Supply Chain Management – A Guest Lecture by Mr. Rajeev Saxena, COO, Agility Logistics

Agility

1st August, 2014: TAPMI played host to Mr. Rajeev Saxena, Chief Operating Officer of Agility Logistics. Agility is today, one of the world’s largest logistics providers with operations in 100 countries. The company hires 20000 employees and is a pioneer in integrated logistics solutions, helping businesses create and run efficient supply chains. The company boasts of various accolades and several high profile clients.

Mr Saxena is a seasoned specialist in the Supply Chain domain, having worked for over eleven years with Agility and eleven years with L&T before that. He holds a post graduate degree in International Business. He also went through IIM Ahmedabad’s Management Development Programme (MDP), again specializing in Supply Chain Management (SCM). When he is not busy solving supply chain problems for Agility, he delves into teaching – Mr. Saxena is a visiting faculty in various colleges, and teaches Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Productivity Management and Business Process Re-engineering.

After introducing himself, Mr. Saxena posed a question: “why even talk about SCM?” He then explained that there are only two ways for a company to increase profits – one, to increase the top line that is revenue, and two, to impact the bottom line by reducing costs. And SCM does precisely that, it cuts costs! As per him, when the top line revenue enhancement by increased sales becomes difficult, invariably, cost optimization by designing and maintaining efficient supply chains becomes vital. He also highlighted that there is great opportunity in the Supply Chain domain in India, as logistics costs in India are significantly higher than the global average.

At this point, Mr. Saxena made an interesting analogy. He likened the Supply Chain to the human circulation system. The human circulation system, according to him is the “perfect” supply chain. It sends the right material in the right quantity at the right time to the right place, at all times, at the lowest cost! A very refreshing and unusual analogy, but it made perfect sense and drew appreciation from the TAPMIans.

He emphasized that a good Supply Chain design is all about a balance between level of customer service/response and the cost incurred to provide that level of service. The optimal balance varies between companies, and each company has to find its own optimal balance. He further deliberated on this point by highlighting the two types of Supply Chains: the Cheetahs which rely on high speed of response to customer needs and economies of scope, and the elephants, who do not require such a high level of responsiveness and instead rely on customer loyalty and economies of scale.

Mr. Saxena also some spent some time to talk about the outsourcing of logistics. He talked in particular about the emergence of third party logistics (3PL) providers and even mentioned about the latest trends, such as 4PL, 5PL, and 7PL. Regarding the decision to outsource the management of supply chain, he stated that the real challenge is the issue of trust – client companies find it very difficult to trust the service providers with such a critical aspect of their business.

DSC01165

Mr. Saxena concluded the session with a Q&A session. The TAPMI students posed several questions, ranging from the challenges in managing international logistics to the impact of GST (Goods and Service Tax) on the Supply Chain industry, and even regarding the impact of 3D printing on the Supply Chain industry. Mr. Saxena answered all the questions with aplomb and clarified all the doubts.

To finish off, he talked to the students about the importance of EQ over IQ. IQ can help you get into an organization, but only EQ will keep you there! Also, Mr. Saxena gave an interesting insight into SQ i.e. Spiritual Quotient, which in his opinion was a good way to handle the stressful routine of a daily work life. He concluded the session to a generous round of applause from the TAPMIans.

Guest Lecture Session by Mr Mayank Jain, Area Business Manager, Tanishq, Titan Company Ltd.

Mayank Jain

I am travelling half the year around the world, every year, so coming home is one of the most beautiful things.

-Andre Rieu, Creator of Johann Strauss Orchestra

Home coming was indeed a beautiful experience for Mr. Mayank Jain who takes pride in being a TAPMIan. Currently, he’s serving as Area Business Manager, Tanishq, Titan Company Ltd. Mr. Jain was a part of 2010-12 batch and he was back to the campus on 13th July 2014, sharing his experience of the college days with the students and how TAPMI provided a thrust to his life when he made his way to Titan Company Ltd.

The main highlight of his experiences of the college time was the discipline and academic rigour part of TAPMI. He detailed the point that it may be possible that students might take the discipline and rigour of TAPMI as unnecessary and too harsh for them, but he stressed on the fact that in the long run it is that rigour only that pays off. It eventually equips the TAPMIans in taking better decisions as they can weigh the consequences more precisely than others.

