Monday, October 21, 2013
Editor's note: Today’s guest is A.V. Dharmakrishnan, Chief Executive Officer at Madras Cements, the flagship company of the Ramco Group in India. Madras Cements is the sixth largest cement operator in India with over 3,000 employees. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.
Madras Cements began in 1961, with a production capacity of 200 tonnes. Today, we have a capacity of 14 million tonnes for both the Indian and export market yearly, through five cement production plants and seven other plants covering grinding, packing, ready mix concrete and dry mortar production.
Cement is a low-cost commodity sold in high volumes. Our market is extremely competitive and fast-moving, and the business is very much driven by logistics. We promise cost-savings for our customers by continuously innovating our production process, optimizing our logistics strategy and ensuring we have a presence in construction hotspots.
We manage our inventory and business process using a proprietary Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution developed by Ramco Systems. This system generates lots of useful information about our supply network that we could not access easily. We used to do our reporting on Microsoft Excel spreadsheets - a complex and time-consuming process requiring constant manual extraction of data to prepare for our business reviews. On top of that, it was difficult to pinpoint where we could improve our processes or identify new business opportunities, and the reports were not available online.
We wanted to identify patterns across our national network of suppliers and glean better insights from our reports. We turned to Google Maps to display this data on a map. Today, I can easily access these reports and insights online, using my tablet.
By integrating Google Maps with the Ramco ERP system, we superimposed data onto Google Maps. The result was a rich data visualization tool. With Google Maps, our field sales teams have visibility into the competitor distribution networks in their areas, allowing them the ability to tailor sales strategies for better market penetration. They can also view dealer performance data, enabling better control on customer service deliveries. Best of all, we can access this information on mobile devices which allows for decision-making anytime, anywhere – a critical success factor in our fast-moving industry. Since implementing Google Maps, our consignment clearance time has improved up to 40%.
With the ability to visualize our data on a map, our management team now has a clear view of our business -- from distributor performance comparisons to location mapping of wagon movements -- helping us to improve our overall competitiveness and map out strategies for business growth. Since implementing Google Maps, our EBITA has improved to about 7% higher than our immediate competitors – quite a feat considering the competitive landscape.
Google Maps has provided Madras Cements with a winning business differentiator, in a fiercely competitive commodity market. More importantly, we have continued to give the best returns to our investors, in line with the wish of our founder, Shri P A C Ramasamy Raja, when he opened the first factory in 1961.