Connecting the retail chain

SkillingIndia on December 14, 2012 Comments

You may have a great brand idea in mind and you also know the need for it in the market, too. But, how do you ensure a smooth execution of the idea and then reach your target audience without any major hiccups? The chain that helps us to get all the raw materials in place to have our brand in hand and then to pass that to the customer is not as simple as it looks. Supply chain management hence is the most critical part in a business operation. Today, supply chain as a function is not only about making the product reach its final destination, but it is an important medium towards value creation. The Retailers Association of India (RAI) has always strived towards boosting the morale of retail in India and keeping in line with this, December 11, 2012 witnessed the 2nd edition of the Retail Supply Chain Summit at The Westin Garden City, Mumbai.

Setting the context for the summit, Kumar Rajagopalan, chief operating officer, RAI aptly said, “As retail business expands, supply chain becomes a strategic differentiator. With more channels for trading including online, brick and mortar, catalogue etc. the role of efficiency of supply chain gets more complex. In order to have smarter supply chain processes there are a few things that companies can do internally while there is more to be done at an industry level. Data management, collaborative transportation, easier tax processes are some such ideas. Welcome to deliberate and create plans for better supply chain in retail.”

In the first panel discussion, which was on the topic of Leadership through Supply Chain Collaboration; K. Radhakrishnan, President, Future Fresh Foods Ltd., urged to the audience present to undo the ropes of the past and prepare for the future. He advocated the implementation of GST for free movement of goods. The panelists for the session unanimously agreed upon the importance of IT in streamlining the entire supply chain management process. As Asif Merchant, managing director, Catwalk Worldwide Pvt Ltd. said, “Systems, softwares and processes hold the key for a successful business operation.”

Second in line to this was an informative presentation made by Sharad Ingale, chief commercial manager, Central Railway on Freight Corridor Services. He spoke at length on how Indian Railways offered various cost effective options and how they could be well put to use by the supply chain management team of an organization to not only save on the cost, but also ensure prompt service.

The panel on Turning Reverse Logistics into a Winning Advantage had the panelists agree upon the fact that in India, the topic of reverse logistics was not taken seriously and given as much importance as the case with forward logistics. As Devadas Nair, head – supply chain and mission control, Shoppers’ Stop Ltd. aptly summed it up, “The attitude towards reverse logistics is – there is always a tomorrow!” Lack of knowledge and commitment were two major hindrances for the in-efficiency faced by retailers when it came to the issue of reverse logistics.

A valuable learning was taken home by delegates on ensuring a sustainable supply chain model opted for by the companies wherein the concentration was not only on the cost and infrastructure, but also on the source of products. The panel discussion on Sustainable Supply Chains – Ensuring a Triple-Bottom Line Approach had Bhavna Prasad, director – sustainable business, WWF share an interesting take on conserving the natural resources to ensure that supply chain management remained seamless in the future.

Updating the audience on the legalities related to ensure a seamless supply chain operation and business operation was R. Mathrubootham, director, legal metrology (Retd) Department of Consumer Affairs, Govt. of India wherein he spoke at length on the topic of Legal Metrology.

The concluding session of the day – Improving Supply Chain Efficiency with Data Standards saw all the panelists advocating the standardization on bar codes to face uncertainties at each level of a retail transaction.

The summit focused on increasing customer service levels by maximizing responsiveness in the supply chain, collaborating with suppliers to ensure adaptability to changing market dynamics, increasing effectiveness and reducing cost and delivering a lean supply chain to minimize costs and generate business value.

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