Ops Diaries 2017: Day 6: “Demystifying Operations”: Ms. Nivedita Konduri, Manager at Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories

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On 11th November 2017, a notable alum of TAPMI, Ms. Nivedita Konduri started the lecture by discussing the elective subjects with students. She explained how certain subjects are intellectually stimulating and how students can apply the concepts in their workplace. She then spoke about her summer internship experience and how it helped her to broaden her horizons.

Explaining the concept of Procure-to-Pay, she said it is an essential part of any business in today’s world. The P2P process includes obtaining raw materials to provide products or services to the customer. She discussed the SAP and ERP models of the procurement process. Moving on to discuss the various ways of data interpretation, Ms. Konduri explained the importance of case studies, spreadsheets, and presentation. Data analysis is one of the most important aspects of any job. It includes data cleaning, crystal clear calculations and categorizing data according to value and volume.

She also advised students about the importance of having certain certifications such as SCPro Certification, Certified Supply Chain Professional and Certified in Production and Inventory Management. She also emphasized on participating in competitions which helps in the practical understanding of the subjects and also, network with students from other business schools.

Discussing Supply Chain Management, she elaborated on the processes of sourcing, planning, logistics, and strategy. She gave the students a glimpse into the role of an Operations Manager in manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors. In the manufacturing sector, the role would typically include production planning, capacity planning, inventory management and manufacturing strategy; whereas in the non-manufacturing sector, the roles would include functional and management consulting improvement projects, quality control, and operations excellence.

Coming to the end of her lecture, she answered queries from the students. It was a very enriching and fulfilling session.

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Ops Diaries 2017: Day 6: “Operations Management in Financial Services”- Mr. Midhun Rajagopal, Management Consulting Analyst, Accenture Strategy

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On 11th November 2017, Mr. Midhun Rajagopal addressed the students at TAPMI regarding operations management in financial services. He started the session by giving a brief about his work experience across various companies. He briefly described why operations management is important for financial services, citing examples from his work experience. He said that 80% of the problems that arise in financial firms are related to operations. He listed out three different cases of operations management playing a major role in financial services from his work experience and promised to walk the students through the same sequentially.

The first example he quoted was the process transformation journey for a large global bank. He mentioned the problem statement for this client, which was to reduce its operational and technological costs. He gave a brief of the methodology followed, which included re-engineering the process, defining process hierarchy, standardizing process across all geographies and mapping detailed end to end target state process for all functions of the bank. He then explained the outcomes of these processes, few of which were mapping 1600 activities across all functions, standardizing process across 29 countries with 80% commonality, reduction of operational and technological costs by 27% etc. He mentioned the key operations concepts used in this project which was access mapping, business process re-engineering, process standardization and to be mapping.

He then moved on to the next project which was to enhance customer service guarantee for a leading Indian NBFC. The problem statement here was to increase its market share in lending business by offering supreme customer experience through faster and transparent loans processing. He briefly explained the methodology followed, which included redesigning the loans processing flow, developing a BPM workflow solution, developing a comprehensive MIS for management reporting, supporting the client to roll-out the revamped process in key branches, training the staff and ensuring process adherence. He then listed out the benefits due to this process which was standardized process flow, better oversight of branch operations and enhanced customer experience.

The third example mentioned was to optimize client due diligence for a multinational bank. Moving on to the methodology he briefly explained the “as is CDD (Customer due diligence) process” and “To be CDD process”. He then listed out the benefits received through this process, few of them were: Standardized screening process, FTE reduction, reduced vendor licenses, reduced training costs, reduced screening touch time and improved screening quality. He listed out the key operations concepts used in this process, which were capacity planning, functional specialization, touch time reduction and stakeholder management.

The enriching session ended with Mr. Rajagopal engaging the students in an interesting Q&A session which facilitated a healthy flow of ideas.

 

CXO Leadership Series 2017: “Building a business in emerging markets- A practitioner’s view”- Mr. Mithun Kamath, Group CEO – Arc Skills

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On 11th November 2017, Mr. Mithun Kamath interacted with the student fraternity of T. A. Pai Management Institute on building business in emerging countries. Citing examples from his diverse experience of working in Africa, Latin America and Asia, he informed the students that the economic needle is moving towards Asia and Africa. He cited that the driving factors for this change were Scale, Socio-Economic conditions, Cultural conditioning, Languages and Strategy vs Opportunity.

