Addressing Modern-Day Supply Chain Issues With a Contemporary Approach

Now known across India and Nepal for their sweet delights, The Belgian Waffle Co., had their share
of challenges to make their mark in the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) industry. Operating on a franchise-based model in multiple locations, their portfolio of products includes a range of consumables that are available across online and offline channels around the country. So we asked Mr. Vishwesh
J. Nair, Head of Strategy, Operations, and Supply Chain, The Belgian Waffle Co.
about managing the supply chain ops at one of India’s most loved brands. Read on for details about the brand’s perspective
on running a modern-day franchisee supply chain model.

Can you share some strategies or approaches you use to manage inventory effectively during peak seasons, especially when there might be fluctuations in demand for specific waffle products?

Data-driven demand forecasting is the cornerstone of our business. To do this effectively, you need to have a good understanding of your historical data, including customer demand, marketing efforts, social media presence, and supply chain. New-age brands like ours rely heavily on social media data to track demand. When we launch a new product or campaign, we monitor the number of likes, hits, and shares on social media. This data helps our supply chain team to adjust production levels and ensure that we have enough inventory on hand to meet demand.

It’s also important to have a good understanding of your safety stock levels. This is the amount of inventory that you keep on hand in case of unexpected demand spikes. By tracking your safety stock levels, you can avoid running out of stock and disappointing your customers.

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s more important than ever to be able to predict your market and sales. By tracking your data and making informed decisions, you can avoid last-minute surprises and ensure that your business is always prepared for the future.

With multiple stores in different countries, how do you optimize logistics and distribution to maintain a seamless supply chain, ensuring all stores have sufficient stock while minimizing excess inventory?

As a company, we operate in 28 states of India and Nepal. We use real-time stock monitoring to avoid last-minute surprises and to gauge when stocks are running low. This helps us be proactive and not reactive, which can save us money and time. We also have a hub-and-spoke distribution model that helps us reduce lead times and delivery times. This is a post-COVID strategy that helps us mitigate large-scale disruptions.

We have opened strategic locations that cater to multiple cities or one large city, in addition to a central warehouse that keeps a certain amount of stock. This ensures smooth supply chains for our multiple-store model.

What challenges do you typically encounter in supply chain management, and how do you overcome them?

The biggest challenge I see is demand volatility. Consumers are unpredictable, so it’s difficult to know what they’ll like. That’s why social media marketing is so important. If an influencer posts about a product, sales can spike even if our marketing team hasn’t done anything. We need to be prepared for this by working closely with our front-end teams.

In addition, supply chains need to monitor social media trends to understand what’s happening in the market. This information can help us make better decisions about what to produce and how to price our products.

Finally, we need to be prepared for unexpected events, such as trade restrictions or natural disasters. We can do this by having a strong supply chain and working with reliable partners. By addressing these challenges, we can ensure that our company remains successful in the years to come.

This is an abridged version of the Interview published in the September edition of the Logistics Insider Magazine. To read the complete interview, click here.

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