Industry Talk

ShakeDeal is doubling down on its enterprise procurement play

Mr. Akshay Hegde, Co-founder & MD, ShakeDeal

ShakeDeal is upping the ante on its claim of being India’s preferred procurement partner


Please brief us on ShakeDeal and its operations?

ShakeDeal is India’s leading, procurement focused B2B supply chain company for industrial and business supplies. ShakeDeal helps companies in streamlining supply of procurement spend and digitizing their procure-to-pay (p2p) process. With over 5 lac SKUs and over 4000+ vendors, we act as a one-stop solution for consolidated indirect procurement spend across a long tail portfolio. We’re trusted by over 200+ leading large enterprises across sectors such as Automotive, Engineering, Energy, Infrastructure, Manufacturing, FMCG, Pharma, etc.

How is the supply chain and manufacturing industry adapting to the post lockdown period?

Since Unlock 1.0 there have been several gradual relaxations in movement of passengers and goods across India. Though we’d seen sudden localised lockdowns to curtail spikes in the number of covid cases during the early phases of unlock, large disruptions have significantly reduced. This has helped the economy open up and recover from supply related shocks. Several companies have taken active measures to recondition their supply chains to incorporate a more direct-to-consumer (D2C) approach. The accelerated digital adoption has also nudged several supply chains to restructure and strategize their way forward, by reducing dependence on intermediaries, so as to minimise turn around times in case of disruptions. This will definitely bode well for logistics and warehousing companies as their demand will increase in order to serve supply chains more directly with minimal disruptions.

How can Blockchain transform manufacturing? 

Most businesses have realized the importance of digitally transforming their supply chains and have started to see the benefits of these emerging technologies. Manual processes are inefficient, time consuming and prone to human error. Digitization and process automation are both prerequisites for an organization to think about adopting blockchain technology. Once the fundamentals are in place, it becomes easier to explore applications built on blockchain. Blockchain-enabled industry solutions can not only help weed out inefficiencies in the supply chain but can also help address financial sustainability issues in the procurement department. The distributed ledger technology allows information to be appended almost instantly and it can be tracked in real-time. Separate points on the chain can reveal the exact location of a shipment along with its condition and size.

With real-time visibility and traceability, a vehicle can be booked, and storage space can be reserved within the warehouse to accept delivery of the shipment. Moreover, smart contracts can be programmed to manage the multi-step procure-to-pay process with suppliers. These contracts can be used to automate actions that need to be taken when certain conditions are met.

For example, using smart contracts, pay-outs to vendors can be automated once the three-way matching of purchase order, invoice and goods receipt is done.

MediConnect, a blockchain solution in the health-care sector, has helped remove counterfeit medication from circulation and has simplified the tracing and sharing of data across the medical supply chain.

How has ShakeDeal prepared to address the challenges posed by the COVID-19 situation, with regards to IT and digital practices?

To ensure business continuity in the wake of disruption, we focused on two traits: preparedness and resilience. Even before the pandemic, we were working in an agile business environment and had business continuity plans in place to tackle disruptions in business operations.  We are continually working towards improving our processes to future proof our business.  We acted swiftly and implemented arrangements of remote access infrastructure, tools for the workforce and advised staff to work from home even before the lockdown started. We have always been a digital-first organisation, and our workforce has been using collaborative tools like Zoom and Slack for brainstorming and working with remote teams in different geographies.

What was the impact of COVID-19 on Indian Manufacturing and Machinery industry?

There was a large scale negative impact of covid-19 on India’s economy as it first went through a supply shock followed by a demand shock. The sudden lockdown meant a lot of industries were forced to shut their plants unless they were manufacturing for essential goods. This coupled with the massive exodus of migrant workers back to their hometowns, has led to labour related challenges across MSMEs (accounting for 33% of the manufacturing output). The abysmal drop in first quarter GDP numbers was a result of the demand shock which accompanied the lockdown. Factory output was equally affected with most of the indices reflecting negatively for the two quarters of FY21. However, since September PMI data has shown a strong recovery with factory activity expanding the fastest in about eight years. This is a welcome development for an economy facing the first full year contraction in over 40 years.

How has ShakeDeal managed B2B bulk sourcing during the pandemic? How has it affected the overall supply chain and sourcing process?

We always had health and safety as a category, and during the pandemic we had to quickly ramp up sourcing and fulfilment for the category to deal withCOVID-19. In the lockdown months, PPE as a category was contributing 60-70% to sales; however, that figure has now rationalised to around 30%. While PPE continues to be contributing significantly to the business, we are now seeing healthy sales coming in from our other MRO verticals as well. The sudden lockdown imposed due to covid-19 impacted business and movement of goods as supply chains were suddenly disrupted. However, as clients started working at 20-30% capacity and restrictions easing out, we saw demand getting back to normal along with recovery in sourcing cycle times. By June, we were back to pre-covid levels of business.

Covid-19 pandemic has led to an unprecedented large-scale disruption in supply chains across the world. Most companies depend on foreign supply chains – specifically those in China – because they are cost-effective. One of the biggest drawbacks of using local supply chains is pricing, and ShakeDeal realised that putting too much focus on pricing results in exposure to large-scale supply chain disruptions. The challenge going forward would be to focus on developing a more local and flexible supply chain while ensuring price competitiveness. ShakeDeal has always believed that it was important to develop local and regional supply chains to keep the disruption arbitrage in check.

What are the company’s focus areas in the near future? Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

ShakeDeal is doubling down on its enterprise procurement play, by increasing their technology offerings and products in line with their vision of becoming an enterprise supply chain enabler. Along with their focus on improving their technology offerings, ShakeDeal is expanding its footprint of Cloud and Edge fulfilment centres (CFCs and EFCs) to provide their growing customer base with superior service levels while ensuring streamlined supply for their indirect procurement. By deploying novel forms of fulfilment SVMI (ShakeDeal Vendor Managed Inventory) ShakeDeal is upping the ante on its claim of being India’s preferred procurement partner.

Mr. Akshay Hegde, Co-founder & Managing Director, ShakeDeal

A supply chain guy turned entrepreneur who’s passionate about building tech products with disruptive potential and high impact for the B2B domain. He graduated magna cum laude in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. As a consultant at Miebach Consulting (USA), he’s acquired demonstrated expertise in distribution, warehousing, logistics and network optimization across projects in the apparel, industrial, and FMCG sectors. He’s also had a stint developing the family business when he arrived in India, which helped while laying the groundwork for ShakeDeal. In his time off work, he likes listening to his many audio books and catching up on his favorite television series.


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