Media Report: FMCGCONNECT 2019

Organised by Surecom Media, FMCGCONNECT 2019FMCG Supply Chain Conference was convened at Shangri- La’s – Eros Hotel, New Delhi on April 11, 2019. This year’s edition was endowed with participation by more than 200 delegates- logistics head of leading FMCG firms, LSPs, airlines, shipping lines, road transport companies, facilitators, and vendors of FMCG. Five intriguing panel discussions were held in the conference which touched each and every aspect of India’s FMCG supply chain.

Ajeet Kumar, Surecom Media’s Director, provided the opening remarks and noted the organisation’s commitment to delivering first-rate logistics conferences from their CONNECT series of conferences, to the entire industry. The conference formally commenced with the lighting of lamp by dignitaries- Samir Chaturvedi, Head- Supply Chain Mangement, Patanjali Ayurved Ltd; Amit Dhume, National Head – Logistics, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages; Vineet Kanaujia, Chief Marketing Officer, Safexpress Pvt Ltd; Piush Goyal, Managing Director, Kelley Material Handling Equipment India; and Smiti Suri, Publisher– Surecom Media.

The 1st panel discussion of the conference on ‘Balancing Well Connected Distribution Networks on Low Operational Costs’ elucidated the distribution channel structure in India, which is largely traditional and quite unique. With a significant part of the market including unorganised players selling unbranded and unpackaged products, the industry is facing intense competition, characterised by complex distribution networks, forcing firms to constantly work on supply chain innovation. In order to develop and maintain an efficient supply chain, the companies focus on availability of products in the complex distribution network. The panel saw eminent speakers- Samir Chaturvedi, Head – Supply Chain Mangement, Patanjali Ayurved Ltd; Divyanshu Tambe, Executive Director – Transport & Logistics, M&A, Ernst & Young; Sanjiv Chopra, Chief Operating Officer, RSPL Group; Amit Dhume, National Head – Logistics, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages; and Anil Arora, Founding Partner, Aetos Growth Partners, who converged to discuss and deliberate on the challenges that companies in India face in designing, constructing, and managing distribution channels on the ground.

In the 2nd panel discussion, Mihir Mohanta, General Manger (SCM)- International Business, Mother Dairy Fruit & Vegetable; Praveen Jain, Head- Supply Chain, Adani Wilmar Ltd; K Udyan Kohli, Head- Supply Chain, Hyfun Foods; Keyur Doshi, Head- Supply Chain, Vadilal Group; Atul Holkar, Head- Supply Chain Management, Varun Beverages- Pepsico; Kannan Thangaraj, Head- Centre of Excellence, Sical Supply Chain Solutions, brainstormed on the issues pertaining to ‘Distribution Networks – Winning Platforms’. The wide canvas of questions that were debated ranged from critical issues like achieving efficiency in sales and distribution of Fast Moving Consumer Goods, to complex ones such as greater standardisation and visibility, network design and planning, etc.

The 3rd panel discussion of the conference ‘Opportunities in FMCG Logistics – Rural India’ brought on stage Sagar Anand Kurade, Managing Director, Suman Project Consultants Pvt Ltd; Rajesh Pednekar, International Expert, Pharma Supply Chain; Ajith John, Senior General Manager – Supply Chain, Diageo India; and R Parameshwaran, National Manager (Corporate & Major Accounts), V-Xpress (a division of V-Trans India Ltd), who briefed on integrated and collaborative approaches to develop sustainable supply and value chains that will enable Indian FMCG companies to steadily reduce costs, increase their flexibility and delivery reliability by maintaining a strong distribution network across rural India, and benefitting from the contribution of technological advances such as internet and better logistics services. And, that in order to maximise their volume sales and product penetration the companies need to identify the most feasible sales channel route.

The post lunch session kicked off with the 4th panel discussion on ‘Purchase order management/ Contract Logistics.’ Addressing a dozen of questions of relevance on highly distributed supply chains in the FMCG industry, characterised by contract manufacturing and packaging models as well as cross-company inventory management methods, and contract manufacturers, co-packers, multiple tiers of suppliers, and third-party logistics providers (3PL)s who also play a key role, industry leaders- Debajit Bhattacharyya, Vice President Procurement, Havmor Ice Cream Ltd; Rajat Sharma, Head- SCM, Hamilton; Ajith John, Senior General Manager – Supply chain, Diageo India; Keyur Doshi, Head- Supply Chain, Vadilal Group; and Sumit Sharma, Co-Founder, GoBOLT- a Delhi-based logistics tech startup run by Camions Logistics Solutions Pvt Ltd, discussed on the various factors that aims to rationalise success of FMCG companies with increasingly requiring them to integrate vertically and virtually to create – and compete as – ecosystems of partners and suppliers.

The 5th and last panel discussion witnessed professionals and specialists from the field- Shobhit Jain, Head- Supply Chain Capability, Technology & Planning, Jubilant Foodworks Ltd; Sumeet Jha, Manager- Supply Chain, Mrs Bector Food Specialities; Kailash Kodvani, Deputy General Manager – Operations, RSPL Group; and Arka Ghosh, Assistant Manager – Planning, Colgate Palmolive, sharing their knowledge and expertise on the topic ‘Re-engineering FMCG supply chains’ and mapping out logistics strategies that need to be closely aligned with a company’s manufacturing and commercial strategies.