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Cloud Focus: Changing growth orbits with the cloud

Vivek Khanna, Executive-President and CIO, Polycab IndiaVivek Khanna, Executive-President and CIO, Polycab India

Starting with just a small electrical retail shop in Mumbai a few decades back, Polycab has evolved into one of India’s leading manufacturers of cables and wires and allied products. It has recently ventured into consumer electrical products such as fans, switches, switchgear, LED lights and luminaries, solar inverters and pumps.

With 18% market share, Polycab is on a mission to accelerate business growth. Its 30-member strong IT team has played a key role in Polycab’s technology modernisation, innovation and growth journey. Says Vivek Khanna, executive-president and CIO, Polycab India, “Technology has contributed significantly towards improving our overall performance. These include customer experience, ease of working, operational efficiencies, pace of manufacturing and process automation, amongst others. As a result, we have been able to greatly optimise our resources overall.”

Digital-first mindset
Looking to transform into a digital-first business, Polycab has stepped up focus on digitalisation in the last 2-3 years. Every business function is supported with some standard or custom-built technology stack, and all of them have been integrated into the core ERP platform. “Essentially, we are trying to digitalise our core. We started with stabilising our ERP system, which also includes critical business processes. Another key focus is driving advanced automation of some of our processes,” adds Khanna.

Data-driven decisions
Polycab is now in a better position to unearth deeper insights from data to aid better business decisions, something the IT team expects will further strengthen the company’s digital capabilities. By capturing accurate data at source and interlinking with necessary applications and functions, seamless movement of data throughout Polycab has become possible.

A major project for the IT team was creating a robust dealer management platform to usher in greater transparency. “With the platform now live, our distributors are able to book sales orders, view status on outstandings, check relevant price lists and catalogues, retrieve balance information, etc.,— essentially covering all elements that channel partners need support for from a manufacturing organisation. This portal today accounts for over 80% of our overall orders booked via channel sales,” says Khanna.

Faster innovation with cloud
The cables and wires firm has turned to the cloud to accelerate innovation and growth. Polycab started its cloud journey by moving its disaster recovery environment for Oracle ERP to the second generation Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). “With OCI, we have realised superior cloud economics, improved flexibility and experienced easy scalability. Encouraged by this success, we have started using OCI for our entire testing environment. This has helped us create workloads faster. Further, owing to easy scaling features, we have also saved tremendously on our TestQA costs,” he adds.

Polycab is also using Oracle Mobile Supply Chain Application (MSCA) to enable real time data capture from the shopfloor. It is now extending this application to the rest of its units and depots. It has started using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) to better streamline processes and further improve operations. Among the initial AI-based applications rolled out for users are a smart travel and expense management solution. It plans to use AI/ML, chatbots more widely in the coming months, especially in making customer-facing applications more intelligent and user-friendly. Currently, the IT team is looking to extend AI/ML capabilities to the secondary sales platform and document management system to further improve process efficiencies. Next on the cards is digitalising warehouse and transportation management systems, using RFID and GPRS technologies.

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