Aug 28, 2016

Tips from Top by Mr. Jagadeesh Kunchey (ITC) - FMCG Supply Chain Management - A Key Perspective


Apt to the theme, the seminar started with defining Supply Chain Management. In the words of Mr. Jagadeesh Kunchey, National Supply Chain Head of ITC - “Supply Chain is the flow of material, money and information; and Supply Chain Management strives to stream line the flow, in order to ensure availability of right things at right place, in an optimized manner.”
The first slide of his presentation rightly summed it up as “The enabler of business growth”.  There after a brief overview was given about the FMCG industry in India, which stands at around 170,000 crore today, growing rapidly at a CAGR of 17% over last 5 fiscals. Following pie chart was presented, depicting various sectors of the FMCG industry in India as on date and as a matter of fact, ITC has presence in almost every sector!
Mr. Kunchey said that being one of the youngest and most populous countries in the world makes India one of the most attractive destinations for many companies. In terms of the FMCG sector this translates into a scenario of a whole lot of opportunities as well as challenges to the Supply chain. Increased premiumization, growing urbanization, evolving life styles, favourable government schemes, growing modern trade and increased rural income provide many opportunities to Supply Chain Management.
However, the increased income levels in rural areas are posing a threat because of reduction in availability of cheap labour in urban cities. Moreover, increase in logistics cost,
and surge in customer preference for variety are some of the challenges to supply chain. Further, talking about FMCG he said that the key challenges in this industry are: meeting customer expectations, Supply Chain Planning and Logistics infrastructure & execution.
Talking about technology, Mr. Kunchey said that Big Data, IoT and Social Media would be an aid to the Supply chain management since it would help in reducing risk, cost and inventory. Also implementation of GST, increase in ease of doing business, and disruptive start ups would provide an improved environment for Supply Chain management.

He further talked about the evolution of ITC brands through constant diversification. ITC has over 6 businesses, operating in over 20 categories, having more than 3000 store keeping units (SKU) with overall logistics expenditure over 650crores. The key challenges faced by ITC as discussed were- Complexity, Demand fulfilment, Supply side planning &; Execution and Alignment with stakeholders.  Citing example he said for product like cigarettes maintaining reliability is the most important factor while for a product like salt which has low margin, reducing the logistics cost is crucial.  There was also a discussion about the ways of reducing Bullwhip effect through segmentation of SKUs and innovation in reducing costs.

As a matter of fact, the spaces are going to be costlier in future. Hence to tackle this, the
way forward is a ‘Lean Supply Chain’ i.e. reaching directly to customer through start ups, moving from forecast to market orders and reducing the number of warehouses post GST. The enlightening session came to an end with an exhaustive discussion about supply chain, the newer challenges faced by it, and the way ITC is tackling with the same.


Aug 21, 2016

Tips from Top by Mr Animesh Kumar(Cisco) - Corporate Strategy, Acquisitions, & Strategic Ecosystem

On the 21st of August, Mr Animesh Kumar, HR Business Partner and ER Manager of Cisco Systems India, visited IIT Kanpur and gave a talk on corporate strategy and acquisitions, and the strategic ecosystem with focus on Cisco India.
The session started on a lighter note, with an easy demeanor,and this was maintained throughout. Mr Kumar talked about the vision, goal and strategy of Cisco and how it is implemented constantly despite the changes that the company has gone through over a span of around 30 years of its existence. Showing some of the current trends and future projections in the networking industry, we got a brief idea about how cloud computing has currently become the most prevalent technology, and about the shift towards the Internet of Things (IoT) concept, which is known as the Internet of Everything (IoE) in Cisco. It is a concept of connecting “people, programs, data and things”, wherein everything around you will be connected via wireless networks and can make a revolutionary change in the way the world works.
Mr Kumar also talked about how surprisingly only 0.6% of all devices, appliances and ‘things’ are connected in the world, with the potential to connect the remaining 99.4% as well. He claimed that since with less than 1% connectivity, innovation at such amazing scale has taken place, the potential for innovation can only be imagined for when full connectivity is achieved. He talked about how hyperconnectivity can greatly increase speed, lower cost, and increase the volume of innovation.
The seminar took another turn with a description of the strategy of Cisco Systems, which was mainly focused on hardware – routers and switches, architecture – security systems and inter-cloud collaboration, and the outcomes – data analytics and IoT. He described how Cisco applies five concepts, namely: Build, Buy, Partner, Invest, and Co-development, in order to continuously grow in an industry which is changing and expanding at an incredible pace. There was also a brief given about the importance of divestment, keeping the organisation lean, and investment in areas of rising potential in order to stay relevant.
Other then the technicalities, the emphasis on the importance of improving and diversifying one’s skills on the job in order to stay current with the prevalent scenarios of the industry was also mentioned, as complacency will not lead to growth and might even result in obsolescence. Mr. Kumar talked about how Cisco also followed this practice of improving skills of existing employees by providing them on the job training as well as allowing them to work on cutting edge technology in their numerous incubation centers.
There was also a description on how this approach allowed Cisco to function in the best manner possible. It allowed the firm to “see around corners”, accelerate innovation, and helps in providing end to end solutions to customers. This is part of Cisco’s shift from a hardware oriented company to a solutions and security oriented company while still leveraging its reach and reputation it gained via its product manufacturing network.
Mr. Kumar also talked about how Cisco was working in collaboration with industrial giants such as Ericsson and Apple in a mutually beneficial partnership, and even presented videos to the same effect. He talked about how Cisco believed in acquiring firms that showed potential of growth in the new technology sector, and that Cisco had acquired around 185 companies till date. He went on to elaborate upon the procedure that Cisco follows when the Corporate Development team identifies a potential company for acquisition, right up to the point where the company is fully integrated into Cisco.
There were highly valuable insights given into the nuances of the industry and especially the industrial icon that Cisco is. Mr. Kumar parted with advice to the students about the importance of understanding the business model of any company, and how it would help in understanding our own role better, and contribute to the organisation in a much better manner.

