Unveiling the Supply Chain Super Achievers 2022

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Unveiling the Supply Chain Super Achievers 2022

Honouring the best in class, the Celerity Supply Chain Awards night was truly a great evening to remember and be a part of the envious logistics fraternity that is set to chart an incredible growth story. A new category of Awards, Exemplary Awards was introduced for corporates running exemplary supply chains. Handpicked by a panel of Jury members consisting of senior supply chain practitioners, the winners have set benchmarks amongst their peers.

Here’s the account of some of the most deserving winning entries of Under-40 Supply Chain Super Achievers, which will be continued in the next issue as well…


Mainak Bhattacharya, Senior Manager – Supply Chain, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd

I was the project strategic lead for building the complete supply chain ecosystem for a greenfield plant in Gujarat in 2017. With no industrial set up in the nearby areas, there were pressing challenges around supplier development, logistics distribution, manpower availability & training, setting up of warehousing facilities and the ecosystem needed for manufacturing. I led the entire planning and implementation strategy covering estimate projections of suppliers needed, calculating the requisite capacity needed, logistics framework development, capacity building with auto-ancillaries, manpower training strategy and others, and most importantly, designing the pricing strategy for the location. I led all strategic stakeholder discussions across levels and geographies between the Gujarat team, Japan & Indian teams.

The project spanned across 3+ years that covered the development of implementation strategies and action plans across phases. Right from factory set ups to manpower training in both locations to meet stringent quality standards, local stakeholder buy-in and involvement, I built a phase-wise systemic plan to integrate them all. A large part of this integration focused on suppliers. I had to prepare a strategic roadmap that included supplier negotiation and onboarding, highlighting the commercial benefits of investing in the region, supplier-OEM partnership model development and much more. The success of the project was defined by achieving peak production capacity for the new plant at the end of these three years. My contribution to the project was highly appreciated by Maruti Suzuki India and Suzuki Japan, which led to my promotion later.

Nizamuddin Sayyad, General Manager – Central Supply Chain, Cummins Inc.

As Cummins expanded the footprint, its customer & supplier network became complex. MRP system were not capable to support the level of complexity in efficient manner. MRP system had lot of manual intervention & dependency on individual person’s competency. Health of supply planning is hidden; leaders do not have full visibility of if the demand & supply plan hygiene is maintained at expected level or not. Orders are received daily, however MRP runs weekly, hence response lead time was high. MRP had built-in constraints that restricted users to utilize the system efficiently. This project was major initiative in BU supply chain transformation journey to strengthen planning and scheduling processes. ASCP and APCC solution was designed to provide priority based exception management capabilities, user friendly interface and BI capabilities for process effectiveness visibility.

Major deliverables for this project were pre-launch activities to ensure system data accuracy and controlled order life cycle management processes; process alignment on moving from weekly planning cycle to daily planning cycle; identifying key user requirements, perform fit gap analysis and develop a solution design; robust change management to go live on time and no impact on business continuity; synchronised efforts between global supply chain and IT team and Supply Chain Team. Major success of the project was that this entire project was managed remotely during pandemic.

Anurag Verma, Head – Demand Planning, Pidilite Industries

During my previous stint at Reckitt, we were tasked with warehouse productivity improvement through Picking Path Optimization in WMS Algorithm. It was identified that the supervisor while picking the stock goes in sequence presented on the picklist, covering the first row A, followed by row B and so on. This was identified as a further scope of optimisation by asking the supervisor to travel on shortest path as per picklist. This is being used by Zapp, a UK-based Qcommerce firm and is yet to become  mainstream in the industry.

To achieve this goal, we performed As-is analysis of the current process and benchmarking of picking practices across industry; negotiated with WMS vendor to develop the algorithm to provide pre-printed picklist with the shortest path (travelling salesman problem). We got the layout of the entire warehouse with bins numbers, aisles and distances mapped in WMS. We identified the global shortest path, which covers all the bins in the warehouse, using travelling salesman algorithm as base, hence any picklist that comes in actual, will be a subset of this global shortest picking path. Pilot was implemented in Hassangarh and eventually has been successfully rolled out in other warehouses. During this project, the challenge was to map the entire warehouse distances in WMS and modifying the algorithm as movement could be done only across aisles. After the successful completion of the project, we were able to achieve ~9% improvement in picking across multiple warehouses in Reckitt and around ~50 lakh of annual savings through manpower reduction across multiple warehouses.

