THE SUP­PLY CHAIN MAN­AGE­MENT DY­NAM­ICS IN THE IN­DIAN RE­TAIL IN­DUS­TRY

Images Retail - - CONTENTS - – By Zainab S Kazi

The In­dian Re­tail In­dus­try has had its fair share of ups and downs along with keep­ing pace with the chang­ing de­mand dy­nam­ics from the con­sumer’s end. But what re­mains con­stant is the sweat and blood be­hind the scenes to keep the in­dus­try go­ing. Lo­gis­tics and Sup­ply Chain Man­age­ment form the key for any in­dus­try, re­tail be­ing no ex­cep­tion. From the time the raw ma­te­rial is sourced for a prod­uct un­til it reaches the shop­ping bag of the con­sumer, it is all the ac­tion that takes places be­hind the scene that makes it all seam­lessly pos­si­ble…

Ef­fi­cient sup­ply chain man­age­ment has a cas­cad­ing im­pact on all as­pects of re­tail from sourc­ing of raw ma­te­ri­als based on de­mand fore­cast and then speed­ing up the pro­duc­tion to getting the prod­uct to the store and fi­nally to the con­sumer, ev­ery­thing de­pends on the sup­ply chain. Ex­perts unan­i­mously agree that be­sides in­fra­struc­ture and com­pli­ca­tions in tax­a­tion, it is the ef­fi­ciency of man­power and adop­tion of tech­nol­ogy that gives a huge boost to sup­ply chain man­age­ment. How­ever, it still re­mains to be seen whether the In­dian Re­tail In­dus­try has ac­tively in­vested in the smooth run­ning of its back­end sup­ply and lo­gis­tics. Set­ting the con­text of the story, Farah Ma­lik Bhanji, Metro Shoes says, “While sup­ply chain may be in­vis­i­ble to the end con­sumer, it is def­i­nitely very vis­i­ble on a business’ bal­ance sheet. It is as crit­i­cal to the func­tion­ing of a re­tail business, as the cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem is to the func­tion­ing of a body. A ware­house is the heart of a business and the nerves are the dis­patches across the re­tail net­work.”

HIS­TOR­I­CALLY, SUP­PLY CHAIN IN DI­A­MOND JEWELLRY CEN­TERS AROUND TRUST AND LONG TERM RE­LA­TION­SHIPS AND WHILE PRIOR EX­PE­RI­ENCE, OR TRAIN­ING/ CER­TI­FI­CA­TION IN DI­A­MOND AND AL­LIED AR­EAS IS GIVEN DUE RE­GARD IS TAKEN AS SEC­ONDARY TO IN­TEGRITY AND TRUST. – Vi­jay Jain, CEO & Founder Di­rec­tor, ORRA

Ma­lik throws light on two as­pects of sup­ply chain man­age­ment –the first is the phys­i­cal move­ment of goods and the sec­ond is the track­ing of th­ese move­ments and bring­ing ef­fi­cien­cies into place. She points out that where there is not a very high level of tal­ent needed for the for­mer with goods need­ing to go from A to B, it is how­ever vi­tal to know the pro­cesses, and the flow of sup­plies and to un­der­stand that to be able to achieve the lat­ter. Vas­anth Ku­mar, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Life­style In­ter­na­tional shares, “Sup­ply chain is in­creas­ingly getting so­phis­ti­cated on two counts: one is that there is con­stant de­mand to de­liver fresh­ness al­ways at the B&M stores.

And two, we are mov­ing to an Om­nichan­nel world where cus­tomer de­liv­ery hap­pens through real time sup­ply chain connecting ware­house or store in­ven­tory for which sup­ply chain needs to im­ple­ment ad­vanced ERP / plan­ning tools to be ef­fec­tive in­clud­ing web or­der ful­fill­ment. With the ad­vent of e-com­merce and Om­nichan­nel, the sup­ply chain func­tion is no longer lim­ited to B2B as it now en­com­passes B2C deliveries di­rect to cus­tomer. And the sin­gle big­gest fac­tor which af­fects NPS is qual­ity of deliveries which is very much the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the sup­ply chain. This is a huge shift in terms of mind­set and ca­pa­bil­i­ties in­deed mov­ing from cost ef­fi­ciency to cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence ori­en­ta­tion.”

Echo­ing the ef­fects of e-com­merce in shap­ing up sup­ply chain man­age­ment ef­fi­ciency, He­mant Gupta, Chief Oper­at­ing Of­fi­cer & Chief Fi­nance Of­fi­cer - The Mand­hana Re­tail Ven­tures Ltd. shares, “The in­tro­duc­tion

of e-com­merce in the In­dian mar­ket has brought about a dras­tic change in the re­tail sce­nario lead­ing to a dif­fer­ent per­cep­tion of the sup­ply chain man­age­ment. The advancement of tech­nol­ogy has helped de­crease man­ual pro­cesses com­par­a­tively and has also been adopted by our lo­gis­tic part­ners and ware­houses eas­ing out the en­tire sup­ply chain process.”

