“The only way we see to hedge the risk is to be agile”

A dynamic company with over 100 years of leadership in medical imaging, Carestream (formerly Eastman Kodak Company’s Health Group), with over 7,000+ employees, serves customers in more than 150 countries around the world. The company that provides medical imaging systems and IT solutions backed by a global service and support network worldwide claims to make its clients more productive, and help them deliver better patient care, that moves them forward. As we were keen to understand Carestream’s supply chain closely, we got in touch with Rahim Ladhani, Head – Supply Chain & Logistics, Carestream Health India. Mr Ladhani, in this exclusive interview, talks about maintaining responsible operations, balancing demand and supply in a fragile environment with agility, strategies to maintain the security of highvalue goods, and ways to strengthen supply chains.

It is understood that the customers of your products are hospitals and other medical establishments. How would you say your supply chain is different from what you must have witnessed in Phillips or Eureka Forbes?

There is certainly a difference between the customers and their expectations in the different industries. The current set of customers is more sensitive, given the medical application of our product range and associated complexities. They are more aware of the happenings and concepts in the supply ecosystem, which in a way brings efficiencies in the way the industry operates.

Sustainable supply chains have become increasingly mainstream in today’s day and age. What are some of the initiatives taken by Carestream to maintain responsible operations?

Supply chains today thrive on efficiencies and that is what makes it mainstream, given the value it can contribute to the bottom line. We have a periodic assessment through the chain to identify the solutions available and our adaptation thereon. To give you an example, given the non-standard cargo sizes, the majority of the companies manage to optimize only about 60 – 70% of the volume and value capacity of the fleet. The best mix for loading a vehicle at full capacity will be the mix of potato chips (Lightweight but Voluminous) and maybe Steel TMT Bars (Weighty).

Since a platform for these synergies does not exist, most fleets are underutilized. With our range being both Equipment (Voluminous) and Media Films/Xray Films (Weighty) and the compartmentalizations, we are happy to state that we use about 85% of the fleets, which helps in optimizing the load movements to a great extent. Also lesser carbon footprint makes it environment friendly as well.

Establishing a balance between demand and supply and optimizing inventory require smart and quick thinking and planning. What supply strategies have you established to manage demand and supply efficiently?

The very way the whole supply system is evolving and throwing new and unique challenges by the week, the only way we see to hedge the risk is to be agile. The review horizons have drastically reduced from being 6 months planning model to connecting every 15 days and arriving at a strategy. Since it’s almost impossible to plan in advance, we have also tweaked the Inventory norms to respond to the markets faster.

What are some of the most important parameters you look for in your logistics service providers? How much of your logistics operations are handled internally and how much do you outsource?

We outsource 100% of our logistics operations. However, we ensure that we have a thorough onboarding process by sensitizing the last level on the nature of our products and special needs there on. We also largely depend on our industry feedback and do not only base our decision on the commercial viability.

This is an abridged version of the original interview published in the August edition of Logistics Insider magazine. To read the complete article, click here.

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