In conversation with ETCIO, Manoranjan Kumar, CIO, Shree Cement, shares the company's journey of reducing turnaround time in supply chain and logistics from 8 hours to 4 hours. Riya Pahuja
With 4 mines, 10 grinding units and more than 4200 customers all over India,Shree Cement claims to be the biggest cement company in India.
Shree Cement runs on Oracle ERP and uses BI tools for analytics and dashboard purposes. One major area where the company has leveraged technology to increase business efficiency is supply chain management. It uses RFID technology to digitalise the supply chain.
“Across all our plants and grinding units, cement and raw materials are being grinded and packed further for distribution purpose. These plants and grinding units are connected for various data communication and ERP communication purposes,” says Manoranjan Kumar, CIO, Shree Cement.
Automation in plants
One of the major areas that needed transformation was supply chain and logistics. Shree Cement implemented IoT in the plants and RFID chips in trucks.
Kumar says, “It earlier took 8 hours for a truck to get through loading and security checks because the entire process was done manually. From checking, verification, movement, loading to payment, everything was manual. We decided to eliminate a lot of this work by deploying IoT.”
The cement company automated the entire process from the beginning to the end. Every truck is registered and given an RFID tag. Through these tags, Shree Cement can track the trucks’ movements. The moment a truck gets into the yard, parking space is allotted to it.
“The trucks simply come and coordinates are registered in seconds for packing. The plants are aware of the number of trucks and their order numbers. Based on this, we create support tickets for packing and forwarding. These are allotted to a truck driver through SMS. They have park their vehicles in the allotted slots and the loading is done,” Kumar says.
Explaining how this decreased the TAT, Kumar says, “Automated systems generate payment slips, rechecking is done by security people, then the truck moves out for delivery. This has reduced the total turnaround from 8 hrs to 3 hrs. The 5 hrs reduction of turnaround time has increased our productivity. Hence, we are able to dispatch more now. We have plants which are capable of loading more trucks. Since the plant can run on its full capacity, we can increase the production levels too. IoT implementation has given us good ROI”.
Once trucks move out from the plant, they are tracked through a GPS system. With this the customers (dealers) are notified about their order. The system transmits communication that informs the dealer about the shipment of their order from the plant. It further helps them track their order in real time. This has also helped the dealers to plan for unloading at their storage destinations.
“We have a fully connected system, from plant to the customer. The system is connected to cloud storage which helps us analyse if there are some delays. Since we have the trucks outsourced, we also get to know which contractor is delaying and why there are delays. Based on this analysis we know which particular transporter is doing good or bad and why. Furthermore, it helps create differential rates for them,” says Kumar.
“We are also planning to enhance dealer experience through a portal that allows them to download their invoices and credit notes. Through this, the dealers would not have to call the support centre,” he avers.
“Today, we send out the credit notes and invoices via courier to customers. The challenge with this is that they get misplaced or mishandled. Once this is digitised, these can be downloaded directly from the portal and further used for GST reconciliation and getting GST credited,” Kumar concludes.