Talk­ing specif­i­cally about the jew­elry sec­tor, Vi­jay Jain, CEO & Founder Di­rec­tor,

ORRA shares, “His­tor­i­cally, sup­ply chain in di­a­mond jewellry cen­ters around trust and long term re­la­tion­ships and while prior ex­pe­ri­ence, or train­ing/cer­ti­fi­ca­tion in di­a­mond and al­lied ar­eas is given due re­gard is taken as sec­ondary to in­tegrity and trust. How­ever, given the new com­plex­i­ties of busi­nesses what is held in pre­mium is skills that un­der­stand the trade offs in man­ag­ing in­ven­to­ries, ven­dors, com­mer­cial de­mands, deliveries, and re­spon­sive­ness to mar­ket con­di­tions and bal­ances the pres­sures across de­part­ments,

like de­sign, mer­chan­dis­ing, pro­cure­ment, ven­dor man­age­ment and lo­gis­tics. Mind sets re­quired to run the front end part of the business and sup­ply chain are dif­fer­ent.”

Mov­ing to­wards food, the role that sup­ply chain man­age­ment plays can­not be un­der­es­ti­mated. Gaurav De­wan, COO & Business Head, Travel Food Ser­vices

shares his take, say­ing, “In­dia today has a bur­geon­ing econ­omy, ris­ing ur­ban pop­u­la­tion and a fast grow­ing mid­dle class; and along with an in­crease in their dis­pos­able in­come, there has also been a pro­por­tion­ate rise in travel and con­sump­tion rates. How­ever, given the vast­ness of the coun­try, and the mag­ni­tude of peo­ple, there are def­i­nitely chal­lenges in­volved, be­ing in the F&B sec­tor. Among the ma­jor chal­lenges that we face, the lack of proper in­fra­struc­ture is one that has ham­pered the growth of the food re­tail sec­tor across the coun­try.

And while we are in the process of de­vel­op­ing the right in­fra­struc­ture to sup­port

DUE TO THE SIG­NIF­I­CANT IN­CREASE IN CUS­TOMER EX­PEC­TA­TION AND DE­MAND OVER THE LAST DECADE, TIME DEF­I­NITE DE­LIV­ERY OF GOODS HAS BEEN THE BIG­GEST CHAL­LENGE FOR THE RE­TAIL SUP­PLY CHAIN. – Vi­neet Kanau­jia, Vice Pres­i­dent Mar­ket­ing, Safe xpress Pvt. Ltd. WHILE SUP­PLY CHAIN MAY BE IN­VIS­I­BLE TO THE END CON­SUMER, IT IS DEF­I­NITELY VERY VIS­I­BLE ON A BUSINESS’ BAL­ANCE SHEET. IT IS AS CRIT­I­CAL TO THE FUNC­TION­ING OF A RE­TAIL BUSINESS, AS THE CEN­TRAL NER­VOUS SYS­TEM IS TO THE FUNC­TION­ING OF A BODY. – Farah Ma­lik Bhanji, Metro Shoes

the growth, we also need to build a net­work of re­puted and re­li­able sup­pli­ers, to move away from the cur­rent sce­nario of mul­ti­ple ven­dors and lack of ag­gre­ga­tors for prod­ucts. Be­cause of this, we also face chal­lenges in the dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem, which is quite poor across the coun­try.”

“The lo­gis­tics and sup­ply chain man­age­ment func­tion has been un­der­go­ing an un­prece­dented trans­for­ma­tion in the last few years, fu­eled by in­no­va­tions in IT and dig­i­ti­za­tion. Govern­ment ini­tia­tives like Make in In­dia and Dig­i­tal In­dia are pro­vid­ing thrust to­wards the lo­gis­tics and sup­ply chain man­age­ment func­tion. Ac­cord­ing to a study by The As­so­ci­ated Chambers of Com­merce and In­dus­try of In­dia (AS­SOCHAM), the lo­gis­tics mar­ket in In­dia is ex­pected to grow to US $307 bil­lion by the year 2020, record­ing a CAGR of 16 per­cent on an aver­age,” says Vivekanand, Coun­try Man­ager, In­dia & SAARC, Grey orange.

