OPUS 2005 : Operations Seminar at IIM-Kozhikode

OPUS 2005: Operations Seminar at IIM Kozhikode
“Indian Industry at Crossroads: A Century after the Industrial Revolution”
29th October 2005

OPUS 2005, an annual seminar on operations management, was conducted on 29th October 2005 at the Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode in their Calicut campus. The theme of the seminar was “Indian Industry at Crossroads: A Century after the Industrial Revolution.” The seminar focused on the contemporary issues in operations management, and the challenges faced in the same by organizations.

Dr. Saji Gopinath, faculty coordinator for the event, inaugurated the seminar. In his inaugural speech, he talked about how, despite having cutting edge technology, companies suffered because their suppliers did not have the technology to match the manufacturer’s needs.

Mr. Radha Mohan Gupta, Head of Logistics, Reckitt Benckiser, started the seminar with a detailed account of supply chain management, especially in the context of Reckitt Benckiser’s operations in India. He mentioned that the two important functions of supply chain management were physical delivery and market mediation. He talked about how systems and technology were an integral part of supply chain management and how Reckitt Benckiser leveraged technology to manage its hundred and twenty five SKUs.

Mr. Mohamed Iqbal Dabhoiwala, Lead Consultant, Supply Chain Practice, Bristlecone India Ltd then took the center stage with an interesting and interactive session on creating value for the customer. He sketched out the current scenario, how the margins were under severe pressure, and how things like policy changes and varying demand affected the supply chain process. He mentioned how satisfying a customer was not only about delivering a good product, but creating further value through processes like speed of delivery, the quality of support and services offered by the company.

Mr. Narayan Rajagopalachari, Vice President, Global Consulting Services, i2 Technologies dealt with the topic “Driving Agility in an Enterprise”. He talked about how the organization that has the ability to thrive in a continuously changing and increasingly complex market would be the leader of tomorrow. He talked about the key characteristics of an agile organization, and how efficient supply chain management helped in maintaining visibility of a product across the network.

Mr. P. Ravindran, Senior Supdt, Dept. of Central Excise, and adjunct faculty at the CII Institute of Logistics, was the next speaker. He very candidly discussed VAT & Supply Chain Management, with all their benefits and pitfalls, especially from government and tax agencies’ point of view. Through lots of anecdotes and real-life examples of various companies and countries, he illustrated the different architectures and implementation methods of Value Added Tax. He said that if a philosophy of management is followed, it should be followed all the way, not halfheartedly. The importance of paperwork, with its associated constraints, and the need for widespread monitoring in case of a VAT implementation was analyzed.

Mr. G. Ramesh, Head of Knowledge Organization group, Take Solutions, talked about “SCM: Challenges and the Road Ahead.” Through a highly interactive session laced with personal recollections from his own life, he gradually took the participants through an evolution of SCM. He said that markets shouldn’t exist just in the perception of managers, but in the real world, and should be properly tested for their demand levels. He took the audience on an engaging walk through various examples of competent and shoddy SCM implementations.

OPUS 2005 also featured a case study competition named “Opstimum.” The preliminary round had been conducted earlier, with wide participation from top B schools across the country. The selected finalists presented their solutions to a panel of judges from the industry and academia. Mr Aditya Suresh and Mr Krishnan R of Great Lakes Institute of Management placed first. The second place was jointly awarded to the teams from IIM Ahmedabad and SP Jain Institute of Management and Research.

The participants of the seminar went away with rich learning from the masters from operations management, with a view to incorporate it into their careers. According to Ms Lakshmi R, a first year student at IIMK, “This event brought the field of operations into sharp focus. I learnt that even though it’s not considered as ‘glamorous’ as consulting or marketing, it is of crucial importance to any company’s bottomline.”

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