Primary Area : Operations and Decision Sciences
Fellow, Specialisation in Operations Management, IIM Calcutta
Bachelor of Engineering, Production Engineering, Jadavpur University
Post Graduate Program (PGP)
Operations Management I - 2003-04, 2004-05, 2007-08, 2008-09,2009-10
Operations Management II - 2000-01, 2001-02, 2002-03, 2003-04, 2004-05,
Marketing Management I - 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13
Marketing Management II - 2013-14
Ethics and Managing Ethically - 2008-09, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17
Personal and Corporate Ethics - 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21, 2021-22, 2022-23
Post Graduate Program for Executives (PGPX)
Designing Operations to Meet Demand - 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09,2009-10,2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15
Tracking Organizational Performance - 2007-08, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16
Post Graduate Programme in Public Management and Policy (PGP-PMP)
Operations Management - 2007-08
Fellow Programme in Management
Seminar on Operations Management - II - 2010-11, 2011-12, 2013-14
Faculty Development Programme
Operations Management - 2004-05, 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14
Supply Chain and Logisitcs Management (SCLM: PGPX Elective, jointly with Prof. G. Raghuram) - 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11
Logistics and Infrastructure Management in Agribusiness (LIMA: PGP-ABM Elective, jointly with Prof. G. Raghuram) - 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11
Logistics Management (LM: PGP Elective, jointly with Prof. Raghuram) - 2009-10, 2010-11
Supply Chain Management (SCM: PGPX Elective) - 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14
Elephants and Cheetahs: Systems, Strategy and Bottlenecks (E&C: PGP Elective) - 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21, 2021-22, 2022-23
Elephants and Cheetahs: Systems, Strategy and Bottlenecks (E&C: PGPX Elective) - 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21, 2021-22, 2022-23
Coordinating the Crowd (CTC: PGP Elective): 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21
Coordinating the Crowd (CTC: PGPX Elective): 2020-21
Marketplaces and Platforms (MAP: PGP Elective): 2021-22, 2022-23
Marketplaces and Platforms (MAP: PGPX Elective): 2021-22, 2022-23
The Remains of the MBA (RMBA: PGP Elective): 2020-21, 2021-22, 2022-23
Supply Chain Management and Redesign
Marketing Operations interface
Project Management and Scheduling and Sequencing
What is a "bottleneck"? The concept of bottleneck is fundamental to any kind of process analysis. Yet, there exists a lot of misconception among the researchers and practitioners regarding the meaning of the term. My primary research work focuses on the classification of bottleneck definitions in Operations Management literature and the quest for an unified bottleneck definition.
Associate Professor, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad
Member, Society of Operations Management
Coordination mechanisms in ride-hailing platforms
Innovations under time constraints
The environmental value of an agile power source
“The concept of Average Shadow Price for managerial decision” Research Seminar at IIT Kanpur, October 4, 2004.
“Cutting costs vs. cutting corners: When not to cut costs”, Conference on Cost Management organized by CII Gujarat, Vadodara, May 28, 2005.
“Teaching Dangerously: Doubts, Convictions and Paradigm Shifts”, Workshop on Innovations in Management Education, IIM-Calcutta, West Bengal, February 2, 2008.
“Supply Chain Innovations in Turbulent Times”, Annual Seminar on ‘Strategic and Innovative Cost Management in Current Turbulent times’, Indian Institute of Materials Management, Kolkata, West Bengal, September 5, 2009.
“Supply Chain Visibility in India: The Next Level”, Conference on ‘Next Level Supply Chain Excellence’, Vibrant 2012, Indian Institute of Materials Management, Vadodara, Gujarat, October 28, 2012
“Revolutions in SCM in India”, Keynote address, Conference on ‘Revolutionary Supply Chain Strategies for Sustainable Competitive Advantage’, National Conference (NATCOM 2015) organized by Indian Institute of Materials Management, Vadodara, November 28, 2015.
