“There can be no Data Analytics without the data” – Dr. Angshuman Ghosh, Lead Data Scientist – Target India

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On 17th Feb 2018, The Lead Data Scientist in Target India, Dr. Angshuman Ghosh delivered a guest lecture on Data Science in our campus. He began his address with a brief introduction about himself, his current company Target India and his experiences in his previous employers such as Spice Mobility Ltd and Star Network. He then went on to describe Data Science and its salient features. He said that data is of paramount importance in data analytics as without data there can be no analytics.

To underline the importance of data Dr. Ghosh took the example of his own company Target which has around 2000 stores. He said that the company is sitting on a goldmine of data consisting of demographic information, geospatial data and purchase preferences of all customers. Currently Data Analytics has a wide range of applications in Supply Chain, Demand forecasting, Marketing, Merchandising and so on. He spoke about the importance of VR and how it can be implemented with the help of Data Science. He also said that TV channel rating agencies such as BARC generate TV rating information by extrapolating data from a sample of 15000-20000 audience.

Dr. Ghosh said that Statistics, Mathematics and Probability are the backbone of Data Science. He explained us the concept of regression and the various assumptions we consider before regression. Computer Programming is required to make regression models scalable. He spoke about the importance of learning multiple programming languages by students who are aspiring for a career in Analytics. But as a beginner he asked the students to learn Python as it is the future of programming languages according to him. He also enlightened us about neural networks and how they work in Data Analytics.

On data security, Dr. Ghosh spoke about the safe guards which are in place to protect the privacy of the data. Target integrated all their coupons using data science such that any customer can walk into any floor and redeem their coupons using a mobile app. He took examples of Ola, Uber, Swiggy etc to emphasize on the rapid rise of businesses which have a very high reliance on Data Analytics. He ended his lecture by answering a few interesting questions from the audience. Overall it was a stimulating discussion on Data Science and the students immensely benefited from it.

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M-Power 2018: ADJUXTA

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Day 2 of M-Power 2018 was lined with Guest Lectures, Panel Discussions and one of the most awaited events of the conclave, ADJUXTA, the marketing case study competition. It was an event that tested the core marketing concepts and simulated a real marketing challenge with an opportunity to showcase one’s marketing acumen to the Industry stalwarts.

There were 8 teams that qualified for the preliminary round. With passion and excitement, the participants displayed their skills and knowledge in branding a state and surfaced their creativity. This round was judged by our faculty members, Prof. Srinivasa Reddy, Prof. Utkarsh and Prof. Swapnarag Swain who shared their valuable insights with the students.

For the final round on February 11th, 2018, 5 teams qualified: Highape, Brandgurus, Coldplayers, Candor, and The MarketFoxes, with students from both PGP1 and PGP2. They were given a case study based on Asian Paints, which has come a long way since its inception in 1942 to become India’s leading and Asia’s 4th largest paint company. It has constantly pushed new concepts in India like home solutions, color next, etc.

Mr. Rohan Prasher, Corporate Brand Manager at Asian Paints was among the panel of judges, who sought to get new ideas and marketing solutions to meet the company’s objective of making art accessible to a wider audience by taking it out of the conventional gallery space and embedding it within the cities we live in. Our esteemed judges also included Mr. Rajesh Patel, Sr. Marketing Manager at SEIKO Watches India Pvt. Ltd. and Mr. Govind Raju, Area Sales Manager at Godrej Consumer Ltd. along with our faculty members Prof. Srinivasa Reddy, Prof. Utkarsh and Prof. Shirshendu Ganguli.

The participating teams analysed the industry, the competitors, presented their approach to the problem and came up with innovative ideas and solutions to spread the colors of Asian Paints to every household. They were evaluated on the basis of practicality and feasibility of the solution, ability to think out of the box, justification of the approach and presentation skills. The panel left no stone unturned to grill the students during the Q/A round and assess each and every detail of their idea and presentation. The event was a great learning experience for all participating teams and the students present in the audience and hopefully Mr. Prasher could take back some insights from our students as well.

M-POWER 2018: Interaction of Local Entrepreneurs with Industry Stalwarts

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An interaction between the local entrepreneurs and industry experts was held on the 10th of February 2018 at T.A. Pai Management Institute as part of the marketing conclave M-Power 2018. This unique experience gave the local entrepreneurs an opportunity to discuss issues and concerns about their industry with the industry experts. The event was graced with dignitaries from various parts of the industry, like Mr. Mahesh Kanchan- VP, sales and marketing, Carlsberg, Mr Vikram Ahluwalia- SRM diagnostics, Mr Rajeev Ranjan- Director Sales, DSM Foods, Ms. Ritika Rajpal- Assisstant General Manager, L’Oréal, Mr Pawan Pandey- Category Head, Dabur, Mr Vikas Gupta- Head-Foods, Liberty Oil Mills, Mr S Sunil Kumar- Business Director, Henkel Adhesives, and the Platform for Women Empower Register represented by Ms. Sadhna Mallya- social activist and entrepreneur.

