Bata India prioritising its supply chain process to continue being a market leader

There are only a handful of brands in India that have been known for decades at a stretch and have still maintained their reputation of being ‘customer first’. One such prominent brand is Bata India – a regional branch of the Lausanne, Switzerland based Bata Corporation. It was incorporated in 1934, and was the first manufacturing facility in the Indian shoe industry to receive the ISO: 9001 certification. As an organisation, they strive towards upholding their core values – serve with passion, be bold, exceed customer expectations and improve lives. In this conversation with Mahesh Gupta, AVP – Supply Chain, Bata India, we try to understand how the multinational corporation manages their supply chain operations in India.

Q] Can you talk about your experience in logistics and supply chain management across different industries and how it influenced your approach at Bata India?

I have spent 17 years working in supply chain management, leading the supply chain for Bikanervala Foods and Del Monte Foods before joining Bata. I also held execution roles at Coca Cola and HUL. In the food and FMCG industry, products often have short lifespans and are frequently consumed by customers, particularly in the restaurant sector.

As a supply chain professional, we had to deliver products on time in safe condition. On Time In Full (OTIF) is a major parameter to measure supply chain efficiency.

Delivering products on time on low cost in food companies has helped me in improving the on-time deliveries, with 13% logistics cost reduction, at Bata India. The footwear industry is also evolving in terms of supply chain technology as customer behaviour has drastically changed over the years.

Generally, the footwear industry carries high inventories to cater demand on time. However, FMCG/Food companies are working on low inventory and focusing on maintaining product freshness by implementing JIT tools. Better forecast accuracy (75%) always helps to reduce burden on cash flow and also improves customer experience.

Q] How has Bata been constantly modernising its supply chain over the years while maintaining its position as a household name?

We are continuously focusing on adopting new technologies to ensure we stay one step ahead of our competitors. We have recently implemented an effective inventory management system which has helped us to deliver customer demand on time. We are continuously adapting new market practices i.e. B2C, D2C. We are a leading household name on all online marketplaces and delighting customers with an amazing product experience.

Q] Can you share some insights into Bata India’s direct-to-consumer (D2C) operations and how it fits into the overall supply chain strategy?

We started D2C 3 years back. Initially, we used to maintain warehouse operations by our own team, however, presently we have outsourced our warehouse operation to a 3PL partner. It was the first pilot project for us to outsource warehouse operations which shows our evolving approach with a changing time frame.

D2C is the future of all business hence we are committed to grow this channel year on year. We have a large network of retail stores which are helping us to deliver products to every corner of India. We have mapped our retail stores with D2C and also we have mapped our major RDC (Retail Distribution Centre) with D2C.

This is the abridged version of Mr. Gupta’s interview that was published in the June issue of Logistics Insider magazine. To read the complete interview, click here.

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