Leveraging the festive season: Experts share ideas to revive the supply chain

With the country stepping into an exciting phase of the year – the phase of rejuvenation, revival and hope brought by the festive season, Logistics Insider set the stage for its flagship event: “Festive Supply Chain Show 2.0: Pinning all Hopes on Revival”.

As the season is abuzz with festivities and excitement galore, for the logistics and supply chain industry, it marks a crucial phase of metamorphosis for the economy as it is replete with a peak in sales and operations, marked uptick in hiring processes, and an overall, reassuring air of hope for redeeming lost glory and ground.

Presented by Ecom Express, the event saw supply chain and logistics professionals from India’s top brands brainstorm on how the industry is taking steps towards reassuring its lost glory. The session started off on a very positive and encouraging note delivered by Atul Holkar, CEO, and Co-founder of VeProkure, and our esteemed moderator for the event who set the stage and the tone for the discussion.

In the last one year, something that was not planned hit us, and it was not only the pandemic, but there has also been a big geopolitical change. The entire supply chain from a factory called China has been disrupted. In addition, one ship blocking the Suez Canal brought downhill to the entire shipping industry and stopped trade for two weeks, and to top it all the climate changes which brought natural outbreaks in the form of floods, and fire and earthquakes around the globe have become a norm and are going to continue to stay a norm for the industry. But the best thing is how fast we started recovering and how fast and early we started looking into probable solutions.” 

~ Atul Holkar, CEO, and Co-founder of VeProkure

After a quick introduction of the esteemed panellists and a brief note on the changes in the supply chain and logistics realm in the last year, our panellists stirred up the event by talking about their strategies for the very busy festive season which is still plagued by the challenges presented by the last year.     

Aditya Dubey, Senior Director – Supply Chain, at Grofers emphasized upon utilising the lessons from the previous festive seasons and enlists a few things that we ought to keep in mind.

“I feel that one should stock up our best sellers or the core SKUs to meet the surge of demand and carry operation if an unprecedented event unfolds. In addition to this, we need to become more agile in terms of reacting and replenishments. Although we do hear the buzz words like AI and ML forecasting, it is also true that no one has cracked forecasting really, so we need to refill our distributions centre or store more efficiently or quickly. Supposedly, we refill our distributions centres once a day, we should be agile enough to do it maybe like 3-4 times a day,” he says while adding that Grofers has been focusing on these are the two strategies for the past six months and plans to continue doing so for the festive season.   

While sharing some very practical and short-term strategies with us for the festive season, Sridhar Nunavat, Head – SCM at Puma India, emphasized the fact that the festive season is very strong and one should not lose hope.

He says, “I would request all demand planners to go sit in your warehouse, remove your excel sheets away and go bin by bin and figure out what in your inventory requires liquidity and make an action plan.”

Adding further, he says that one should not overload store, and make a very good throughput game.

He says, “Use this festive season to liquidate your inventory. Focus on transportation and ensure reserved transportation system closer to the market. A supply chain is all about serving a single order.” 

Speaking of meeting and satisfying the consumer desires in a D2C model, Avinash Dhagat, VP – Supply Chain at Mamaearth, shares, “D2C businesses can listen to the consumers a lot better because they are connected to the consumer directly. We have a lot of feedback that comes in. We can understand their wants and expectations in terms of the product or experience of buying. This is a huge advantage.” 

Giving a peek into a D2C business strategy for handling demand during the festival season he shares, “During festivities, the demand goes very high, sometimes multiple X times. To cater to this we normally plan our inventory well in advance and adopt a model to react to any uncertainties faster.”

Dipanjan Banerjee, Vice President – Sales at Ecom Express while speaking on delivering customer delight during festivities says, “The competition in the market is so high that there is a continuous race to delight. It is not only a festive season output but more about how do we keep the delight the same during the surge, as you go through more challenges.”

“When planning for the festive season, it’s almost like saying I will have delight and chaos, and it’s 100x tougher for everybody. We ensure that the customer delight index does not fall during the surge by ensuring that the speed of delivery does not deteriorate. Also, as we hire some 30,000-40,000 new staff, we put emphasis on training our staff and take their feedback. Also, we plan for extra backlogs. If you keep your inputs right, your delight will be fine,” he adds.    

Apart from this, the event also talked about the omni retail supply chain, green logistics, tech infra, and much more. The event ended on a happy note with the panellists and audiences acknowledging that it was a thought-provoking session and provided many actionable insights for everyone to take home.

Logistics Insider is hopeful to turn this flagship event into a physical one in its next edition.

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