Contributed By: Khilav Joshi
The tenth batch of the Executive Post Graduate Program (EPGP) has inherited a wonderful legacy of initiatives from the alumni, be it Prayaas, Sparsh, Digital Summit or Samantran. We also wanted to leave our imprint and create a platform which could further help the coming generations of EPGP students. We turned over a new leaf by coalescing Digital Summit and Samantran into IIMB Business Conclave 2018. We believed that this would provide scale and transform the event into an annual flagship one. The intent was to have a power-packed two-day event featuring panel discussions, networking sessions and talks with industry experts, CXOs, entrepreneurs and IIMB professors.
The unifying theme for this year’s event was ‘Embracing Disruption’. While everyone talks about how industries will be disrupted in future, we believed that the disruption has already started and what mattered was how companies embraced it. To understand the phenomenon better, we had invited speakers from very diverse industries. The event was kicked off with the ceremony of lighting a lamp, followed up with the opening speech by IIM-B Director Professor Raghuram. Professor Raghuram pressed upon the importance of how the industry is disrupting not only technologically but also socially and how as future managers, it is imperative for us to think ahead.
First eminent speaker to grace the dais was T. Krishnakumar, President of Coca-Cola Company India and Southwest Asia and IIMB alumnus. He named and listed six stages of Disruption – Digitization, Deception, Disruption, Demonetization, Dematerialization and Democratization. “Most businesses like to play on averages. But the world has changed. Millennials are now playing on the edge and carving out niches for themselves and achieving great success” said Mr. T. Krishnakumar. “Big players are struggling today. They have a paradox of expertise and they think that they are too big to face any trouble from competitors! And because of this, they are often too slow to respond to disruptions in their industries.”
He talked in depth about how big companies need to adapt, be agile and aware of the changing needs of the customer.
The second speaker for the day was Mr. Mukesh Kothari, Director, Deloitte Consulting who spoke about Disruption in Supply Chain Management. He took multiple examples from companies like Amazon and Walmart who have mastered supply chain management. He spoke about how blockchain is extensively used by Shipping companies like Maersk. Mr. Kothari quoted, “Don’t assume anything, challenge everything – Science fiction is now Science Fact! Think big, Start small, Act fast, Build your ecosystem, Pick one or two plays, Market your own success.” He explained how data is enabling the transformation from traditional supply chain to digital supply network and listed the characteristics of a digital supply chain: “Always-on” agility, Connected Community, Intelligent Optimization, End- to- End Transparency and Holistic Decision Making. He motivated the entire audience to think big and challenge everything.
The first networking session was followed by a panel discussion on ‘Future of Supply Chain’ moderated by Prof. Anshuman Tripathy, IIMB faculty in the Production & Operations Management area. Touching upon aspects like last-mile connectivity, scalability, reach, and role of government for a strong supply chain, the panelists Manoj Rajan, Managing Director and CEO, Rashtriya e-Market Services (ReMS), Neeraj Verma, Global Supply Chain Manager, Caterpillar, Prashant Kondle, Vice President, GoCoop – Global Marketplace, and Jayaram Kasi, Vice President, Pikkol, pointed out that trade agreements between countries were putting a significant amount of pressure leading to devise new strategies on how to design a supply chain network. “Drone technology can be very effective in inventory management. We need to embrace the latest technology and understand how best to apply it to make your supply chain very efficient,” said Neeraj Verma while Jayaram Kasi emphasised the need to build an open network where information gets to the customer with the least hops.
Prashant Kondle spoke on how GoCoop Global Marketplace was essentially a weaver-centric supply chain business, where man is the machine. “Our organisation is responsible for closing the gaps in the supply chain to ensure agility and quality,” he said. Talking about his journey, Manoj Rajan said 38,000 licensed traders and 58 lakh farmers were part of the Rashtriya eMarket Services. “There are enormous entrepreneurial opportunities in the agricultural supply chain. From standalone enterprises, like quality assessment labs, to complete supply chain aggregation, this industry needs the next big disruption if we are to ensure future food security,” he added.
Post Lunch, Derick Jose, Co-founder, Flutura addressed us. His talk was on ‘Seeing the Unseen’. He talked about the various new disruptive models which have now been acting like force multipliers. “The gap between human adaptability and technology keeps widening in this age of acceleration.” said Mr. Derek. He talked on how analytics is helping companies drive the efficiencies and how even a small increase inefficiencies lead to savings of millions of dollars. He also emphasised that the innovative ideas are not limited to big cities and that our response to failure is also changing as the cost of making failure is going down.
Our next speaker Piyush Kumar Chowhan, Senior Vice President and CIO at Arvind Lifestyle Brands, focused on the importance of mental peace and work-life balance. “Physical vitality, mental clarity and social connections are the pillars of human wellbeing. It is important that we all take some time out every day for emotional wellness.” He enthralled the audience with some facts which showed us the negative effects of the technology adoption. For example, he quoted as to how distractions cause US companies more than 650 Bn per year. This is in sharp contrast with the claims of productivity due to digital technology.
The last session of the day was a panel discussion on ‘Data-driven transformation’, moderated by Prof. U Dinesh Kumar, IIMB faculty in the Decision Sciences & Information Systems area and Chair of the Data Centre & Analytics Lab at IIMB. Panellists Akhil Vishwanatham, Senior Director, Walmart Labs, Sunil Prasad, Delivery Head, Adobe, Srinivas Pradeep, Lead Data Scientist, Daimler AG, and Sanjay Kharb, Vice President – Engineering, Ola, spoke on how their respective organisations were using data to grow business. While Sunil Prasad said that understanding the right data to target the right customer is what it takes to close a deal, Sanjay Kharb shared that Ola is heavily focused on meeting the needs of both drivers and customers through data-driven decision making. Akhil Vishwanatham said, “We are trying to achieve an amalgamation of the digital and physical world through data sciences at Wal-Mart. Srinivas Pratap echoed the sentiment with, “When we provide the solutions to problems using data, businesses are inclined to shift from the traditional business model to a data-driven business model.”
Day 1 ended with a prophetic statement from our professor: “When there is very high competition in an industry, organisations cannot survive without analytics.”
Khilav Joshi is an EPGP 2018-2019 student of IIM Bangalore