“Supply Chain Visibility in the post-GST Era”, 6th Petrochemical Conclave, Mahatma Mandir, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, July 29, 2017.
“Teaching Autopoiesis: Connecting Self, Organisation and Society”, 7th International Sustainability Conference (SUSCON VII) at IIM Shillong, November 30, 2018.
“Faculty Effectiveness in 21st Century Classroom”, 10th Indian Management Conclave, New Delhi, August 2, 2019.
The case method was implanted in IIMA by its founding partner, Harvard Business School. Over the years, the case method not only found root in IIMA, it has flowered and developed its own peculiarities due to the adaptation to the Indian MBA classroom context.
I have been fortunate to have been exposed to the case method at IIMA. Over the years, I have conducted workshops on the case method at IIMA, other management institutes and corporates.
I was the coordinator of an internal task force on case pedagogy at IIMA in 2013 which recommended the setting up of a Case Centre at IIMA. In 2014, I set up the Case Centre at IIMA to strengthen case writing and case distribution and was the Chairperson, Case Centre, IIMA, during 2014-16.
For more information on case studies published at IIMA, visit https://cases.iima.ac.in/
I have been part of the faculty team for the 2-day 'Teaching with Cases' seminar offered by IIMA Case Centre and Harvard Business Publishing.
For more information on the seminar, visit https://seminar.iima.ac.in/twc2023/index.php
A case study brings the field into the class. Most are written from the perspective of a decision-maker in a firm who needs to choose between options. IIMA case studies are available from IIMA Case Centre and its different distribution partners including Sage and Harvard Business Publishing. The following case studies have been co-authored by me with other colleagues. For more details, visit the links to IIMA Case Centre.
MyGate started its journey in 2016 as a gate management system for gated societies but soon evolved into a multi-sided platform offering solutions to the residents' day-to-day needs via the company's mobile application. Residents could approve entry and exit of visitors, search for local service providers like maids, carpenters, plumbers etc., purchase groceries and a variety of FMCG and consumer durables, engage in group buying, list their properties for sale or rent and engage in peer-to-peer trade. The case highlights the challenges faced by co-founders in balancing the different expectations of stakeholders. As a gate management software, MyGate needed to balance between the security of the residents and the convenience of residents, visitors, and service providers. As a communication medium for brands to reach consumers, MyGate needed to balance the frequency and placement of advertisements so that residents would not be irritated while the platform earned fees for enabling the brands to reach target segments in specific locations. As a gatekeeper, MyGate needed to balance the privacy requirements of residents and the wish of brands to craft more meaningful messages for their target segments. In January 2022, MyGate was yet to turn profitable and needed to balance the objectives of monetisation and expansion of product offerings' geographic footprint. At the core of these dilemmas was the need to balance the current and future profits of a startup which relied on investor funds for survival.
Aravind Eye Care System (AECS) exploited economies of scale to offer affordable eye care for masses, with a mission to eliminate needless blindness. Over the years, AECS had built a strong organisational culture based on compassion and service. The organisation had made its first foray into large metro cities by establishing a presence in Chennai in 2017 and was gradually scaling up when the Covid-19 pandemic erupted globally in March 2020. The precipitous decline in patient volume triggered questions on the survival of the business model, which was dependent on high volumes. The case details various challenges faced by AECS and the responses of the leadership team during the March–July 2020 period. The pandemic jeopardised the delivery of eye care to patients in need; challenged organisational sustainability owing to dwindling volumes; and affected the morale of employees, who were afraid of contracting Covid-19. As eye camps were not being organised due to lockdown restrictions, vulnerable patients—economically disadvantaged people and older adults—were at risk of blindness; this risk was exacerbated by the postponement of surgery and fears of contracting Covid-19. Fear turned into panic among doctors, nurses and staff when two nurses at Aravind Eye Hospital Chennai tested positive for Covid-19. To tide over the crisis, Dr S. Aravind, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of Aravind-Chennai, had to return to the roots of the organisation and reinforce its culture. The Covid-19 pandemic had exposed hidden fault lines in society and shortcomings of the efficiency-oriented business model of AECS. Dr Aravind had to determine ways to reduce the fragility and build resilience in the organisation.
Affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated lockdowns, the management team at digital-first, Indian cosmetics brand SUGAR is deliberating over ways to respond to the new development in its influencer strategy. SUGAR grew into an INR 100-crore brand digitally by delivering content that was relevant to its young, urban customers in India through its Instagram page. Micro- and nano-influencers played a significant role in building its follower base of 1 million people. SUGAR was hungry for more. With the aim of becoming an INR 1,000-crore brand, the cosmetics firm began to expand its physical presence and grow in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities. As the team planned this expansion, the COVID-19 pandemic struck, and the associated lockdown, a measure to slow down the spread of the disease, relegated everyone indoors. Unexpectedly, SUGAR’s beauty advisers transformed into employee influencers, attracting customers from Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities in India, while bringing in revenue through digital sales even when physical stores were shut. The company recognised using employee influencers as an opportunity to get new customers. However, the management team pondered over several questions. Did SUGAR have the resources to develop its employees as influencers? How would retailers respond if their sales employees focussed on online sales while manning physical counters? Would development of employee influencers dilute their existing influencer plan? The company had to also decide whether it would grow by focussing on traditional media and channels or by expanding its digital influencer plan.
This case describes the entrepreneurial journey of two college friends — Anchal Taatya and Abhiram Nukalapati. While studying at IIM Ahmedabad, they saw an opportunity for aggregating credit card discounts and launched a pilot in February 2019 under the name Circles. Circles helped discount seekers and credit cardholders to connect and make transactions. Case A outlines their journey until the launch, where they faced the dilemma of choosing between a B2B and a B2C business model. Case B outlines their struggles in launching a B2C product and the eventual shutdown of the venture. The key objective of this case is to understand the business formation stage of a college start-up, and how they arrived at opportunity identification. The case is aimed at enabling classroom discussions on the role of trust in platform businesses and how regulations — or lack thereof — can shape the destiny of new ventures.
The case describes the growth trajectory of Vodafone Gujarat, one of the most successful circles of Vodafone India. Successive leaders of Vodafone Gujarat followed a highly entrepreneurial approach for building a market leadership position in urban and rural markets. The case provides a detailed description of how to execute growth strategies in the telecom sector, especially by designing a decentralized distribution structure, cementing first-mover advantage through trust, customizing products and services, and integrating with network rollout. The context of the rural market and bottom of pyramid customer segments makes this case relevant to other emerging economies.
UrbanClap was setup in October 2014 to address the opportunity of bringing the workforce from the unorganised sector into the mainstream using the power of technology. It was an on-demand marketplace for services available through a mobile app. In the initial years, UrbanClap, developed as horizontal marketplace, saw intense competition from existing and new players who were operating in the hyperlocal services space. It competed in the on-demand service marketplace by categorising its services into a lead generation business (where it connected customers with the service provider and charged a fee for matchmaking) and a fulfilment business (where UrbanClap took end-to-end responsibility for quality of service delivery). After three and half years of operations, the three co-founders wondered if it was time they moved out of lead generation and instead focussed on the fulfilment business.
Razorpay is a four-year-old Indian B2B fintech startup in digital payments which is venturing into digital lending. It aims to simplify digital payment flows involved in acceptance, processing, and disbursement of payments through superior technology and automation. This case details how Razorpay creates value for businesses by offering service convenience in B2B space. Razorpay started as a payment solutions provider, primarily known for their payment gateway. Over time the market for digital payment in India has matured, with multiple providers offering similar products making it difficult for Razorpay to sustain its growth by using technological leadership and service differentiation. To maintain its growth trajectory, Razorpay has launched multiple new products in the digital payment space as well as announced a foray into creating a marketplace for digital lending through launch of Razorpay Capital. The case provides details of the growth of Razorpay and its move from its core strength of payment gateway to a more platform-centric business model. Razorpay needs to review and decide the different facets of its product and market strategy in view of its pivoting in an evolving market.
