“The future is in digitally connected products”

Today, digital connectivity and automation is evident across all industries globally. Leveraging the same, Schneider Electric has setup its Smart Distribution Centre (SDC) at the DHL facility located at the warehouse hub of Mumbai
Today, digital connectivity and automation is evident across all industries globally. Leveraging the same, Schneider Electric has setup its Smart Distribution Centre (SDC) at the DHL facility located at the warehouse hub of Mumbai, in Bhiwandi. Javed Ahmad (JA), Senior VP, Global Supply Chain- India, Middle East & Africa and East Asia & Japan and Anil Chaudhry (AC), Country President & MD, Schneider Electric, Greater India discusses about the company’s new initiatives and its new Smart Distribution Centre (SDC).
 
Tell us about the new SDC, Bhiwandi?
AC: This SDC inauguration reconfirms our commitment of imparting and implementing more efficiency towards our customers and supply chain using digital technology and our global EcoStruxure platform and architecture solutions. 
 
We have had a long presence in India and our focus here is to provide efficient, sustainable, reliable, connected and digital solutions. We are leveraging Industry 4.0 platform as the future is in digitally connected products. All our manufacturing facilities in India are using the state-of-the-art EcoStruxure platform for our plants. 
 
This DHL-Bhiwandi facility is our 5th SDC across the globe. All our upcoming DCs will also be adopting EcoStruxure solutions. This SDC is making converting processes to digital and the applications which are deployed, makes the whole supply chain end-to-end smart. 
Our partnership with DHL, a specialist in the logistics industry, makes the whole experience more efficient from the logistics, technology and management perspectives. One third of the total space will be dedicated to Schneider Electric where our solutions are making difference. Interestingly, this is our first association with a logistics specialist. 
 
How will EcoStruxure make difference in logistics management? 
AC: Our customers will be able to monitor, track and will have the access to how their products and solutions are being supplied in real-time, despatch details and expected delivery. JA: Our primary objective is to grant a superior customer experience. There are some soft and hard aspects that we look at which becomes base while building such a solution. Soft aspects like interactions, data and information sharing, system feasibility, alerts, trouble shooting etc, while the hard aspects comprise of physical delivery, transporter’s ON- and OFF-time, the service levels etc. We consider both hard and soft aspects to build operations more easy, efficient and reliable. Using this information, our analytics and our solution team, we aim to make the upstream of the supply chain more efficient. This solution facilitates on-time deliveries and at the same time tracks the status online. 
 
AC: Moreover, we are present across 150 locations in the country, thus, high degree of availability and delivery in time. In line with the Government of India’s Make In India initiative, almost 50 per cent of what we produce in India is exported. About 70 to 75 per cent of our domestic solutions are manufactured locally while a very small share is imported to complete the solution.
 
How Schneider Electric does cater to customer requirements?
JA: Our customers like distributors, panel builders, contractors today have various requirements. We ensure that feedback and requirements are well perceived by the team and we bring those capabilities in our processes and to our customers. Currently, 17 different capabilities have been deployed in our supply chain.
 
How has Schneider Electric contributed towards clean and green energy?
JA: We always ensure that we do our business in a sustainable manner. Thus, we consider using renewable energy across our locations. We also participate in the energy exchange where we are trading energy to make sure that we get the best renewable energy possible. For this, we have purchased power agreements from renewable energy companies and we are trying to source power, wherever it is feasible for us. We also have solar roof and solar panels on our factories and distribution centres. 
 
AC: With increasing dependence over connected world, the energy becomes a core element in the infrastructure development. With energy growth, we will have a market. Even this Smart distribution Centre is set up in a tier-3 city of Bhivandi. Soon, there will be more electrification hapenning in the villeges located near the tier-3 cities.
 
Tell us about EcoStruxure’s power management?
JA: We have different tools which are deployed under the umbrella of EcoStruxure Power where we have all our connected products like energy meters. We collect all data about power consumption and we analyse those using different parameters. For instance, equipment which is supposed to consume an X amount of power per hour and if note that the said device consuming more than the expected limit, it helps to zero in and root the problem. We also monitor usage patterns. Suppose in the night where the volume is low, thus we do not need energy usage everywhere thus features like automatic switch off and on, the sensors etc products of Schneider can help to make plants more efficient. 
 
How does a supplier benefit from your new app?
AC: As all our products are connected, a user will be required to log into our portal to know all details of installation. Our factory too has all connected products. We have a control a dedicated tower near this new facility where we get end-to-end visibility from our suppliers. We can fetch details of any import consignment enters our system like which container it is using, time it left the port from source, time of delivery port, the custom clearance, documentation, handling from the port to factory to the distribution centre, packaging the product to the truck and the final delivery. All paper work in the process is cut down and all that is available to our customers on our interaction tool known as My SE, available on portal as well as an app. Using this, customers can do invoicing, seek information of our products, can place orders, stock available, transit movements, time for delivery, changing logistics operator, moving shipment destination etc, thereby, making it more flexible. 
 
JA: Additionally, we also have a data analysis team who keeps a check over performance of the entire supply chain. We are currently looking ahead to co-plan with our distributors, where distributor stocks place can also be seen on our systems. This co-plan initiative will be conducted initially with few of our distributors who are willing to do so and will be scaled up later. 
 
We are also setting up Reorder Points on My SE. Let’s say, if customer goes to reorder points section on web portal or app, our system will suggest them that they are running low on the said stock and order for the same will be placed easily on a single click. A distributor can also set some limits where regular alerts of the stock status will be provided, giving them full control. Thus, this will differentiate us from many others in the industry and will help our partners to be more successful and be able to serve their customers efficiently. 
 
Tell us about your skilling programme.
AC: Our corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative trains youth in electrician trade across our 300 training centres. Around 125,000 people have been trained. We also provide placements to the newly trained candidates. 
JA: Additionally, about 74 per cent of women represent our workforce at our Hyderabad facility while over 34 per cent of the workforce of Schneider Electric comprise of women. Through our initiatives women have also entered shop floor equalling men as electricians. 
 
How does DHL benefit from Schneider Electric solutions?
JA: DHL has an expertise in warehouse operations and thus they have their own warehouse management systems and our products integrate well with their systems. We have a digital tool which checks over the quality aspects of logistics. Our other system, customer complaint rate (CCR), keeps an eye on their shipments. It checks elements such as whether the shipment has right product, right quantity, is it a mixed up shipment, and correctness of the paper work including all taxation charges and other charges. Even customer reviews of the shipment are taken into consideration to understand and to know whether the delivery reached on time and in a rational condition.
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