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A more agile and efficient Supply Chain


While HUL has long been recognised for its sales and marketing prowess, our organisation's lesser-known gem truly sets us apart—our supply chain.

An image of an employee in an Industry 4.0 room

Over the years, it has evolved into a formidable ecosystem, driving efficiency and excellence from the shop floor to the shelves. This is underscored by the fact that 2 of our factories, Dapada and Sonepat, have been bestowed with the prestigious title of "End-to-End Lighthouse" by the World Economic Forum.

In line with our vision of 'Powering HUL to win with Next-Gen Capabilities', we are safeguarding our business by working towards an agile, sustainable, digital and resilient supply chain. To navigate this massive transformation, we are upskilling our workforce, in areas such as AI, IoT, and cloud computing ensuring they are well prepared for the evolving landscape of our factories and supply chain.

Yogesh Mishra picture

In an interview with Moneycontrol, our Executive Director, Supply Chain, Yogesh Mishra discusses HUL's strategic focus on creating a robust Supply Chain ecosystem to win in the future.

Read excerpts from the interview below:

HUL often talks about its strong commitment to India's growth. How does this philosophy influence your supply-chain strategy?

Our philosophy, 'what is good for India is good for HUL, ' shapes our proactive and customer-centric approach to supply-chain management. It motivates us to continuously innovate and optimise our operations to effectively meet the evolving needs of Indian consumers. Currently, HUL operates over 25 factories producing over 2,000 SKUs (stock-keeping units) annually, distributed through 30-plus warehouses across India. Our focus on rapid changeovers and nano factories enables us to efficiently produce a diverse range of products, including over 250 SKUs from these advanced facilities.

A factory woman working on a computer
How has ‘Project Nakshatra’ redefined HUL's readiness in supply-chain management?

Project Nakshatra plays a crucial role in our strategy to enhance the agility and responsiveness of our supply chain. By establishing multi-category, multi-format factories closer to demand centres and co-locating suppliers and warehouses, we aim to reduce lead times and optimise our logistics network effectively.

How is technology, especially digital transformation, modernising operations?

To unlock the next level of efficiency and agility, we are moving towards an end-to-end digital ecosystem with comprehensive programmes across all pillars of the supply chain — plan, source, make, and deliver. Apart from AI/ML-based forecasting enabling higher forecast accuracy, we have created a cognitive intelligence engine enabling real-time decision-making.

We are driving competitive buying through an advanced ML (machine learning) - enabled solution. This solution aids sourcing decisions by accurately predicting supplies and prices to drive profitability.

Pioneering efforts in lights-off manufacturing, aimed towards man-less operations and facilitated by technologies like our line loss-capturing app DFOS (Digital Factory Operating System), have unlocked 7,500 tonnes per annum of incremental capacity.

Manufacturing Control Tower connects all our sites, enabling real-time benchmarking and insights for continuous performance improvement. To achieve next-day delivery, we introduced automated digital fulfilment centres named Samadhan, separating demand capture and fulfilment. Successfully piloted in Chennai, we are expanding Samadhan to Mumbai.

Factory at Samadhan Vapi
How do sustainability initiatives integrate into HUL's supply chain practices?

Sustainability is deeply integrated into our supply-chain practices. We've implemented energy management systems to monitor and optimise energy consumption, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing operational efficiency. Initiatives like the Boiler Digital Twin, which utilises agricultural waste, curb environmental impact and support local communities by providing sustainable livelihoods.

Boiler digital twin
What are the key initiatives or innovations on the horizon for HUL's supply chain?

We're focused on establishing a Supply Chain Nerve Centre to enhance decision-making and visibility across our operations. This will act as an enterprise brain to drive faster decision-making, providing end-to-end visibility and enabling global optimisation across plan, source, make, and deliver instead of localised decision-making. Additionally, we're committed to adopting future-oriented manufacturing practices and continuous improvement initiatives to achieve significant cost savings and operational efficiencies.

Innovation and continuous improvement are at the core of our supply-chain strategy, enabling us to optimise processes, enhance agility, and deliver superior products and services promptly to our consumers.

What impact do you expect these initiatives to have on HUL's leadership in the consumer goods industry?

These initiatives reinforce HUL's position as a leader in supply-chain excellence within the consumer goods industry. By embracing innovation, sustainability, and operational efficiency, we're confident in our ability to meet future challenges and consistently exceed customer expectations.

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