Com­pli­ca­tions & Chal­lenges

Com­pli­ca­tions in tax­a­tion are one of the big­gest hur­dles grip­ping the in­dus­try be­sides in­fra­struc­ture. Where GST has been in­tro­duced to sim­plify the tax­a­tion woes, there seems to be a long way to go be­fore the is­sue of taxes, in­voic­ing etc. cease to be an is­sue. Gupta ex­plains, “The chal­lenges we face are more on the stat­u­ary com­pli­ance side with the change in laws on day-to-day ba­sis like the in­tro­duc­tion of GST and er­ror in E-way bills due to lack of knowl­edge and in­ef­fi­cient web­sites. Cur­rently due to the dif­fi­culty in gen­er­at­ing the E-way bills, the en­tire process of move­ment of goods has been slowed down.”

On the chal­lenges, Ma­lik says, “While lo­gis­tics com­pa­nies are do­ing very well today, there is still a lot of un­cer­tainty in­volved in Tier II play­ers. Tier I lo­gis­tics play­ers are still very highly priced and have not passed on ben­e­fits of scale to com­pa­nies. There is a heavy de­pen­dence on doc­u­men­ta­tion that can be bet­ter stream­lined through ef­fi­cient tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tions like track­ing and tag­ging.”

Elab­o­rat­ing on the set of chal­lenges and road­blocks be­ing faced as a re­tailer when it comes to im­ple­men­ta­tion of ef­fec­tive sup­ply chain, Ma­lik talks about in­fra­struc­ture par­tic­u­larly the con­di­tions of the roads. She says, “Although in re­cent years there has been an im­prove­ment, but still a lot more is needed. This cou­pled with a lot of doc­u­men­ta­tion re­quire­ments lead to an un­cer­tain lead time. Dur­ing mon­soons and ex­treme weather con­di­tions, this lead time is fur­ther ex­tended.”

How­ever, she does add that there has been some re­lief as far as doc­u­men­ta­tion is con­cerned as on the in­tro­duc­tion of GST last year mul­ti­ple taxes and mul­ti­ple doc­u­ments are done away with. A new e-way has also been built and hopes are high that it will ease the lead time as well.

Ma­lik, how­ever, shares some con­cerns with re­gards to the e-way stat­ing, “The re­cent in­tro­duc­tion of the e-way may cause some dis­rup­tions ini­tially but are then ex­pected to help smooth move­ment of goods with­out much ha­rass­ment from var­i­ous au­thor­i­ties. An­other area, which may not be very rel­e­vant to us is the avail­abil­ity of proper stor­age fa­cil­i­ties, par­tic­u­larly for per­ish­able goods. While big­ger com­pa­nies are adopt­ing ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy to make the sup­ply chain ef­fi­cient and ro­bust, small and medium scale in­dus­tries also need to have ac­cess to the ben­e­fits of th­ese tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances.”

Jain talks to chal­lenges spe­cific to his sec­tor i.e. di­a­mond jew­elry, “Sup­ply chain chal­lenges stem pri­mar­ily from the com­plex­ity in­duced by the range of stock keep­ing units that jew­elry de­mands in its va­ri­ety that is fur­ther ac­cen­tu­ated by sizes, di­a­mond qual­i­ties, re­gional pref­er­ences, price points pre­ferred and co­or­di­nated en­sem­bles. The in­creas­ing use of tech­nol­ogy has helped cope with the com­plex­ity. How­ever, while tech­nol­ogy can man­age com­plex­ity it does not mit­i­gate un­cer­tainty. Un­cer­tainty in pref­er­ences, de­mand, reg­u­la­tory changes make de­mands on or­ga­ni­za­tion mech­a­nisms like teams, cross func­tional groups etc. that have to keep shar­ing in­for­ma­tion to re­spond to mar­ket con­di­tions, com­pet­i­tive pres­sures etc. Di­a­mond jew­elry con­tin­ues to

THE IN­TRO­DUC­TION OF E-COM­MERCE IN THE IN­DIAN MAR­KET HAS BROUGHT ABOUT A DRAS­TIC CHANGE IN THE RE­TAIL SCE­NARIO LEAD­ING TO A DIF­FER­ENT PER­CEP­TION OF THE SUP­PLY CHAIN MAN­AGE­MENT. – He­mant Gupta, COO & CFO ,The Mand­hana Re­tail Ven­tures Ltd. AMONG THE MA­JOR CHAL­LENGES THAT WE FACE, THE LACK OF PROPER IN­FRA­STRUC­TURE IS ONE THAT HAS HAM­PERED THE GROWTH OF THE FOOD RE­TAIL SEC­TOR ACROSS THE COUN­TRY. – Gaurav De­wan, COO & Business Head, Travel Food Ser­vices

be a closely held con­ser­va­tive business that re­mains frag­mented de­spite the growth of or­gan­ised re­tail. While new reg­u­la­tory con­trols have brought more trans­parency and elim­i­nated grey zones it will still take a while to bring in greater trans­parency.”