Neons Fashion LLP was an entrepreneurial venture of Arthi Ramalingam after completion of her MBA. Arthi had an interest in jewellery since childhood and she decided to focus on design, manufacturing and retailing of fashion and costume jewellery items under the brand name of Eternz through different sales channels like exhibitions, retail stores, own website and as an independent seller on e-commerce marketplaces. She initially started selling on Amazon marketplace through a third party, Cloudtail India Pvt. Ltd., and later sold through other e-commerce marketplace operators like Flipkart, Jabong and FirstCry. As her business grew, Arthi planned to add the kids’ shoes category and also decided to participate in Bangalore Fashion Week to build the Eternz brand. However, in November 2016, Cloudtail terminated her contract which played havoc with the sales and profitability of her start-up. Neons Fashion LLP (A) provides details of how independent sellers are at the mercy of marketplace operators and ends with the need to review the choices of sales channels for different categories like fashion garments and fashion accessories, and for the upcoming launch of kids’ shoes. Neons Fashion LLP (B) describes the events after the Bangalore Fashion Week that ultimately led to closure of business.
The Indian digital payment market was estimated to grow to around USD 700 billion - USD 1 trillion by 2022. A number of players had entered the market to challenge Paytm which aimed to maintain its prominent position in the Indian mobile wallet space. To increase its user base and use-cases, Paytm introduced the Lucky Lifafa campaign to provide Indian users a novel way of sending money as a gift. The campaign bore similarities to the Red Envelope campaign used by WeChat to garner a wide user base in Chine. In spite of gift-giving being an integral part of Indian culture, the acceptance of Lucky Lifafa among Indian users was significantly different from that of the Red Envelope among Chinese users. The case describes the Lucky Lifafa campaign and the context in which it was executed, thus highlighting the differences in the way gifts are given in Chinese and Indian societies. Additionally, the case also provides details of existing and upcoming players in the mobile wallet market space in India.
BloombergQuint (BQ) was started as a collaboration between Quintillion Media (QM) and Bloomberg in April 2016. In the competitive landscape of business news broadcasters in India, it started by providing stock updates, financial sector news and opinion articles on financial issues on its website. BQ later expended by providing video content in September 2017. It had applied for a television broadcasting license and awaited approval from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. The lack of a suitable television channel obligated BQ to use alternate distribution channels for ensuring that its content reached a wider audience. One of the alternate channels used by Ankit Dikshit, Manager, Digital Marketing, at BQ, was WhatsApp, a mobile messaging app widely used in India. This case explains the process whereby BQ grew its user base through WhatsApp. Growth by WhatsApp has led to Anil Uniyal, the CEO of BQ, setting ambitious targets for Dikshit. Class participants have to guide Dikshit on the way forward for BQ.
The three cases (Case A: JSW Steel's Ispat Acquisition: The Opportunity; Case B: JSW Steel's Ispat Acqusition: The Setback & Case C: JSW Steel's Ispat Acquisition: The Turnaround Strategy) describe the business situation leading to acquisition of Ispat by JSW, the acquirer company's failure to realize synergies post-acquisition, and the subsequent turnaround initiatives to salvage the situation. In 2010, JSW Steel, a 14 mtpa Indian steel company acquired Ispat Steel with annual production capacity of 3 mtpa. The acquisition was part of JSW's multipronged strategy to realize its aspiration of being a 40 mtpa firm. At the time of acquisition, Ispat had huge debts, a long pipeline of unfinished projects, high production costs and unpredictable cash flows. Its main plant, Dolvi was shutdown for 45 days. However, the plant also had numerous advantages. It was located near the seashore and was technologically very advanced. Case A describes the events leading to acquisition of Ispat by JSW. It captures the facts, opinions and inferences around the acquisition decision, which were used as inputs in the due diligence process to assess synergies between JSW and Ispat. The case describes the economic, competitive, and industry factors prevailing in 2010 when JSW was thinking of acquiring Ispat.
