Charting An Agile Tech-Enabled Supply Chain Growth Trajectory

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Supply Chain Leaders

Charting An Agile Tech-Enabled Supply Chain Growth Trajectory

“I strongly believe that supply chain is recommended for passionate professionals seeking reasonable adventure and not scared of uncertainties. With that as a personality trait, you would get your kick or glam quotient with ease. If that is not you, there are still several ways by which supply chain managers can make their job interesting and rewarding,” enlightens Yogesh Sarin, Director – Supply Chain, South Asia Operations, Dell Technologies, during this interview…

You have been a close witness to the transformative landscape in the consumer electronics space. What have been some of the most defining change moments that have shaped the growth of the segment?

Yogesh Sarin

Consumer electronics is an extremely rapidly evolving industry and has been witnessing disruptive changes that are shaping the growth. Prominent ones are:

  • 5G Technology enabled fast internet speeds with lower latency. This has opened exciting opportunities for developing compatible devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops. There is a fast development of newer devices like Augmented Reality/ Virtual Reality headset to experience a whole new world.
  • Wearable Technology such as smartwatches & fitness trackers are enhancing functionalities with a range of purposes such as tracking fitness metrics & providing notifications.
  • Internet of Things is enabling greater connectivity between devices with ease of larger & complex automations.
  • Artificial Intelligence is becoming more advanced each day, allowing devices to offer more personalized and efficient experiences.
  • Sustainability focus is driven by environmentally conscious customer values. Consumer electronics products developed these days are more energy efficient and use recycled materials.

What have been the greatest challenges in managing supply chains in tough times?

Covid crippled the supply chain and then the war in Ukraine knocked it to its knees. Building resilient supply chains with worst case scenarios are being developed to keep businesses on track. Unforeseen events are to be always expected in supply chain. The scale of the event might vary, but these incidents have ripple effects on supply chains and puts the spotlight on the need for granular visibility and network design. There is an obvious need to have systems in place that react to such events to reduce the impact and hasten recovery. May not be unique but simple options are always effective like non-monopolistic suppliers no more limited to one country and having multimodal routes. Agile & resilient supply chain need to be developed such that your stock keeps moving from source to destination in minimum lead time with optimal cost. 

Supply chain has always been considered a less-glamourous job. While it may sound jarring & fascinating at the same time, can it up the glam quotient? If yes, then how can supply chain managers work towards it?

I strongly believe that supply chain is recommended for passionate professionals seeking reasonable adventure and not scared of uncertainties. With that as a personality trait, you would get your kick or glam quotient with ease. If that is not you, there are still several ways by which supply chain managers can make their job interesting and rewarding. New technologies need to be embraced to optimize processes, reduce cost, and improve efficiency. Supply chain managers need to evolve new strategies to debottleneck existing problems in hand. Coming up with creative solutions for complex problems can be intellectually stimulating. Networking through industry conferences and joining professional organizations can be a mutually rewarding experience.

Kindly enlighten us on core drivers of transformation in supply chains. 

  • Supply Chain transformations involve making significant changes to organization’s supply chain operation processes to achieve competitive advantage and align with changing customer demands. Some key drivers include…
  • Digitization & technologies like IOT (Internet of Things), AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Blockchain can help streamline operations, improve visibility, and drive agility & responsiveness.
  • Globalization has enormous merits but comes with its set of complexities, which need to be streamlines for end-to-end processes.
  • Risk management was always important but natural disasters, weather events, geopolitical instability and pandemics have further heightened the need for building resilient supply chain.
  • Collaboration and partnership with suppliers, logistics partners and other stakeholders can help improve profitability and customer experience.

How can new age tech tools aid in attaining operational excellence while driving sustainability in supply chain?

There are several ways in which new age tech tools can help. Here are few dominant ones:

  • Sustainable energy efficient technologies that also help reduce carbon footprint.
  • Real-time tracking & visibility.
  • Cloud-based collaboration between different stakeholders of supply chain.
  • Data analytics & machine learning to improve inventory management and improve efficiency.
  • Blockchain for transparent and secure supply chain.

How can companies work towards optimizing warehousing operations efficiency?

Improving warehouse efficiency can help business reduce cost, improve productivity and customer satisfaction. Here are some ways to do:

  • Warehouse layout to be rearranged to reduce travel time and improve flow, clear labelling of all stocks.
  • Automations like conveyor belt, robotics and Automated Storage & Retrieval System can increase efficiency & accuracy while also reducing labour cost.
  • Optimize picking process with visual and audio aids.
  • Use of RFID technology to improve accuracy and reduce picking time.
  • Real-time performance monitoring for prompt course correction and feedback for improvement.

What are the aspects that will make India’s Supply Chain Future-Ready and Resilient?

India has the potential to be a major player in global supply chain. Here are some ongoing efforts towards the same:

  • Infrastructure development towards roads, ports, airports & warehouses.
  • Regulatory reforms to promote ease of doing business.
  • Talent development building expertise in supply chain management.

Recommendations for new age supply chain professionals to chart their journey in this highly dynamic domain…

  • Latest Technologies need to be embraced and deployed
  • Agile and flexible attitude would help you sail through turbulent times
  • Build relationships with all internal & external stakeholders. It would help develop trust and collaboration
  • Diversify skillset to beyond supply chain…analytics, problem solving, effective communication & story telling
  • Sustainability is increasingly important to drive organizational commitments besides stakeholders are already demanding environmentally responsible & ethical
  • practices
  • Embrace uncertainty and enjoy what you do

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