Sidharth Prasad had the privilege of being selected to undertake his summer internship and consecutively, the Management Trainee program at Asian Paints, an 80-year-old legacy brand in the FMCD sector.
Asian Paints is the third largest paint company in Asia, serving consumers in more than 60 countries. Beyond paints, Asian Paints has been on an ambitious growth strategy to become a premier home decor brand.
LEAP is one of the most sought-after Management Trainee programs out there for MBA students. Asian Paints puts the fresh graduates in a 4.5-months of management trainee stint. After completion of the same, Sidharth was offered a role directly as the Demand Planning Manager.
Curious to find out more about the experiences that await you as a Management Trainee in the Supply Chain domain? Well, here is a recount of his enriching experience with Asian Paints, filled with anecdotes of learning.
Why did you choose Asian Paints over any other company during your summer internship process?
Even before joining Asian Paints from NMIMS Mumbai, I was already excited about the notion of joining a company that has always been at the forefront of enabling a technology-driven and robust supply chain.
Whether it was through Pre-placement Talks or articles published in newspapers or on the web, I was well aware of the steps the company had taken to ensure that it was ahead of the curve in its creation of a technology-driven supply chain.
What about Asian Paints impressed you the most?
The company has a long list of firsts to its name. It was one of the first companies in the country to invest in a supercomputer for demand forecasting, and it developed a system of bases and tints to reduce the total number of SKUs and improve distribution efficiency.
The company also uses a direct-to-dealer servicing approach rather than a distributor one, guaranteeing that the company handles end-to-end servicing without the need for any intermediaries. In fact, Asian Paints serves a larger number of dealers than there are SBI ATMs in the country. Knowing all of this, I was ecstatic to be a member of such a company and eager to experience everything for myself.
Tell us in brief, about the project you are working on and how is this project going to help the company?
I started with the company in a demand planning position, something I had always wanted to do. Sinking my teeth into all of the processes and systems that had been built up over the years seemed tough from the start, but as time went on, getting to grips with all of the complexities of the role looked worthwhile. Asian Paints' technological superiority is unrivaled, from the use of advanced machine learning models to enhance current time series-based forecasts to the use of demand sensing activities during the epidemic to deal with dynamic and ever-changing scenarios.
Take us through some of the steps taken by the organization to stand at the forefront of innovation.
There has always been a push to look for new techniques or models that can help the company in predicting demand more accurately and with greater consistency. Even now, all of us are encouraged to learn new tools, experiment with new methodologies, and come up with new approaches to tackle existing problems.
When it comes to Procurement, the company has already undertaken multiple projects to improve product formulation and sourcing efficiency and the team is on a constant lookout for breakthrough opportunities in material cost saving through collaboration and ideation between various internal and external stakeholder teams. The company was able to identify new material sources and improve manufacturing processes to help reduce overall material costs and wastage.
What are some of the digital innovations undertaken by Asian Paints to become customer-centric?
We've advanced toward Industry 4.0 standards in our factories, which allow the company to operate, monitor, and optimize its production processes through data analysis. In terms of distribution, the company has established a completely automated warehouse using SAP's S/4HANA extended warehouse management system in order to provide a speedier and more cost-effective service.
Looking ahead, the organization is putting a lot of emphasis on expanding digital integration in the supply chain. Advanced Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning algorithms, Advanced Analytics, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are just a few of the options being investigated to assist improve overall Supply chain efficiency and performance.
What is something you feel excited about that brings you to work every single day?
I feel excited looking at the opportunities that I will have in the supply chain team to increase automation and efficiency in our processes and practices and more so to take calculated risks and be fearless in challenging the usual way of doing things that impact not just me and my team, but the entire organization as well.
There is also a huge focus on decision-making that’s backed by data. Due to this, I am on a constant lookout for ensuring sustainability and improved productivity in all endeavors that impact me and all internal and external stakeholders I work with.
What makes Asian Paints' state-of-the-art Supply Chain stand out from its competitors?
This constant push from the company to ideate and experiment that can help drive growth and improve efficiency is what I believe makes the supply chain of Asian Paints one of the most robust, efficient, and state-of-the-art in the industry.
Asian Paints also believes that its employees are at the core of the organization and hence provide avenues for immense functional learning and exposure, and personal/professional development.
The idea is to make its people future-ready, and I believe this will hold me in good stead for my future.
If you wish to be part of the colorful world of Asian Paints, click here and know more!