“Sennheiser has always enjoyed great resonance in the audio industry attributing to its German lineage. Sennheiser has a legacy of bringing quality products with great attention to detail, which in turn provides us the competitive advantage. It will be our strength till the time we keep innovating and stay true to the promise of bringing something new every time that addresses the needs of the evolving customers,” asserts Subrata Ghosh, Vice President – Operations (Logistics and Supply Chain), Sennheiser Electronics India Pvt. Ltd., during an interview.
What are the complexities involved in managing consumer electronics space?
Although the consumer electronics sphere is a dynamic industry, it has its own fair share of challenges. The very first being the damages faced by the products because of constant use. Another major factor is the rise of the e-commerce industry, which is creating a major setback for the offline market, reducing the number of customers that experience the products in-store.
What are the USPs of Sennheiser vis-à-vis competitors?
Sennheiser has a legacy of bringing quality products with great attention to detail, which in turn provides us the competitive advantage. We take pride in the sound quality of products, which is attributed to the superior technology the brand hosts. Another factor that differentiates us from the competitors is the wide range of products available to our customers, giving them the much needed variety to choose from that customers look forward to today.
How complex is the supply chain and how innovatively do you manage the same?
We have no firm planning system as our customer request is ‘yesterday’. Secondly, India is a diverse country, reaching its length and breadth takes 2 days to 10 days’ lead time with an addon to all legal compliances. Also, the logistics infrastructure in the country is not at par with other continents. We are always working on war footing note, which is causing higher freight charges to make them available at customer premises. Moreover, the linehaul damages, pilferages and losses for too many manhandling of shipments are added concerns. Funniest thing is that reaching one consignment from Delhi to Bengaluru by air takes 3 hours but locally plying in cities it takes 1 day due to no entry timings, etc.
In spite of having challenges, our delivery service level is a standard of 97%. In order to protect the pilferages, we have adopted the open delivery and open pick up approach. Final bagging of the boxes is done to avoid the visibility of the brand and also the specifics of the goods in the boxes in transit. To ensure simplicity of logistics, maximum efficiency and best utilization of time, we have adopted the volume matrix.
Please enlighten us on one of the most challenging projects managed by you at Sennheiser.
The most challenging project we have taken on yet is the Nokia and Samsung Bundling Project with the Sennheiser headphones. The project required an end-to-end supply chain within the mentioned time frame and most importantly, the final delivery location wasn’t just one specific region or area; it was pan-India. But, with all its challenges, it was an extremely interesting and insightful project.
How can companies achieve an integrated sales and operations planning (S&OP) process to balance customer requirements, customer service, inventory and cost to serve?
There are various ways to achieve these by suppliers, for example, customer integration supply–demand integration, operational excellence and performance, communication quality, competitive strategy, customers’ preferences, replay & satisfaction, demand planning, predictability, logistics sync, material flow, physical operations, supply chain performance & strategies, joint planning trust and commitment.
How creating stronger internal collaboration, accountability and clear key performance indicators (KPIs) can help improve onshelf availability, customer satisfaction and increase sales?
One of the most important elements is reduced lead time, because it is a key factor in aligning a firm’s production, reduced inventory and forecast accuracy. Distribution, as a concept, includes a diverse range of activities such as logistics, transportation, warehousing, inventory management, channel management, and selection of channel partners. Historically, distribution has been regarded as one of the most fundamental parts of the supply chain. Independently, each firm establishes a large buffer of inventories and does cost/profit planning as maintaining the cost as low as possible has always been a vital issue in the integrated SC network. Other important elements include the service level and on-time delivery, which, if taken care of, can achieve great results for the business.
What are the parameters on the basis of which you select a 3PL?
For us, these five parameters hold prudent potential when it comes to selecting a 3PL: Location; near to airport or transport hub for inwards and outwards; no labour union; legal NOC for government; and connectivity for IT.
How crucial is the role of technology and how is Sennheiser steering the tech growth in supply chain?
Research and development plays an integral part in coming up with breakthrough technology and hence, we have regular programme/workshops to train our experts. We strongly reward our R&D team as it is because of them that we manage to stay committed to our goal of constantly evolving for our customers and bringing something new in the market regularly. Moreover, appreciation and recognition keep the employees motivated in the bid to do more and be more. We are also adopting automation slowly and steadily. We use Oracle based Demantra software linked with our business intelligence. We do 12 months rolling forecast with the organization.
What are the transformations that have shaped up over the years?
Supply chain, something which is extremely crucial to the whole process, have revolutionized over the years. Companies have started keeping up with the pace of the trade as well as the upcoming trends. They have started realizing that in the absence of not evolving their processes basis the needs of the people and the market, they will become obsolete. As a result, supply chain today is creating a virtual world to physical transformation.
What are the aspects that can make up for an exceptional supply chain?
Customers don’t want excuses for problems in the supply chain, they want solutions. One company knows first-hand the dangers of unchecked exceptions and the importance of realtime visibility with supply chain event management.
Making last mile delivery agile
» Proper and final bagging
» Cross tape signature on boxes
» Proactive delivery and failure alerts
» Dedicated implant single window solutions
» 100 % proof of delivery
» Customer feedback through delivery process
» Tailor made and flexible – 24*7 real time support through customer service.