De­wan adds, “As ag­gre­ga­tors, we are into all for­mats of QSR, which makes sup­ply chain man­age­ment across our var­i­ous restau­rants re­quires to be in­di­vid­u­ally man­aged. In In­dia, sup­ply chain man­age­ment is still in its nascent stages and the en­tire or­der­ing process is still very man­ual, mak­ing it a chal­lenge for us. Lo­gis­tics too, which forms a very im­por­tant part of seam­less sup­ply chain man­age­ment needs to be de­vel­oped fur­ther with the in­clu­sion of GPS en­abled ve­hi­cles to track their move­ments. If we are to be on par with other de­vel­oped coun­tries, th­ese are two very im­por­tant as­pects which need to be worked on.”

He fur­ther adds, “As di­verse as In­dia’s cul­ture is, her travel scape is equally so, and to tend to each vari­ant in the sec­tor, we need to un­der­stand the dif­fer­ent nu­ances of each. Although we have the sec­ond largest road net­work in the world, lo­gis­tics and sup­ply chain man­age­ment are not yet fully de­vel­oped, keep­ing in mind, the lo­ca­tion of most high­ways and roads be­ing in re­mote lo­ca­tions. And while we also have the fourth largest rail­way net­work in the world by size, fully de­vel­op­ing sup­ply chain man­age­ment in the sec­tor is re­liant on tra­di­tional small-mid­sized ven­dors who op­er­ated on a cash sys­tem, and in some cases are not too ed­u­cated. With re­gards to the air travel sec­tor, th­ese are high se­cu­rity zones and en­try into fa­cil­i­ties is an elab­o­rate process, of­ten tak­ing hours on end. At TFS, we fol­low a sys­tem with thor­ough in­ter­nal checks and re­ceiv­ing au­dit frame­works to en­sure prod­ucts are sup­plied in the most de­sir­able state. There­fore, we main­tain high in­ven­tory lev­els and have

to be ex­tremely care­ful with sup­plies.”

High­light­ing the chal­lenge grip­ping the in­dus­try from lo­gis­tic point of view, Vi­neet Kanau­jia, Vice Pres­i­dent – Mar­ket­ing, Saf­ex­press Pvt. Ltd. shares, “Due to the sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in cus­tomer ex­pec­ta­tion and de­mand over the last decade, time-def­i­nite de­liv­ery of goods has been the big­gest chal­lenge for the re­tail sup­ply chain. Also, the de­mand for last mile de­liv­ery con­tin­ues to be an up­hill task for the in­dus­try. With the vast ge­o­graphic spread of our coun­try, time-def­i­nite de­liv­ery will con­tinue to be a ma­jor chal­lenge. And with con­ges­tion on the high­ways as well as in­side city lim­its be­ing at all-time-high lev­els, man­ag­ing last mile de­liv­ery has never been tougher.”

With ac­cess to 22,344 pin­codes, Saf­ex­press has been help­ing the In­dian re­tail in­dus­try with ware­hous­ing sup­port and time-def­i­nite deliveries of goods any­where in In­dia.

The Role of Tech­nol­ogy in Sup­ply Chain Man­age­ment

Jain is quick to point out, and rightly so, that adop­tion of new tech­nol­ogy is not a mat­ter of choice but tim­ing; or­ga­ni­za­tions can­not in­su­late them­selves from the same. He shares, “Though tech­nol­ogy is widely de­ployed the depth of its pen­e­tra­tion re­mains lim­ited. Tech­no­log­i­cal ca­pa­bil­ity out­strips our abil­ity to har­ness its pos­si­bil­i­ties though it in­ex­orably in­vades our de­ci­sion mak­ing. ORRA has cho­sen two plat­forms that are un­der in­te­gra­tion ETP and Ic­soft that drive point of sale de­mand to sup­ply chain re­spon­sive­ness.”

Ac­cen­tu­at­ing the ben­e­fits of tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ments in boost­ing sup­ply chain man­age­ment, Gupta minces no words when he shares, “Due to lack of tech­nol­ogy, there was a huge gap in the time taken be­tween the ar­rivals of mer­chan­dise in the ware­house till the time taken to dis­patch the goods as all the pro­cesses were then done man­u­ally. The in­tro­duc­tion and advancement of tech­nol­ogy has played a very im­por­tant part in the sup­ply chain, in­clud­ing the lo­gis­tics and ware­hous­ing func­tions. We now have an elec­tron­i­cally gen­er­ated process which helps de­cide the key re­spon­si­bil­ity area which clearly in­di­cates the cy­cle for the goods to come in and move out. The en­tire sup­ply chain man­age­ment func­tion­ing has evolved over a pe­riod of time and has been struc­tured in a way to ad­here to time­lines ac­cord­ingly which helps to re­duce our work­ing cy­cle cap­i­tal of the over­all sup­ply chain man­age­ment. For e.g.; to track a pack­age, ear­lier one would have to man­u­ally dial a num­ber and call the lo­gis­tic part­ner to find out where the pack­age is, today most of the lo­gis­tic part­ners have de­vel­oped web­sites with GPS en­abled sys­tems thus mak­ing track­ing eas­ier.”

