For efficient 3PLs: Need for bespoke supply chain solution
Need for bespoke supply chain solution
Siemens has made its presence felt in India since 1957. Siemens in India, is subsidiary of Siemens AG, Germany. Presently, the company has 21 factories across India and products in four verticals such as industry, energy, healthcare and infrastructure and City. Pramod Sant, Vice President, Supply Chain Management-Indirect Material, Export Control & Customs, Siemens spoke to Cargotalk about the critical role played by supply chain and logistics management behind the company’s success.
the products manufactured and distributed by Siemens span widely including energy sector, gas turbines, generators, transformers, equipments for power transmission and distribution. The industry sector includes automation controls for steel rolling plants, cement, textiles, paper, food beverages and dairy products. This also includes conventional product such as switchgears, motors, M.C.C.B and controls for the machine tool industry. The infrastructure includes rail projects such as metro rail coaches, rail signaling and automation, low and medium voltage panels, smart grid products and building technology systems such as fire alarm and safety systems. Siemens healthcare sector includes imaging equipment such as CT, MRI, mammography, ultrasound, X-ray, and therapeutic and diagnostic equipment.
“The complexities of Siemens supply chain does not end here, as it includes transportation of 320 tonne gas turbines and generators, transportation of 75 tonne to 340 tonne transformers to remote location site, movement of rail coach from factory to north or southern part of India , movements of MRI weighing 12 tonnes to North East India where the MRI magnet requires filling of helium on the way at least three times in transit, and so on and so forth. Spares supplies to cement or steel plant are very critical to keep continuous process industry running,” revealed Sant.
Siemens Supply chain
In his opinion, due to variety in supply chains, it is not possible to have one or two logistics service providers. The Siemens supply chain success is ensured by engaging best logistic service providers, suitable for each type of supply chains, and internal expert teams involved in negotiating contracting and monitoring logistics. “Internal teams need to have specialised knowledge in each topic. To ensure that processes are improved regularly, new IT tools are implemented and cost overruns are avoided. The internal team includes transport engineers and employees trained in logistics at Siemens AG, Germany,” Sant said.
According to him, logistics industry is presently facing many challenges in India.
Most service-providers have excellent setups in a few places like Mumbai, Delhi or Chennai, but when it comes to all-India availability, they fall short.”
Pramod Sant vice President, Supply chain management-indirect material, export control & customs, Siemens
Firstly, there is a shortage of institutes who are able to churn out a good supply chain or logistics students. “Many such institutions have good academic courses, but very little practical knowledge. There is need to inculcate learning of basic industry supply chains, instead of so-called ‘fancy supply chain’,” he maintained. “Secondly, infrastructure issues are increasing and organisations are facing challenges with airports, ports, roads and rails. Delays, unreliability with constant increase in costs, are common. Logistics costs in India are one of the highest anywhere,” he highlighted.
Lack of efficient 3PLs
In Sant’s opinion, Indian logistics companies have a long way to go to understand and support manufacturing companies in all areas. “Each company wants to offer what is available in their scope and avoid what is not. Secondly, the ability to assess a situation and proactively take necessary steps to maintain a smooth supply chain is still lacking. Most serviceproviders have excellent set-ups in a few places like Mumbai, Delhi or Chennai, but when it comes to all-India availability, they fall short,” he pointed out.
He also pointed out that availability of qualified efficient people for service providers is not consistent. Most of the time, service-providers learn new things by trial and error and at the cost of customer. “Time and energy required to understand a customer is very high initially, and most service providers are reluctant to invest in the same. Today, every logistic company claims to be a 3PL company. In case of a diversified company like Siemens, a 3PL company needs to have good understanding of various modes of distribution. This includes surface transport consisting of FTL, part loads, and various types of trailers; low bed semi-load and handling of ODC and surface or air express,” he says.