Schneider Electric India Pvt Ltd organized a webinar titled: Striving for operational resiliency through digital services.
The speakers were Viswanathan Rajendran, Senior Director, Capgemini, Debashish Banerjee, MD (Distribution), CESC Ltd, Puneet Arora, Senior VP, JK Cement Ltd, and Anil Chaudhry, MD and Zone President, Schneider Electric India Pvt Ltd.
Opening the discussion, Anil Chaudhry, MD and Zone President, Schneider Electric India Pvt Ltd, said that business continuity planning (BCP) is very important from operations point of view. We need to look at how we are engaging with our customers. Organizations must be able to serve them. They should also look to learn and move on. How we maintain our operations and structure, while looking at the future, is also important.
He said: “There are four main elements we are focused on: serving our customers. We are also looking at positive engagements. We are also looking at quickly shift to WFH. Empowering the teams and those on the ground is key. We have been able to get our teams WFH within 1-2 days. We are also supporting our customers to get their employees to WFH. Core industries today are adopting WFH very fast.”
He added that Schneider Electric is looking at keeping the supply chain working. Energy management, telecom data centers, etc., are critical services. “We need to be able to supply them continuously. We also came up with SOPs. Also, the entire ecosystems have been able to adopt to the new norm. We also have virtual tools for the factory. We are able to bring all those tools to our customers. We are engaged with customers where we can digitize their existing facility.”
There are onsite essentials. Service engineers are connecting with the customers. We can plan for the future. We can plan for efficiency and productivity. Digital is today, the way forward. Digital transformation is one of the core goals. We are looking forward to connecting with our customers.
Viswanathan Rajendran, Senior Director, Capgemini, said that they had started digital transformation some time back. Smart automation has enabled scheduling, maintenance, etc. The BMS was started almost 8 years back. We have migrated critical room monitoring. The NOC helps us to manage all the equipment. Eg., module failures, UPS on battery, etc. All this monitoring has helped us run all the equipment efficienctly from day one. Digitization has really helped us in the lockdown and pandemic period.
He added: “Electrical systems were also digitized. We moved to condition-based maintenance. It helped us in also predicting failures. We can predict any failures and mitigate the business. Digitization also helped us to monitor equipment parameters. Equipment may still deliver, but with higher energy consumption. We received corrective actions to bring the equipment to the desired and designed efficiency level. We also receive monthly reports regarding corrective actions we need to take. 93% of the employees were able to do WFH from day one.”
Digital transformation for BCP
Next, is digital transformation the only way forward for BCP? How should one look at investments?
Puneet Arora, Senior VP, JK Cement Ltd said that there have been tough last few months. The next few months are not going to be easy. Large ecosystems depend on companies. The focus is on getting the operations on and running, getting people to do WFH, and manage disruptions.
“We are all learning about the new normal. We have learned that the availability of data is very important. Safety of the data that is being used is also important. The organizations need to build muscle to quickly recover. Our digitizing journey is not every old. We still have a long way to go.”
It is important to start the process of digital transformation as quickly as possible. Investments made in this will also help the organizations now, and in the future. There are many models that can be explored. Many people are well into the digitization journey.
Debashish Banerjee, MD (Distribution), CESC Ltd, added that business continuity in any organization depends on the company itself and how fast they can bounce back. Digital transformation is an enabler. An example is Swiggy. This is a mix of digital and physical.
“We need to have prevention, restoration, and distribution. We have SCADA that shows any disturbance. We can rectify that. We also have a project on AR/MR. We can simulate the process. We can virtualize the network from remote. We get the intimation on the mobile regarding whether the relay has tripped. We also have a self-healing network. There is a PLC that operates the alternate source, so that people do not suffer. Going forward, there can be smart meters.
“We also have a command center. The restoration crew has a mobile app, and uses fleet GPS to reach out to the customers. We have used a predictive model to predict HT faults. We ensure that the outage does not happen. 68% of our customers pay online. We have a chat bot. We are also working on voice bot. The entire chain is not digital, but, the part that takes care of restoration is digital.”
Right time to transform
Further, what is the right time to digitally transform? According to Debashish Banerjee, CESC, you can ensure the lower costs, and therefore, the time for understanding digital transformation is right. The current scenario is putting a challenge for demand and supply sides that are undergoing a shock.
“We are facing that problem. Industries have been coming back to work from June. 80% of our cost is the power cost. We are getting better deals for poles. On capex, we have to maintain our infrastructure. We are using an AI model to understand where the capex was and the benefit. We find out the just-right capex to be done now. Besides preventive maintenance, we also do predictive maintenance.”
“We are also operating on a much lower base for workforce. There can be workforce automation. We are also looking at controlling R&M costs. We are having technical solutions from the field to get data. We run various models to understand the optimal solutions to meet our customers’ satisfaction. We evolve to be a distribution utility, to help our customers.”
Viswanathan Rajendran, Capgemini, noted: “We have already seen the pandemic. The next biggest impact will be from climate change. Capgemini should be carbon neutral by 2025. Resources should be self sustainable. The focus should be reducing energy consumption at our buildings. We need to extend the life of the equipment. Reducing carbon footprint can be achieved with automation leading the way. We need to look at reducing energy, use sustainable energy, etc. We should take this pandemic as a lesson. We should all look at climate change.”
As per Puneet Arora, JK Cement, operations is a key part of the business. There are many issues that can affect the operations. Some of the challenges we are going to face in the future will be climate related. We need to be able to predict what to change, and when to change. How will the operations help the business? Sustainability is important, going forward. Rules and regulations will change as well. We also need to focus on customer satisfaction.
“The ability of an organization to service the customers is very important. There are changes in the patterns that people use products. There is a big overlap in the issues that affect businesses. Consumer habits and demands are also changing. Sustainability should be become a business priority.”
Closing the discussion, Anil Chaudhry, Schneider Electric India, added that it is all about meeting the customer expectations, and making the businesses operationally resilient. Examples are South Bihar Power Distribution Co. Ltd, Atal Indore City Transport Services, and Uttarakhand State Data Center.
He said: “Energy is the core of the infrastructure. E-governance facilities have been very critical in this pandemic. All citizens should have e-governance facilities. We are working with our customers to ensure that their customers are getting services. Their operations should be future-ready.”