“We use an ERP call Ge­n­e­sis which is a re­tail so­lu­tion.

It has an in­built oper­a­tion that tracks all the pro­cesses in­clud­ing billing, track­ing and tal­ly­ing the goods. It also helps us man­age our in­ven­tory agent which is an im­por­tant part as far as the sup­ply chain is con­cerned,” he adds.

Ku­mar says, “At Life­style In­ter­na­tional we have suc­cess­fully im­ple­mented Or­a­cle ARS as well as TOC Sym­phony soft­ware apart from sin­gle view in­ven­tory (SVI) or­der man­age­ment for ef­fec­tive last mile deliveries from ware­house.”

At Metro Shoes, the com­pany has mi­grated to SAP as an ERP. Ac­cord­ing to Ma­lik, this has en­abled them to get ac­cu­rate data on the move­ment of goods across the coun­try. She ex­plains, “SAP en­sures that move­ment of goods and the ac­count­ing of those move­ments hap­pens si­mul­ta­ne­ously. This en­ables us to an­a­lyse our data much closer to re­al­time and mon­i­tor the cost ef­fec­tive­ness of our pro­cesses. We have in­vested in TOC (The­ory of Con­straints) to au­to­mate re­plen­ish­ments to stores as well as an­a­lyse ven­dor ef­fec­tive­ness. This has al­lowed us to stream­line our pur­chase process and cap­i­tal­ize on styles pre­ferred by cus­tomers in a much faster time pe­riod. It is also the abil­ity of our in­ter­nal team to be able learn how to look at data ef­fec­tively and base their de­ci­sion mak­ing on data that has been vi­tal in the optimization of th­ese pro­cesses.”

The lack of / spo­radic robotics tech­nol­ogy adop­tion is also a chal­lenge. While ro­bots are widely used in man­u­fac­tur­ing and as­sem­bling, the sup­ply chain func­tion has re­mained tech­no­log­i­cally starved for a long time. In the last five years, e-com­merce and lo­gis­tics com­pa­nies across the globe have pi­o­neered adop­tion of ad­vanced robotics tech­nol­ogy to cre­ate high pro­duc­tiv­ity ware­houses and op­ti­miz­ing sup­ply chains to match the dra­matic evo­lu­tion – in terms of vol­umes and val­ues. The vi­tal chal­lenge now is faster adop­tion of new tech­nolo­gies and trends such as 3D print­ing, au­toma­tion, robotics and big data in the sup­ply chain func­tion.

“More in­ter­na­tional re­tail com­pa­nies and brands are in­vest­ing in sup­ply chain au­toma­tion in other parts of the world. Our But­ler sys­tem is be­ing de­ployed in Ja­pan, Europe and the Amer­i­cas at a faster rate,” says Vivekanand.

Sup­ply Chain Man­age­ment & E-com­merce

The on­set of e-com­merce has played a huge role in hav­ing re­tail­ers work dili­gently on strength­en­ing their sup­ply chain man­age­ment sys­tems and prac­tices. A large sec­tion of peo­ple has mi­grated to on­line shop­ping and they have be­come ac­cus­tomed to hav­ing their prod­ucts de­liv­ered to them within a day or so. There­fore, more and more re­tail­ers are up­grad­ing their ware­houses with some de­gree of au­toma­tion as they race to de­liver goods to the shop­pers ever faster. The in­creas­ing de­mand for goods to be de­liv­ered, not only on time but on the same day is push­ing the need for robo­tised ware­houses which

will make the whole process of sort­ing or­ders and de­liv­ery quicker.

On­line play­ers have been more re­cep­tive to­wards in­vest­ing in au­to­mated sup­ply chains as they do not have any phys­i­cal stores and have re­lied com­pletely on tech­nol­ogy to run their op­er­a­tions. Many off­line re­tail­ers could be seen as lag­gards in this trend sim­ply be­cause their devel­op­ment and growth may not have pri­mar­ily de­pended on tech­nol­ogy.

