Decoding Supply Chain NXT - SAP CXO DIALOGUES

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Technology & Automation

Decoding Supply Chain NXT - SAP CXO DIALOGUES

Supply Chain Tribe in partnership with SAP and Westernacher, recently hosted CXO Dialogues in Ahmedabad. This forum explored the nuances of fostering sustainable business growth and resilience through supply chain planning and collaboration. The ensuing discussions during the session harped on strategies that enhance transparency, resilience, and sustainability within the supply chain, while optimizing business expenditures.

To achieve success in any supply chain, three essential pillars must be in place: Transparency, Resiliency, and Sustainability. The industry requires a robust platform capable of addressing these key drivers of growth, equipped with the intelligence to provide optimal solutions. This was the elementary premise of the CXO DIALOGUES, held in Ahmedabad on November 24, 2023.

Mr. Madhvendra Singh

The keynote session by Mr. Madhvendra Singh, CEO, Gujarat Maritime Cluster, on ‘Industry resilience and the ability to mitigate those challenges’, was truly inspiring. David Macaulay, once said, “Trade may be the lifeblood of nations, but it's the ships that keep the blood flowing.” Taking a leaf from this thought, our esteemed guest, Mr. Madhvendra Singh, stated, “TRADE is the lifeblood of nations that fosters economic interdependence, and RESILIENCE that sustains life on Earth by facilitating the flow of essential resources. The global disruptions and market trends are directly affecting operations, which pressure the supply chain to respond differently – efficiency is no longer enough!”

“In the contemporary landscape, business resilience, especially within the supply chains, has emerged as a critical factor for organizations, forming the bedrock of robust operational frameworks. He also harped upon the strategies to bolster business resilience. A robust plan to enhance business resilience in the transportation and logistics sector comprises four key strategies –

1. Adopt advanced technologies and new business models.

2. Fast-track infrastructure development.

3. Attract investment and investor interest.

4. Focus on sustainable logistics.

“We are standing at the cusp of a very rewarding transformation in the MARITIME sector of India, and the time has arrived for it to thrive. Maritime trade serves as the stabilising Anchor, holding fast against the turbulent currents of disruption in a world rife with cascading crises. In this regard, the Gujarat Maritime Cluster (GMC) is building a dedicated, single-location ecosystem of maritime industry players and service providers. GMC is a leading maritime cluster dedicated to fostering excellence, innovation, and sustainable practices within the maritime industry. We are aiming to develop avenues for creating employability.” He also emphasized that the country possesses about Rs52 lakh crore investment potential in about 6000 projects for transportation & logistics sector.

The Panel Discussion moderated by Amit Amin, Market Unit Lead – SEA & MEA Region at Westernacher, had panel members from diverse industries - Sanjay Tripathi, DGM - Supply Chain at Adani Wilmar; Keyur Doshi, GM – Supply Chain at Vadilal Industries; Hardik Shah, CFO at Aksharchem (India); and Pankaj Lal, Managing Partner - SAP TM & YL Practice SEA Region at Westernacher.

Hardik Shah highlighted the close links between supply chains and finance. He iterated, “supply chain plays a crucial role in financial budgeting, which includes functions such as procurement till dispatch. If the dispatch gets delayed due to any unforeseen circumstances, the whole budgeting exercise gets hampered. Supply chain impacts the financial strength of the company.”

Talking about the challenges faced and taking the successful pivot during the pandemic, Keyur Doshi, averred, “During Covid-19 pandemic, we encountered a huge degrowth in our ice cream business. To circumvent that, we quickly turned our focus towards exports business. Our export expansion strategy worked well for our business when the domestic market was showing dip. If I talk about the current scenario, we are back on the growth pedestal as far as the domestic market consumption is concerned. What worked for us during the initial phase of the pandemic was our different vendor base for both – domestic & global markets. The moment we saw our domestic markets showing down trend, we swiftly moved to our global vendor base and worked with them to significantly expand the global markets. To get things going, we extended every possible support to our vendors, be it in terms of technology, deploying new age equipment or financial support. During the course, we have laid immense emphasis on strengthening our distribution network and cold chain network.”

On the case of sustainability, Sanjay Tripathi stated, “Responsible sourcing and supply chain transformation has always been a strategic priority for Adani Wilmar. To meet our sustainability commitments, we ensure that our supply chain works towards the same sustainability standards that our founding partner upholds. We are committed to creating a traceable and transparent supply chain. Traceability allows us to map our supply chain and gain in-depth knowledge on the origins of our raw materials, which is fundamentally important for the implementation of our sustainability commitments within our supply chain. At the same time, supply chain traceability allows us to identify the suppliers linked to our operations, thus enabling us to develop ongoing partnerships for improvements while monitoring compliance against our sustainability commitments.

“To ensure that our procurement process is green and sustainable, we exercise control by monitoring and governing to the maximum extent feasible. Likewise, to limit food loss and make the supply chain more efficient, we have a robust supply chain system in place. We have incorporated digital solutions across the system for various processes such as scenario, and demand planning, monitoring social welfare in the warehouses, vendor onboarding, payment mechanism, freight and logistical management, and real-time vehicle tracking.”

He added, “We have initiated use of CNG vehicles in FY’23. We also incentivize our vendors to use CNG vehicle. We have earned 22,574 Rail Green points till date, for using Railway for cargo movement. In multi-modal way, most of the distance is covered by either rail or water transport. Only first & last mile is done through roads. This pertains to packaged oils sold in domestic markets. Adani Wilmar is amongst the early adopters of Sustainable Palm Oil. Over 90% of palm oil is Traceable upto Mills of December 2022. We are also the first Edible Oil Company to introduce recyclable packaging where 98% of packaging is recyclable.”

Offering the technology perspective, Pankaj Lal shared, “Supply chains are more vulnerable and stressed than ever, with companies facing uncertainty and unpredictable market volatility today. Logistics is what interconnects the entire process. SAP Business Network for Logistics is SAP's new collaborative cloud network that empowers logistics businesses to work together more easily than ever before. SAP Business Network for Logistics is an open, cloud-based, and secure platform, transforming fragmented supply chains into unified, collaborative, and intelligent networks. It is one of the first B2B carrier integrations into the Business Network for Logistics Freight Collaboration network.”

He added, “With SAP Business Network for Logistics, visibility of physical logistics processes helps to steer the entire supply chain, ensuring faster and accurate decision-making at any time at all levels, intra- and cross-company.”

Hailing government’s fast-paced action strategy towards strengthening supply chain networks of the country, Sanjay Tripathi sounded optimistic about India’s promising growth trajectory on the back of various policy initiatives and the pace at which the government is functioning to implement them at full throttle.

Nikhil Kamat

The panel discussion was followed by a presentation by Nikhil Kamat, Business Director - Intelligent Spend & Business Network, SAP. He gave an overview of how the SAP ISBN portfolio is enabling companies to collaborate with their entire eco-system. He also shared the transformational modules that SAP has developed to enable companies to network with their multiple different trading partners. Embedding AI, ML, and IOT, SAP’s Business Network transforms an ERP into NRP (Networked ERP).

Interestingly, all trading partners of different companies are onboarded on the Business Network, thus making it a comprehensive B2B collaboration platform.

Finally, Amit Amin presented a compelling case study demonstrating how a renowned global luxury perfume brand utilizes real-time visibility for decision-making and employs predictive analysis techniques.

In summary, this concise gathering emerged as a potent blend for the supply chain community in Ahmedabad to engage in discussions and unravel the evolving dynamics of supply chains. Attendees had the opportunity to map out their paths toward next-generation, technology-driven supply chain networks.

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