Of Logistics and Business
The 18th IVY League addressed the topics of Designing Business and Outsourcing Logistics for SMEs. For this, The IVY League Sub-Committee of The Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI) arranged for a two-speaker session for the first time. The
A recap of the 18th IVY League, which addressed the topics of Designing Business and Outsourcing Logistics for SMEs
On Thursday, 10th May 2018, the 18th IVY League meeting was held at the Mayfair Banquets, Mumbai. The session addressed two important topics: ‘Ways of Working for a Profitable Growth’ and ‘Outsourcing of Logistics’. These were led by two experts. Aspire Infinite and TAB India were the outcomes of Mr Krishnan’s long term fascination with the SME (or as he calls it, the OMB – Owner Managed Business) Segment and its inherent Potential and Value. Mr Mahesh Gupta is the Country Manager, Logistics – Sales, of Aramex International Express – a Leading Global Provider of Comprehensive Logistics and Transportation Solutions, Express Courier Delivery, Freight Forwarding, Supply Chain Management, E-Commerce and Record Management Services. Mr Gupta has enough knowledge of Solutions on Logistics/ Warehousing-Services. He presented these to the Members and spoke about his practical experience with the Garment Segment, and the Process, Technology and indications on Pricing Models, etc.
Mr Vikas, who had undergone mentorship under Mr Krishnan, introduced him and spoke about how beneficial sessions with him are, “When we came under his guidance, we realised how our approach was wrong and how we were lacking knowledge in some very important aspects of the business.” Having trained over 100 SMEs, Krishnan is an expert in pushing owners and businesses in the direction of progress. A short introduction later, he took to the stage.
INCREMENTAL VS INTRUSIVE GROWTH
Mr Krishnan started the talk with a fundamental question, “What comes to mind when I say design?”. Then he added another question to everybody’s chain of thoughts, “Does anyone think of planning while thinking of design?”. He went on to explain how, along with creativity, design needs structure that can be monetised, which is the only way to make it sustainable.
The session started with a request - “Think like a consultant for 30 minutes. Be with me.” He threw light on problems that different OMBs go through - Should the focus solely be on building a brand? If I partner with a third party e-commerce platform, will I have to drop my prices drastically? If I run a brand independently, how do I market it? He sharply pointed out how manufacturers love their products more than their business to which most manufacturers nodded in approval. “Big jumps are needed, as owners, we tend to forget that.”
Another important point Krishnan made was
that growth is never linear, depending on your moves, it’s either incremental or intrusive. Expecting ownership from employees or to work towards a jump in the growth of sales isn’t fair, he encouraged the owners to give a deep thought as to how they can turn their ongoing business into a sustainable and profitable business.
OPERATIONS AND BUSINESS
Having created his own terminology for risks, he said you should get your business to undergo ‘surgery’ regularly. “When the going is good, opt for surgery. Every time your business makes profits and shows a sharp upward curve in terms of sales, find a reason to invest your money and experiment instead of spending it all away so your business can enjoy the returns at some point.”
Before wrapping up his talk, Krishnan asked all participants to go home with three powerful thoughts; the first of which was, ‘What’s Your Exit Plan Going To Be?’. All gathered owners put on their thinking hats when Ramas Krishnan presented the three possible options for an exit plan, viz, a) Wealth, b) Freedom or c) Ambition. He requested all owners to think about where they see themselves. While explaining each point, he shared how he believes that a business owner’s biggest asset is their gut and each and everyone should trust their own unique DNA, “For all big decisions, use your gut, for all small ones use excel sheets.”
The second thought was, ‘Choose Your Value Advantage’. A business has many aspects to consider while creating a plan, but as an owner, you need to pick what your business should focus on. “If as a business, you’re focusing on all segments, you’re making a mistake.” Giving China’s example, he asserted how it’s ruling the market when it comes to mass production, which is happening solely because of their focus on ‘Price’. He even gave a personal mantra called the ‘T20-B10’ mantra to churn out data from their existing audiences. “Figure out who your top customers and products are and the ones that occupy the bottom 10 of that funnel. You’ll definitely gather some rather interesting insights.”
The third thought was to ‘Wear Multiple Hats’. Business owners get to wear multiple hats during the course of their service. Zeroing down on the hat that the situation demands is the owner’s responsibility. He ended his session by leaving everyone with something to think about, “Align your personal vision with your business goals.”
THE LOGIC OF LOGISTICS
Mr Mahesh Gupta took over and discussed the second topic which was ‘Outsourcing Logistics’. In his welcome speech, a satisfied customer mentioned how he has gained peace while doing business by associating with Aramex Logistics and kicked off the talk on a positive note.
He started the talk by saying, “You may have an in-house logistics team, you may be looking for a team outside, you may be managing it without any external help—whatever stage you are at, I welcome you all.” What sets Aramex apart is its client base; most of their clients are SMEs. Aramex has worked with 45 countries in the past. Over the years, due to their highly flexible nature of working, Aramex has grown and developed its service based on feedback. With the help of a detailed presentation, he walked the participants through many features of Aramex like the packaging options, quality check parameters, warehouses and the processing of orders.
Mahesh stressed how Aramex has teams in place to maintain inventory accuracy. “Since we understand storage, we also understand fluctuation and we incorporate it in our planning so you have no reason to worry.” A satisfied user of the services also spoke about how dispatching over 10,000 pieces during the festive season when most of the country’s staff was on leave, was possible because of Aramex. “Their team is proactive and reliable. Growing from a space of, say 800 sq ft to 3200 sq ft is not possible to do all by yourself. Their support makes it happen.”
“We’re not very good at logistics and reporting. We’ll be visiting the premises of Aramex to see how it goes,” said Kapil Gupta, a manufacturer of men’s formal trousers, under the brand name Topller.
“Both the speakers were very individualistic as they both had a lot to share. We had a great time and I’m going to follow up with both of them soon,” said Vidhi from a western wear brand called B:Kind.
The attendees left feeling enlightened and hoping to see more such informative and resourceful sessions soon.