Vikrant Srivastava, Associate Director – Supply Chain, Yum Restaurants India Pvt Ltd.

Single use plastic was a major challenge in packaging. Hence major task was to identify the sustainable packaging. We identified bagasse and developed bagasse container to replace plastic container. We switched to wooden spoons from plastic spoons and Paper carry bags from plastic bags and same way switched to paper buckets and glasses and removed approx. 450MT of plastics from FOH packaging. We managed the compliances and sustainability without major cost difference.

Hanuman Swami, Global Planning & Fulfillment Manager – Industrial Automation Division, ABB

We set out to predict the correlation among a set of external variables with respect to the demand of a particular product line in ABB’s PAMA Division and attain the best forecast for the product line by using a mix of statistical and deep learning extrapolated models. For this, we used Forecasting & Analytics Engine. We decomposed the data series to find the respective cyclical or trend component and correlated the same with external market factors such as Crude Oil prices (WTI/Brent), & global macro-economic parameters to find the best fit. We then used an ensemble of extrapolated models statistical & AI based along with XGBoost and a multilayer LSTM to forecast for the external predictors in case of a correlation and then arrived at the underlying derivative. With the right & best set of forecast numbers, we are likely to identify and enact faster to trend changes, which will help us stay ahead. It displays critical parameters of a part at a hawk’s eye level to mitigate unforeseen circumstances and take suggested actions briefly. Optimum forecast will help in better cashflow management & improved customer service level and on-time delivery.

Rayapati Srinath Reddy, Vice President – Supply Chain, NourishCo Beverages Ltd. (Wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Consumer Products Ltd.)

PepsiCo has embarked on PO1 strategy effective 2014 to bring together the foods [Frito-Lay] and beverages [PepsiCo] business to take advantage of economies of scale. It was a prestigious project and I was chosen to lead the supply chain design and accordingly was expected to revamp the warehousing and logistics processes. Vehicle loadability was a challenge for combining the Food- Frito-Lay SKUs (restricted by stack height and voluminous) and beverage SKUs which were weight heavy.

We have designed the load optimization algorithm with stack height restrictions, exact dimensions for each SKU and hired an external agency to design the UI which was user friendly for Loading supervisors. The algorithm was designed to work for Club loads as well. This algorithm was lauded to be innovative and made the visualization in 3D feasible to enable the supervisors to load the vehicles to the maximum percent possible while referring the load pattern on their mobile screens. This effectively reduced the freight per case substantially besides appending value along the chain by delivering both Food and beverage SKUs in the same vehicle.

We also got the vehicles modified such that Frito-Lay SKUs get loaded in the space above beverage SKUs, thus improving and utilising the pay load available. Thus, there was an improvement in loadability by 12.4%, which resulted in effective savings of more than 60 lakhs annually.

Bhupendra Kumar, Head of Logistics, IOL Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

As part of building up supply chain efficiencies, we are exploring and developing an alternative multimodal transport model for our bulk liquid movements from port to factory, which needs to be eco-friendly, energy-efficient and sustainable. The current model for inbound bulk liquid products totally depends on surface transport as we are far away from the ports, while procurement is being done in bulk and break-bulk vessels. In the same connection, while aggressively exploring the possibilities, we recently hired an entire train, loaded 90 ISO containers with liquid cargo at Mundra Port and transported them to Ludhiana in Punjab. A train carrying about 2000 MT can potentially replace about 100 tanker trucks plying on the road, helping clearing up congestion apart from increasing efficiency and reducing pollution. This multimodal transport system will prove beneficial to the industries situated far away from seaports and inland logistics centers. The concept can definitely help many industries to secure supply of raw materials in time, with end-to-end cost-optimisation while mitigating seasonal constraints in road transportation.

