Wednesday, December 12, 2018

SCM Biennial Conference, IIM Bangalore

The 2 day Biennial Conference on Supply Chain Management at Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, India on 10,11 December 2018 is one of the very interesting and important conferences in South India in the field of SCM.

The theme of the Conference this year was Building Intelligent Supply Chains.  

The Conference had four keynote talks / expert sessions by industry experts and top academics in the SC field and 48 papers presented by the delegates from across the country and abroad in technical sessions spread over two days.

The expert sessions in the morning on both the days from 9.30 am to 11.30 AM were very beneficial. On the first day we had the IIM Dean Prof. Naik inaugurating the Conference  and speaking on his research and experience in the area of agri-supply chains in India and particularly in Karnataka. It was followed by an interesting talk on agri-supply chain, Rashtriya emarketing services by R Manoj, Jt Secretary to the Govt of Karnataka. Karnataka is one of the only states in the country where information helps in streamlining the agricultural operations, adding value throughout till the final sale of the produce, helping the farmers realise more returns in the long run.

The second session by Prof. Milind Sohoni from Indian School of Business, Hyderabad was interesting. He spoke on the impact of for-profit and not-for-profit philanthropy and how it could be modeled in terms of the visible and tractable outcomes to better manage funding questions of these NGOs. 

After a quick tea, the participants dispersed for six technical sessions happening on the first day, two sessions parallel on supply chains, sc metrics, ecommerce and logistics  .. I presented two papers in the logistics area, case study on Used Shipping Containers - a Maersk case study and another one on the Insolation of Kochi International Airport in sessions 3A and 3B post lunch on day 1.

The second day started with very interesting technical session on core Supply Chain Management issues by Ms. Ushasri TS of Manhattan Associates. She spoke quite eloquently as to what were the challenges the supply chain industry across the world was facing as regards visibility and variability of demand. She was talking of how it was very easy in these days of excess data floating around, to get drowned in digital lakes.

Prof. G Raghuram, Director IIM Bangalore gave a very detailed talk in his usual style with lot of facts and illustrations on improving supply chain logistics performance by incorporating the SWIFT model (Sustainability, Warehousing, ICT, Fragmentation and Transportation Infrastructure). Prof. Raghuram also discussed about the various startups in India that were active in the logistics and delivery area like RIVIGO, Delhivery, Blackbuck, Storeking, AtiMotors etc ..

The technical sessions for the second day were a bit longer from 11 to 2.30 PM and we had a late lunch after which all of us dispersed. The agri-supply chains papers which stressed more on the organic produce supply chain was very interesting, was very informative and interesting too. 

Some sad facts about Indian farmers are

1. unlike the western farmer who gets 66% of the cost of the final price charged to the customers, in the case of the Indian farmer it is just 33% ..

2. There is no support from any government to help farmers cultivate organic produce in the country by way of subsidies etc..

3. Even though it is unfair on the Father on India's Green Revolution Dr MS Swaminathan, the green revolution which he stressed so much in the 60s has now been overtaken by greed and dishonesty. Farmers and middle men are indulging in unfair practices out of greed to increase their final yield in the process, making the produce unhealthy and carcinogenic. At the same time they are unmindful of the damage to mother earth with excess dose of chemical fertilizers which is destroying the precarious ecological balance.

In was quite interesting to note in one of the papers presented how the farmers found supplying to organised retail like Tata Star Bazar, Reliance Retail, More etc was loss making to the farmer due to the exacting requirements on quality, delivery standards etc. I was having the opposite opinion all this time. It is the responsibility of the SC field in general to help farmers acquire this professionalism in such sc operations.

The sessions and discussions were of high quality. There were almost 50 papers presented at the conference and about 70+ delegates. The supporting services were very efficiently managed including lunch, snacks etc. I too got to chair one of the sessions on Logistics (2B).

Overall the conference was a great value-add. It has motivated me to be more active on this learning and presenting circuit across different Institutes in the country and abroad. I wish to thank the organisers and faculty of the Operations area of IIM Bangalore profusely for making this conference happen and making it a great success too.


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