The significance of supply chain in manufacturing is akin to the role arteries and veins play in ensuring our vitals stay stable. The most utilitarian and well-designed product comes to naught if the ball is dropped along the supply chain. Smoothness and seamlessness in this product conduit system became more crucial than ever during the pandemic of 2020, when the world went into lockdown, but essential supplies needed to keep moving and be delivered across the world.
However, any global consumer goods company that supplies to India encounters unique product delivery challenges on account of the country’s deep hinterland, heterogeneous demographic in terms of culture and economics, and an unorganized last-mile retail channel, especially in the interiors. Distribution challenges are exacerbated given that there are a variety of distributors with varying levels of process maturity and access to technology. Given these challenges in goods delivery, it is easy to see why any global consumer products company could lose its way along the terrains of India.
Technology, however, has changed this. TCS recast the supply chain for several private and public players -- from the manufacturing plant to distribution centers to depots to distributors’ warehouses and finally to retailers -- to meet the SAMBC (Service as Measured by Customer - B2B) in India’s complex consumption universe.
TCS’ technology focus on supply chain transformation in India has seen an automation of the end-to-end production and distribution process and an integration of internal and external processes of all partners -- manufacturers, distributors and other partners for B2B, B2C & B2G, factoring all levels of heterogeneity in the chain. A common integrated digital supply chain platform works to tie in all moving parts within the industry ecosystem. Digital transactions bring in uniformity across the supply chain. The technology has been architected such that it gives stakeholders control over the demand-supply management system to account for seasonally fluctuating demands and periodic variations in the demand cycle especially when the latter is influenced by dynamics in the global economy.
The contribution made by TCS’ Integrated Distribution Management & Collaboration Platform (IDMCP) can best be explained by citing the example of a global leader in consumer products that was supplying to India. The TCS-powered platform resolved the CPG company’s “distribution challenges typical to Indian complexities”. TCS IDMCP is a disruptive, business outcome-based technology platform that services all key pieces in the distribution process -- from plant to shelf -- comprising warehouse and transport optimization, real-time orders visibility for supply lines planning; on-shelf availability; SAMBC; and case fill rate. The cloud platform runs more than a dozen algorithms to forecast demand,taking into account seasonal and regional variants, and more than 25 characteristics to create an accurate prediction of demand forecast. Technology lends the company thrust to streamline its manufacturing plants, supply lines and partner-supplier ecosystem.
This technology-led transformation, however, isn’t restricted to consumer goods supply chains. A leading Indian metal industry major underwent an inside out change as it scaled up its operations and improved supply chain efficiency with a TCS-introduced digital platform. The solution streamlined and automated processes from the source minerals logistics to the delivery of the finished product. The platform integrates over 2,200 vehicles, across India multiple operating locations for processes such as input raw materials and finished goods transportation, factory operations, and depot and customer delivery. Furthermore, given state regulatory interventions in the mining industry overall, the solution also accounts for B2G interaction with government bodies. The technology solution has enabled the company to be one of the lowest-cost producers in its global industry.
The role of technology in making supply chains robust cannot be emphasized enough. Even as you read this, AI and ML-led programs are keeping over a billion products consistently moving along global supply chains. Take a look at the hundred-odd products in your home. It’s very likely that technology driven by TCS helped get it there.