Analyze the case in view of the logistics outsourcing practices of the ISL.

Analyze the case in view of the logistics outsourcing practices of the ISL.

Analyze the case in view of the logistics outsourcing practices of the ISL.

 

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Supply Chain Management

CASE IV – LOGISTICS OUTSOURCING

 

Company Profile

Indian Steels Limited (ISL) is a Rs. 6000 crore company established in the year 1986. The company envisaged being a continuously growing top class company to deliver superior quality and cost effective products for infrastructure development. With major customers being from Public Sector Undertakings, the company has established itself well and is said to be considering its expansion plan and proposed merger with another steel making giant in the country.

In 1996, owing to the cut throat competition in the emerging dynamic global markets, ISL emphasized on both effectiveness and efficiency. The company strongly believed in focusing on its core competency (i.e. manufacturing of steel) and outsourcing the rest to its reliable partners. Outsourcing of its outbound logistics was one such move in this direction. ISL out sourced its stockyards and other warehousing services to a third party called Consignment Agent, who was selected on an annual basis through a process of competitive bidding. The CA was responsible for the entire distribution of the products within the geographical limits of the allotted market segment and was paid by the company according to the loads of transaction (measured in metric tonnes) dealt by him. The company also believed in maintaining long-term relationships with the suppliers as well as the buyers. It always prioritized the needs of its regular and important customers over others and this worked out to be a win-win strategy. The case brings out the model of outsourcing logistics the company has adapted for the enhancement of its supply chain competency and thus leveraging more on its core competency which led to increased productivity.

 

Indian Steels Limited (ISL) is a Rs. 6000 crore company established in the’ year 1986. The company envisaged being a continuously growing top class company to deliver superior quality and cost effective products for infrastructure development. The company performed with a mission to attain 7 million ton liquid steel capacity through technological up-gradation, operational efficiency arid expansion; to produce steel with international standards of cost and quality; and to meet the aspirations of the stakeholders. The production started in the year 1988 and initially, it manufactured Angles, Pig Irons) Beams and Wire Rods that were mainly used for constructing roads) dams and bridges. These products were mainly supplied to Public Sector Undertakings such as Railways, Public Works Department (PWD) Central Public Works Department (CPWD) Rashtriya Setu Nigam Limited, Audyogik Kendra Vikas Nigam Ltd. and various foundry units. The company had its headquarters at Raipur with three stockyards (a kind of warehouse with a huge land to store the products).

The company has established itself well and is said to be considering its expansion plan and proposed merger with another steel making giant in the country. The company was awarded ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 18001 certifications. The temperature in the plant premises is reportedly about 6°C lesser than that of the township, thanks to the greenery being maintained therein.

Logistics Outsourcing

Outbound logistics which basically connects the source of supply with the sources of demand with an objective of bridging the gap between the market demand and capabilities of the supply sources was always a problem for companies operating in this industry. Consisting of components like warehousing network, transportation network) inventory control system and supporting information systems outbound logistics was always playing a key role in making the right product available at the right place, at the right time at the least possible cost. In 1996 owing to the cut throat competition in the emerging dynamic global markets, ISL emphasized on both effectiveness and efficiency. The company strongly believed in focusing on its core competency (Le. manufacturing of steel) and outsourcing the rest to its reliable partners. Outsourcing of its outbound logistics was one such move in this direction.

Analyze the case in view of the logistics outsourcing practices of the ISL.

Analyze the case in view of the logistics outsourcing practices of the ISL.

Analyze the case in view of the logistics outsourcing practices of the ISL.

