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Back to Newsletter Vol 3, Issue 02, May 2021
IT & Operations
The case study describes how Asian Paints Limited (Asian Paints) used IT systems to help reinvent itself consistently over the last 4 decades. The case first focuses on how the company began to use information technologies to transform the value chain since the early 2000’s. Asian Paints initially used ERP solutions to improve raw materials procurement and to automate production. The case then touches upon how Asian Paints used various emerging technologies such as SAP’s enterprise applications, SAP HANA platform-based software, and o9 Solutions’ cloud-based, artificial intelligence platform for effective stock and dealer management. Asian Paints used SAP Hybris enterprise application software and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to create a strong IT architecture that managed both the transactional and experience requirements of the company. The solutions helped Asian Paints to offer products and services as per the needs and requirements of each individual customer by gathering data from each customer touchpoint. The company also employed 3-D visualization and virtual reality technologies along with front-end applications such as the PaintTotal app and Visualizer app. Next, the case study touches upon the various initiatives taken by Asian Paints to offer support to dealers and retailers during the COVID-19 pandemic such as sanitizing dealer premises free of charge and extending credit facilities. The case ends with the future plans of Asian Paints to continue investing in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to improve operations and customer experience.

Asian Paints: Technology as an Enabler in Reimagining the Value Chain
The case talks about the Government of India (GoI)’s initiative to undertake e-procurement of goods and services for Central and State Government Organizations through the national public procurement portal (NPPP) – Government e-Marketplace (GeM). The GoI transformed legacy procurement systems through GeM, which used technology, analytics, and digitization of processes. The case provides details about the procedures of GeM’s unified public procurement system. It also touches upon the benefits provided by GeM to both the buyers and sellers. In addition, the way the online, end-to-end marketplace enabled inclusiveness and encouraged startups is briefly described. The case discusses in detail the issues preventing the wide scale adoption of GeM and the efforts being made by the GoI to make it popular. Can GeM emerge as the sole platform handling India’s public procurement?

E-Procurement through the Indian Government’s Version of Amazon.com: GeM
The case discusses the logistics and distribution strategy of Nestlé India Limited (NIL), the Indian subsidiary of the world’s largest food and beverage company, Nestlé SA. The case gives a brief insight into the distribution structure of Nestlé, and the terms of operations it employed for its intermediaries. It then provides details about how technology helped NIL’s outbound logistics system at NIL. The case moves on to discuss the possibilities of channel conflicts and stresses upon the need for NIL to strengthen its own distribution channel in order to avoid differences between prices of its products in different regions, product positioning, and promotional campaigns. The hyper local cluster approach of NIL is dealt with as well – wherein it divided India into various clusters and then crafted product placements, distribution, marketing, and promotions for each cluster. Suresh Narayanan, Chairman and Managing Director of NIL, was hopeful that NIL would continue to improve its distribution strategies to serve the Indian markets better.

Nestlé India: Adopting a Regional Approach in its Distribution Strategy
The case study, describes how three ex-Flipsters (Flipkart employees) came together in 2016 to establish Udaan as an alternative distribution network for millions of small and medium businesses across the Indian sub-continent. The case then focuses on the business model developed by Udaan that used a ‘first-principles approach’. The case touches upon several long-standing issues that have been plaguing the Indian B2B retail market, like lack of inclusive credit financing and unreliable last mile delivery services. The company sought to address the various needs of all the players in the B2B value chain by offering a full stack B2B mobile platform that comprised several features, services, and tools designed to plug the various issues in the B2B market and consequently streamline the business transactions of retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers, and importers. These included an easy-to-use trading platform; easy availability of finance products; secure payment collection services and facilities; a low-cost yet efficient distribution network; demand and supply prediction tools, and a chat service on its mobile application. The case finally touches upon the various future plans of Udaan which include expanding the number of categories on its website, expanding its distribution network across India, and leveraging historical and real-time data and data processing tools to predict demand and supply of agricultural produce.

Udaan – Building an Alternative Distribution Network for Small & Medium Businesses
The case study describes how Connect India sought to become a Last Mile Delivery (LMD) service provider that delivers goods, documents, and various government services to remote rural areas in a unique, cost-efficient way through a robust and efficient logistics network. The infrastructure network included Connect India Centers (CICs), Rapid Fulfillment Centers (RFCs), micro-warehouses, and last-mile delivery partners. Connect India intended to help local rural consumption by aiding rural consumers in the purchase of goods from e-commerce websites (‘aided e-commerce’) and delivering them through its logistics distribution system. It also wanted to use the distribution system for reverse logistics whereby Connect India would help rural enterprises, including small and medium scale industries, small-scale farmers, Self Help Groups (SHGs), and others to transport orders received from e-commerce portals and other trading platforms through its logistics network. The case then touches upon the partnerships Connect India forged to boost its business and the various ground-level challenges it faced. The case finally touches upon the future plans of Connect India, which included raising funds from large investors to expand its network, creating more than 500,000 jobs by 2024, connecting rural artisans and e-commerce platforms, and emerging as a billion dollar enterprise in the last mile distribution industry in the process.

Connect India - Building a Rural Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
The period between 1980 – 1982 saw a recession in the USA which also caused trouble to the American automobile industry. Ford, Motor Company an American automobile corporation was affected as well by the slowdown. The situation triggered a search by Ford executives for ways to reduce overhead and administrative costs. The executives at Ford realized that they had a large headcount in their accounts payable department and the procure to pay process for purchase orders was also very error prone. To make the department lean and process more accurate, the company decided to bring about a radical change in the process by re-engineering the entire system. Ford introduced invoiceless processing in procure to pay process which was simple and also reduced discrepancy errors in invoice clearance. Through the new system Ford was able to reduce the headcount by 75% and also improve vendor relations.

Ford Motor Company Re-engineers Procure to Pay Process

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