Tips from Top by Mr Sudhakar Mishra(Philips) - Product Management with Focus on Healthcare Sector-


The session was divided into two parts. The first was about Mr Mishra’s  journey after MBA from IIT Kanpur. The second focused on various nuances about the healthcare industry, market position of Philips, and the role Product Manager.
Mr. Mishra shared his experiences and key learning in the corporate world- working with a start-up, Entrepreneurial experience and journey with Phillips. He explained the importance of mentor, agility in start-up, learning as a key factor for growth and evaluating stock option opportunity while working with a start-up. He further moved to his own entrepreneurial journey with the alums of IIT Delhi and IIT Roorkee in health care sector. The key learning which he shared from this experience included working with managers’ vs working with entrepreneurs, tapping market opportunity, importance of constant innovation and improvement, recruitment as per need, hindrance to decision making due to too many partners, equality among partners, etc. 
Mr Mishra went on to elaborate his experience with Phillips and the corporate learning. He talked about efficient and effective time investment in stakeholders, the importance of shining by performance and being visible by doing your job right. He emphasised that true growth can be brought upon best by taking up diverse projects, and being unique is the way to go.
The second part of the session Mr Mishra talked about the current scenario of Health care industry in India and the potential and growth opportunity in this sector. Mr Mishra then went on to talk about what exactly the role of a Product Manager is, and touched upon many different aspects of the job from his own personal experience. He talked about various different processes that a product goes though in its life cycle, from inception of an idea to conceptualization of the product, and on to the actual production, testing, marketing, distribution, and after-sales services. He emphasised the importance of reliability and safety of any product especially in the healthcare sector, where a minute fault can be a matter of life and death of a patient. In order to ensure this, he explained, the companies have a stringent quality testing procedure, as are the regulations imposed by the governmental agencies.

The session came to an end after a fairly exhaustive discussion about many different nuances of the healthcare industry with focus on Philips Healthcare, with a healthy interaction between the speaker and audience. Mr Mishra parted with the advice that we as students look into opportunities in the healthcare sector as there is a lot of scope which can be beneficial to both us and the Indian society.

Aug 7, 2016

The Dawn of A New Beginning - MBA Batch 2016-18



Enthusiasm, zeal, hopes, ambitions resonate high in the spirits of the new batch of IME department, IIT Kanpur, which is en route a new journey. A new journey brings along with it a set of new experiences. And the journey at IIT Kanpur has been no different.
From setting up our tiny rooms (which ultimately turn into a hotchpotch clutter), to detouring the huge campus (IIT Kanpur is spread in 1050 acres of land), owning the most prized vehicle on campus – a cycle, and the sight of National bird of IIT Kanpur- peacock, the initial days were a vacation. However the fun was yet to start. And how does this fun kick start- the fun activities and assignments (believe me how much you tend to hate them; they are indeed fun to do). It was an amazing experience with the ad making assignment- gathering at CCD for the subsided Devil’s Own on pretext of brainstorming creative ideas, the retakes and bloopers and then the final product-the ad. All the fun activities are scheduled at 11. Don’t take it for 11 AM. It’s 11 PM. However late they might be, you would not want to miss them, for through these activities you learn to work in team and other important aspects that you require as efficient manager and in corporate world and not to forget the most important part- having fun with friends. And how can one not mention the committee selection rounds that go till 5 and even 7 in morning.
MBA is about management and the first management lesson that you learn is Sleep management. You will efficiently manage 1 day’s sleep in two. Lectures, case study analysis, committee work there are a lot of things to take care off. If you think IIT Kanpur is just about all work and no play, then you have not seen the 20 feet deep swimming pool, the flood lit hockey ground, gymnasium, tennis court, dance club, dramatics club. You name it and IIT Kanpur has it. Ahhh did I mention about the OAT. Yes IIT Kanpur has a magnificent Open Air theater where movies and sport matches are screened. Watching RDB and YJHD under open sky and on a gigantic screen is an experience in itself.
The two weeks so far have painted life with myriad of colors. The times ahead are tough and broadening the horizons is the obvious thing to do. The nostalgia of your home, friends, city, and people always stays in the backyard of our mind. However, the enigmatic journey to a new horizon subdues all the powers and motivates you to live the dream you had always dream of.