We had to change our whole strategy and focus CFO Ingram Micro Private Limited
Finance managers are essential to the success of any business. In a conversation with Hoshie Ghaswalla, CEO, Businessworld, Prabhakar Iyer, Chief Financial Officer, Ingram Micro Private Limited, talks about the role of a Chief Financial Officer (CFO), the changing nature of his job and his upcoming projects.
What challenges and opportunities do you see in the consumer products industry? What is your role as CFO in this scenario?
The pandemic has changed the game in many ways. Ingram is one of the largest distribution houses in the country. We are a technological distribution space. It was difficult in terms of supply chain management, other than that it was not a problem. Ingram is a company with a wide range of consumers and businesses. In terms of consumer business, there has been a surge in demand for PCs, laptops, notebooks, which has increased significantly. There is a global shortfall in the supply chain, which has also been a challenge for us. Inventory management was a big thing, and from a financial perspective, working capital was also a challenge. We came up with various working capital programs with the brands to support the customer and we were able to handle the requests very well.
How have your business plans and operations changed over the past year?
We had to change our whole strategy and direction. We were a company whose core was the distribution of technological products. But now we have a lot of attention and resources diverted to advanced solutions in the enterprise and project space. We need to support the entire industry right up to the consumer. A proper investment in technology had to be made so that everyone had enough analytics to work with. We have also diverted a significant amount of financing and working capital to the consumer.
Do you see consumer goods companies transforming dramatically after these two years?
The transformation will affect all businesses, including technology. Consumers have become well informed, they want the urbanization and automation of the processes entrusted to them. They are willing to pay for the services, but they want to have an experience. Quality and experience will be the future.
How would you rate your organization on a scale of one to ten in terms of technology?
We are a global company and have been working from home since day one. While Microsoft Teams had been installed for a year, we only realized its necessity during the pandemic. Our workforce has been tech-savvy since the very beginning. That said, I would give my company an 8 out of 10 in the technology department because we still have a lot to do. We are building an experience platform for customers and other players. Web tools and apps are being developed to make all services technology driven.
What will bring it to ten out of ten, what are the gaps to be filled?
Our vision is to make all company services available on every laptop and PC in the world. A lot of manual work goes into invoices. The shift to robotics and fiber optics will rapidly increase productivity. As we achieve these goals, new technologies will appear and we must strive for them.
As a finance manager, what are your top priorities for moving your business forward over the next two years?
The experience we provide to our customers, the experience we provide to our suppliers and anyone who interacts with the organization can only happen with web platforms and technology. The second aspect is to invest significantly in the digital sector, which is the future and the only way for organizations to move forward. Investing in data analytics and business analytics is an important part of that, even if it’s about battling the competition