Jaikishan Gianani, Head – Factory Supply Chain (Nanjangud and Choladi), Nestle India Ltd.

As the Lead for Packaging Sustainability for South Asia Region, I was responsible for forming roadmap for sustainability in Packaging Materials. The projects, which I led, resulted in the reduction of Virgin Plastic by moving promo packs from virgin plastic to metal and glass. I worked on various Fit for Purpose projects. These projects focussed on optimising the plastic usage per pack. Plastic consumption was optimised across packs to reduce usage. I worked on implementation of mono materials to convert our plastics into Recyclable Plastic. Various brands from confectionery business were first to move. I also worked on projects on plastic neutrality and end of life projects. Paper straw implementation for our Ready to Drink business was a key project executed. I was responsible for setting up end to end value chain for importing paper straws, followed by trials and finally commercial implementation. When the regulation around paper straws was finally implemented, Nestle India Ltd., was ready for the same.

Suresh Revani, Manager – Data Analytics, AB-Inbev

We developed ML driven end-to-end tool to bring centralised visibility of inventory and intelligence for taking proactive cost avoiding decisions. We automated the order releases for obsoletes avoidance based on latest production plan, inventory on the floor and freshness of the stock. This tool will completely transform the way orders are released by making real time visibility and intelligence, better than any human can, thus delivering immense EBITDA value. Effective prioritisation ensures freshness and Service levels are maintained at optimal level which and lead to increase of NPS score. Proactive Re-allocation of excess inventory to new export demand and upsell the inventory avoids Stock Obsolescence and Destruction Cost. This tool creates 100% centralised visibility of stock across different sites. With the help of SIM, business is able to achieve 95% automated order release on daily basis. The tool has realised 4 million EBITDA in 2021 and 2022 (March) by avoiding Obsolete stock in EUR and MEX zone.

Anil K Mishra, National Logistics Head South Asia, pladis global

While supplying pan-India 17 depots from one location, our freight had gone very high, owing to the distance from North, higher fuel prices, shortage of vehicles, etc. We had to manage the concern of high primary freight approx. Rate Per Ton (RPT) was going 6500 per tons. High freight rates cast a shadow over EBITDA / profitability of company. Freight is not structured, and industry is unorganised. Order cancellation, High product cost & low demand, Sales /DB have put strains on the logistics department.

We understood current process and plot as is process, then after some months, we did some pilot to considering business impact such as exploring multimodal operation like rail and road; consolidation and route planning due to low load; utilisation of 32MXL in place of 19 ft vehicle; develop new supplier with help of friends and social media; negotiation of rates with common carrier representatives; small Hub developed near plant. We overcame from sessional impacts through long-term agreement. As a result, we were able to reduce RPT/ freight cost. Since last four years, freight is under control, and has met annual budget of logistics. We are able to constantly monitor Dashboard. There has been timely payment to our supplier, sometimes even advance payments are being made. 

Harish Kumar, Director – Supply Chain, House of Spices India

House of Spices India is a leading South Asian Food manufacturer & distributor across 30+ categories - rice, snacks, spices, frozen, flours etc. 85% of our products are imported into the USA. Frequent stock-outs were common due to long transit times. We also faced inventory pile-up due to a long tail of slow moving products. We used to bring containers directly to each warehouse, due to high cost of local distribution. Planning and purchase were done traditionally and were ineffective.

In the last two years, TOC based replenishment and a control tower mechanism have been pivotal to bringing stakeholders together for agile decision making. We automated DC to DC transfer with several metrics – availability, stock in transit, transfer cost, full truck load – evaluated in real time. We also integrated container visibility with our system through Tradelens, and GPS enabled trucks. For secondary distribution, we use our own GPS enabled trucks, providing real-time updates to our customers. These interventions have resulted in strong impact – 40% growth, 14-days of inventory reduction, freshness index up by 18%, fill-rate up by 2100bps. Upon reflection, our biggest learnings have been: Effective change management and galvanising the team towards new ways of working; and Unleashing the power of data analytics onto everyday decision making.

