Operational Excellence Conclave (OPEX 2014) successfully concluded on campus
November 29, 2014

Considering the ever changing customer needs and the competitive market, all organizations strive for Operational Excellence, as it transforms to improve productivity, improve customer responsiveness, and become cost effective in the long run. Therefore, Operational Excellence has become a necessity in today’s dynamic organizational set up across all the sectors. Focusing on the same theme, FIIB’s SIGMA Club hosted Operational Excellence Conclave (OPEX 2014) at the college and invited distinguished speakers to deliberate on “Operational Excellence - Strategy for Sustainable Businesses.”

The Conclave started with Saraswati Vandana followed by lighting the lamp by our Plenary Speaker, Mr. Sanjay Singh, President (Strategic Planning & Projects), Hero Motors Limited and Key Note Speaker, Mr. Shuktij Singh Rao, Chief (Infrastructure), TATA Power, Strategic Engineering Division.

Dr. Anil Kumar Sinha, Director, FIIB Delhi welcomed the esteemed guests and discussed how conclaves help students to get an exposure to practical viewpoints and reflect what they learn in their classrooms. Referring to the Prime Minister Narender Modi’s “Make in India” and “Skill India”, he discussed how Supply Chain Management (SCM) and Logistics will play a vital role in its successful implementation.

This was followed by a brilliant video showcasing the implementation of SCM and Logistics in FIIB’s operations and an insightful presentation by 2nd year students of MBA, Manu Chaudhary and Ayushi Rathore. The presentation briefed the audience about basics of SCM and Logistics management covering opportunities and challenges in logistics sector and how service operations are different from manufacturing operations.

The Plenary speaker Mr. Sanjay Singh, President (Strategic Planning & Projects), Hero Motors Limited started with a brief introduction about Hero group, companies under it, its various vendors and products. He said strength of the Hero group lies in its SCM, as they have maintained a very good relationship with its suppliers. In order to explain how to increase customer expectations is turning out to be driving force for the companies, he gave a very interesting example. He said, Hero pioneered in making traditional bicycles; but when upper class category of customer started demanding premier bicycles with certain levels of service, they started another factory for premium level bicycles. He further added that organizations should strive for continuous improvement in their process, as processes are the lifeblood of an organization; and people and process is the key to operational excellence.

This was followed by Keynote session by Mr. Shuktij Singh Rao, Chief (Infrastructure), TATA Power SED. Mr. Rao stared the session with a mention of 2 industry giants TATA Group and Reliance Group and engaged with the MBA students to find out the possible reasons for their prolonged sustainable business.

Students came out with reasons like:
  • Best sales team
  • Best ethical finance team
  • Strong legal connects
While referring to Nokia and Kingfisher, he explained how once they were the big names in their domain, but because they couldn’t match up with ever changing customer demands; other players took over their market. So, according to him if companies are successful in getting “repeat orders”, they can sustain their business for long. Therefore, companies should strive to keep its customers excited enough so that they come back with repeat orders. He said if companies are able to retain 5% of its customers, it can fetch double sales. With operational excellence companies can be successful in getting repeat orders, hence will be able to sustain for long time. He suggested management students of the college, to try and learn about big and small companies who succeeded or failed, so that they can understand the importance of operational excellence.

The keynote session was followed by an enriching panel discussion.

Session 1: Panel Discussion: Enhancing Corporate Competitiveness: Supply Chain and Logistics Management

The Panel Speakers were:
  1. Mr. Mansingh Jaswal, Director & Chief Executive Officer, GenEx Logistics India

  2. Mr. Hitendra Mankani, General Manager (Corporate Sales), DSV Air and Sea and FIIB Alumnus, Class of 2003
  3. Mr. Mihir Mohanta: General Manager, Mother Dairy Fruit & Vegetable Pvt. Ltd.
  4. Mr. Ajay Kashyap: AGM SCM, Sona Koyo Steering Systems Ltd.

The discussion was moderated by Partha Saikia, Assistant Professor, FIIB Delhi.

Summary of the Discussion:

Mr. Jaswal in his talk focused on core competency as a key to smooth supply chain management. He said management should focus on time and capability. He suggested that companies should identify work they can focus on their own, few things for which they need to hire resources and few things for which they need to outsource. By taking an example of automobile sector, he discussed how automobile companies spend their energy and resources in developing and grooming their dealers and suppliers, so that they meet the dynamic needs of the customer. To be in competition, companies should understand that their product is delivered geographically; therefore, companies should strive to make that product available to their customer in lesser time than their competitor. With the help of another interesting example he explained how one of the top tyre manufacturing companies saw the sea change in their absolute business when they separated their 2 businesses i.e. truck tyre and car tyre right from the top. With an understanding that customer motive is different for truck tyre and car tyre and different level of market positioning will be required for both these products, within 6 months this company saw the absolute increase in its business. He also laid emphasis on the current state of Logistics in India, the level of commitment in terms of timely delivery needs improvement. The key challenge he faces is to lower down the Cost of Logistics but at the same time ensuring that the outsourced Logistics Service Provider (LSP) delivers on time and in the best of the condition.

Mr. Mankani in his talk focused on productivity, time and cost as the key to sustainability. He said productivity is not just the number game of sales, but also applicable to other departments like HR, Finance and Admin. He said companies should always make an attempt to identify the improvement areas and work on those on regular basis. By taking an example from the company he presently works for, he explained how exporting a perishable item and automobile parts requires different strategy for successful delivery within given time frame. To conclude his talk he said companies should be always willing to change as today we operate in competitive market. He also talked about use of IT in Logistics and how DSV Air & Sea has automated the entire documentation process.