ACC Limited, under Project 30-30, had targeted to produce and sell 30 million tons (mt) of cement in the year 2011. In May 2011, the Head of Central Logistics had found the target of the project to have become increasingly difficult to achieve. He believed that to sell 30 mt of cement, 30 mt had to be transported, thereby, advancing the role of the logistics function from that of a mere facilitator to a critical actor. As possible opportunities to increase sales, issues at the Bulk Cement Corporation (India) Limited (BCCI), and the plant at Wadi are being discussed in the case. The head of BCCI had raised concerns about the decreased logistical capacity of BCCI post a mandate from the Indian Railways on transporting 58-wagon rakes against 41-wagon rakes. A common belief was that with more wagons per rake, the quantity transited from Wadi would be higher. However, this was not the case and a capacity addition was being proposed. The President of Wadi Cluster had expressed that as an effort to reduce the transit time between Wadi and BCCI, priority was given to loading for BCCI. Though an improvement was observed with the introduction of 58 wagons per rake, Wadi was facing issues. This had affected Wadi's ability to serve other markets. The focus of the case is on analysing the options being considered by ACC to increase market presence, logistics capacity at BCCI, and the overall throughput at Wadi.
The traditional copra supply chain involved coconut farmers, copra converters, traders in terminal markets, up-country traders, traders in futures markets, different kinds of brokers, and millers who converted copra into coconut oil. Marico was a major player in the branded coconut oil market in India and needed to procure almost 15 per cent of the copra supply. The copra supply chain exhibited significant price volatility and supply disruption risks. The case describes the initiatives taken by Marico between 1991 and 2007 to disintermediate the copra supply chain. These initiatives involved setting up copra collection centers and web based reverse auctions to aid price and quantity discovery. Marico was now able to source copra directly from small farmers who otherwise had to sell to Marico through a long chain of intermediaries. In 2007, Marico set a target of sourcing 25 per cent of copra by 2011 through copra collection centers in the southern Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. However, it was uncertain whether copra collection centers and reverse auctions could coexist. Marico also needed to determine the appropriate level of disintermediation which would best suit its supply chain strategy.
Bayer CropScience is a world leader in the crop protection business. Significant challenges exist in ensuring availability of pesticides to farmers spread all over India. Indian agriculture is predominantly rain fed and crucially depends on the seasonal monsoon. Different pests may attack the standing crop during different phases of the crop life cycle. Forecasting the type and intensity of pest attacks across geographically dispersed territories is a challenge. The case study describes the current supply chain structure and focuses on the design of an efficient and effective supply chain that can meet such challenges.
The Belur Plant of indal is facing a significant increase in power tariffs. Power tariffs have significant influence in shaping the competitive advantage of firms in the aluminum industry. The extent to which this increase in power tariff would affect the competitive position of indal needs to be examined. A reduction in power consumption can be achieved through appropriate scheduling policies. The case focuses on understanding the complexities of shop-floor scheduling and the trade off between the objectives of delivery reliability and minimization of power consumption. In the process, it builds awareness of how the manufacturing strategy and business environment shape the objectives of shop-floor control and how the dynamics of the shop-floor, in turn, affect the competitive advantage.