Srividya Govindarajan

Srividya Govindarajan, Site Director, Hindustan Unilever Ltd.

Looking back on my 19 years of experience, there were many significant innovations & breakthroughs that enabled me to achieve, advance in my career and contribute to Organization's Success. Started the journey by breaking gender stereotypes with manufacturing engineering as qualification and working as the first female in the team of building and commissioning of machines. Led many innovations and projects like design of Ortho Implants & equipment, enabled connected operation theatres in hospitals, reduced 50% quality defects in water purifier, turned a closing factory into a top performing factory and enabled digital transformation in factories to improve efficiencies. Each of these interventions delighted many patients, consumers, customers and provided significant benefits, cost savings and competitive advantage to organisation.

Arun Sudheendran

Arun Sudheendran, Procurement Director, McCormick & Company

My team and I, recognised in early 2021, the commodity inflation trends that are expected to hit at a global scale. The impact we predicted in Apr 2021 for commodity inflation going into 2022 was as high as 15% of the spend portfolio. We realised early on that the existing approaches and traditional practices of cost savings was unlikely to address 15% spend increase coming from unprecedented inflation across multiple commodities. I worked together with our business improvement director, Wendy Rowe and our team to conceptualise and develop a control tower strategy that focused on 4 pillars of execution to address inflation – Pricing; Product Value Engineering; Value Stream Optimization; and Procurement Analytics & Value Add.

The Project framework was aptly named Hummingbird and worked as a rallying cry everyone could get behind to change our existing ways of working and be as agile and efficient as a hummingbird. Our biggest win with the project was the project design and pitching this project to Asia Pacific President and his leadership team to make this an enterprise level strategy for the organisation. Their unflinching support and commitment to the program ensured each stream was resourced and owned by the respective functional leads- Commercial, R&D, Supply Chain, Finance and Procurement teams, all working in unison to address the external challenge.

60 people across different departments worked together on this project delivering more than 6% of our total sales value in the region through project Hummingbird. This is one of the highest value creation projects the region has run, especially in these turbulent times.

The fact that we identified the problem and started early gave us considerable advantage vs competitors. Work is in progress to embed the learnings from this program into long term sustained value creation strategies across the business and to unlock new pillars of value creation. This project has changed the way our organisation looks at value creation. Personally, this has helped me think, act and deliver as a business leader than just as a functional leader of procurement.

Rajdeep Kumar Mittal

Rajdeep Kumar Mittal, Director – Process Innovation (Control tower), Coupang.com

In my recent role with Coupang, I was responsible for setting up a control tower function for Coupang. This work involved right from hiring/ setting up a team, driving process/ product charter for Control tower for long term growth and scale. Control tower has now become a more inalienable part of Coupang Supply chain. We have centralised many actions for faster decision making. On a personal front, this experience was rewarding and fulfilling. This has given me lot of confidence and leadership visibility. I have realised that if you are willing to work hard and if you have a great team, you can achieve miracles.

Arpita Srivastava, IBP Lead, Accenture

Arpita Srivastava

In a professional journey spanning over ten years, I have been instrumental in leading various process improvement and digital transformation projects. While working in the supply chain domain, my focus had always been on providing and enhancing visibility. If it’s not visible, you can’t measure. If you can’t measure, you can’t improve.

I led the EU Falsified Medicines Directive Implementation program to ensure organisation’s compliance from a supply perspective. Considering the complexity of the health authority’s regulations, vastness of portfolio and a hard deadline, the project needed a high level of attention to each piece. This required transition of 600+ SKUs interms of new pack design impacting BOM, 30+ manufacturing lines, and building data exchange connectivity with 50+ partners/National bodies. I structured the program, collaborated with all concerned teams and ensured visibility throughout, so that there was no supply disruption. I followed an agile methodology to ensure any deviation was taken care of promptly and supplies continued, without any capacity loss and/or stock outs in the market.

