GenOps, the Operations Club of MISB Bocconi, Powai in Mumbai organised its first ever Conclave, “OpClave.” The topic under discussion was “A Look into the Future: OMNI-CHANNEL OPERATIONS”. Aim here was to provide a bird eye’s view about how these omni-channels in business are affecting the daily functioning. The event was well attended by professionals from Banking, Aviation, Telecommunications, FMCG and Pharmaceutical industries having vast experiences in their respective fields. MISB Bocconi students attended the event with great zeal.
The conversation was moderated by Mr. Ritesh Jain who is heading Retail with IBM India Private Limited. It began with the definition and importance of omni-channel which was different for each panelists’ industry. Mr. Prasad Routray, Vice President and Business Head, AirTel spoke for his industry stating, “All channels are important for this business. In an online acquisition platform (for example customers shifting from Prepaid to Postpaid or vice-versa), AirTel experiences a 14% dip in costs. It also makes content circulation easier and more consumer friendly.” Mr. Umesh Kapre, Senior Vice President, Glenmark negated for his sector, “Pharma industry runs on multiple regulations and hence moving from one channel to another becomes costly and time consuming. In addition, depending on the level of change, be it minor, moderate or major, the industry analyses the amount of investment required.” Vice Presidentand Head Supply Chain of Ferrero, Mr. Rohit Batra had a different opinion. He explained that a manufacturing company dealing in FMCG needs to have consistency across geographies. It is of paramount importance that such companies utilise multiple channels at their disposal.
SACE’s Head of South Asia, Mr. Amit Roy, who works in a quick and dynamic industry that faces change almost on a daily basis voiced the conflict that though it is being regulated by policies, it is important to maintain consistency in customer touchpoints. Technology has advanced and it is not only changing cost structure but also providing data to understand the customer. Mr. Narendra Mansukhani, works as the General Manager of Guest Experience at Jet Airways, a highly customer centric industry. He explained that customers are well aware of their environment and are exposed to multiple choices, hence it is mandatory to indulge in omni-channels or else it may run out of business. Though he also pointed that changes in Sales channel, Processes adopted and Customer behaviour are slow to accept change and there is a need of data analytics to enhance customer experience.
The discussion followed addressing the question of why there is a need to move to omni-channel and what possible challenges may be faced during this shift. Mr. Routray elucidated that because of advent in technology and customer awareness, it is necessary to follow the change. There would be a transformation in the roles of employees because of this. Mr. Mansukhani, opinionated there would be clarity and visibility of inventory through this. Challenges would be the changing mindset of customers and the high investments which technology would demand. In addition to that, Mr. Batra understands that there should be a balance of online and offline channels and this may actually benefit both sets of parties, the buyer and the seller. In turn, this would hit mainly 2 P’s of Marketing, Price and Place.
Mr. Roy, exclaims, “It’s not a choice. Market Valuation has moved to entities which utilise omni-channels. Cost of doing certain business has decreased whereas the increments have increased. In accordance to that, businesses are getting extremely dependent on data to make decision. Also, cost to income ratio is decreasing with FinTech start-ups pressuring other businesses to continue with the trend.” Mr. Kapre believes inventory management and advent of generic drugstores demand a shift in business models. Mindset of people poses a problem to the pharmaceutical industry in addition to many regulations.
To summarise, some panellists agreed that while moving to omni-channel presence is not optional, but there are industries which will not be in a position to adapt quickly. The conversation left the listeners with a clearer understanding of these industries. It closed on a general note advising students to be open to change, understand the technological changes and be aware of the dynamic environment.