Mr. Mohanta took over the discussion forwarded and shared the major challenges faced by Mother Dairy, when they deal with perishable items for export and import. He shared how Mother Dairy Makes, Brakes and Creates its supply chain for every cycle, as they deal with seasonal products.

He shared following major challenges in handling SCM at Mother Dairy:

  • Maintaining value of fruits and vegetable, as it is difficult to keep them farm fresh
  • Farmers work on seasonal cropping, but customer demands are not seasonal
  • Subsistence vs. commercial cultivation. Government pressurizes to buy from small farmers, but Mother Dairy finds it difficult to maintain a balance between less supply and high demand.

He further added and discussed some innovative solutions that Mother Dairy has come out with to overcome the issues.

  • Ventilated Transport which maintains air circulation and keeps the fruits and vegetable fresh
  • To practice traditional approaches of packaging which provides the right amount of moisture that keeps the fruits and vegetables farm fresh
  • “Ripe mangoes at home” initiative where they ask its customers to buy harvested mangoes and educate on how to safely ripe at home.

Mr. Kashyap during his talk highlighted how the current market scenario has affected the companies to fulfill the ever changing demands of the customer. He discussed how previously companies use to make RFQ’s (Request for Quotation) which resulted in high development cycle and used to take longer time to develop a product. He also shared that they have not been able to implement Lean Management, which ensures continuous improvement and improves efficiency and quality because customer is quite price sensitive. But they are trying to map these factors so that they can achieve the operational excellence.

Session 2: Panel Discussion: Service Operations: Opportunities and Challenges

Second panel discussion was started with an introductory remark by Dr. Deepankar Chakrabarti, Dean, FIIB Delhi. He outlined the possible take aways from the sessions and urged the MBA students to participate fully.

The Panel Speakers were:

  1. Mr Deepak Kumbhat, AVP (Operation - Financial Shared Service), Xchanging
  2. Mr Abhiram Mishra, Head Operations, North & East Reliance Digital Retail Ltd.
  3. Ms Ananya Roy Sen Sr. Partner & Co-Founder - Digital Academy
  4. Mr Arun Behal, AVP,Delhi International Airport (P) Ltd.
The discussion was moderated by Dr. Sharad Chaturvedi, Associate Professor, FIIB Delhi.

Summary of the Discussion:

Mr. Kumbhat started the panel discussion by quoting that customers are now becoming more powerful and should be treated as the queen of the market, as King too take care of the Queen. Therefore, companies should always try to make an extra effort to identify its customer’s demand and make required changes in its product. He also stressed that this is not only applicable to the FMCG or retail sector but also service sector. He shared that the attrition rate is very high (35%) and companies should make constant efforts to retain its employees. He showed some videos that displayed that people are the most integral part of the service sector and goal of service industry should be to keep them happy. He also gave presentation focusing on important components, billing model, process and opportunities of service industry (especially BPO'S).

Mr. Mishra focused his talk on importance of people and processes in an organization. With help of an example of Mc Donalds, he discussed that to have successful business in service industry one should have ­
  • Good internal programs to boost up employee morale and to retain them
  • Excellent processes to survive in a competitive market

Ms Sen shared her experience that IT is a great enabler for successful service performance. She suggested that it is very important for service sector to be available for customers 24*7. To make it possible, companies are shifting to TRM (Twitter Relationship Management) and MCRM (Mobile Customer Relationship Management). She quoted an example of Starbucks innovation which advocated that customers are important for service providers.

After this Mr. Behl gave a description about the aviation industry. He said that operational excellence is core area for this industry. He also discussed some challenges and action plans of aviation industry like lack of skilled manpower, dynamic environment and lack of quality services. He suggested that in a service sector, in order to build the brand image, one needs On Time Performance (OTP), as companies deal with international benchmarks. He shared his experiences of working at Mumbai and Delhi airports and how the Airport Authority of India is gearing up to match the International standards.

Session 3: Interactive Session with Alumni

The Speakers were:
  1. Mr. Arvind Kishore Gupta ,Class of 1999, GM (Sales), ILS- Integral Logistics Services
  2. Dr. Rashi Gupta, Class of 2000, Head- Trade Execution (Grains and Oilseeds, Sugar, Cotton), Cargill
Students thoroughly enjoyed the interactive session at the college with FIIB alumni, as this session allowed them to discuss career prospects with alumni. The session was quite engaging and insightful and students pursuing MBA, learned a lot about career scope in Operations and International Business.

Mr. Gupta started his talk with his career journey and shared that he started his career with British Airways. Then he gave the description about his company and discussed topics like Sea fright, Air freight, Project cargo and Custom clearance. With help of pictures and graphics he made the entire discussion quite easy and simple for students. He also shared his company’s experience of handling project cargo at Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).

Dr. Gupta kept her talk career oriented and helped management students with their queries related to specialization, career growth, and various jobs perspectives available in operations and international business. This inspiring session motivated management students to explore and learn more about opportunities in International Business.

The enriching journey of this conclave was concluded by Dr. Chaturvedi, by giving vote of thanks to the panelists for sharing their quality time and knowledge with the college community.
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