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SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT The road to a sustainable supply chain

Aug 30, 2021

Supply chains consume resources on a large scale and are, therefore, responsible for a major contribution to carbon emissions. As it's the new normal for the industry, it's the new normal for the environment, too. For sustainability, it's important to have supply chain visibility. The Viewpoint finds out what the green supply chain strategy should be like and where India stands in adopting digitalisation in supply chain management.

Sharmila Annaswamy, Industrial IoT Analyst, IoT Analytics - A key part to supply chain tracking & management are sensors, wireless communication modules and cloud infrastructure

Digital supply chain is a prerequisite for green supply chain as it brings transparency into the system. A testimony to our digital capabilities in supply chain management can be witnessed in the way critical COVID-19 vaccine storage and disbursal was/is being handled. A key part to supply chain tracking & management are sensors, wireless communication modules and cloud infrastructure. India needs to become completely self-sufficient in the production and management of these resources, to make the whole concept of digital supply chain cost-efficient enough. Many state/municipalities COVID-19 management practices showcased the usage of IoT-based dashboards, software algorithms and mobile apps in their war rooms. This has proved that India already has the capability to rise to global standards and it is just a matter of time. Moreover, circular supply chain will complete green supply chain and companies should encourage green consumer practices for the proper disposal & recycling of goods. Plus, we must go local in terms of demand and supply as much as possible.

Harshawardhan Wadikar, Head of Innovation – Product & Quality, Kosh Energy Technologies - COVID-19 has taught us that India is both a global market & a global consumer

Independent judiciary and executive branches, like the Enforcement Department in India, should collaborate with policy makers to account for a company’s carbon footprint. However, there are watchdogs for the same globally; the compliance is not a mandate as of now. No matter how well we structure a green supply chain strategy, the bottleneck to its acceptance would be rewarding carbon credits and penalising with the same to those who do not comply. First world nations have to accept that they have contributed to a majority of carbon emissions per capita and thus, will have to proactively participate in the formation of such compliance by their companies. COVID-19 has taught us that India is both a global market and a global consumer. A global database of manufacturers (similar to what HSN is for products) and shipping lines must be formulated. Their ratings should be updated & closely monitored & carbon neutrality should be rewarded.

GK Pillai, (Retd) Chairman & Managing Director, Heavy Engineering Corporation, Ranchi & (Retd) Managing Director & CEO, Walchandnagar Industries - One of the most important factors contributing to supply chain success or failure is transparency

A green Supply Chain Management (SCM) is the need of the hour in order to have an efficient ecological/energy balance in the universe. In the context of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan programme and the ambition to ‘Make in India’ for the world, the need for a robust SCM at par with global standards will be very essential. In a situation like this, the need for digitalisation in SCM is crucial. Stemming from digital transformation, the fourth industrial revolution would allow firms, when developing supply chain management strategies, to attain flexibility & agility, thereby creating more value. This end-to-end supply chain connectivity through the era of digitalisation could place firms in the position of competitive advantage where they would be able to meet customer-changing needs more efficiently. One of the most important factors contributing to supply chain success or failure is transparency. As consumers demand higher quality products with more personalisation, the supply chain becomes more complex and demanding.

Navid Talib, Manufacturing Operations Head, Honda Cars India - GSCM should become a part of corporate strategy

For a good green supply chain strategy, firstly, we need to establish long-term sustainability goals and then try to cascade good practices all the way down to lower-tier suppliers. Secondly, we should emphasise social and environmental responsibility, along with economic considerations, at every level of the supply chain. And lastly, the promotion of the best practices should be encouraged. There is a need to interact directly with the procurement people at tier-1 suppliers, with an aim to create a cascade of sustainable practices that flow smoothly throughout the supply network. Green Supply Chain Management (GSCM) should become a part of corporate strategy and business goal. The implementation and initiative should focus the entire cycle from the start till finish (designing to recycling). In India, digitisation is huge these days, but the mindset change from ‘digital equals computers’ to ‘digital in everything’ is still very much a work-in-progress. The rapid and continuous growth of Indian industries has brought great challenges towards energy resource security but the industry’s concern towards the environment is comparatively very low and the knowledge on sustainability practices limited.

Lancy Barboza, Managing Director, Flomic Global Logistics - Digitisation is the answer to a transparent supply chain

India is growing into a viable alternative investment destination on the back of the Government’s manufacturing linked incentives, as global manufacturing and supply chain get readjusted to the different situations brought about by the pandemic. To meet its climate goals under the Paris Agreement, the country will have to further ramp up its efforts to decarbonise the industrial sector. COVID-19 has taught us that India has a huge opportunity to emerge as a preferred business destination during and after the pandemic. As for a transparent supply chain, digitisation is the answer, and this is slowly visible now. The remarkable growth of e-commerce in India has raised the expectations of customers to increased service levels, highlighting an urgent need for the private sector to adopt newer supply chain technologies to become more competitive. In fact, e-commerce, a part of the overall digital supply chain theme, has the potential to grow significantly by 2026 given the way it is expanding.

Image Gallery

  • Sharmila Annaswamy

    Industiral IoT Analyst

    IoT Analytics

  • Harshawardhan Wadikar

    Head of Innovation – Product & Quality

    Kosh Energy Technologies

  • GK Pillai

    (Retd) Chairman & Managing Director, Heavy Engineering Corporation, Ranchi

    (Retd) Managing Director & CEO, Walchandnagar Industries

  • Navid Talib

    Manufacturing Operations Head

    Honda Cars India

  • Lancy Barboza

    Managing Director

    Flomic Global Logistics

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