In an interaction with Industry Outlook, Ashutosh Varshney, Head - SCM & Logistics, Canon India shares his views on how supply chain management is evolving in India and what are the challenges and opportunities.
According to recent report, the global supply chain management market is projected to reach $37.41 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 11.2 percent. How do you see this market evolving in India? How are organizations using the power of technology to efficiently manage their supply chain?
Supply chain in India is poised to grow at a phenomenal rate. Our economy is booming and supply chain plays a very pivotal role in this. In India, about a decade ago, the supply chain
was quite fragmented, which would mean that there were different sets of people doing different set of activities within supply chain, and it was not integrated. And more than 90 percent of the supply chain within India was under the gamut of unorganized sector. However, in the last few years, this sector has seen a lot of transformation and a lot of change, especially towards improvement in terms of technology, in terms of quality, as well as in terms of companies who are having big names globally coming in the fray in India.
This has really seen a considerable improvement within our country. For example, Canon in India is doing business in digital imaging and printing industry and every product that we sell in India is imported from our most high end factories in East and Far East. Such products need to be imported in a timely manner and provided to the customer. So, this is completely into real part of supply chain from factory production shipments to transit to India to pass through the Indian customs into the domestic warehousing, domestic leg of transportation and finally reaching the end customer through our national distributors, or dealers, or our own brand stores. So the whole part becomes now integrated.
Earlier, every part used to be a separate activity done by separate set of people with no connectivity or transparency. But that has undergone a transformation during the last few years and Canon was a forerunner into getting this thing done. And I still feel very proud in saying that it was almost 15 to 20 years back, that Canon in India, thought of integrating all the different keys of supply chain into one integrated, and we started working through integrated 3PL supply chain specialist supporting us in our supply chain needs.
While we did that, then the next stage was how to bring technology into our operations. And we are right now having almost every part of our operation, which is connected digitally between us and our 3PL partner. Hardly do we have manual interventions in between, and everything is on a digital platform. One side is between Canon and the 3PL partner, on the other side is Canon to our customer. So, to whomsoever we sell, we have also evolved in a big manner, giving transparency to our operations through technology.
For example, if a distributor of ours who places supply order with us would not need to check with anyone on a manual basis and can go into the systems and find out what is the condition of the purchase order in terms of availability in terms of financial requirements in terms of shipping, and when it finally got shipped and when it is expected to be delivered to him and finally how it got delivered. Everything is on the system. And one can track each and everything from the system on their status. Not only we do it for order, we do it for the complete transactions in a particular period. For example, somebody can check for over a month or over a particular period, how did their orders go in terms of their numbers, values, timelines, and may compare it with different duration of time as well and see the trends and do a lot of analytics. So we have progressed a lot on to the technological side as well. By integrating on this side and on the other side of our customers as well, we are the link in between providing the seamless information to our customers.
Which technologies do you think have massive potential for the supply chain management industry, but are yet to be implemented?
There are a lot of companies globally who are now in India or are willing to come into India, and they bring with them a lot of technological advanced solutions in the supply chain domain. So, companies are now connecting to these solutions based on the need and requirement. So, while this is a transformation happening. There are companies who are taking lead in this manner to make it much more transparent and visible to the customers and other companies are also in the spree of joining this.
Many changes are happening after GST got implemented in 2017 middle and there have been a lot of technological advancement on the GST front, in terms of how your shipments are moving out of the warehouse, how they are getting captured in various forms on different formats and being tracked on an online business. So, there is a change happening for sure. And we as Canon are one among the leading companies to integrate our operations into such solutions to become much more transparent, visible, efficient and online at any point of time.
How are new technologies making an impact on digital imaging products and solutions?
Technology for digital imaging is evolving fast. Canon is a leading technological player in providing solutions and hardware for digital imaging, from scanners to equipment, and also into various applications like archiving, document retrieval, print document services or managed document services. During the pandemic, a lot of work is going on in the medical side, which includes the digitization part of it or the digital applications. And Canon is very strong in most of these arenas, and we are actually working with all the leading players in the market for the digital requirements. Be it any big medical company, any company in banking services, or financial sectors, they are completely involved today in a handling a lot of documents, activities, and research. They are all connected with Cannon in some way or the other.
The current time has given us an opportunity to leap forward into our operations and growth and we are looking forward to a good period from now onwards into the digital space.