Asian Paints: Finishing Touches

Asian Paints is India’s largest paint company today. It has a turnover of
Rs 1,490 crore and an enviable reputation in the Indian corporate world for
professionalism, fast track growth, building shareholder equity, and dealer
networking. This market leader in the decorative and industrial paints segment
has had a colorful tryst with infotech.

Having started off in the late 70s, Asian Paints has kept pace with the rapid
transformation in technology. “It has been a relentless drive focused on
increasing productivity,” says Manish Choksi, vice-president, strategic
planning and IT.

Business needs have always dictated the choice of technology, one of the
reasons why the company went on to deploy sophisticated supply chain management
(SCM) solutions even before it implemented an ERP application. Driving out
locked up cash in inventory was a strategy to achieve cost leadership and
implementing an SCM was the only way to fulfil this goal. Asian Paints went in
for Rhythm – an i2 Technologies SCM solution, now called TradeMatrix.

Company-wide restructuring in 1998 necessitated having an SBU-specific
visibility of business indicators like costs, profits, sensitivity analysis, and
the like. Also, the scale of operations was mammoth- between the SBUs, there
were 3000 sub-assemblies, over 15000 customers, four manufacturing locations,
six regional distribution centers, and 72 selling locations apart from the
retail channels and customers.

The entire capital expenditure and asset management system is available
online, which helps budgeting and management control processes. The information
substratum also serves the other application areas that the company has put up–call
centers, CRM, e-business, and a collaborative supplier management. Internal
management initiatives based on technology include administration, office
automation, knowledge management, and online training.

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