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Sekaran Letchumanan

Vice President – Operations

Flex India

1 Rating

SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT We need to concentrate on the supply chain

Jan 12, 2021

In this interview with Juili Eklahare, Sekaran Letchumanan, Vice President – Operations, Flex India (Flex is a multinational electronics contract manufacturer), throws light on how the company has come above the coronavirus pandemic, what its water policy focuses on and its challenge of maintaining a secured manufacturing process. Excerpts…

Flex has managed to come above the coronavirus pandemic very well. Can you tell us how the company managed that and the action-plan it carried out for it?

In India, we restored our operation strategically and in compliance with the Indian government mandates. Around the beginning of the crisis in January 2020, we formed a global task force to handle the COVID-19 situation, which has had insights into the ever-evolving supply chain events & has been able to introduce internal changes & collaborate with our key supply partners to manage our supply chain.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic put the electronics manufacturing industry in jeopardy? What must be done to reboot it again post-COVID?

Apart from the mass migration to remote work, as workers were advised to stay home, COVID-19 has far more consequences for the business process. Perhaps most importantly, supply chains were disrupted, creating shipping delays for manufacturers of electronics. The initiatives launched by the Government of India have been a crucial move in enabling the growth of electronics in our country. For a start, we need to concentrate on the supply chain & the ecosystem of suppliers within the country and take a closer look at how we can reduce the number of components that are currently being imported.

Flex was recently recognised for corporate sustainability leadership by global environmental non-profit CDP, securing a place on its ‘A List’ for tackling water security. How did the company manage this task in times like the COVID-19 pandemic?

Our water policy focuses on reducing usage where possible, using recycling in our more intensive applications and implementing rainwater collection systems. In addition, our company is also a founder member and an active participant of the Responsible Minerals Initiative that promotes mitigating social & environmental impacts of extraction and processing of raw materials in supply chain.

What are the biggest challenges to profitability that your company faces? How are you addressing these?

Maintaining a secured manufacturing process is one of the biggest challenges we have faced. In order to serve new consumers, demand fluctuations, end-of-life goods, etc, we are continually managing dynamic, ever-evolving supply chains while detecting, tracking and working through any possible supply disruptions. Plus, a team of experts at Flex evaluates and makes informed decisions on the shifting supply chain landscape to reduce identified & unknown customer risks by leveraging digital tools.

What do you see as the electronic manufacturing industry’s strengths going forward? How do you plan to make the best of these for your company ahead?

The emerging Industry 4.0 technologies provide cost benefits, improve efficiencies and have changed the competitive landscape. Our company has over 20 design & innovation centres worldwide which help customers in creating distinctive, high-value products. Our manufacturing team is committed towards responsible manufacturing operations to minimise its environmental impact and promote worker safety & support its communities.

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