Continuum 2016‎ > ‎

Operations Continuum


The Operations Continuum was organized on 30th July, 2016 which provided a platform to discuss the various pressing issues being faced in the field of supply chain domain.

The theme reflecting the current trends and challenges facing the Operations and supply chain managers was:

The Changing face of Operations and Supply-Chain with emergence of technology


The following dignitaries participated in the Operations Continuum 2016 at SJMSOM, IIT Bombay:

Ø  Mr. Neelam Kumar Valecha, Site President, Reliance Industries Ltd.

Ø  Mr. Birajeev Singh, Vice President-Supply Chain, CEAT Tyres

Ø  Ms. Kamal Bajwa, Chief Customer Operations Officer, Tata Sky

Ø  Mr. Anurag Nigam, Vice President-Operations, Tata Communications Payment Solutions

Ø  Mr. Manish Tiwari, Vice President, Tech Mahindra

Ø  Mr. Ashok Jain, Vice President-Operations, Jubilant Life Sciences 

When supply chain management was in its infancy, demand was generally viewed as reasonably steady and predictable, with the ability to plan supply chains based on a lowest cost approach. Supply chain management has gone through considerable change since that time but none more so than the last few years. The banking crisis in 2008, and the resulting economic downturn, is driving the need for more responsive supply chains that are optimized for flexibility more so than cost.

Several studies indicate an increase in supply chain complexity in the form of fragmented channels, increased flow quantities, product differentiation along with increased customer demands in terms of shorter lead times, better quality and shorter product life cycles. A major number of challenges lie ahead as the world  becomes an increasingly competitive place to survive in.

Technology in Operations and Supply Chain gives competitive advantage with increased visibility & flexibility to bridge gaps. With the increase in technological advancements in the past few years, the face of operations and supply chains across the world are due for a transformation. The spotlight is slowly shifting to the operation and supply chain managers to see how quickly they are able to adapt and evolve to the rapidly changing technology and implement them into their process to sustain competitiveness. 


Operations Continuum 2016

The Operations Continuum 2016 had the following sub-themes:

1)      Role of IT in building smarter and scalable operations:

The use of information and technology in building smarter and scalable operations is definitely big in Operations research. This is visible in the amount of time, money and research being invested in automation, scalability, smart technology, Internet of things, big data and analytics etc. More and more research is moving towards use of information technology in supply chains including Big Data, RFIDs, smart supply chains, vendor management and procurement. Information technology has become the backbone for any successful Operations or Supply Chain model. Efficient execution of Vendor management, Contractor management and Project management activities requires critical support of Information technology. As such, it is clear that IT will play a lead role in the further development & progress of Operations in the future. Mr. Neelam Kumar Valecha discussed in detail about the increasing role of smart manufacturing & Industry 4.0 in the upcoming years. The session also helped in gaining insights on how a petrochemical plant works from crude to different products like polymers, petrol and diesel.

2)     Emerging trends in Supply Chain Management:

Logistics and Supply Chain are becoming core competencies in progressive, successful companies, both public and private, around the globe. Staying on top of emerging supply chain trends is critical in today’s global marketplace. Several trends and study results show that supply chain and logistics complexity has

increased in the form of fragmented channels, increased product variations and increased demand for customized solutions. A number of major challenges lie ahead, as the world becomes a more complex place to operate logistically. Along the same lines, Mr. Birajeev Singh discussed that the need of the hour is to be Lean and Agile. Doing so requires us to delve into four major aspects; technology, price, people and regulation. 

3)      Leveraging Technology to Improve Vendor Management:

Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) has been a well proven approach used for engaging with suppliers such that the needs & priorities of the customer organisation are met in the best possible way. One of the critical aspect of SRM is that it identifies the different strengths and limitations of each supplier and then allows for collaboration such that both are mutually benefited. SRM is believed to be used for primarily reducing both prices paid and costs to the organisation. However, different suppliers would need to be dealt with using different strategies. Suppliers have expectations as to how the customer will act and are often positioned to respond in kind. Key to developing a highly functional SRM approach is a well understood supply base especially when the volatility is so high. It needs to be acknowledged that suppliers themselves might be as vulnerable to disruption in VUCA world as the customer organization. It is hence imperative to develop robustness in upstream supplier networks to minimise disruptions in downstream. In line with this, Ms. Kamal Bajwa directed her discussions towards partner management in VUCA world. She also emphasized the fact that  customer experiences and choices will help the organization to upgrade itself and the value enhancement in business will help the organizations being focused.

4)     Forecasting Theme and Challenges

Operations Management is about executing a firm’s strategic plan using technology as a tool. Management case studies of Toyota, Southwest Airlines, or Zara’s business models show that their competitive advantage lies in operations execution. With this understanding, companies are increasingly using technology to improve its operations management and this is also becoming evident in the ways the consulting firms are approaching the problems. Forecasting is one of the key activities which has an impact on costs, success and eventually organizational survival. Technology has continuously evolved and helped organisations make educated decisions on forecasts. Mr. Anurag Nigam talked about the same and entertained various queries about the future of Indian Banking and Finance industry in the advent of cashless transactions where, in response he mentioned that requirement of liquid cash will not go down due to uptrend in cashless transactions.

5)     Globalization Through Digital Supply Chain Management :

Global corporations ship semi-manufactured products between their own facilities or from suppliers to assembly plants and distribution centres. Global supply chain management (GSCM) allows firms to make full use of intellectual capital and knowledge base for research and development, engineering and market research. The mounting pressure on manufacturers to deliver quickly has made the practice of GSCM one of the hottest topics in manufacturing today. The trick to building GSCM lies in balancing raw materials, work in progress, component inventories and finished goods in response to ever-changing markets. This is where the power of Digital comes in and brings down the cost, lead times, redundancy etc. Mr. Mannish Tiwari shed light on the same topic and discussed that the impact of Digital Supply Chain on Manufacturing is three fold, which affects Products & Services, Business Models and Business Processes. He then talked about Supply Chain global tower which can be used to monitor the logistics services across the world. 

6)    Changing face of Operations and Supply Chain with emergence of Technology:

As recently as 20 years ago, supply chain management was seen as something that took place behind the scenes without dedicated staff and resources. For many, it was regarded as a necessity for only the largest brands or companies with international distribution. When there was a disruption to the supply chain, the fix was easy-a company would pull a couple of people from whatever they were doing and put them on the problem. Once the kinks were ironed out, those people could go back their regular jobs. Supply chain management has been around at least as long as the assembly line, but until recently, the concept of a chief supply officer has been foreign. Now the role is seen as a highly strategic one that is increasingly valuable from both a customer service and a business perspective. As the role has evolved it's become a critical one, as managing a supply chain is complex, fraught with risk, subject to complex regulations, fines, competition, international shipping restrictions, and more. Technology has crept into SCM step by step to mitigate the risk, beginning with electronic invoicing, computerized shipping and tracking and automated notifications that were advanced by companies like FedEx and UPS. Mr. Ashok Jain spoke about the tools employed at Jubilant Life Sciences such as TPM, WCM, Kaizen, OEE, OPE, Six sigma, Green Supply Chain, De-bottlenecking, Gallup surveys and so on. He also mentioned that quick decisions are made at Jubilant Life Sciences with ERP in use and discussed about the CCTV monitoring at the manufacturing plants as well as the role of data security in any organization.