The session was highly interactive and more of a casual talk. The session went onto topics like outbound programmes of the college, importance of networking to very subjective questions like how to be sure that Marketing is the best choice for a particular student. He talked about his experiences in the college,  his friends, the balance between academics and his work in the Event Management Committee of  BrandScan – the largest market research fair in India, the hardships he had to face and the outcomes, his learnings from the outbound programme and overall what TAPMI provided him.

The talk went onto discuss his life after TAPMI, mainly his time in Titan – Tanishq. He began with the arrival of Titan in the Indian market when HMT was the market leader and how Titan was successful in capturing the leader board position in just a few years of its inception. He explained how Tanishq came into picture when India wasn’t exposed to the idea of an organised retailing in jewellery. Tanishq’s main challenge was to compete with the local and regional players and “brand itself nationally”. It had to offer designs that were suitable to the preferences of the local customers as well as cater nationally available designs.

???????????????????????????????

He concluded the session stressing on “observing” more; be it inside the college or in the market, we need to observe more, try to understand the market dynamics and try to strategize our position accordingly. He further stated that understanding the market needs is important, but above that would be to “create” a market need altogether and that’s what Tanishq did – succesfully.

The session was highly enjoyed by both the guest and the students since the inquisitive and curious minds of the students fuelled Mr. Jain’s nostalgia related to the college. In the end, the college appreciated Mr. Jain’s efforts in taking out time for the talk by a small token of appreciation.

Sun Tzu and The Art of War – A perspective on the Business World – by Mr. Saurav Ghosh, COO, Forbes & Company

Forbes & Co Saurav Ghosh

The students of TAPMI had the privilege to attend a guest lecture on “Strategic Decision making for Leadership”, on 4th July, 2014 (Friday). This session was conducted by Mr. Saurav Ghosh, COO, Forbes & Company, Shapoorji Pallonji Group.

Before joining Forbes & Company, Mr Ghosh was the Sr. Advisor and Business Leader with Cross Tree Techno-visors. He completed his education from IIT Delhi and has cross industry experience in the field of Supply Chain Management and Logistics.

The session commenced with Mr. Ghosh giving us a brief history about his company and provided instances where we, as future leaders would have to make strategic decisions. He led us to the importance of the growing role of leadership in management by emphasizing that we need to ‘first understand people and then find out what we want and lastly, how we can get what we want from people’.

Considering that today’s competitive corporate world is no less than any war, the students were shown a short video on Sun Tzu’s ‘The Art of War’. This was to drive home the point that in adversity, you have to strategically make your way and move forward, but we have to remember to be disciplined and not ruthless. The importance of leadership was summed up with a quote – “Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men. It is the spirit of men who follow and of the man who leads that gains the victory.”

Mr. Ghosh kept the audience attentive by giving a very unorthodox twist to the age old story of ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’. The new morals of the story shown by him were – fast and consistent always beat slow and steady; first identify your core competency and then change the playing field to suit your core competency; it is good to be individually brilliant but it is better to collaborate and make the most of each other’s strengths.

???????????????????????????????

The core idea he conveyed was that of gaining strategic advantage. He explained this by saying – “The one who figures victory at headquarters before even doing battle is the one who has the most strategic factors on his side.” The major checkpoints before a war include: the way, the weather, the terrain, leadership and discipline. Under leadership, Mr. Ghosh emphasized the key points were – intelligence, trustworthiness, humanness, courage and sternness.

He also spotted out the importance of strategic decision making from a business perspective by sharing that, “In life, when faced with failure, sometimes its appropriate to put effort and work harder, some other times its better to change your strategy and try something different. Whereas sometimes them idle path has to be taken.”

Towards the end he spoke about his journey from a sales manager to a COO and motivated students to make realistic goals, strategise and be certain of what we want and also mentioned that when we stop competing against our rivals and instead start competing against the situation, we perform better

Overall, it was an interactive session led by the honorable speaker with equal and intent participation by the students. The students found the session to be highly informative and useful.