Toyota Motor Corp.’s global output sank for the fourth straight month as a shortage of semiconductors and supply chain disruptions caused by Covid lockdowns in China hurt production.
Syed Suroor Anwar has vast international experiences in Asia, Europe and North America with key E-commerce and technology companies. At present, Suroor Anwar is Vice President, Strategy and Commercial for RS components, Asia-Pacific. Suroor has been with RS Components for more than 7 years in multiple roles across the industry. He has extensive work experience in P&L management, Transformation Sourcing and Supply Chain with companies like SKF and Tata Motors in India where he was responsible for setting up greenfield projects and establishing their supply chain and vendor management functions.
Despite the global chip shortage, we saw that the demand for semiconductors globally spiked between August 2020 to August 2021. As businesses are slowly but steadily bouncing back to normal capacities, manufacturers are announcing the possibility of further investing in more manufacturing plants to increase production.
In addition to that, we are seeing an increase uptake of Automation and Control components and devices used on MRO as more and more companies are overhauling their assets instead of new capital investments. This is also driven by the need of replacing old legacy high energy consumption components with new energy-efficient technology .
2. In the age of sustainability and decarbonisation, what percentage of APAC’s manufacturers are on the path to net-zero or being sustainable? And reasons for your answer?
The pandemic got in the way of manufacturers’ sustainability efforts in 2020 as disruptions occurred and resources had to be reallocated to different priorities such as taking care of employees and the community. However, as businesses have started picking up in APAC, efforts of sustainability goal setting are now coming back to place. Especially in Singapore, manufacturers are working towards the country’s green plan agenda to roll out in 2030.
In APAC, a growing number of manufacturers are already adopting sustainable efforts within their internal and external processes. Most businesses now acknowledge the need to undertake climate action and improve their sustainability performance and are making a conscious effort in reducing waste and energy usage and greenhouse gases. Based on a report recently conducted by Forrester, 30% of APAC firms are making its sustainability efforts more transparent, 30% will be reducing carbon footprints and 26% have appointed a sustainability lead at a senior executive level.
3. With the reasons mentioned above, how has RS components expedited the process of manufacturers adopting sustainability in their plants and manufacturing facility?
Sustainability is integral to what we do at RS Components. We ensure that the products we sell and the things we do as a company are both committed to a long-term sustainable strategy goal. For RS, this has meant significant efforts in the last five years to tackle issues such as CO2 emissions, recycling and energy consumption.
We have realised that making sustainability part of our culture has come a long way instead of continuously consciously making efforts to do so. People don’t think about their actions being environmentally friendly and like any business, the challenge lies in embedding a sustainable work culture that will stick. This doesn’t happen overnight and employees more likely than not will need to be educated on.
RS is ISO 40001 certified and supports customers who are on a sustainability journey. This means that we have a framework that businesses can follow to effectively run an environmental management system. Our products are derived from sustainable sources and help customers who look for products from ethical suppliers.
On a broader spectacle, regional warehouse locations allow manufacturers like us to reduce time travel and fuel used to transport products. Digitising internal systems gives us the ability to collect and analyse big data, providing us visibility into what products are being shipped where and how much they weigh in order for us to identify discrepancies and gaps that may come into play.
4. How has the supply chain disruption affected current sustainability efforts in the industry?
There have been consistent efforts in making supply chains resilient in recent years. However, the pandemic accelerated the need for this in order to face the disruptions that came with it. During a time where innovation could be used to reduce, reuse and recycle carbon, short term plans and finances were turned to face the priorities that rose due to the pandemic.
Many manufacturers experienced some sort of disruption during this period – either through suppliers going offline and unavailable, a sudden spike in demand so businesses could try to operate as usual and the necessity of digitising internal systems.
Within the sustainability spectrum, manufacturers, who were amidst implementing a sustainable plan had to suddenly focus their efforts on higher priority items. The disruptions that occurred had to be attended to first. At RS Components, our priority became our people and our customers after which we continued our efforts in the sustainability realm. Digitising our internal systems also proved to be successful as we were able to analyse big data in order to control production and our carbon footprint.
5. What are the technologies supply chains can implement to drive sustainability efforts?
During this time of crisis, response time is crucial for companies to maintain a strong customer base. Transparency across the supply chain will not only reduce the unpredictability for customers but will also allow them to react faster to issues. Emerging technologies, like E-procurement, are now being used widely to ensure safety and efficiency across the board, while also leveraging innovative tech to embrace processes, automation, and big data.
It goes without saying that technology is enhancing and amplifying our reach, but we must not forget the power of human connections. Our customers around the world transact with us through our eCommerce channels and our local teams continue to connect with customers over the phone and online conferencing. That human interaction element is still present, with technology as an enabler.
6. Mixing of the digital and physical was accelerated due to Covid-19. But how much of it has been a present reality in APAC manufacturing sectors and would it be the continued work culture 2022 and beyond?
The pandemic accelerated the need for an increased amount of digitisation at RS components. We quickly realised the potential of automating our processes, providing our customers with eSolutions services and eProcurement strategies to enhance their purchasing process. Having said this, we did not compromise on our capabilities providing our customers with the ‘human touch’. Despite our digital enhancement, we quickly brought together a team of sourcing specialists to help customers continue business as usual and provide customer service operators to those who required assistance.
We realised the growth potential and customer loyalty this has brought for us and are looking forward to implementing more mixed strategies into more of our processes. With ESG and sustainability being two of our important focus points, we would like to make progress within those departments as seamlessly and as efficiently as possible.
BONUS QUESTION: What Is your personal favourite technology/ Component in use now and why?
My personal favourite technology component is the utilisation of software as a service e-procurement platform to help bring visibility and transparency to the supply chain and by doing so being more efficient and effective. This transparent supply chain drives visibility which in turn helps companies to drive the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit.
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