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Pulling out the stops to keep farmers going

Nagarajan Raghavendran talks about how Capgemini helped a global agrochemical and seed company to mitigate the disruption caused by COVID-19 – transitioning our people to work from home.

Hello Nagarajan. Could you start by talking about the services your engagement provides to our clients?

Yes, of course. We provide end-to-end master data management (MDM) and order management services for our clients’ global supply chain operations, from our delivery teams based in Chennai, Bangalore, Trichy, and Krakow.

One of our biggest clients operates a global seeds and crop protection supply chain business. We deliver MDM services for this client globally, and also provide order management services for its crop protection and seeds business in Asia Pacific (APAC), and its crop protection business across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East (EAME).

Our services have a direct impact on how quickly our client’s end customers – predominantly farmers across the globe – can procure their products and keep producing food.

What were the client’s concerns around the disruption caused by COVID-19, and what were some of the specific measures you implemented to ensure business continuity?

As speed to market is the essence of everything we do, our client’s main concern was: could we continue to deliver services remotely to the same standard under global lockdown as we had previously been doing. This involved a significant amount of planning.

We mobilized 100% of our technology assets to our workforce, enabling them to work from home (WFH) seamlessly. This included procuring and delivering laptops, moving desktops from the office to our employees’ homes, and installing internet routers to enable our people to WFH. We installed the necessary programs and resources on our people’s personal devices, enabling them to continue delivering services to the client from home.

Much of the physical documentation flow compliance activities in supply chain management (SCM) involve document archiving, printing, and couriering. Our team demonstrated great flexibility in using their home printers to carry out many of these critical tasks, much to the delight of the client. We also procured and installed printers in our team members’ homes to enable them to continue providing paper documentation for the client.

How did you change the way you worked with the client to keep their business operations running smoothly?

Despite all working from home, we exercised greater rigor and discipline in managing our day-to-day activities as a team. We also leveraged an innovative, digital approach to communicate faster and better with the client.

This involved customizing our dashboards with the Qlik technology platform to enable more frequent and real-time communication, which led to faster and more accurate business decisions. We also proactively flagged issues on a real-time basis to enable our client to make faster and more informed decision and actions.

How did you maintain your team’s morale while they worked from home?

We have a terrific team that is exceptionally resilient. During the COVID-19 crisis, we ensured a daily personal connect with the team to boost their morale and acknowledge their role and contribution.

On top of this, everyone was encouraged to share and clear concerns regarding any policy updates, and we all worked hard to instill a sense of fun and banter among team members to help keep us all connected and relaxed.

Finally, could you share any best practices and tips you’ve learnt in navigating this situation?

It goes without saying that it is absolutely crucial to maintain business continuity during a time of crisis, and a well-planned approach is crucial. Planning here means proactive asset and inventory management, resource mobilization, logistics arrangements, IT support and readiness, and the ability to communicate proactively and seek timely approvals with government authorities for mobility.

While most service providers tend to have a standard business continuity planning (BCP) protocol defined in their contracts, the COVID-19 situation was clearly extremely different. As organization, Capgemini showed great flexibility, innovation, and agility in shuffling our operational set up to deliver frictionless operations for our clients..

Learn more about how our crisis care package offers provide pragmatic, turnkey solutions that help you to mitigate the disruption caused by COVID-19 and deliver tangible business outcomes to your organization.

Read more  from our colleagues across the Capgemini Group about how they are helping our clients run their business operations in the light of COVID-19.

Nagarajan Raghavendran manages service delivery, client relationships, and helps build a partnership culture to drive efficiency improvements for Capgemini’s clients.