Decoding Next Generation Supply Chains

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Technology & Automation

Decoding Next Generation Supply Chains

The recently held edition of SIOM, Nashik’s ICOSCM was a revelation in not only bringing the next generations of operations & supply chain onto a single platform from across the country, it also offered innovative ways of dealing with the change and how supply chain can be a great enabler for businesses to tide through tough times. Through this platform, SIOM provided an insightful display of extensive knowledge from across the globe. A report…

THE COVID-19 aftermath has resulted in companies facing the ultimate challenge in operations and supply chain management. With over two years under the pandemic and the respite seems to be nowhere in sight, it is quite clear for businesses that a newer or an evolved form of supply chain is required to meet the demand. The fact that supply chain management itself has become an instrument for competitive advantage reiterates the need for better and smarter supply chains. The growing impact of big data, arrival of economically disruptive technologies, increased volatility of business environment, increasing customer base are few of the trends, which are driving the need for smarter supply chains.

Therefore, the need of the hour for business is the evolution of smarter and sustainable consumer centric supply chain. Next generation supply chain will be more data driven and will redefine the way leadership thinks about supply chain management. This drives the necessity for more academic and scholarly work on the theme “Next Generation Supply Chains: Closed loop, Humanitarian & Technology driven” for which the recently held International Conference on Supply Chain Management (ICOSCM) by Symbiosis Institute of Operation Management (SIOM) proved to be a great platform.

This year’s edition, which was held digitally, provided an efficient platform for academicians, research scholars, and other stakeholders to put in their perspectives and ideas on the current supply chain scenario. The main objective of this conference was to intrigue deeper insights into the challenges and innovations that are taking place in the next generation of the supply chain. 

Dr. Vandana Sonwaney
SIOM Director

Dr. Vandana Sonwaney, SIOM Director and Programme Convener, highlighted, “Operations management has always been a challenging and exciting effort owing to its turbulent and uncertain nature. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced companies to evolve and find more innovative techniques to restructure and manage their supply chains to alleviate the challenges for businesses across the globe. There is a need for an extensive and exhaustive display of scholarly work from the greatest and accomplished minds under the gamut of Operations Management. Based on this very philosophy, we are extremely elated to have garnered a strong response for this year’s edition of ICOSCM 2022. I am sure the innovative ideas presented in the form of research papers by students from across the country will prove an ignition point for the supply chain renaissance in the country. We are confident that initiatives like these by SIOM will aid the industry in taking the right steps in this ‘New Normal.’ 

Dr. Ramkrishna Manatkar,

On his part, Dr. Ramkrishna Manatkar, ICOSCM Co-Convener, stated, “The after-effects of Covid-19 have made businesses realize that an evolved and sustainable customercentric supply chain is the need of the hour. There is also a need to leverage data to achieve more efficiency in the supply chain. Staying true to the current business dynamics, this year’s conference offered a gamut of next generation supply chains with the underlying principles of being closed loop, humanitarian, and technology-driven.”

“During the conference, the researchers and practitioners elaborated in depth on the scope of technology in the Next-gen Supply Chain and the various methods that the firms should implement to build a sustainable future. The conference, just like every year, also reflected upon the growing importance of operations and supply chain as a field of research and practice. This International Conference has always been a trendsetter and we believe that the future editions too would carry on with the same momentum,” Dr. Manatkar added. The event saw the participation of global academicians such as Prof. Constantin Blome, Professor & Associate Dean Research at University of Sussex; Professor Thanos Papadopoulos, Department Research & Innovation Lead, Department of Analytics, Operations, and Systems, Kent Business School, University of Kent; Kannan Govindan, Chair Professor of Operations & Supply Chain Management, Head, Centre for Sustainable Supply Chain Engineering, Department of Technology and Innovation, University of Southern Denmark; Dr. Subodha Kumar, Paul R. Anderson Distinguished Professor of Marketing and Supply Chain Management, Temple University’s Fox School of Business. These renowned operations & supply chain academicians threw intriguing insights on how companies should prep themselves for the Next Normal and the role of future supply chain talents in driving the change.

This year’s ICOSCM showcased over 50 incredible ideas in the form of paper presentations by international researchers, developers, and professionals striving to add value to the field of Operations Management. Best papers under the faculty, research scholar and industry participant categories were awarded a cash prize and other participants were given participatory certificates. Here’s presenting two winning entries to dive deeper into their research area and their slated impact on the industry…

Jude Jegan J, Alumnus, Symbiosis Institute of Operations Management, Nashik

Jude Jegan J

Case Study on Modelling the factors affecting Organizational Flexibility in MSMEs

What's the inspiration behind this winning paper? How did this idea strike you?

