Necessity is the mother of Innovation

by Piramal Enterprises Limited
8 909 4.9/5

It was the time of Ganapati festival, entire office looked bright & colourful. Around 2 pm in the afternoon the commercial executive had just returned from lunch. He refreshed his email, there were six new messages and one caught his immediate attention. He looked disturbed and also saw a waving hand from his boss out of concern, the recently joined Head of Commercial and Logistics.

The email was from Director General of Foreign Trade of India.

“This is surprising, a duty liability of XX Lacs on 10 Advance licenses? This is quite a lot, what made this happen. I see it hitting our Budget.” exclaimed the boss with sheer concern.

“Sir, I am so sorry. There are more than 100 Licenses to manage and delivery site fell short of exports in these 10.” Executive replied in a nervous tone.

*For Piramal to prevent Duty payments on their Raw Material imports, an export of proportional quantity of finished goods was required. It was managed through Advance Licenses. Executive was responsible to manage this and prevent duty payments. If the exports fall short, a duty liability would be incurred. *

“We can’t let this happen again, Sites must get an intimation well in advance. There has to be a better way to manage it”. The Commercial head looked well determined to arrest the situation. The overall Duty Payments for past 5 years was quite high at around 6% of the total duty forgone, however the target was to keep it much below 1% considering the in-built wastage involved in the manufacturing process.

“Let us engage with our Process improvement team” added the Head Commercial.

The Operational Excellence (OE) team conducted the study of entire process from Lean perspective. Lot of Manual activities, duplications/NVAs were identified, which could be automated.

ECRS approach was deployed to generate ideas.

“Can we build a rock-solid tool which can give live status of all the licenses as and when there is an export or import? It should track & compare all Licenses and possible future liability. No, duplicate entries, no manual calculations!” Quoted the commercial Head. Expectations were set so high!

The task was challenging.

“We can try and develop a Macro Enabled program, it can automate transactions, do dynamic calculations and tracking.” suggested the Operational Excellence person. He had some background in coding but this was an interesting & complex challenge before him.

Days were passing and the lines of Code were increasing along with the expectations.

Almost after 3.5 months of designing, testing and feedback, there were only few pieces left to tackle. The question on how to crack them, had overly occupied OE member’s mind. He had to go into some thorough research for this.

Ultimately after one week, the OE member met with them and asked the executive to try it now.

“Woah!! Amazing”. The executive jumped with joy. “This feels like magic. Only one click and we can see everything!”

“Fantastic! We finally did it.” Commercial Head expressed cheerfully.

The executive’s monthly handling time was reduced by 85%. The duty payments were sustained below 1%, pertaining to a saving impact of 275 Lacs for the year.

The success story didn’t stop here, the project also became the Global Winner of prestigious Chairman’s Award in Service effectiveness category, with an enticing cash prize!

After all it was an innovative tool for the industry, easily replicable as well as self-sustainable.

Lessons Learned

  1. Innovative mind-set not only solves complex problems but also provides an opportunity to enhance internal capability & skills.
  2. The legacy practices should be challenged to attain breakthrough results.
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22 November 2018 by Shivam Saxena
Fantastic !
22 November 2018 by Atul Sharma
Great Story!
22 November 2018 by Jerin Mathew
Software/Programming innovation, like almost every other kind of innovation, requires the ability to collaborate and share ideas with other people, and to sit down and talk with customers and get their feedback and understand their needs....Fantastic Work..
23 November 2018 by Arun Chaudhary
Superb work.. appreciate creativity
23 November 2018 by Kiran Kondapalli
good one
23 November 2018 by Atul Sharma
In today's world, accuracy and timeliness, is one what we as customers always look up to. This project is a great initiative and first of it's kind in Pharmaceuticals sector. A great teamwork displayed guys. Congratulations.
23 November 2018 by Suhas Vanamore
Good use of OE.
28 November 2018 by Lalit Neve
Great Idea!!!