He said that the disparity in population makes India a massive market which operates under a single currency. On the other hand, he mentioned that Africa has markets operating in 54 countries each with different territories and currencies. Mr. Kamath stated that in the retail sector, the profile of distributors, the number of employees, the transportation, etc. are deeply influenced with changes in the socio-economic conditions. He disclosed that in Latin America and Africa, retailers buy stocks for extremely short duration and usually stock up multiple times a day. The sub-distributors in S. Africa were not exclusive to a particular retailer unlike those in India. The Indian distribution and merchandising strategies he concluded, would, therefore, fail if applied in Africa and ergo these emerging countries.

Mr. Kamath went on to mention that 70% of adults in Latin America lack high school graduation leading to a huge talent crunch. He disclosed that the cost of living in Africa is 2.5 times more expensive than India because the majority of commodities are imported. He remarked that in Africa there are two types of companies – the ones who cater to the top of the pyramid and others who cater to the bottom of the pyramid, unlike India that has a middle-class market. Therefore, he enunciated, a completely different planning and strategizing was required to sustain in the emerging countries.

Mr. Kamath emphasized the importance of understanding the culture of the country you are working in. He reminded that it is important to understand the local languages and accept their beliefs which may be very different from ours. Also, he said that we as Indians try to utilize incremental methods of getting the job done as quickly as possible. “We don’t strategize but implement the assigned work. We seek direction. While this trait helps us earn our bread and butter, it is also the reason why we are second to major world competitors”, he explained.

He went on to say that we needed to realize our potential and enter the strategy phase of projects. “We have some major strengths like adaptability and hard work which we should use to improve our impact globally. We should stop following paths of least resistance and start building brands instead of providing labor”, he reminded.

Mr. Kamath emphasized the need for collaboration with locals of a country as a very crucial aspect of managing a business in various countries. According to him, International Business requires a good knowledge of acquisitions and joint ventures which is very different from the usual deal-making. Any strategy that we make, he pointed, has a very small shelf life in the global dynamic world.

Mr. Kamath concluded the discussion by emphasizing the need to be dynamic, understanding risks and failure and thinking out of the box. These, he summarized, would help us stay relevant.

Ops Diaries 2017: Day 2: “Modern Day Operations and Supply Chain Management”- Mr. Arun Bhat, Assistant Manager, Coffee Day Beverages

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On 28th October 2017, Mr. Arun Bhat addressed the student fraternity at TAPMI regarding the changing trends in operations. Mentioning about the industrial revolution characterized by mechanization which took place in the 18th century, he said that we have come a long way with Internet of Things marking the trend of the industries today. Industry 4.0 concentrates on providing critical data about the operation chain even before any breakage in linkage takes place. Timely Data Analysis informs us regarding the bottle neck of the process. Talking about his organization, he said that with a market share of 80% Coffee Day vending is a good example of Business to Business operations.

Explaining about the modern-day supply chain management, he said that requirement (Indent) information goes to the procurement team and eventually reaches the Main Warehouses and Branch Stores. The technicians at the stores transfer the data to Rework Centers and the extracted information is passed on to the Data Entry operators. These operators in turn send the extracted useful information back to the requirement teams.

Citing an example he said, that the data on workforce planning is procured from the data centers which helps recruiters in understanding the prospective candidates before hiring them. The data also helps isolate non-productive machinery and this information ensures improvement in the supply chain. He also gave illustrative  insights on the Bullwhip effect and how  it affects the whole supply chain. To reduce the inefficiencies in the supply chain, preventive maintenance is performed in fixed intervals whereas intuitive measures are taken based on IoT feedback. Both aim at preventing breakdowns and scheduling timely maintenance.

The enriching session ended with Mr. Bhat engaging the audience in an interesting Q&A session which facilitated a healthy flow of ideas.

OPS DIARIES: DAY 2: Mr. Karthik Koppula, Assistant Manager at Sequel International Logistics

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On 28th October 2017, in a highly interactive discussion by Mr Karthik Koppula, a TAPMI alumnus himself (Batch 2014-2016), covered major aspects of the multidisciplinary field of Operations Management. Students were given an overview of the various operations functions such as planning, organizing and supervising in the contexts of production, manufacturing or the provision of services.

He elaborated on these functions by giving examples from his own experience as Assistant Manager at Sequel International Logistics, which focusses on the delivery of high monetary value consignments such as jewellery, among others.

