12 Nov 2019 17:35 IST

IIM Amritsar’s Sankshetra 2019 focuses on ‘Managing the Unexpected’

Operations and Strategy Conclave discusses resilient supply chains, creating competitive advantage

Indian Institute of Management, Amritsar successfully conducted its fourth annual Operations & Strategy Conclave, Sankshetra’19 on November 9.

Sankshetra’19, the Operations & Strategy Conclave, witnessed well-known experts from various industries conduct perceptive discussions on different aspects of operations and strategy. Industry veterans interacted and reflected with young managers on recent trends and developments in these key domains.

The theme for the Operations panel discussion was ‘Managing the unexpected: Building resilient supply chains amidst disruptions and complexities’ while the theme for the Strategy panel discussion was ‘Dynamically Sustainable Approach in Creating Competitive Advantage’.

Welcoming the esteemed panelists, Prof. Nagarajan Ramamoorthy, Director- IIM Amritsar emphasised the fact that since 2015, IIM Amritsar has hosted many conclaves to help students gain practical knowledge from industry veterans.

Disruption, complexity

The panelists in the Operations group were Vikas Bhaskar (Head-Solutions Design, Program Management and Business Excellence, Stellar Value Chain Solutions), Dr Rakesh Sinha (Global Head–Supply Chain, Manufacturing & IT, Godrej Consumer Products), Salil Kapoor (Mentor–Supply Chain Labs & Former COO & EVP–UPBG, Voltas), Joydeep Sarkar (COO, Hicare Services), Shailen Shukla (Head Logistics, Jumbo Electronics Company) Ramnath Sadasivan (SVP & Head–Distribution & Logistics, Reliance Retail).

Introducing the theme for discussion, IIM Amritsar students delivered a presentation on the theme of the operations panel and briefly introduced the audience to the concept “Managing the unexpected: Building resilient supply chains amidst disruptions & complexities”. The team of presenters, consisting of Rishabh Jain and Saurabh Lohani of MBA-05 batch, outlined how several factors including economic instability, climate change and natural disasters, political and government changes, technological changes and cyber threats impact supply chains on a large scale, and stressed the importance of having a resilient supply chain.

Salil Kapoor, moderator, explained that the supply chain is the core of a business and that sudden disruptions in it can severely impact businesses. He said businesses need to be ready to face any challenges and should be flexible in their approach.

Vikas Bhaskar stated that supply chain is the seamless link between supplier and customer. In a global context that is increasingly volatile and inflexible, all businesses should follow a customer-oriented approach, with strong contingency plans and the flexibility to adopt them in place.

Dr. Rakesh Sinha explained that disruptions are both on the demand and the supply side. While supply-side disruption is easier to deal with, demand-side uncertainties are often severe and risky. Companies should build flexibility down the entire value chain and leverage technology to deal with any unexpected situation.

Highlighting that India is a country with multiple tastes and requirements, Ramnath Sadasivan pointed out that the regular use of planning and data analytics can help greatly in this regard. Companies need to be aware of the ecosystem, always have a contingency plan in place and switch to alternative sources if the situation demands.

Shailen Shukla stated that since 90 per cent of consumption is imported from outside, some sort of disruption is bound to happen. However, flexibility, agility and fast response can help a lot in dealing with the situation of disruption in supply chain. He gave the example of Qatar, which dealt with such a situation very efficiently when faced with it suddenly.

Joydeep Sarkar emphasised that risk management should be the top priority for most companies. As India doesn’t have a tradition of planning in advance, managing disruptions becomes challenging. Also, as the cost of customer acquisition has increased in recent years, given the growing customer choices, companies need to go the extra mile to manage disruptions.

Competitive advantage

The panelists in the Strategy group were Ankur Dhawan (COO, Buddy4study), Avinash Chandra (Senior Director, Capgemini), Aditya Singh (Head-Jewellery International Business, Titan Company), Satish Pandey (Head–Strategy, Marketing & Corporate Quality Management, Siemens), Saurabh Saith (COO, Orion Nutritionals), and Anuj Chopra (Head Strategy Planning & Operations, Haier).

Introducing the theme, IIM Amritsar students made a presentation on the theme of the strategy panel and introduced the topic of “Dynamically Sustainable Approach in Creating Competitive Advantage”. Arvind Singh Bakshi of MBA-05 batch emphasised the importance of strategy and the need for organisations to have a sustainable approach with respect to economic, social and environmental factors.

Avinash Chandra, moderator, said strategy is required in almost all spheres of life, though every strategy did have a shelf-life.

Saurabh Saith emphasised that, unlike today, earlier, most organisations did not have strategic departments, and major decisions were taken by the functional leads of various departments. He went on o explain the B2C perspective and stated that constant adaptation is required in terms of formulating strategy.

Ankur Dhawan explained the B2B perspective, highlighting the importance given to digitalisation in recent years. The mission and vision of companies haven’t changed but the path they are taking has changed tremendously.

Aditya Singh explained the importance of competitive advantage and how it is incorporated into an organisation. The unique proposition the customer wants from an organisation, competition the customer faces and value the company provides are all part of this competitive advantage.

Satish Pandey outlined the importance of dynamics, explaining that the kind of competitors are also changing along with the shift in technology. He highlighted the new perspectives, citing the example of cameras and the fact that smartphones have become their unlikely competitors now.

Competitive advantage is not very different from sustainability, said Anuj Chopra, pointing out that sustainability is the need of the hour and companies need to adopt it increasingly.

The IIM-Amritsar students showed great enthusiasm in the QnA sessionsduring both the interactive panel discussions.

BL on Campus was Digital Media Partner for the Sankshetra event.