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Mr. Mahesh Kanchan opened the discussion by mentioning that only 5% of food is consumed in the packaged and ground form the remaining 95% is sold loose and unbranded. He elaborated that there was a huge opportunity in the food and beverage sector. The government, he mentioned, was promoting agro-based food processing which was leading to an improvement in the quality and therefore an increase in the food life. He then quipped that the concept of a national player was a myth and that being local and hyper-local can make an entrepreneur a lot of money. Keeping a tab on consumer consumption behavior is important, he concluded.

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Mr. Rajiv Ranjan mentioned the dominance of local players in snack food. He pointed out that understanding consumer behavior, points of competitive advantage and converting observation to insights is what would make a huge impact for entrepreneurs. Ms. Mallya mentioned that 90% women despite having resources do nothing, it was important to motivate these women to work from around 62 villages. Mr. Kumar added that gathering the extra produce from all the houses and branding them as fresh produce and then selling them in localities would be a good idea. It would not need any branding or money for investment. He reasoned that if people start earning the extra money they would be motivated to earn more. Mr. Gupta suggested that they should register on Amazon or Flipkart so that their product would be shown on their pages across the country.

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The issues that were discussed ranged from the packaging of homegrown Udupi recipes that gave restaurant experience at home to utilizing the high tuna demand in the western world by exporting canned tuna. The experts also discussed the online and offline sale of cotton fabric as well as sharing the success story of the textile markets of Coimbatore. Mr. Mahesh suggested the selling of cold press virgin olive oil and juices as a private label so that they can garner a profit, while Mr. Ranjan warned about the competitiveness of the coconut oil market. A wide range other issues were brought forward to the experts and each of them was discussed to help the local entrepreneurs.

Mr. Ahluwalia stressed that a distribution set up was required with sharp metrics to decide the success of a pilot project in the first six months. Benchmarks had to be set and people had to understand how to promote and advertise their products. Mr. Kanchan ended the discussion by asserting that an entrepreneur had to understand the POD of their product. They needed to understand what the people needed and give them something that was better. Only then, he reasoned, would people chose someone local instead of the big brands.

M-Power 2018: M- Pulse: Mr. Raja Chakraborty, Head of Marketing-FMCG, Raymond

 

On 12th December 2018, Mr. Raja Chakraborty interacted with the students of TAPMI and shared his experiences of working in different companies throughout his career spanning 19 years. He started with Raymond and talked about a few brands which Raymond owns. He also talked about his first few days working in sales and how he learned a lot of things there. “Behind every success and behind every failure, there is a learning”, he stated.

Talking about the importance of taking risks, he said “There is no place for risk averse brands in marketing”. He then told the students about a few products which weren’t selling well and how he, along with his team, worked on the problems and revived the products. The first example he gave was of Meswak toothpaste which initially didn’t capture the market but when it was re-launched as a mystique ayurvedic paste, its sales took off. Another example was of the mosquito-repellent crème, Odomos, which didn’t work well initially. Later they found out that it was because the consumers found the crème sticky and smelly. With a few changes in the product from the R&D department, the product started selling very well. He gave some more examples of products like Babool toothpaste and Nerolac paints, which were not doing well in the markets, were revived after proper research, innovation and strategies.

The session ended with him answering the questions from the students. It was a very interactive session and the students gained a lot of valuable insights from Mr. Raja Chakraborty’s career.

M-Power 2018: M-Pulse: “If you continue to look for success you lose sight of the goal, you should focus only on one thing – the goal and success will follow” – Mr. Vikram Ahluwalia, Director – Marketing, SRL Diagnostics

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On 10 February 2018, Mr. Vikram Ahluwalia addressed students as part of the M-Pulse series in M-Power 2018, the Annual Marketing Conclave of T. A. Pai Management Institute. He started off by telling us about the five pillars of marketing – vision, objectives, decision making, knowledge and trust. Vision and objectives are important to know where one is heading. Decision making is an important aspect that all must learn to be successful. A person should keep learning because if one stops learning one stops living. Hence knowledge is important to keep up with the changing times. Marketing is changed completely from what it was fifteen years ago. Trust is a major factor in marketing. One thing all marketers are good at is building long-term sustainable relationships.

Mr. Ahluwalia believes that some of the most successful people are the ones who know their weaknesses. They may not overcome them but they learn to recognise them and contain them. Many people fail because they are blinded by their strengths. Everybody thinks that the path to success will be straight. But generally nine out of ten times the path to success is mired with failures and hence it is a very tumultuous path. Talent is not a guarantee of success. We need to redefine success and change our mindset. Grit and perseverance are the only two things that make people stand out amongst everybody else. Relationships are support systems that help you stand back up. They should not be transactional but something that we carry for life. Curiosity is a superpower. We should all be curious regarding what is happening around us. Read new things, experiment and think beyond the obvious. This will not only make you a better marketer but help you grow as a person.

Mr. Ahluwalia then went on to speak about how to deal with failure and be happy. Delayed gratification is a concept that we should adopt. We should problem solve our way out of obstacles and roadblocks. We should be graceful in defeat and learn from it. To be truly happy we should balance three things – what pays us money, what is our passion and what are our skills.

