Supply chain management holds the key to improving the manufacturing sector in the country and SCM is getting revolutionised with the introduction of new, disruptive technologies, according to P. Ray Chaudhury, in-charge Chairman and Managing Director of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant.

He was speaking as chief guest at the inaugural of a one-day seminar on supply chain management organised by the local chapter of the Indian Institute of Materials Management (IIMM) here on Friday. He said digitisation of processes would revolutionise supply chain management, and "Indian industry captains must be nimble-footed to embrace the changes and face up to the challenges ahead." Industry 4.0 in the area of manufacturing would lead to setting up of smart factories and "India's first smart factory is coming up in Bengaluru."

Chaudhury said the focus should shift from services to manufacturing and "we should focus on high-end, technology-driven capital goods. We should aggressively promote Brand India and an efficient supply chain is the most vital aspect of the coming revolution." Logistics optimisation, inventory optimisation and management of complex, non-linear supply chain networks would become critical, he added.

G.K. Singh, the national president of the IIMM, said the new, disruptive technologies would be unsettling in the short-run, but they would be rewarding in the long-run. "We must gear up to make use of these technologies - artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, machine learning, and 3-D printing. We have no choice but to digitise, but there is no need to be unduly apprehensive of new technologies. We must make the best use of them, especially block-chain technology," he added.

K.R Mandal, General Manager, NTPC, said an "inefficient supply chain would have an impact on all aspects of manufacturing and, therefore, nothing can be more important than redesigning the supply chain to make industry competitive and to meet the requirements of customers."

N. Udayabhanu, president of the Vizag chapter, and several others spoke on the occasion.