“The ab­sence of tech­nol­ogy and lim­ited on­line pres­ence, means that off­line re­tail­ers are not faced with the kind of vol­ume and surge or­der­ing of­ten wit­nessed by on­line plat­forms/e-com­merce play­ers. Hence, such play­ers are not pressed to in­vest in au­toma­tion at the ware­house level,” says Vivekanand.

Ac­cord­ing to Gupta, the in­tro­duc­tion of the Om­nichan­nel mod­ule has helped to bridge the gap in the sup­ply chain. Elab­o­rat­ing fur­ther, he shares, “If you are run­ning out of stock in a store in a par­tic­u­lar cat­e­gory, the Om­nichan­nel mod­ule helps to de­liver the prod­uct to the con­sumer due to the spe­cial­iza­tion in deliveries of the Om­nichan­nel part­ners. Ad­di­tion­ally, even at the re­tail store, E-look books are avail­able which helps the cus­tomer to browse through and place their or­ders which can then be de­liv­ered at their doorstep. To cater to our cus­tomer’s needs, we too have started the Om­nichan­nel mod­ule. It will keep the pres­sure off from the nor­mal lo­gis­tics and sup­ply chain func­tion and they can save the cost of trans­fer­ring the goods from one lo­ca­tion to an­other.”

Sourc­ing Man­power

Ef­fec­tive hu­man re­source man­age­ment is of­ten the big­gest hur­dle to over­come for busi­nesses across gen­res. Be­sides lack of skilled man­power, it is the at­tri­tion level that in­creases that chal­lenge of hav­ing the right team in place. Sup­ply Chain Man­age­ment un­til re­cently faced a huge chal­lenge when it came to sourc­ing of man­power owing to two rea­sons – be­ing a back­end process, not many opted for a ca­reer in sup­ply chain due to lack of ex­po­sure and ex­cite­ment and sec­ondly be­cause the in­dus­try was at its nascent there was a lack of or­ga­nized train­ing. Though things are chang­ing grad­u­ally.

Gupta says, “As far as sourc­ing tal­ent is con­cerned, there is no prob­lem as the re­tail in­dus­try is now con­sid­ered to be grow­ing suc­cess­fully at a fast pace. With cour­ses spe­cial­iz­ing in sup­ply chain man­age­ment and the in­tro­duc­tion of tech­nol­ogy, it is now be­com­ing eas­ier to source tal­ent as op­posed to ear­lier times.”

One of the lead­ing lo­gis­tics com­pany in sup­ply chain man­age­ment, Saf­ex­press

Pvt. Ltd. has set a lot many stan­dards for the in­dus­try to fol­low. From a world class lo­gis­tic parks to a welle­quipped trans­porta­tion sys­tem in place, the com­pany has a team of ef­fi­cient skilled man­power as well.

Vi­neet Kanau­jia of Saf­ex­press says, “Train­ing has a huge role to play in this in­dus­try, and we have been fo­cus­ing heav­ily on the same. This has helped us in man­ag­ing an em­ployee re­ten­tion rate which is way ahead of the in­dus­try aver­age.”

EOSS & Sup­ply Chain Man­age­ment

A mad rush to grab dis­counts and of­fers is com­mon dur­ing the EOSS. But it is only those brands that can cater to the de­mand of cus­tomers in terms of size and style will see an in­flow of cus­tomers dur­ing the next EOSS. Hence the role of sup­ply chain man­age­ment is ever so im­por­tant dur­ing EOSS to en­sure that the store is well stocked.

Gupta says, “Dur­ing EOSS, the move­ment of goods is faster as com­pared to the nor­mal pe­riod, thus en­sur­ing timely re­plen­ish­ment of goods is a must. Es­pe­cially in re­tail chains, there is a term called piv­otal sizes which in­cludes 28-36 sizes as 80 per­cent of the de­mand is in th­ese sizes. This is where the auto re­plen­ish­ment tech­nol­ogy is ex­tremely ben­e­fi­cial to the sup­ply chain en­sur­ing timely deliveries. There should not be any deliveries planned which will take longer pe­riod to reach the cus­tomer as it will in­crease the stock only with­out in­creas­ing the sales.”

