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We all know and verify that the demands on supply chain managers to rapidly respond to change and increase profitability are greater than ever. In this fast moving, demand driven world, supply chains need to meet their desired expectations and strike a winning deal for their respective organizations. This can only be possible if it is backed by technology. Welcome to the era of Smart Supply Chain, which is ably backed by GenX technologies to drive organizational growth. We spoke to a few industry leaders on their perception about on smart supply chains and this is what they have to say…

Prashant Khadse, Associate Director, Flipkart India Pvt. Ltd.

New age supply chains will be driven by technology-led transformations. It’s going to be process-driven and will require higher skill sets to live up to the ever-growing expectations of our key customers. The kind of speed and the quantum of volume increasing day by day is putting tremendous pressure on us to manage the supply chain with ancient processes. At the same time, it’s of critical importance to understand as to how you are going to develop the skill set because the market demands are fluctuating. There should a unified platform to enhance the skill set of our employees to handle such critical tasks because during peak days, we need to handle volumes going up by 4X higher than the regular days. We also need the supply chain partners who are compatible with the fast changing dynamics. This is going to be the game changer in the coming times. In the Indian market where the logistics is transforming from logistics to supply chain, we need to move up the ladder fast to drive change. We need to change our mindset and create an awareness to be ready to cope in such volatile scenarios.

Naagendra Srinivasa, Head – SCM (Group Apparel), Raymond Apparel Ltd.

For me, speed is the smart supply chain and rest all is being considered as the hygiene factor. It’s the speed at which you are able to respond to the requirements of consumers, customers or the business associates. One also needs to possess the ability to change their approach as per the dynamic market conditions. Today’s supply chain doesn’t require a theoretical approach, which is taught in the classroom, you need to have the execution skills in the real-time market and deliver in the desired timeframe that your customer is looking out for. There’s no room to say NO in the current times. The moment you say it, you might lose your previous contract to someone else. Speed and adaptability will have a major role to play in the future to decide how smart and agile you are as a company.

Anshuj Rathi, Senior Manager Solutions – Sales Consulting, Oracle India Pvt. Ltd.

Today’s supply chains are very complex, which require the integration of multiple processes, applications, technologies, and organizational components unlike the traditional dynamics of distributed operations. Upcoming supply chains will work on what Industry 4.0 talks about where we cannot afford to work in isolation. With the trend fast approaching towards modern SCM systems that involve new technologies like cloud, the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, social collaboration, digital connectivity, and predictive analytics, things become easier for the business if it is ready and mature enough to take advantage of them. We are witnessing a shifting trend towards new, enabling, and disruptive technologies; which make companies smarter, more flexible, and more agile. Today’s supply chain is moving from supply-driven push to demand-driven pull, with a huge focus on the customer service and satisfaction. These changing dynamics are making tremendous headway towards making supply chain more of a growth enabler than a cost center.

Capt TS Ramanujam, CEO, Logistics Sector Skill Council

Smart supply chains will require smarter people to operate. Such a disruption is only possible in a vast country like India when the people are equipped to drive the change. At Logistics Sector Skills Council, we are working towards developing smart logisticians by empowering them with the best-in-class technologies, which will ultimately drive the operational effi ciencies of an organization. We need to opt for a people-centric approach. While we talk about the technology led growth, we should also keep in mind that technology should not just be able to value-add the operational process, but should also improve the earning capacity of the individuals and enhance overall efficiency. Only then will we be able to truly deliver the Win-Win-Win situation for companies.

Prof Rahul Patil, Associate Professor, SJMSOM, IIT Bombay, Mumbai, India

The Indian logistics sector needs to embrace smarter methods to manage the complexity arising due to increased product variety and supply chain risks. Nowadays, information systems have been generating data related to several logistics functions, which can be used to take smarter decisions. Demand data can be used to develop more accurate initial forecasts by using time series forecasting methods that can be fine-tuned by using the existing expert knowledge. Better forecasts will reduce costly last-minute rescheduling. The logistics sector wants to optimize inventories to reduce costs and improve customer service. Several inventory models such as base stock model proposed in academics have now been used by industries across the globe. Our industry can definitely benefit from the use of such inventory models. Our industry also wants to minimize transportation costs by reducing the number of vehicles and the distance travelled while delivering orders to the customers. Again, several efficient methods have been proposed in theory to accomplish these goals. In the developed world, many logistics firms have benefitted by collaborating with academic institutes. A more involved interaction between the Indian logistics and academic institutes is now necessary to accomplish these goals.

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