The session ended with a small Q&A session where Mr. Ahluwalia answered the student’s questions about the current industry. Overall it was a very informative and interactive session.

M-Power 2018: M-Pulse – Mr. Sunil Kumar Sathyanarayanan, Business Director: South Asia, Henkel Adhesives Technologies India

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On 10th February 2018, the first of M-Power, Mr. Sunil Kumar Sathyanarayanan addressed the students of TAPMI on Consumer Differentiation and Leadership. Mr. Sathyanarayanan is currently working with Henkel Adhesives Technologies India as the Business Director: South Asia for the last 3 years. He started off his career at Carborundum Universal Ltd. as Sales Officer where he worked for over 2 years. He has also worked with Castrol India Ltd. for over 22 years starting out as Business Development Manager and progressing to General Sales Manager and eventually Senior Global Marketing Manager.

Mr. Sathyanarayanan kicked off the session by throwing some light into how he started his professional life and how he climbed the career ladder. For the session, rather than going with a set topic, he asked the students to pick out the topic they want to discuss. When talking about how to decide the budget for marketing, Mr. Sathyanarayanan said that it depends on various factors. First, it has to be decided that what needs to be done in each of the verticals of the organization. The next step is to develop schemes for channel expansion. Then divide the cities into normal and soar cities and get the metrics from the market. Once all these are ready, then only the budget comes into pictured and then the decision on whether to go with a low budget or manageable budget is taken. Next, Mr. Sathyanarayanan asked the students what their key takeaways were from their previous work experience and how these two years of MBA changed their perspective on those things. As students shared their viewpoints, Mr. Sathyanarayanan pointed out that generally everyone is good in telling but when it comes to active listening we all struggle. According to Mr. Sathyanarayanan, active listening plays an important role when it comes to gaining customer insights. When one goes to a customer or a distributor, they will have to spend a lot of time, which is perseverance, and do active listening. In order to gain customer insights as to what their pain points are and how we can add value to the customer, we need to ask a lot of open-ended probing questions.

During the second half of the session, Mr. Sathyanarayanan talked about the role data plays in marketing and about the importance of Big data. While data provides a kind of pattern and history about the consumer behavior, the real question is, Mr. Sathyanarayanan said, what can we do with this data. Mr. Sathyanarayanan agreed that to create a differentiation, data will help us to a certain extent. However, to bring in the real change we have to go beyond data. Talking about leadership, he said there are essentially 5 levels of leadership and explained how each one is different from the other. The most differentiating factor between a level 4 and level 5 leader is humility. In Mr. Sathyanarayanan’s opinion, if one really wants to be a standout leader, then they need to have humility and they should be humble.

Overall, it was an extremely insightful and interactive session, where Mr. Sathyanarayanan let the students drive the discussion. He encouraged them to ask questions and made sure that none of their queries went unanswered.

S.C.O.P.E 2018: Wordsworth: Mr. Prafulla Bhide, Head of Strategic Planning and Logistics, United Phosphorous Ltd. on “Leveraging technology for supply chain analytics  and RFID in warehousing”

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On 4th February 2018, TAPMI hosted Mr. Prafulla Bhide, Head of Strategic Planning and Logistics at United Phosphorous Ltd., for Wordsworth, the guest lecture series of S.C.O.P.E 2018. His topic of discussion was leveraging technology for supply chain analytics and RFID in warehousing management.

Mr. Bhide started by explaining what warehouses are- the difference between warehouse and godowns. Warehouse, he said, is a place to store merchandise, receive goods from a supplier, move goods to customers and accommodate returns from them. Additionally, more than one company can share a warehouse- godown belongs to a single enterprise. It is a place which ensures customer satisfaction by the product shipped after adding value to it.

He went on to elaborate on the various types of warehouses such as retail store, national and regional distribution centers, service part distribution centers, e-commerce fulfilment, perishable and cold chain warehouses, CFA, stockists, etc. He claimed that the future will blur the line of demarcation between the types of warehouses and consumer reaching warehouses- a replacement to the long supply chain. He also spoke of omnichannel retail starting a revolution in supply chain management.

In the next segment of the discussion, Mr. Bhide touched upon RFID or Radio Frequency Identification Device. Just like barcodes, RFID is another form of ADC or Automated Data Collection technology, he said, having components like Readers and Tags which are capable of storing and transmitting information. He mentioned the types of tags, Active and Passive, and talked about each in detail. Active tags are used for long distances like electronic tolls, have large memories, are powered by internal battery sources and are expensive. On the other hand, Passive tags are powered by a reader, lighter, cheaper to produce and used in close range. The types of memory in the same could be Read, Read/Write or a combination of both, he said.

Mr. Bhide compared barcodes with RFID; and also talked about the usages and applications of RFID and also the supply chain management benefits of RFID. He concluded the session by stating such technological innovations help companies as it is better for them to have visibility of what is selling and what rate, in order to make a data-driven decision.