Brand Speak

On the sup­ply chain man­age­ment sys­tem in place at Metro Shoes, Ma­lik re­veals, “We have over 415 stores of 4 dif­fer­ent Brand for­mats – Metro, Mochi, Walkway and Crocs, in 110 cities in In­dia. For Walkway we also have shop-in-shops for­mat in Dmart stores. We re­tail our in-house brand as well as other brands such as Clarks, Skech­ers, Fit­flop, etc. In case of in-house brands, the goods are re­ceived from the ven­dors as per pur­chase or­ders raised by our buy­ers in our cen­tral ware­house at Bhi­wandi. The ven­dors are from Mum­bai and from other cities such as Agra, Kan­pur, Delhi, Chen­nai. We re­ceive goods in our ware­house and dis­patch it to 110 cities across In­dia from our cen­tral­ized ware­house. It takes be­tween one to seven days to re­ceive the goods from the ware­house to a store, de­pend­ing on the dis­tance of the store from the ware­house. The dis­patches are on daily ba­sis. After the in­tro­duc­tion of GST, the com­pany has been prepar­ing tax. There are de­tailed pro­cesses in place at the ware­house to en­sure con­trol over in­ven­tory and safety. The goods at var­i­ous stages of pro­cesses are recorded and daily MIS is sent to the man­age­ment which cov­ers the goods re­ceived, pro­cessed and dis­patched high­light­ing any de­lay in pro­cess­ing or dis­patch. Very re­cently, the com­pany has im­ple­mented SAP ERP in the ware­house in place of ware­house man­age­ment sys­tem and the in­ven­tory is kept style/item wise in th­ese bins so that it is tracked through sys­tem.”

She fur­ther adds, “In case of other brand’s goods, they are dis­patched by the man­u­fac­turer or dis­trib­u­tor to our stores di­rectly as th­ese are from or­ga­nized play­ers and there are gen­er­ally no qual­ity is­sues. On re­ceipt of goods at a store, they are checked for any dam­age or dis­crep­ancy in quan­ti­ties and then added in the stock and dis­crep­ancy is in­ti­mated to the ware­house or the sup­plier for cor­rec­tive ac­tion. The goods re­ceived at the stores from cus­tomers for re­pairs are sent to re­pair de­pots in Mum­bai and after re­pairs sent back to the stores for de­liv­ery to the cus­tomers. We run our e-com­merce oper­a­tion through a sep­a­rate ware­house fa­cil­ity where we con­duct Flip­kart and ama­zon pro­cesses through our own ware­house. We cur­rently work with eight por­tals in In­dia.”

At Be­ing Hu­man Cloth­ing (Mand­hana), the com­pany has a ware­house of ap­prox­i­mately 25,000 sq. ft where they man­age al­most around 30 lakh pieces in a year with a team strength of about 50 peo­ple.

There is for­mulised KRA func­tion of each em­ployee defin­ing each one’s role in the en­tire process. The com­pany has also part­nered with var­i­ous lo­gis­tic part­ners de­pend­ing on the zones to en­sure a quicker turn around

/in the re­spected ar­eas.

From en­sur­ing the sourc­ing is done on a timely ba­sis from the dif­fer­ent ven­dors to man­age­ment of the goods to de­crease the time taken to dis­patch, each and ev­ery minute de­tail is care­fully taken note of to en­sure timely deliveries to the con­sumer.

At ORRA, the front end and the back­end of the sup­ply chain use two dif­fer­ent but in­te­grated tech­nol­ogy plat­forms. The key func­tions of the sup­ply chain team in­clude, di­a­mond and metal pro­cure­ment, pro­duc­tion plan­ning and con­trol, ven­dor se­lec­tion and man­age­ment, qual­ity con­trol, pric­ing, dis­tri­bu­tion, re­pairs and cus­tom or­der man­age­ment apart from sup­port pro­cesses of au­dit and raw ma­te­rial in­ven­tory man­age­ment. The staff strength of the sup­ply chain team is ap­prox­i­mately a third of the to­tal HO staff. (34/100)

Pro­vid­ing the Best Ser­vice

Talk­ing about the ser­vices of­fered by Saf­ex­press, Kanau­jia says, “Saf­ex­press cov­ers all 720 dis­tricts of In­dia through its mas­sive dis­tri­bu­tion net­work of over 620 des­ti­na­tions. The com­pany has a fleet of over 6000 Gps-en­abled ve­hi­cles, oper­at­ing 365 days a year on more than 1000 de­fined routes across the coun­try.

The firm de­liv­ers in ex­cess of 100 mil­lion pack­ages to over 5000 cor­po­rates in In­dia. We of­fer 3PL so­lu­tions rang­ing from de­sign­ing, im­ple­ment­ing to oper­at­ing the com­plete sup­ply chains of com­pa­nies. Th­ese so­lu­tions help in re­duc­ing costs, stream­lin­ing de­liv­ery sched­ules and en­abling or­ga­ni­za­tions to fo­cus on their core com­pe­ten­cies. The 3PL ser­vices of­fered in­clude in­ven­tory man­age­ment, pack­ag­ing, la­bel­ing and re­verse lo­gis­tics and the ser­vices are sup­ported by 35 ul­tra-modern Lo­gis­tics Parks and a to­tal ware­hous­ing space of over 14 mil­lion sq. ft. across In­dia.”

