Women In Logistics And Supply Chain Management (WLSCM) Seminar At NITIE (Part 1/2)

The first one-day seminar on Women in Logistics & Supply Chain Management (WLSCM) in India, jointly organized by CSCM and NCCS, was successfully held on Saturday, Nov 17th, 2018. The discussions of the day acknowledged the role of family support and male mentors for women. Invited dignitaries also called upon the need to strengthen the pipeline for women in manufacturing and supply chain jobs in India through focused mentorship, training, research and partnerships between industry and academia. The event witnessed prominent leaders sharing their journey and tips about the industry.

The discussion started with Professor (Ms.) Karuna Jain, Director of NITIE, sharing her journey on topic Woman Academicians in SCM in her introductory note.

Prof. Dr. Karuna Jain is the only woman Director of a technical institute in post-graduate education in India and of NITIE till date. She shared her journey from being one of 3 women in her engineering days to enrolling in Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering at IIT Kharagpur and then, her stint in Indian Engineering Services which helped her culminate leadership qualities in her. These qualities led her to take prominent positions at SJSOM (IIT Bombay) before joining as the Director of NITIE. She stressed on the role of men in empowering women, citing her brother and father as key role models and support systems.

Few Highlights from her speech: “Women are natural organizers and multi-taskers – both of which are key assets in supply chain management. To survive in this field, one should be ready to have dynamic priorities, be highly self-sufficient and always maintain high levels of integrity and self-respect. More industry-academia partnerships are needed in mentoring, education and research for women in manufacturing and supply chain management.”

The seminar plan started with the first session – MY STORY – wherein key note speakers shared their journey. The second session involved discussion on the topic – Best Practices in Companies today- which will be covered in the latter part of this series.

First session excerpts are mentioned below:

Ms. Himani Kanwal, Director of Supply chain at J&J Medical devices.

Session 1: MY STORY

NITIE alumni of the PGDIM 2000 batch, Ms. Himani Kanwal recalled her early work experiences in the warehousing sector at Dabur and logistics management at Cadburys. She talked about her career growth through roles in planning, logistics, manufacturing, and procurement at Castrol that finally culminated in her current position as Director of Supply Chain at J&J Medical Devices. She also stressed the need for both women and men to have stints in the manufacturing sector in order to survive and thrive in supply chain management.

Few Highlights from her speech: “Ask for more always. From your family, from your parents, your spouse, in-laws, people at work, your manager, manager’s manager. You will be surprised how many times you will get it. Prioritize! Fewer, Bigger, Better. Choose what you think is best in the current scenario. Don’t pick things which have a marginal impact and do them better than anybody else.”


Ms. Harpreet A De Singh, Head Corporate SMS, QMS, EMS, Executive Director and Chief of Flight Safety at Air India Limited.

Session 1: MY STORY

Ms. Harpreet A De Singh is Head Corporate SMS, QMS, EMS, Executive Director and Chief of Flight Safety at Air India Limited. She shared her experiences and the challenges that she faced in a career spanning over two decades in the civil aviation industry. She shared her journey into becoming the First Lady Chief of Flight Safety in India and also, her journey to the First Woman Commercial Pilot at Air India. She talked about how spirituality plays an important role in her life.

Few Highlights from her speech: “Follow the 4D approach – Do it – if there is something that only you can do otherwise Delegate it. If you cannot Delegate it, Delay it, if you cannot Delay it, Dump it. I believe that there should be a lot of focus on spiritual strength and inner energy. So, even if you are the only women anywhere, they watch you, they know you mean business, they know you can deliver.”


Ms. Samrudhi Utturkarm, Country Director at FinOrion Pharma Pvt. Ltd

Session 1: MY STORY

Ms. Samrudhi Utturkar is the Country Director at FinOrion Pharma Pvt. Ltd and was its Head of Procurement for External Supply Operations in India. She shared her journey from being a student in pharmacy to her career in healthcare that sparked an interest in supply chain management. With over two decades of experience in the pharmaceuticals industry, she highlighted the complexities of managing regulations of domestic and international markets concerning supply chain operations. She credits her success to having a strong passion for the field and the support system from her parents, in-laws husband and son.

Few Highlights from her speech: “I think one of the fundamentals when we talk about building a career, irrespective of women or men. It is most important that you have inner strength within you, you have your focus correct, and you have your right ethics and morals with you. You should always be ready to make a change and learn to change with time through continuous skill development. One of the things my mentor said that when we work, we should remember that, we should not react, we should respond. You listen and even if you want to suddenly react, just control yourself, evaluate what is happening and then come back and respond.”


Ms. Manisha Raisinghani, CTO and Co-Founder of LogiNext.

Session 1: MY STORY

Ms. Manisha Raisinghani is the CTO and Co-Founder of LogiNext. After graduation as an engineer in Mumbai, she pursued a Masters from Carnegie Mellon University to gain a better understanding of Robotics, AI and Big Data. She shared her journey about her initial career at IBM Watson where she worked on using big data analytics for clients in domains like logistics and home shopping networks in the US markets. She explained the differences in launching technology start-ups in India versus her experience in the US. She talked about the importance of data-driven decision making in logistics optimization.

Few Highlights from her speech: “Logistics is an area dominated by men. However, I think it’s more about the skills you carry and talking about more success stories. We need a support system like our families and need to have mentors as they give courage and inner confidence. I haven’t seen any University like NITIE discuss women in supply chain management so specifically.”


Ms. Jayashree Kunder, Associate Director for Trade & Distribution at MSD Pharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd.

Session 1: MY STORY

Ms. Jayashree Kunder is the Associate Director for Trade & Distribution at MSD Pharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd. She shared her journey through close to two decades in the pharmacy trade. She highlighted her initial experiences of being the only woman in managing retail pharmacy and warehousing. She highlighted the importance of dealing with different types of stakeholders, especially customers and those in the sales profession, with respect and compassion. She credits her father as her pillar of support and for introducing her to the pharmaceuticals industry.

Few Highlights from her speech: “Always be a solution finder. Once you move up the ladder and take on more leadership roles, start delegating work. Avoid micromanagement and allow subordinates to speak up. Have face-to-face communications as far as possible rather than initiating conversations on e-mail and other means.”


This concludes the first session. The second session will be covered in the next part of the series.

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