I interviewed Arun Sharma who discussed Cold Supply Chain.
Today we're speaking with Arun Sharma, and we're going to discuss the cold supply chain. So, Arun, can you first provide a brief background of yourself?
I've been working in the supply chain field since the last, say, 25 years. And I've been working in different types of supply chain like FMCG or automotive products and consumer durables ever since then but primarily in the cold supply chain. And I've been handling the cold supply chain of Mother Dairy, which is one of India's biggest companies in terms of cold chains. For example, this company is dealing with the ice cream and frozen products. So I have taken care of the supply chain of Mother Dairy for movement of materials, storage of materials, and production of all cold-chain products, like ice cream, frozen peas, frozen corn, and frozen, etc. There are multiple frozen products which we have moved from our central warehouse and production to various regional distribution centers across India.
Can you talk about some of the challenges you face with the cold supply chain?
One of the most prominent challenges, which I have, the seasonality of the product. In India, there is extreme temperature condition in the month of summers. It starts from the month of March, and it ends in September. So during this period, the conventional frozen products is extremely high. So production units are not running with their...they aren't even running through their complete production capacity. There is a lot of short days of production during this time. And we cannot enhance the production capacity to the maximum limit.
So for making this requirement, we need to produce in the month of lean seasons. So in the month of lean seasons, which starts from the month of October and November, December, January, and February -- for four months we need to produce the frozen products in such a manner so that it can fulfill the requirements of the products in the months of extreme season, just starting from the month of March and after. So this is the challenge. And once you pre-produce the product, there is a shortage of space for keeping these frozen products. And the storage cost is also very, very high. So we need to keep all those stocks stored in the warehouses for three months, and we need to start liquidating from the month of March. This is one of the most important challenges. We start [inaudible 0:03:03] all frozen product companies.
What changes do you see happening for the future of cold supply chain in India?
Infrastructure. Now gradually the infrastructure is improving in all segments of cold chain. The warehousing capacity is increasing. The material movement capacity is increasing. So as the normal consumption of frozen products are increasing, the infrastructure is also gradually increasing, though it's not equal to what is actually needed as a requirement, but still the infrastructure is gradually increasing. The government of India has also started giving subsidies on the cold chain warehouses, and people are [inaudible 0:04:01] warehouses. So they're just gradually increasing.
Do you have any final recommendations for managing the cold supply chain?
As infrastructure is very, very low, external industries need to come forward for getting this opportunity in this particular field. There are a lot of scope in the field of cold chain for movement of materials, for storage of materials, for repacking of the materials, for branding of the materials, and selling it to the various regions too. So there is a huge opportunity in the field of supply chain of cold products, first.
Second is there are a lot of food products. Almost 35% of the food products are wasted because of extreme weather condition. So if companies can chip in and then they can enroll themselves for improvement of infrastructure, they can actually get the benefit out of the poor infrastructure, and they can get a very high level of the bottom line for them.
Thanks for sharing today, Arun.
Thanks very much, Dustin.
About Arun Sharma
Head-India Supply Chain at MI-India