Be­sides lo­gis­ti­cal sup­port, Saf­ex­press also of­fers value added ser­vices in the form of sup­ply chain con­sult­ing. Kanau­jia adds, “The team of con­sul­tants is vastly ex­pe­ri­enced and of­fers global know-how, best prac­tices and cut­ting edge tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tions, to make an or­ga­ni­za­tion’s sup­ply chain model more dy­namic. We cre­ate strate­gies which fo­cus on pro­cesses and tech­nolo­gies re­quired to drive growth and prof­itabil­ity. The con­sult­ing ser­vices in­clude plan­ning, strate­gis­ing, net­work de­sign­ing as well as end-to-end sup­ply chain im­ple­men­ta­tion.”

It is in­ter­est­ing to note that Saf­ex­press has been early adapter of tech­nol­ogy for ease of tax­a­tion. Kanau­jia shares, “We are In­dia’s first lo­gis­tics ser­vice provider to adopt Or­a­cle Fu­sion Cloud, the next gen­er­a­tion com­pli­ance and ac­count­ing so­lu­tion for in­stant GST ac­count­ing. With GST hav­ing been im­ple­mented for more than a year now, tech­nolo­gies like Or­a­cle Fu­sion Cloud en­sure ac­count­ing com­pli­ance which is prov­ing to be cru­cial from a cus­tomer per­spec­tive. This has led to a con­sid­er­able in­crease in de­mand for our ser­vices.”

The Grey­or­ange But­ler goods-to-per­son so­lu­tion for au­to­mated ma­te­rial move­ment in ware­house also caters to end cus­tomer, re­tail stores and pro­duc­tion floors. The Ai-pow­ered

But­ler ro­bots, us­ing Ma­chine Learn­ing, are able to re­act to var­i­ous sit­u­a­tions as well as adapt to sce­nar­ios such as sea­sonal peaks, or surge in de­mands due to flash sales. In 2018, they in­tro­duced the Ai-pow­ered But­ler XL that can be used in man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties and Om­nichan­nel ware­houses, to move dif­fer­ent kinds of loads from raw ma­te­ri­als to fin­ished goods.

Talk­ing about an­other innovation by the com­pany, Vivekannd says, “The Grey­or­ange sorter is an ad­vanced sor­ta­tion sys­tem that au­to­mates out­bound pro­fil­ing and sor­ta­tion process in ful­fill­ment and dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tres. It is a con­veyor based sys­tem that routes pack­ages based on cus­tom­ized logic such as des­ti­na­tions, cut-off times, ve­hi­cles, cities, zip codes and more. This sys­tem en­ables faster sort­ing of same and next day deliveries. This is very use­ful for month end sce­nar­ios in Re­tail/fmcg sec­tor.”

Ni­ran­jan Thiru­male, Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent & Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Global Cen­ters of Ex­cel­lence (In­dia, Poland, and Mex­ico) at JDA Soft­ware says, “JDA can ad­dress the end-to-end re­tail sup­ply chain to as­sist re­tail­ers in de­liv­er­ing a prof­itable omni-chan­nel shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence for their cus­tomers.”

He talks about the three key ar­eas that JDA so­lu­tions cover are In­tel­li­gent Plan­ning, In­tel­li­gent Ful­fill­ment and In­tel­li­gent Store: JDA In­tel­li­gent Plan­ning which parses data from all de­mand chan­nels, JDA In­tel­li­gent Ful­fill­ment which syn­chro­nizes all phys­i­cal and dig­i­tal or­der de­mand chan­nels and JDA In­tel­li­gent Store which aligns in­ven­tory, la­bor and store op­er­a­tions with de­mand, mer­chan­dis­ing and ful­fill­ment tasks.

In con­clu­sion, ef­fec­tive sup­ply chain man­age­ment un­like be­fore is not plagued with chal­lenges that can­not be tack­led, all thanks to tech­nol­ogy and the chang­ing mind­set of de­ci­sion mak­ers.

Where the govern­ment is seen work­ing to­wards build­ing on a strong in­fra­struc­ture, com­pa­nies and brands too are re­al­is­ing the need to in­vest in sup­ply chain as that truly is the back­bone of the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

When a prod­uct fails to reach the cus­tomer the way it is in­tended to, the en­tire pur­pose stands de­feated. Out­sourc­ing sup­ply chain man­age­ment to in­dus­try ex­perts such as Saf­ex­press can boost the com­pa­nies’ al­lo­ca­tion of re­sources and when in able hands, lo­gis­ti­cal chal­lenges can be turned into op­por­tu­ni­ties.

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