He detailed the challenges involved with handling the logistics of the same such as security, damage, stringent regulations, on-time delivery, cost and manpower.

He also illustrated the operations concepts of bottleneck, Hub and Spoke Model, Travelling Salesman Problem, Milk run concept etc by citing examples that the students could relate with.

Further, he elaborated on what his typical work day looks like, with wide-ranging activities such as Remote Operations Management, HR activities, Financing activities, Cost, Customer Relationship Management and coordination between all the divisions.

The impact of GST on the logistics sector was also examined.  “For the logistics sector, GST is the next big thing”, he opined, stating that the sector stood to gain the most from GST as it would reduce costs.

Mr Karthik also reminisced about his days at TAPMI, as a member of the “Logistics Committee”, which taught him humility as well as people management skills. He believes that the experiences that he gained from TAPMI have placed him in good stead in his career.

Finally, he gave the students tips on the placement process for Operations Management specific roles.

“Retail in India is growing exponentially”- Mayank Jain, Regional Business Manager, Titan Eye Plus

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On 20th July 2017 in an interactive session with Mr. Mayank Jain, Regional Business Manager, Titan Eye Plus; the speaker threw light on the fact that retail in India is booming. He told the students that currently India is ranked number two in retail potential and has successfully jumped thirteen places of what it was last year. It is amazing to know that we are first in the world in terms of per capita retail ability.

Taking the discussion forward, Mr. Jain mentioned that the reason for this exponential growth is that we have very good market potential. The economic risk of all the retailers who are coming in India right now is extremely low. FDI has been taken to next level altogether. 100% FDI has been approved in unibrands and multibrands.

Furthermore, Mr. Jain also touched upon the fact that the market sizing is extremely important. Quoting an example of the same, he mentioned that “if the market size is around 1 crore rupees per annum and my market share is 15% then I would be earning 15 lakhs; which is not a viable component”. If we look closely towards the data provided we will notice that the market size of India is growing exponentially. Mr. Jain left the students surprised by mentioning the fact that the total Indian market size has almost doubled up in a span of four years. This has made India a very favored destination for all the retailers to come, grow and earn. He also mentioned how important a role does visual merchandising plays in retail.

To conclude, Mr. Jain, an alumnus of TAPMI, proudly mentioned that professionalism that TAPMI teaches can be realized only when one steps out in the corporate world. And this professionalism is very important in the retail sector.

Manthan 2017: Day 2: Guest Lecture 1: “Operational risk” – Mr. Lalit Taneja, Regional Director, Global Association of Risk Professionals.

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The topic being discussed in the guest lecture was operational risk. Mr. Taneja explained to the students the concept of operational risk using Basel Committee’s existing definition. It is basically the loss that is incurred due to failed internal processes, people, and systems or from external events. He also explained that individual banks can adopt their own definitions of operational risk if the minimum elements in the Committee’s definition are included. A key takeaway from the discussion was that operational risk is inevitable and cannot be zero.

Mr. Taneja briefly spoke about internal & external fraud, employee & workplace safety, clients, products and business practices, and process management. He emphasized the importance of operational risk indicators. These indicators are vital in identifying potential losses and tend to be specific to organizations.  They refer to lagging/ex-post measures and information on events that have already taken place (examples include failed trades, settlement errors). It is up to the risk managers to transform lagging into leading indicators. This process can be carried out by changing the focus of the indicators or even by adding new information. Thus, the focus of these indicators could be changed to highlight issues that are still outstanding or remain open after a specified period of time. The transformation of these processes is difficult to implement in reality. He went on to explain three types of risks namely:

  1. Legal risk – It is included in operational risk. It refers to the risk of disruption to operations due to unenforceable contracts, lawsuits, adverse judgments and legal proceedings.
  2. Reputation risk – Although this type of risk isn’t usually considered, reputation risk is very critical to a business. It refers to negative public opinion. A fall in a company’s reputation can result in liquidity difficulties and falling share prices.
  3. Business or strategy risk – It arises from an adverse shift in the assumptions, goals and other features that underpin a strategy.

The next part of the lecture was about the latest trends and approaches. Mr. Taneja spoke of the relevance of frameworks, advanced analytics, strategic planning, stakeholder feedback, advanced management approach and the need to forecast “black swan” events. Post the discussion, Mr. Taneja answered questions which were along the lines of operational risk, risk management, and its applicability. He was able to explain the concept exceedingly well because he was able to relate it to real life examples in corporate organizations and financial institutions.