Navigating Two Decades of SCM Evolution: In Conversation with a Visionary

You have spent 22 years in the field of Supply Chain Management across diverse industries such as IT, ITES, Retail, Technology, and Manufacturing. How have you seen the industry evolve?

It’s quite fascinating to imagine how the past 20 years have gone by. When I was in college I was taught every 5 years is one generation and industries and technologies were supposed to keep pace with each generation passing by.

The post-COVID era has improved the adoption of technology at a faster pace. Some industries have even transformed completely like e-commerce in the field of retail and fashion. The advent of AI across the Supply Chain, in demand forecasting, planning, stocking, logistics, and last-mile delivery has given a new perspective to operations.

Similarly, automobiles moving to EV has given a new perspective to the whole mobility sector starting from innovation in products to even how they can be owned and driven around for various purposes. ESG is making its way into each organization and it has garnered a lot of respect in the industry community. Ethical ways of performing every activity and caring for the planet have taken prime importance. This is important to the Green Supply Chain, which goes beyond three degrees of influence.

Overall I would say, yes it is fascinating to witness this great evolution that includes empathy, care, ethics, integrity, responsibility towards the environment, fast pace, and technology. We are in the making of ‘One Industry’ that has all of it and is well networked and connected.

How have your leadership roles in prominent companies like STL, Tata Technologies, IBM, etc. shaped your approach to supply chain management?

Yes, working across different industries like IT, Retail, Automotive, Glass & Fiber, and Telecom, has given me experience in how the SCM varies with each industry. In the case of product manufacturing, it’s a little more complex with demand forecasting and planning added with outbound logistics playing a key role.

Overall, I must say I have been lucky to learn and experience the best and most diverse sectors in one career span. Each organization has a common thread of keeping pace with the times and adopting technology as a priority. Today I see all of them contributing to the little wisdom and experience I have collected over the past 22 years.

As the Global Head – SCM at STL Technologies, what unique challenges and opportunities do you see in the current supply chain landscape, especially within the technology sector?

All organizations have to grapple with innovation and cost. This gives SCM to be involved as a key stakeholder presenting alternatives starting from NPD to final delivery. Today whether it’s battery manufacturing or a chip manufacturing plant, everyone is looking for alternatives that reduce cost and are environment friendly. I would say this is the time SCM can take the lead to go hand in hand with other stakeholders to contribute and gain prominence rather than being only in the execution space.

Managing a low carbon footprint supply chain or Green Supply Chain is a great opportunity. We have to design processes starting with following standards to auditing the whole supply chain from an ESG standpoint. I see these are much brighter times for the SCM community to rise in shine in all aspects.

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