Responsiveness is what drives continuous innovation in products and continuous change in the ways we organise businesses and serve customers. Even within supply chains that emphasize responsiveness, there are segments of those supply chains that should focus on efficiency. Efficiency is critical wherever there are high volumes of predictable products moving between facilities. For example, segments of supply chains that connect factories with warehouses or distribution centres should be as efficient as possible. They should use the most efficient transportation modes and delivery schedules, and those facilities should automate their operations as much as possible. Companies have to dynamically respond to these forces and adjust to the new parameters through the judicious use of Information Technology. Farooqi Shaukat Ali, Director- Warehouse & Inland Logistics, Allanasons explains to Upamanyu Borah how IT is being leveraged to provide competitive edge in products and services at lower costs by the company, and that this continues to transform over time as customer preferences, market conditions, and business models change, however operations always remain steadfast to focus on efficiency and responsiveness amid evolving scenarios.
Genesis and operations
In 1865, with a vision and mission to put India on the global agro industries map Brand Allana was born. The conglomerate, with dedication over the years, has become a renowned leader in agro exports— spices, coffee, bakery ingredients, edible oil and premium ice-cream, amongst others.
Decades of experience—technology implementation and engineering innovations—today has helped Allana to maintain a robust supply chain system in place. Catering to complex supply chain needs of sourcing, manufacturing, storage, internal transfers, exports and distribution, team Allana has gained immense expertise whilst managing a cost-efficient supply chain.
To complement and nurture India’s agro growth, in year 2014, Allana started to provide services to dairy, poultry, seafood, fruits and perishables, along with addressing temperature-controlled logistics and distribution requirements of the pharma industry as well.
Time is the essence of every action and Allana values customer’s time and trust, as it engages quickly and efficiently to offer the right service levels. The company has seen consistent growth in customer base while retaining customers near 100%, which is a benchmark in itself.
The brand Allana built with passion to serve customers is instilled in the minds of each employee. Non comparable standards and service levels have showcased our popularity in 3PL vertical in short span of time.
COVID-19 and tackling disruptions
We at Allana create processes and procedures like a tank that can withstand the impact of a natural hazard. An asset base of 100+ refrigerated trucks and 66,000+ metric tonnes of cold storage space with most modern logistics and distribution practices make us no vulnerable to disruptive circumstances. The dynamic nature of the group quickly re-adjusts to overcome and sustain through tough times with ease.
New awareness and supply chain programs are continuously developed to foster incorporation of the lessons learned from disasters and the findings from social research into mitigation practice. To be effective, mitigation requires a multidisciplinary team; each discipline has a role and contribution to make. Close communication and coordination among suppliers, distributors, and stakeholders increase the likelihood of effective mitigation programs that are implemented.
Flexibility in times of supply chain uncertainty
Allana is hard in its approach of sustaining a quality supply chain. We are flexible to adapt to newer systems and practices. When a company is resilient, unexpected is overturned to make it an opportunity. Great opportunities don’t come every day – and we at Allana recognise and seize them with every chance we get. Each of such opportunity and experience is cemented well to our overall functioning and operational structure. Similarly, every crisis contains the seeds of opportunity and we have already recognised those and doing the needful.
In a dynamic world, an adjustive approach to actions makes us flexible to fulfil needs of our customers, both internal and external. Experience being the strength and expertise acquired through systematic learning, our strategy is therefore always to lean towards customer feedback. Customer feedback enables us to build techniques and tactics that help to provide quality services at optimised spends. Simply put, it’s about understanding the way the business interacts with customers and how we provide them with a consistent experience whenever and wherever they need it.
We analyse and study customer-related data based on customers’ previous interactions with our company. For example, we can get a good understanding of our customers by evaluating general requests, product quotes and support enquiries. This data can then be used to create highly targeted products to match customers’ individual preferences, which results in a more personalised experience.
Procedures to optimise SCM
To accommodate the new, modern-day customer, any business needs to think digital first. Companies need a plan that not only outlines which technologies need to be adopted but also protection from digital disruption. That’s why understanding your core systems and processes to identify opportunities are critical before harnessing the potential of digital transformation.
Information technology seamlessly integrates and drives our robust SCM practices. With excellent network of strategically located plants and offices, our IT excellence shapes our operations by capturing key data nodes, measures critical control points, and provides analytics in making decisive decisions across SCM. Our unique approach is in integrating multiple data sources to a single data base—which deliver Management Information Systems (MIS) insights.
We review, redo and keep developing IT solutions. Delivering the right service to the right customer at the right time puts us on a spot where we are well-placed to take advantage of the digital transformation opportunity. Today, personalised experiences are what our customers have come to expect.
Ensuring smooth interplay
While we are customer focussed, we are vendor friendly too. What we see today is a pandemic crisis, however there had been many instances in the past when we have faced economic crisis. Consultative decision making is a habit that we at Allana uphold and which our suppliers, transporters and vendors acknowledge and reciprocate as well with the passion to work alongside. Conversely, as we model balanced decision-making that uses both cognition and intuition, we help to grow our staff with deep awareness helping them become receptive and capable with the ability to frame well-balanced responses.
Our IT systems are built in a fashion where transparency of required data is available at the hit of a key. Inter-departmental coordination and brainstorming is frequent, encouraging healthy competitiveness within the team as well with vendors. We don’t feel a need to pull in the opinions or perspectives of our counterparts. We’d rather together weigh the pros and cons, make a choice, and then loop partners in.
Warehouse and distribution planning strategies
We deploy three planning levels— Strategy, Tactic, and Operations, and this distinguish us from others. Our engineering team innovates and our technology partners integrate them. Custom improvements over decades in areas of maintaining speed, accuracy and integrity of stock put us on a top slot of good warehousing practices. ‘One size does not fit all’ — and this is something we understand well. We ensure we maintain a service that uncovers and analyses untapped possibilities within the warehouse.
Strategically, we are aligned with other business verticals to ensure near 100 per cent occupancy of our cold storage areas. More the occupancy, lesser the energy cost.
Complementary business verticals have also been strategically identified and included.