Enercon India Limited (EIL) is involved in setting up Wind Energy Converters (WECs) in several states of India. EIL offers customers a hassle free investment opportunity in the wind energy business through its "from concept to commissioning and beyond" strategy. In the backdrop of impressive growth, EIL is facing difficulties in meeting customer due dates. This case focuses on a troublesome situation as seen from the viewpoint of Mr. Prithwiraj Rathore, Team Leader (Erection and Commissioning) of Nawapur project, EIL. Besides possible financial losses, even the credibility of EIL is at stake and it is upon him to save the situation by taking the right decisions. The case covers project planning and execution activities at EIL and examines to what extent project planning is critical to the success of EIL. It also provides a background of the wind energy business in India and underscores the importance of delivery reliability in shaping the competitiveness of EIL. The progress of work at a particular project site is tracked and the importance of asset acquisition and outsourcing decisions is highlighted.
Adani Wilmar is leanding player in edible oil refining, packaging and marketing. After having setup a distribution network in the North, the company plans to expand to the south. This it believes will be possible by providing soya bean oil which is more economical than other oils. The key task is to identify the ideal distribution warehouse location, Keeping in mind the primary transportation cost, warehousing cost, the secondary transportation cost and the implications of faxes. Given the proposed value Added Tax regime, it would also help evolving a strategy that considers this.
Consulting Projects: Indian Oil Corporation, Sun Pharmaceuticals, Diversey India, International Organization for Migration, Tally Solutions, Gujarat State Cooperative Supply Corporation.
Abbott, ACC, Adani, Aditya Birla Group, AIOCD, Airtel, Ambuja Cements, Anand Automotive, Asian Paints, Axis Bank, Bajaj Finserv, Bayer Cropscience, Berger Paints, BHEL, BSNL, CG Power, Decitex Décor, Delhi Jal Board, DLF Pramerica, DOPT (GOI), Enercon (India) Limited, Essar, EPFO, ET, Federal Bank, Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, HDFC Life, Hemas Pharma (Sri Lanka), HAL, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages, ICAI, ICICI Bank, IES (GOI), IFS (GOI), IRS (GOI), Indegene, Indofil, ITC Hotels, Indian Oil Corporation, JBN, JSW Steel, Kirloskar Brothers, Kotak Bank, Larsen & Toubro, La Renon, LIC, Lupin, Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Company Ltd., Mahindra, Maruti Suzuki, Meril Lifesciences, NHPC, NTPC, Numaligarh Refineries, Petrotech, Reliance Capital, Siemens, Sun Pharmaceuticals,Tally Solutions, Tata Housing, Tata Power, Tata Project, Torrent, TruMart, Vodafone India, Vodafone Shared Services, Young Presidents' Organisation, Zydus
2021 - Best teacher award for teaching in PGP: The Marti Mannariah Gurunath Outstanding Teacher Award
2021 - Best teacher award for teaching in PGPX: ‘SRK Distinguished PGPX Faculty Award’
2020 - Best teacher award for teaching in PGP: The Marti Mannariah Gurunath Outstanding Teacher Award
2020 - Best teacher award for teaching in PGPX: ‘SRK Distinguished PGPX Faculty Award’
2019 - Best teacher award for teaching in PGP: The Marti Mannariah Gurunath Outstanding Teacher Award
2018 - Best teacher award for teaching in PGP: The Marti Mannariah Gurunath Outstanding Teacher Award
2017 - Best teacher award for teaching in PGPX: ‘SRK Distinguished PGPX Faculty Award’
2016 - Best teacher award for teaching in PGP: The Marti Mannariah Gurunath Outstanding Teacher Award
2015 - Best teacher award for teaching in PGP: The Marti Mannariah Gurunath Outstanding Teacher Award
2014 - Best teacher award for teaching in PGP: The Marti Mannariah Gurunath Outstanding Teacher Award
2005 - Most Popular Professor - Outgoing PGP Batch (2005)
2007 - Best Professor Award - Outgoing PGP batch (2007)
2008 - Recognition for Innovative Impact - Outgoing PGPX Batch
IIM Ahmedabad blog and the Recruiter Advantage magazine, 2010