Yet another of my key contributions was to get the inventory tracker and artwork validity status integrated for DTM, wherein data from multiple sources (3PL/own warehouse/in-transit) was pulled onto a single platform to provide end-to-end FG stock visibility along with release status and best before dates at all nodes. This was later fed to IBP for netting off and planning supply against net demand. The periodic safety variations led to frequent artwork change which came with a hard deadline. So, to ensure business continuity and avoid any packing material destruction, SKU focused approach was developed in collaboration with the regulatory and packaging department so that a batch was packed and released with valid artwork. This enabled country managers to plan monthly sales and any promotions and aided inventory liquidation of SKUs with low shelf life and/or slow-moving ones. This helped in keeping the Cost of Lost Opportunity in check while minimising excess stock. These efforts have helped the organisations not just save money, but also deliver excellent customer service.

Ashish Bhatt

Ashish Bhatt, Chief Operating Officer, APL Logistics VASCOR Automotive Pvt. Ltd.

I have onboarded all the OEM customers of my organization APLL VASCOR which was really challenging as it was about selling a concept which was non-existent at that time, it was a complete modal shift and realigning strategy task for all of them. It started from a project level where we were taking license from Indian railways to run our own automotive freight trains. It was actually a paradigm shift for the OEMs to switch from road mode to rail mode of transportation. I take pleasure in stating that I was one of the key persons who were a part of this transition in the country and in the industry. We have grown the revenue of the organisation by about 70% in the last two years working in the capacity of Head of the organisation and cemented long-term contracts for a solid base and to ensure that the growth is permanent. During this journey as a part of our commitment towards sustainable logistics, we have reduced our carbon footprint by saving 133,000 Mt of CO2 in the last 8 years.

Naveen Srivastava, General Manager – Integrated Supply Chain, Jubilant Foodworks Ltd.

Naveen Srivastava

We, at JFL, delivered ~99.5+% line fill rate despite high demand volatility & supply uncertainty where we receive/perform ~15 million + order annually, deploying over 250 vehicles, 0.2 M+ Km, with a production capacity of close to 350 M units, serving 1650 restaurants with over ~1200 manpower at plant/3PL & 30,000 at restaurants.

We achieved this mean feat by working on agile supply / resource planning, which helped us in getting frequent updates in forecast based on actual situation on ground (Operational stores, daily sales); POS data visibility; demand sensing; continuous supply risk assessment and inventory build-up; intense cross-functional collaboration and a complete visibility of operations (Demand visibility, update on supplies), Suppliers (Supply plan continuity) and QA Team (Shelf-Life Management).

This helped us in the improvement in key metrics as compared to the traditional method of stock indenting. Daily forecast accuracy improved by 38%. Stock-out has decreased by 36%. Inter-store stock transfers have reduced by 39% and reduction in emergency indents raised by stores for critical stock items by 10%.

Vishal Raskar, Head – Inventory & Logistics, Alpha Alternatives

Vishal Raskar

I started my professional stint with Premium Farm Fresh Pvt Ltd., which is into private agri wholesale market. Central Government allowed private player to operate Farmers Markets (Mandies) by issuing central license to break the monopoly of APMCs. So PFFPL was the first company to win this licensing bid for multiple Agri hubs.

My profile here was to develop backward linkages with farmers and bring them onto the marketplace to sale their produce located at Nashik in Maharashtra. PFFPL market had good network of buyers from multiple corporates like Reliance, SAFAL and distributors from cities like Mumbai & Pune. We tried awareness activities to bring farmers in market to sale their goods but the local APMCs and middlemen network were too strong to break.

To break this network, we conceptualised the idea of ‘Hub & Spoke model’ where we mapped all production centres surrounding to our Market (Hub) and mapped them into spoke and decided to start collection centres at spokes. collection centres (Spoke) established on light asset mode on leased land with basic facilities like trade platform, Movable washrooms for farmers, Grading and Packaging sheds. Due to better price realisation and facilities, we started getting tremendous response from farmers and collection centres were flooded with agri produce. Further instead of bringing goods to main market (Hub) from spokes, these collection centres become individual mini marketplaces under hub. Farmers were able to sale their produce with better pricing at their vicinity without incurring cost to bring produce at APMC, eliminating middlemen and commission agents. One after another, we established seven collection centres cum mini markets, and ran the trade successfully for commodities like Tomato, Grapes, Assorted vegetables with total trade value in Crores. Hub & spoke model is successful story now and preferred by many corporates to procure commodities from farmers.

