Saturday, October 11, 2008

Milestones - Ops Strategy

Models, Analytics, Strategies. Numbers and graphs whizzed by as I sat at the MILESTONES event listening to the talented teams presenting their analysis on how to improve the performance of Suguna chicken in the poultry industry. And to judge the event, we had one eminent alumni, Rakesh Rajora, Vice president, Global Operational excellence lead at Accenture.

Suguna Chicks from NITIE, Khushboo and Pragya, ( the only all women team) presented a deeply thought out sensitivity analysis on how the price of the feed affects the cheating behavior in the farmers and why the incentive schemes should be modified to alter that behavior. Team Famous from FMS, Abhinav & Ayesha followed next with their well calculated regression models proving 12 month cyclicity. As Rakesh pointed out at the end, their strategy revolved around 2 anchoring points 1) long term contracts with suppliers of feed and 2) long term contracts with poultry farms.

The team from ISB of Biya & Ashwin followed next with their great out of the box ideas. They suggested buffering through relying on processed chicken, avoiding prize volatility through short futures contracts and penalty for farms with high mortality rates. They also presented an alternative ownership model which shall help reduce the agency problem in this industry.

Matching the import to demand of processed chicken with a 13 week lead time shall give 40% improvement in profits - Aditya Gupta and CPT from IIMB proved this point and many others as they presented on issues in pricing, incentives and supply chain. They talked about the need for cluster farming to reduce expenses in transportation and supply chains.

After the round of graphs and models, it was a welcome change to see the colorful and attractive slides from Gopal Kapoor and Akash Gahni from MDI. They had their share of graphs also but they looked nicer in their presentation.

During all these presentations, we had a great amount of learning as Rakesh gave his insights on various concepts such as Swarm intelligence, CRM, ERP, SCM, floatilla, soft selling etc. He also talked about the importance of talking to the people who are actually in the field to take their inputs on the subject. As a concluding remark, he explained the importance of applying the theoretical frameworks we learn in the classes to the actual field issues and of continuous learning. I am sure the participants got great value as they got a new mentor in Rakesh.

The out of the box thinking presented by the team from ISB fetched them the first prize and the team from IIMB followed next to win the second prize. All in all, this was a wonderful event which provided great return on time spent :)

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