Latest Posts:

Lean Inventory – Exactly, How Lean is Lean?

Lean is the flavour of the decade. With the global economic recession fairly widespread and margins under pressure, manufacturers are increasingly looking towards cost cutting as a tool for improving profits. And where else to cut costs than that biggest of all culprits – that elephantine mammoth INVENTORY! (more…)

Supply Chain – Top Three Agenda Points for the New Government

Irrespective of personal political preferences, it is indeed heartening for all of us to finally see a government which is able to stand up on its own without the shoves & pulls of multiple coalition partners – or the politics of “coalition dharma”. The new PM has been taking all the right decisions so far – that of “Minimum Government & Maximum Governance”, “A Trimmed Cabinet” and so on and so forth, resulting in an unprecedented euphoria in the industry – well manifested in the surging stock indices. However, very soon the new government will need to get beyond words and get down to the actual brass tacks of governance. (more…)

Supply Chain Systems – Extending it to Customers and Suppliers

Extended Supply Chain Systems – the need of the hour

Supply Chain Systems today have become powerful with the advent and increase in use of the internet. Back in the 80’s the systems data usage and analytics was restricted and disparate in nature. Systems were in silos and not connected to each other. For example the manufacturer, supplier, and the retailer/end customer data was restricted to its network.

Today the data available for analysis at the manufacturer end can benefit the supplier or the customer or vice versa. Such data can be shared using standard communication formats using Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), Web Services, Partner Portals and the like.

Extended supply chains have become critical success factors in various industry sectors. Let us examine a few sectors to get an idea of how business scenarios and challenges can be addressed by an all-encompassing supply chain setup.

Retail Industry

Large retailers today, share sales data, by location, with their suppliers resulting in competition amongst the suppliers to offer better prices, quality and timely delivery of goods to the retailer, which ultimately benefits the end customer.

Large Distribution centres extend their system to their stockists for them to get a visibility of inventory availability and place orders real time. Stock allocation happens accurately resulting in timely supply of goods to the stockists. The stockists also have visibility of quantity and expected receipts. Extending the stock allocation functionality to the stockist helps the distributor define his saleable and non-saleable inventory clearly.

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Supply Chain Management – The weakest link in India’s ambitious National Food Security Bill

The recent National Food Security Bill 2013 which was passed by way of an Ordinance in the parliament is no small feat undertaken by the Government of India. This bill promises subsidized food grains to nearly 68% of India’s 1.2 Billion population at a cost of nearly USD 4 Billion!

The bill aims to provide quality food grains and nutritional security, to under privileged children, women and poorer sections of the society, at affordable prices. Indeed a very noble and ambitious plan.

While the bill may face regulatory challenges, the real challenges that will affect the effectiveness of the initiative lie elsewhere.  A lot of infrastructure, storage and distribution issues will have to be addressed on a war footing by the government. Some of the specific logistics problems the government will have to deal with are:

  • Procurement of food grains
  • Fair price purchase from farmers
  • Storage
  • Quality Assurance
  • Distribution Network
  • Pilferage and Leakages
  • Accurate forecasting of Demand and Supply
  • Managing the Supply Chain

The Government will also have to deal with another set of problems such as Minimum Support Price (MSP) of food grains, poverty categorization of citizens, alterations to be brought in the existing Public Distribution System (PDS), irregularities, corruption, grievances redress, and vigilance committees. However, in this article we shall specifically look into logistic issues highlighted above and throw some light on what the government should do to address these on priority. (more…)

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