Beer'ing strong performance

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Food & Beverages

Beer'ing strong performance

“End to end supply chain integration gives complete visibility of business to make informed decisions and help the teamwork better internally,” opines Sudip Gupta, Director – Customer Supply Chain, Carlsberg India Pvt Ltd. During this interview, he shares his perspectives on the dynamics of alcoholic beverages supply chain, its growing sustainable expanse and how being a difficult market to do business, India still holds a strategic position in the Carlsberg Global group growth projections. Excerpts…

How are the dynamics of the alcoholic beverage industry shaping up in India?

Well, the liquor industry is challenging and dealing with different state excise with different standards, it has become much more complicated. However, there are a bundle of opportunities available and we, as an organization have been successfully trying to capitalize on the same. The supply chain nimbleness and efficiency play a decisive role to have a competitive edge.

How complex is the supply chain for the same?

Since all activities from order processing, manufacturing, movement of stocks from source to customers, infrastructure and capacities are governed by excise, this has led to an increase in lead time for the end to end activities. Moreover, with high seasonality and with limited capacity during peak season coupled with inadequate infrastructure in few state machinaries make the tasks even more challenging. There are different routes to market across states, which make standardization in process and tools more difficult. However, an interesting aspect in the supply chain is managing complexities as we discover new efficiencies with innovative thinking by implementing new processes and tools.

What are the USPs that make Carlsberg consumers’ favoured alcoholic beverage?

An internationally acclaimed brand, high-quality all-malt beer, with a focused portfolio and innovative packaging are some of the USPs that make Carlsberg a preferred choice of the consumer.

What are unique initiatives taken by you to manage supply chain at Carlsberg?

Proactive and long-term planning, development of infrastructure to meet aggressive growth and successful implementation of cross-functional S&OPs are some of the initiatives, which have helped in successfully managing the supply chain at Carlsberg India. In this highly competitive world, we focus on leading KPIs to make lagging KPIs green, which helps in reducing firefighting and invest more time on developmental work. Most importantly, we believe in hiring the right talent with a positive mindset and give adequate coaching to drive supply chain objectives.

How can the inefficiencies in the supply chain be removed?

I believe the identification of bottlenecks in the end to end supply chain, instilling problem-solving mindset and focused implementation are important to avoid waste in the system. Bottlenecks keep on changing frequently because of the dynamic business and hence, the right people with correct process management skills are key to removing inefficiencies in the supply chain. Integration of data management in IT plays a major role in data analytics to have transparency on data and cost to identify improvement areas as well.

Kindly highlight sustainable paradigms achieved by Carlsberg.

Sustainability is central to the Carlsberg Group’s purpose ‘to brew for a better today and tomorrow’. Giving you India specific insights on the initiatives, four sites in India have advanced wastewater recycling technology systems and two more are in the pipeline. In 2016, we installed multi-effect evaporators at these sites to remove salt from wastewater. Advanced water recycling enables up to 30% of water to be reused as service water, while the remainder is discharged safely to the soil to irrigate land at our sites. There is zero liquid discharge beyond the brewery. In India, we installed three rooftop solar systems with a combined peak capacity of around 1 MW to supply 10% of the site’s total power demand. In 2017, we will assess their performance and subsequently design a solar programme across India based on our findings. Renewable energy in the form of biogas, biomass and renewable electricity provides as much as 70% during the peak of the power needs of five sites in India and two in China.

One step closer to enhancing its sustainable expanse, Carlsberg Group developed a new design of the beer bottle with the help of Carlsberg Circular Community as well as CP+B Copenhagen and Kilo, a Danish industrial design studio. “The new bottle is a great milestone in the project, as having a physical prototype makes it easier for us to explain the new packaging format to consumers and colleagues. I think the new bottle looks great and shows how we can use innovation and design to help shape products for a better tomorrow,” says Simon Boas Hoffmeyer, Sustainability Director.
The Green Fiber Bottle will be a landmark in sustainable innovation.Its fibers will come from responsibly managed sources, with trees replanted at the same rate that they are harvested. While the bottle will degrade into environmentally non-harmful materials if discarded randomly, the intention is that it will form part of a proper waste management system, just like today’s bottles and cans. The three-year project is supported by Innovation Fund Denmark and the Technical University of Denmark. The Green Fiber Bottle is scheduled to be test-launched in a pilot market in 2018.

Please share with us one of the most challenging projects managed by you at Carlsberg.

Implementation of S&OP wheel and making it sustainable week after week and month after month, thereby instilling cross-functional alignment to have timebound action to help the business achieve its goal has been one of the most satisfying projects at Carlsberg India. Post-implementation of this project, we as a team, spend more time in aligning and delivering across our business metrics.

Supply chain integration is one of the key principles you follow. How has it helped the business grow?

End to end supply chain integration gives complete visibility of business to make informed decisions and help the teamwork better internally. It also helps in aligning cross-functional teams to achieve business goals. The integration has helped significantly in reducing waste. It further improves nimbleness and speed to market.

You have a widespread presence across the globe. How different and difficult is the Indian market?

The Indian market is quite different and challenging from other markets globally because of it being a state subject and a highly regulated industry. Multiple taxes, frequent policy changes, rising input costs and no differential tax basis alcohol content are some of the challenges. Saying this, India is still a big opportunity for the industry given the changing social and demographic landscape. Additionally, the beer per capita consumption globally is far more than in India, however, appreciation for beer (a low alcohol content beverage) is growing here.

With the launch of Tuborg Green and Tuborg Strong, Carlsberg India was the first in India to introduce innovative packaging in the form of a unique pull-off cap, which does not need a bottle opener.

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