Recognizing the growing demand for its products from the big, diversified and geographically­dispersed customers, the company started expanding the number of warehousing stockyards. From a humble beginning, the company today has 26 stockyards; most of them are outsourced. Each of the outsourced stockyards was managed by a third party, which the company referred to as Consignment Agent (hereafter referred to as CA) in the area. The CA was selected on an annual basis through competitive bidding process. The performance of CA was closely monitored by a company representative (full time employee of ISL working in the site of CA). The CA was responsible for the entire distribution of the products within the geographical limits of the allotted market segment and Was paid by the company according to the loads of transaction (measured in metric tonnes) dealt by him. Based on their sales turnover CAs were trifurcated into A, Band C categories. The CAs with a monthly turnover of Rs. 150-200 crore fell under A category) whereas those with Rs. 100 – 150 crore were B and less than Rs. 100 \ crore were C category.

In addition to the company representative) a team of marketing division operated in the town where, the site of CA was located. This department was responsible or estimating the future demand, translating it into orders and sending to the manufacturing plant. Material dispatch was done using either one or a combination of the two modes: Rail, Road. While using rail as the mode of transportation, the company had a choice to book a Normal Rake (a full train with about 35 wagons, each wagon with an approximate capacity of 60 tonnes) or a Jumbo Rake (a full train of about 52 wagons, each wagon with an approximate capacity of 60 tonnes). At times, the company was engaging the services of the CONCOR (Container Corporation of India) where a train of 62 to 70 wagons, each wagon with about 26 tonnes capacity was used for transportation. Instead, if the company decided to send the material by road, the company had a choice between Trailor (25-30 tonnes} and Truck (15-20 tonnes). The choice of transportation mode was based on the quantity of dispatch.

As soon as the material was dispatched from the manufacturing plant, the respective CA used to get a Stock Transfer Chalaan electronically through Virtual Private Network, which was developed by a professional software service provider. In-transit, monitoring was generally done with the help of Indian Railways, if the mode was Rail. Otherwise, truck/trailor drivers were contacted through mobile phone. Transit generally took five to six days, providing time for CA to plan for receiving materials. The CA used to utilize this time for arranging material handling devices like heavy cranes and required labour. The material thus unloaded was reaching the warehousing stockyard where CA was responsible for arranging the materials as per the warehousing norms of ISL.

The company broadly classified materials into Long Products and Rounds. Products falling into each category were further classified by their size, shape and utility and the company used a distinct colour code for this purpose. Each subcategory of material had a specific place for downloading. The company used Bin System for this purpose. While downloading the material in stockyard, the company norms insisted that CA arrange for providing Dunnagt Material. This enabled the CA to store material without 1 direct contact with the land surface and thus reduced the probability of material deterioration. Material was stored in the stockyard until an authorized representative of the customer used to come and collect it. While dispatching material to the customer, a Loading Slip was generated against the Delivery Order. The company” also believed in maintaining long-term relationships with the suppliers as well as the buyers. It always prioritized the needs of its regular and important customers over others and this worked out to be a win-win strategy.

Operational problems were majorly because of uncertainties in transportation, fluctuation in supply of electricity and the load bearing capacity of the soil in the stockyard. Some: more problems were encountered whenever there was a change in CA and these were overcome by training the employees of the new CA and keeping the old CA responsible for the: material in his stockyard for six months after the contract as well. Observations reveal that, at times there were situations wherein CAs had to do those things which they were not legally supposed to do (like subcontracting) because of the pressures mounted by political leaders with selfish interests.           

Despite these problems, this model of outsourcing logistics was working out very well for the company. The practices, which were started in the year 1996 have sustained major changes in the environment and are being practiced even in 2006. It has enhanced the supply chain competency of the company by enabling it leverage more on its core competency, which leads to increased productivity.

  1. Analyze the case in view of the logistics outsourcing practices of the ISL.

  2. Discuss the importance of logistics outsourcing with reference to supply chain management.

  3. Suggest strategies for further strengthening the supply chain of ISL.

  4. The participants/students are expected to have a clear understanding of Supply Chain and Logistics Management concepts.

  5. The issues involved in the case are Sales Forecasting, Strategic Sourcing, Selection of Warehousing Service Provider, Transportation Mode and other nuances in Logistics Management.

 

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