDA Bocconi Asia Center.
The panellists discussed the ways to recalibrate agility, adaptability and align business strategies to grow and sustain during COVID-19. They gave insights into how companies shifted their focus, during the 4th Industrial Revolution, from a stability-driven business model which followed structure-conduct-performance to a resilient one by following ‘conduct- structure-performance’ model.
The panellists addressed the questions below posed by the moderator to arrive at solutions to build a resilient supply chain.
Q1. Prior to the 4th Industrial Revolution, companies were focused on the ‘stability’ of their businesses by following ‘structure-conduct-performance’ model. Do you think during and beyond the 4th Industrial revolution, the focus will shift from ‘stability’ to ‘Resilience’ by following ‘conduct- structure-performance’ model?
During COVID-19, companies are shifting their focus to resilience. Talking about the resilient supply chains, Mr. Sunil quoted two critical abilities required, firstly, there should be capacity for resistance and the capacity for recovery. He added that whether we talk about recovery or resilience, it is evident that the organizations which didn’t digitize their supply chains were badly affected and therefore, the pandemic has accelerated the digitization of supply chains using IoT and AI. Taking the cue from Mr. Parmeshwaran’s statement, “ Resilience is a long term journey”, Mr. Amit Vora spoke about the challenges he faced in the apparel industry. He emphasised that the supply chain is both upstream and downstream covering various departments. In the apparel industry, there are different manufacturers spread across different geographies of the country which complicates the supply chain. He discussed ways to build a resilient supply chain by taking visibility across the supply chain, setting up a digitized process and executing it on a ground level with the available information. Mr. Amit also highlighted how improved agility in operations helped the business to increase the accuracy of operations and customer satisfaction. Mr. Mats added an interesting perspective to the discussion by quoting how businesses transformed from a push model to pull model and how the focus has shifted from error reduction to error prevention. He also spoke about strategizing growth based on customer feedback. He added, with the onset of the pandemic, businesses have been trying to adapt to a hybrid model by incorporating a push strategy based on customer feedback. Based on the discussion, developing a flexible supply chain is the key to successful operations.
Q2. How recalibrating agility, adaptability & alignment strategies of the business helped them not only to grow but also to sustain in the business during COVID-19?
This pandemic has helped people to think differently. The processes followed were so agile that we opened up inventories for all channels including customer order, retail order, B2B partners and JIT partners to scale up sales that spiked e-commerce sales from 2x to 4x as compared to pre-COVID sales. A resilient approach coupled with the organization’s vision helped us to navigate through the pandemic and improve cash flows. Mr. Mat added his experience of performing ABC categorization of stocks in the warehouses which helped his organisation to save operating expenses of around 6 million dollars. He also talked about how reverse planning of stocks and aligning the processes in order to bring all the sales channels together helped them to keep the business intact.
Q3. How does resilience also bring about a return on experience as one of the major parameters of the supply chain?
With regards to the customer experience, Mr. Sunil explained how technology is utilized in creating a powerful customer experience. He quoted an example from Nestle and explained the audience how Nestle used technology for its ice cream product segment to improve the customer experience by fixing its freezer problem while also utilizing the same opportunity to collect real-time consumption data to forecast demand. “Quality of value always needs to be defined from the customer’s perspective. Cost and Quality are two different parts of the same equation”, Mr. Mats said. Mr. Vora also shared his experience of creating an omnichannel delivery and returns system for Nykaa to enhance customer experience.
The discussion was concluded by our beloved Professor and moderator Mr. Abhijit Chauduri saying that operations and supply chain will continue to be the backbone for every business. He reinforced that supply chain management is going to thrive and the practitioners of supply chain and operations are going to build business ecosystems of the future.
The students of SDA Bocconi Asia Center thank the guests; Mr. Parmeshwaran Iyer, Mr. Mats Joseph Fernandes, Mr. Sunil David, Mr. Amit Vora and Mr. Abhijit Chaudhuri for their valuable insights and an interactive session.
Written by Ayushi Dixit and Padmavathy Srinivasan