While addressing issues in rural supply chain, our team came across the question, ‘What makes farmers to sale their produce in distressed market?’ And the answer is lack of liquidity and seasonal production with lack of storage facilities where the problem lies in. Credit facilities are not approachable neither flexible at rural economy.

So, to deal with this, we proposed the idea of ‘Farmer’s Warehouse’ during my tenure in Agri warehousing space. We established the first ‘Farmer’s Warehouse’ with all statutory compliance at Latur (MH) where farmers to store their goods. Warehouse Receipt (WHR) was being issued to farmers against stored goods. But to attract financial institutes to lend farmers, there must be some guarantee to safeguard lending for banks. To ease this, we tied with corporates who had shown interest to purchase farmer stock from farmers’ warehouse.

Finally, we were able to bring private and govt banks under one roof and started lending to the farmers with back-to-back purchase guarantee from corporates if loan defaults. We got tremendous response for farmers’ warehouse. Its win-win for all stakeholders. Farmers are storing their stock in scientific way at warehouse and get liquidity through WHR loan, financial institutes are lending to farmers, its Priority Sector Lending (PSL) and corporates are able to purchase from farmers, eliminating middlemen with good pricing. It became multi-location model in short time and has been implemented across the states with multiple banking institutes with asset under management (AUM) funding of ~1K crores. These are some events and journey is still continued to analyse rural supply chain and think for the farmers’ betterment with the simplest and implementable solutions.

Vishal Pandey, Sr. Business Architect, Google

Vishal Pandey 

Kimberly-Clark launched its sustainability 2030 vision, and it required a centralised and global platform to track, support, and manage the overall program. I, along with my team, designed and implemented a global platform to track the historical, current, and plans for 50+ Supply chain sustainability metrics from 10+ different sources. The platform helped the sustainability key users and leadership team to take data-driven action to achieve Kimberly-Clark’s sustainability 2030 vision.

As Global Business Architect Lead, I collected detailed requirements from users from all four regions across different sustainability areas and source systems and owned the detailed design and architecture of the entire product. Multiple tech stacks were evaluated, and we implemented the product using SAP ERP, HANA, Automation Anywhere bot, API, ETL, Tableau, etc., to build the final product.

Through this, we achieved real-time visibility of 50+ KPIs for carbon footprint, energy footprint, Plastic footprint, Forest and Fiber footprint, Social Impact, Water footprint, etc. We could visualise each KPI at global, regional, country, or mill levels and empowered sustainability users and the leadership team to plan future programs and take quick actions based on real-time metrics.

Supply chain sustainability users can track each KPI at the most granular level, and based on future predictions, the team can take action on the planned items for each factor. In case of any KPIs behind the target, quicker corrective actions were possible on each metric parameter, thereby helping Kimberly-Clark team stay on track to achieve its 2030 vision of sustainability.

In my current role with the Product & Engineering team with Google, I am working on integrating all the partners in the Alphabet Supply Chain ecosystem and implementing some of the latest industry practices and innovations for real-time and deeper collaboration with all our B2B supply chain partners and stakeholders.

Akshay Arora, Sourcing for a Global O&G Company

As a procurement professional, it is imperative to be cost conscious and deliver savings to the organisation. The savings are a net impact on the bottom line. I have been leading high value CAPEX procurement across categories and organisations. I help them add value to their procurement process and deliver savings. During the pandemic, we developed a category-based cost model relying on the TCO. The model was adjusted for the commodity fluctuation to arrive at a realistic baseline cost. This model helped us achieve the organisational objective of attaining substantial cost reductions in the targeted categories.

The nuances & strategies to deliver value in procurement also require an intensive study on the impact of various clauses. A bespoke concession trading plan was conceptualised to identify the right mix of tradeable. The plan helped us go the extra mile and add further value. A collaborative approach at difficult times led to a win-win outcome for partners and organisation.

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