The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

September - 2007 - issue > Cover Feature

Drive for excellence will help Indian firms leapfrog into the global arena

Sanjiv Sidhu
Chairman & Co-founder-o9 Solutions
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Sanjiv Sidhu
Over the last 20 years i2 has had the privilege of providing supply chain expertise to some of the world’s leading corporations across many industries. This includes 20 of the 25 corporations that were selected as leaders in supply chain management by AMR Research. Learning best practices from companies such as Texas Instruments, Pepsi, Woolworths Australia, Toyota, Samsung Electronics, Posco Steel and more, has been a great experience.

For this article I was asked to compare i2’s global experience versus the experience of working with Indian corporations. In my interactions with our Indian customers, I often face this question: “How can we reach the highest global standards of supply chain management?” The vigor with which our customers such as Asian Paints, Tata Steel etc. put forth this question indicates that they do not want to lag behind anyone in the global marketplace.

The process of being exposed to their aspirations gives me an eerie sense of déjà vu; the hunger to excel that I see in Indian companies today is similar to the hunger of Korean companies like Samsung, Posco Steel and Hyundai, that I witnessed around ten years ago. I attribute the meteoric rise of these firms to the hunger that these management teams demonstrated, to be the best. Within our management team we often discuss a ‘hunger to excel’ index of our customers. We joke that an investment strategy based on the i2 ‘hunger to excel’ index would create a basket of stocks that will outperform the best investment strategies available. Our Indian customer rank high on this hunger index. The Indian customers we work with have big aspirations and my intuition strongly supports the notion that these aspirations will be exceeded.

Hunger alone is not sufficient to ensure success on a global playing field. Leading Indian corporations possess several additional characteristics that I believe will make them serious contenders. One characteristic that stands out is the quality of management talent. Today’s Indial leadership teams grew up and advanced in an environment where there was a scarcity of jobs. Those who did rise to the top prospered in an intensely competitive environment. This is unlike the developed nations where there was a relative shortage of talent compared to positions that needed to be filled to support a thriving economy. Having succeeded in a highly selective advancement process, the quality of talent at the top of Indian companies is impressive.

Combined with management talent, Indian companies have well developed management disciplines. Our Indian customers demonstrate tremendous thirst to learn and implement global best practices. This sophistication is reflected in the accolades some of the Indian companies have earned internationally. Asian Paints, for example, has been the recipient of the Ken Sharma Award for Supply Chain Excellence. Most of the Indian companies i2 interacts with are extremely keen on improving their systems and adopting process sophistication by investing in real-time supply chain solutions.

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