“No other crisis has highlighted the underlying risks of current supply chains as COVID”

In conversation with Hemant Kumar Sood, Raymond Consumer Care

Reinventing the supply chain landscape in precarious situations calls for realigning strategies altogether. Hemant Kumar Sood, Director- Value and Supply Chain, Raymond Consumer Care shares his powerful insights on the importance of diversifying supply, building the five pillars of supply chain resilience and why visibility is everything in today’s era. Excerpts follow:

Catering to customer expectations and dynamic customer behaviour has emerged as a key priority for
organisations, reinforced by the pandemic. Can you share more insights on your experience in resolving customer issues, in your goals towards ensuring supply chain visibility?

Raymond Consumer Care strongly believes in offering aspirational products at a price point that is pocket-friendly. This has helped achieve a leadership position in the segment where the organisation operates. In this digital world, new offerings and gathering insights are relatively easier, which is backed up by quick success or faster failure and winner products—that is to be persuaded into mega success rapidly.

We have a number of initiatives where consumer feedback from digital platforms is gathered, and that becomes the key ingredient in product improvement and new offerings to consumers. Also, most of our customer issues (more than 85%) get resolved under seven days.

Joint investment in technologies, exclusive agreements for usage and first mover initiatives in industry in various technologies, joint research to gain consumer insights to provide insights for new product offerings are few initiatives that are strongly practised in the organisation. The top three fragrances in India are offered by the Raymond House. This is all possible through active collaboration, transparent and clear communication.

What are some of the prominent changes expected in the procurement patterns for the FMCG industry in the Post-COVID era?

The biggest changes and improvisation during the Covid time were felt in the lack of preparedness of dealing with a pandemic by companies. BCP has to be practised at intervals to keep impulses of human capital fresh, to begin with. Few more functional strategies that need to be adopted are as follows:

VISIBILITY IS PRECIOUS: Enhance the visibility of your supply network to identify risks and capacity constraints.

SUPPLY IS DIVERSIFIED: Assess the financial health and reliability of your suppliers, and strengthen the collaboration to leverage cost optimisation potential.

STOCK IS REBALANCED: Rebalance stock levels and reassess your category strategies to align with post-COVID supply chain planning.

CUSTOMER DEMAND IS CHANGING: Be close to your customers to understand how their needs may have shifted.

SHORTENED AND MORE COMPLEX PRODUCT LIFE CYCLES: The PLM has moved into months instead of years, hence NPD introduction has to be more accurate and agile – The motto should be Fail Fast, Succeed Faster.

As the Director – Value and Supply chain of a reputed organisation, what is your strategy in steering your company through unprecedented times and crises?

The key focus would be on reinforcing supply chain resilience as that would insulate the business from VUCA world. The strategy has the five following pillars:

i. AGILITY: Share of critical parts sub-contractable in an agile way (switching flexibly between make-or-buy decisions)

ii. VISIBILITY: Level of inventory sharing and forecast sharing with suppliers, share of transport capacity with precise tracking

iii. DIVERSIFICATION: Share of strategic parts produced in multi-site (more than one site), the share of critical components that are multi-sourced (as opposed to source from a single supplier/a single site)

iv. CONTINGENCY PLANNING: Readiness of business continuity planning and time taken for the response

v. LOCALISATION: Lower dependence on imports and indigenousness would be more trusted

This is an abridged version of the interview that originally appeared in the July Issue of the Logistics Insider magazine. To read the complete interview, click here.

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