The idea for this study came from the observation that many MSMEs in India are currently reeling from the effects of the pandemic and are either suspending or closing their business. Recent studies have highlighted the role flexibility plays in helping an organization stay competitive. With the role of technology increasing in organizations and helping derive insights, studies have shown that this increase needs to be coupled with flexibility, i.e., the ability to act on these insights quickly, to obtain a competitive edge.

According to you, what are the tangible gains companies can achieve with your proposed research?

Our research revolved around analyzing the challenges MSMEs face when it comes to flexibility. Our study can help develop culture and processes in organizations that would help the organization stay competitive, collaborate with the supply chain stakeholders, develop products and offer services that the market demands at that period, thereby increasing their revenues and profits.

What are the immediate challenges that companies are facing in managing their supply chains and how does your research address the very challenge?

The immediate challenges that organizations face currently as identified from our research are abrupt manpower shortages, raw material unavailability, rising costs and lack of financing. Our study can be used to build an organization that is less prone to inertia and has set up a culture where changes are welcome. This, in turn, would help an organization scour for alternate sources in times of such difficulties.

How should organizations work towards steering their supply chain in the right direction in the Next Normal?

As per the study we had conducted, the presence of competitors has been the biggest critical factor for building a flexible organization. Every action that an organization takes, be it building their technological capabilities or developing stakeholder relationships, all seem to be primarily driven by the motive to outperform competitors. Our study also identified building trust amongst the supply chain as a positive step towards attaining organizational flexibility. This implies that every supply chain participant must act in a way that is mutually beneficial to all the other participants, and this belief can be catalyzed through collaboration. Also, an adequate amount of risk-taking and innovation is vital to ensure that organizations are constantly open to exploring new markets, increasing the end-user base in the current market, and developing new products.

Avishek Pandey, Research Scholar, Industrial and Systems Engineering Department, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur

Avishek Pandey

Case Study on Assessing sustainable productivity of sponge iron firm using Malmquist Productive Index: A double frontiers data envelopment analysis

What's the inspiration behind this winning paper? How did this idea strike you?

The steel sector contributes approximately 1.5% to India’s GDP. It is one of the core sectors shaping the backbone of the economy, which employs about 25 lakh persons directly and indirectly. According to the report, India is world's 2nd largest producer of crude steel, producing 111.245 million tons (provisional) (2019) of crude steel with a growth rate of 1.8% over the corresponding period last year. The government has been taking necessary steps such as National Steel Policy (NSP) in 2017 to encourage the industry's rapid development to meet worldwide benchmarks. Hence, making the steel production sustainable and efficient is the need of the hour. Despite being the largest producer of iron ore, India produces lesser steel compared to its competitors, because of improper utilization of available resources. This inspired us to study the resource utilization in various steel industries and proposed a benchmarking technique to find out the best performing industry. We believe our proposed method will enhance the productivity in manufacturing sector and help India become Aatmanirbhar (self-reliant).

According to you, what are the tangible gains companies can achieve with your proposed research?

Indian manufacturing sector’s performance is inferior compared to its competitors, primarily because of the improper utilization of available resources, be it human resources or raw material. Inefficient usage of resources reduces the firm’s competitiveness. Unsustainable performance is a significant barrier to the economic development of a country. Thus, the proposed research helps the firms to create an efficient frontier for benchmarking and guides them to increase their effectiveness.

What are the immediate challenges that companies are facing in managing their supply chains and how does your research address the very challenge?

Supply chain is very complex network and involves various organizations. Each of these organizations has different and sometimes conflicting interests, capabilities, and skills. Hence, choosing an appropriate parameter to measure the effectiveness of the supply chain can be quite challenging. The proposed benchmarking approach helps the supply chain to assess its status, identify performance measure and analyze the processes for best practices and performance improvement.

How should organizations work towards steering their supply chain in the right direction in the Next Normal?

Various factors could play a role in the future supply chain of the steel industries and enhance their growth to create a sustainable and win-win environment. One of them is Benchmarking and Efficiency Frontier analysis. Effective collaboration, engaging purposefully & providing transparency are the approaches that need to be given due attention. Incorporating IoT based tool with benchmarking techniques will help improve the modern-day supply chain. Merging tools like Productivity analysis, Benchmarking, Cross- Functional Process Mapping, Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI), and IT solutions like ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) across the supply chain could be the key to gear up the supply chain performance in coming days. Digital Twin supply chain models with uncertainty and risk along with productivity analysis and continuous improvement in each echelon will be the scope of futuristic supply chain.

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