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Operations Continuum


The operations continuum was organized on 2nd August 2014, which provided a platform to discuss the various pressing issues being faced in the field of supply chain domain. The theme for the event was

Supply Chain Transformation: Supporting growth through innovative and responsive strategies”

The following dignitaries participated in the Operations Continuum 2014 on August 2nd, 2014 at SJMSOM, IIT Bombay:

·         Mr. R Radhakrishnan, General Manager, Information Systems, HPCL

·         Mr. Jayendran Venkateswaran, Assistant Professor, IEOR, IIT Bombay

·         Mr. Ravi Ranjan, Regional Head - Supply Chain Management, Pidilite Industries Ltd.

·         Mr. Vikas Sarangdhar, Director - Supply Chain, Gartner Inc.

·         Ms. Yojana Motiwale, AGM - Purchase, AW – Faber Castell India Pvt. Ltd.

·         Mr. Atul Prakash, Vice President – Manufacturing, Godrej Industries Ltd.

·         Mr. Amar N Jha, Vice President – Retail Petroleum, Reliance Industries Ltd.

The field of Supply Chain is undergoing a sea of change in terms of thinking and orientation. In this VUCA world, where everyone is struggling to maintain their competitiveness, Supply Chain is the panacea to all problems. Gone are those days when Supply Chain was just viewed as getting the product out of the company effectively. With the increasing customer and supplier expectations, definition of Supply Chain has kept evolving. Supply chains must exhibit a high degree of adaptability, responsiveness and innovation to successfully subside the disturbances from spreading over the entire chain. Supply Chain today is undergoing transformation. With the new advancements in the domain of IT, like cloud computing, big data, shopper trends etc., the length and breadth of Supply Chain has increased. Omni channel commerce has given consumers much more flexibility. Direct Store Delivery (DSD) and anticipatory shipping has saved a lot of effort and time for the manufacturers as well as consumers. Implementing lean has reduced the wastage drastically and has made it easier for the businesses today to reduce their cost of goods and follow environmental regulations. With the use of RFID, it has become very easy for the company to track their produce and shipments. There is constant need of innovation in this field. Businesses today should be responsive enough to fulfill customer desires in this highly competitive and volatile world.

Agility is now the term that companies are bringing into their supply chain model. In the face of supply and demand volatility, companies are looking for a balance and are increasingly becoming reliant on IT systems to make the systems more responsive with increasing customer service levels. Another exciting region that has opened up for companies to differentiate with other competitors is product traceability. Providing customers with exact information about their products has been pushing the frontiers of technology to come up with newer techniques of tracking.

Operations Continuum - 2014

The Operations Continuum had the following sub-themes:

·         Leveraging Business Intelligence for Supply Chain and Operations

Business Intelligence is an important step to increase the efficiency of operation processes. Business Intelligence is about gathering and processing data to take an informed decision. To transform an organization into a leader in this competitive market requires not only correct data but also an analysis of that data. In this context it is important to mention the three golden rules of Business Intelligence which are Data Quality and Accuracy, Data Consistency and Data Timeliness.

·         Localization of Solar Energy through Local Assembly, Sale and Usage

With an ever increasing population India’s energy needs are increasing. Rather than relying on fossil fuels, emphasis should be put on renewable sources of energy. The depleting fossil fuels thus put a great strain on existing energy sources and this has led to increased funding on renewable sources. Easy availability of energy will also lead to increased literacy in areas where there is no electric connection. Thus it is imperative that the rural electrification through solar power is achieved. And to sustain this drive, the communities should be taken into account and the best way to do that is to promote local assembly and enlisting the help of NGOs working in these areas.  

·         Discovering the latest trend in Product Traceability

Product Traceability forms an important part of shelf time management of the products. It also helps in shipment verification and minimizing recall costs. Two common methods used are Barcode and RFID technology. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages. Most companies are now utilizing these newer technologies for optimizing resources. Vendor Management System is another application that organizations use to manage orders and staff. Centralized management of warehousing tasks which include inventory control is done by Warehouse Management Service. Newer technologies that are being used in product traceability include Time Strip Freshness Indicator and use of robots in Warehouse Management Services.

·         Leading the Decade with Digital Business

Digital world has integrated into everyday life and has transformed our world. A nexus of forces: Social, Information, Mobile and Cloud are creating competitive differentiation for service businesses in many industries. Digital Business is blurring the lines between digital and physical world. Many companies like LG, Tesco, and IKEA are leading in the digital curve helping them gain a competitive edge over the others. Sensing the changing demand cycle and analyzing the data, controlling it and collaborating with upstream and downstream Supply Chains is the new model where linking of physical and digital supply chain can take place. Due to increased competition, companies increasingly use disruptive technologies, increase supply chain efficiencies. Implications of digitization of supply chain are change in dynamics of workforce, partner relationship and product lifecycle management. Due to India’s huge IT resource base, digitization of supply chain will take place easily.

·         Green Supply Chain Management

Green Supply Chain refers to making the whole operations eco-friendly, i.e. from procurement of raw materials, till the final product reaches the end user. Green Supply Chain practices involve adopting efficient and environment friendly practices in distribution and business activities. Companies use resources judiciously to reduce emissions of Green House Gases. Product design, material selection and even manufacturing processes have to comply with environmental statutes. Successful implementation of Green Supply Chain practices reduce costs, provide product differentiation and reduce risks. Logistics department also has to implement such practices. The problem faced by India in leading in this sector is lack of technology which is required to use the available natural resources to their maximum potential.

·         Sustainability in Manufacturing – A Business Opportunity

Human needs and greed are growing which leads to a constant stream of toxic wastes released into the environment that threatens the ecosystem. The acceptance of sustainability and sustainable manufacturing is now increasing among all companies. Sustainable manufacturing includes economic creation of products which reduce negative environmental impacts, conserve energy and natural resources and produce zero wastes. There are four themes in sustainable manufacturing: Openness to Ideas, Collaboration, Leadership and Resource Efficiency. New ideas that are implemented also lead to improved margins and brand enhancement.

·         Challenges of Oil and Gas Supply Chain – Meeting expectations through innovative design

The aim of supply chain is to deliver the right product at the right place at right price and right time. Oil and Gas Supply Chain follows a complex process which include distillation of crude into various products. High volume of raw material, variation in crude oil prices, effect of political climate are some of the challenges faced in this sector. To tackle such obstacles, organizations use all-weather ports, integrated product evacuation system and timely dispatch of material. The challenges in the market and distribution sector are high fragility, distribution difficulties in remote areas and high capital requirements. Refineries are now using Tank Monitoring System, remote pricing change, single point interference etc. These steps are now used by refineries to mitigate the risks in Oil and Gas Supply Chain.