An interconnected supply chain is the need of the hour: Shalabh Raizada, CIO, Stellar Value Chain Solutions

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Speaking to the TechGraph, Shalabh Raizada, Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Stellar Value Chain Solutions said, “An interconnected supply chain is the need of the hour which can help the manufacturers and their supply chain partners build resilience against volatility, cut down lead time and boost responsiveness.”

Read the complete interview here:

TechGraph: Could you help give a sense of how far Stellar Value Chain has come since its existence?

Shalabh Raizada: Well, we have established Stellar Value Chain Solutions as one of the country’s largest tech-enabled 3PL Warehousing and Distribution Solutions company. Since its inception, our focus has always been on bringing in value chain transformation for our clients.

Our supply chain services have been helping more than 1200 top corporates in boosting cost-efficiency and profits with enhanced service standards, fill rates, and technology integration. Technology forms the core of our service delivery backbone, be it our warehouse management system (WMS), proprietary transport management system, customized apps for niche functional requirements, etc.

Our core vision for growth is to co-create integrated supply chain (warehousing and distribution) solutions and deliver agility to our customers through process innovation, technology transformation, human capital development, and a pan India 21-city infrastructure development.

By setting up our facilities in Nagpur in Maharashtra, Surat in Gujarat, Banur in Chandigarh, Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh, and Raipur in Chhattisgarh, we have strengthened our presence with 12 million square feet of warehousing space across all 21 cities which account for 80% of India’s consumption and production pie.

We have integrated our cold chain, express logistics, and partial truckload and less-than-truckload (LTL/PTL) business to offer integrated end-to-end warehousing and distribution solutions. We have also sharpened our focus on three sectors – a) consumer (fashion, retail, durables, consumer packaged goods (CPG), b) e-commerce and c) automotive and industrial to deliver services fortified with advanced technologies.

TechGraph: How exactly does the technology work at Stellar Value Chain?

Shalabh Raizada: As I mentioned, technology is the mainstay of our warehousing and distribution operations. To my mind, technology adoption is the way forward when it comes to liberating the transportation, warehousing, and distribution functionalities from the conventional operational framework and turning those key growth accelerators.

Given the growing customer demands and product and process complexities, technology has emerged as a catalyst for building value propositions. Moreover, technologies build operational resilience to navigate pandemic-like situations with minimum disruptions.

Among the technology integrations we have effectively implemented, a significant one is the introduction of cloud-based enterprise-class supply chain processes from Infor Supply Chain Management solutions into our WMS. Scalable and reconfigurable, the solution delivers superior visibility and cost-efficiency so that our clients can fast-track their go-to-market strategies as well as utilize data analytics to unearth new market opportunities.

Another important and game-changing technology deployment has been our tech-enabled VMI solution which is helping OEMs and Tier-1 vendors control the supply chain costs with an efficient inventory management system.

The tech-enabled VMI solution integrates operations between Tier-1 vendors and OEMs through seamless information sharing and business process reengineering using technology that sharpens the competitive edge. In addition, our tech-enabled transportation management system (TMS) called Stellar TMS offers real-time visibility to our clients.

TechGraph: With Machine learning adoption in the supply chain and logistics sector is speeding up. How Stellar Value Chain is going to capitalize the same?

Shalabh Raizada: At Stellar, we are integrating ML in applications across supply chains – for example, conventional methods would need a user to perform an ABC analysis and place the incoming products in a pre-defined location – our algos now perform this task enabling an efficient put-away and picking process.

Or for example, processing thousands of invoices from hundreds of vendors – without EDI or ASNs could have been a humongous manual effort – a combination of IDP, ML, and RPA brings in efficiency improvements of over 75 % Tech-enabled innovation would continue to be the mainstay of our end-to-end SCM Operations.

TechGraph: What is your view on the role of technology in redefining the logistics sector amid the outbreak of the covid pandemic?

Shalabh Raizada: The pandemic has exposed a lot of inherent vulnerabilities that have been affecting the supply chain dynamics. If one looks at the brighter side of the pandemic-induced supply chain disruptions, it has set the stage for the adoption of new-age technologies and innovative approaches to build resilience and minimize impact.

Integration of digital technologies and data analytics has transformed the logistics landscape by cutting through the operational complexities and enhancing transparency, integrity, and agility. Data-driven technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), etc. have strengthened the predictive capabilities of the supply chain. Companies across sectors now want their supply chain management service providers to play a more proactive role so that they can react faster to demand volatility and operational glitches.

TechGraph: Do you think tech-powered logistics players can address the logistics gap in India?

Shalabh Raizada: The domestic logistics industry is fragmented in nature and the operational silos spread across the supply chain are adversely impacting the operational and cost efficiency as well as service delivery competencies.

For instance, technology adoption is still low among the majority of small truck operators and the low technology adoption inevitably leads to low-capacity utilization and sub-optimal route optimization as well as limited visibility and tracking arrangements. However, the scenario is tailor-made for the futuristic tech-led logistics and supply chain players to develop data-driven solutions to facilitate better decision-making and resource optimization.

An interconnected supply chain is the need of the hour which can help the manufacturers and their supply chain partners build resilience against volatility, cut down lead time, and boost responsiveness. Tech-focussed supply chain players will play a critical role in initiating data-driven technology play for reducing the efficiency gap prevalent in conventional logistics and supply chain framework.

TechGraph: How do you see technologies namely Machine Learning, with regard to their relevance across the supply chain and logistics sector? What does the future look like?

Shalabh Raizada: The consumer-focussed supply chain is fast becoming extremely competitive and in this era of e-commerce and hyper-local time-sensitive deliveries, factors like cost-efficiency, profitability, and customer experience have become critical for companies to ensure sustainable growth.

Disruptive technologies like Machine Learning (ML), Artificial Intelligence (AI), etc. will play a vital role in the new-age supply chain dynamics by automating routine tasks, thus ensuring more effective resource deployment, process optimization, and demand analysis.

Technologies like ML have a multidimensional impact on supply chain operations as these applications pave the way for predictive analytics-led demand forecasting, better inventory management, effective route optimization, and superior customer service. Going forward, we’ll witness a more strategic interplay of ML, AI, and deep analytics to take supply chain efficiency to the next level.

TechGraph: What is the roadmap for Stellar Value Chain, going forward?

Shalabh Raizada: As we have strengthened our presence in 21 key cities of the country, we are now well-positioned to redefine supply chain dynamics with our state-of-the-art infrastructure and technological leadership to our clients. By sharpening our focus on three sectors – consumer, e-commerce, and automotive & industrial, we aim to further enhance our sector-specific service delivery competencies.

The rationale behind zeroing in on the three sectors is that they account for over 80% of the organized supply chain market. The strategy is to decrease touch points or handling points for our customers, helping them to achieve cost-efficiency and economies of scale.

Our larger goal is to set up sustainable warehousing and transportation services for corporates across India to help them boost efficiencies to unlock value in their supply chains. We are playing our part to bring India among the top five positions in the Logistics Performance Index.