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50 Most Admired Companies of the Year 2020

An Interview with Poornima Kaddi, S3 Group Inc CEO: ‘Using AI, ML, and Predictive Analytics, We Help Clients to Identify, Quantify, and Prioritize Risks and then Develop a Strategy to Mitigate these Risks’

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“S3 Group does both client and supplier SWOT analysis to identify the potential weakness in the supply chain network and develop the strategy to eliminate the weakness and the threats.”

Artificial intelligence (AI) has the power to transform the way business is done and could contribute up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030, according to PwC.

When implemented and used correctly, AI can enable exceptional agility and precision in supply chains, regardless of the industry. It can also ignite a transformational increase in efficiencies and a decrease in costs where repetitive manual tasks can be automated.

In light of the foregoing, we’re thrilled to present S3 Group Inc — a premier consulting firm providing strategic supply chain solutions and services to the Logistics/Supply Chain industry.

The company was incorporated in 2013 and is headquartered in Duluth, GA.

Poornima Kaddi, S3 Group Inc CEO and Co-Founder, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Q. Explain your services in brief.  

Being a leading supply chain consulting firm, we’re dedicated to delivering exceptional operational, functional, and technical supply chain solutions to our clients. It is our goal to assist them in meeting their business challenges.

Importantly, we’re working with clients using AI and analytics to identify the areas of deficiency and weakness in their supply chain. It can uncover errors that have driven unfavorable supply chain decisions.

Q. Explain the current scenario of the Supply Chain Management (SCM) industry.

With the current pandemic going on and changing geopolitical climate, companies are changing the traditional way of doing business. Companies are moving to adopt the new SCM model for products to reach consumers quickly and safely. With globalization under pressure, companies want to be close to customers and service them in a more agile way and improve consumers’ buying experience.

Q. Competitors can copy supply chain management strategies. This gives customers a lot of options to choose from. How do you manage to safeguard your business strategies and customers’ interest?

Most of our supply chain strategies are tailored to meet individual customer’s demands. We work with clients to map their current supply chain processes. Additionally, the mapping process provides an understanding of supply chain dependencies, bottlenecks, and allows for risk mitigation. This includes information technology and transaction flow. This process provides a holistic view of the supply chain of the customer and all that is involved in executing the activities.

Q. Risk in the supply chain creates pressure. This pressure can easily snowball throughout the network, causing significant problems. How do you minimize risk without compromising the quality of service?

Yes, risk in the supply chain creates pressure in the network. This pressure can come from a wide variety of sources, including geopolitical changes, natural disasters, labor disputes, manufacturing problems, capacity issues, inventory problems, etc. Also, lean concepts such as just-in-time, virtual inventory, supplier rationalization, and fewer distribution facilities reduce total supply chain costs. They also increase supply chain risk when the unexpected external problems strike.

S3 Group helps clients to identify, quantify, and prioritize the risks and then develop a strategy to mitigate these risks. For example, having multiple sources of capacity, and being able to leverage them quickly can help mitigate supply disruptions. Maintaining a diverse base of suppliers even when equivalent materials are available from suppliers in the same region will help when one country or region experiences a disruption. We help clients plan and collaborate with their suppliers, logistics service providers, and customers, and drive toward mutually available risk plans for each link in the supply chain.

Q. Flaws in the supply chain system can wreck the whole functionality of a business. Do you help your clients patch-up their internal inefficiencies?

Flaws and weaknesses in the supply chain can impede productivity, add significant cost to a client’s bottom line, and create difficulty in delivering value. S3 Group helps clients in identifying and mitigating these weaknesses and enhances the organization’s ability to deliver value at a manageable cost.

S3 Group does both client and supplier SWOT analysis to identify the potential weakness in the supply chain network and develop the strategy to eliminate the weakness and the threats. It is also important to measure supplier performance capability and increase performance visibility. This will provide insight into risks and improve the performance of the supplier. Besides, this will help to uncover and remove a lot of hidden complexity and cost in the supply chain. Many supply chain inefficiencies can be attributed to poor business practices at the supplier and logistics level. Identifying these inefficient practices can provide a clear means to leverage the supplier base and impact performance.

Another area is AI and Data Analytics. Historical and current data are of vital importance in determining the success of the client’s supply chain. Utilizing data can point to areas of deficiency and weakness. It can uncover errors that have driven clients’ unfavorable supply chain decisions. AI and data analytics can help develop a good supply chain model to provide a solution in favorable decision making.

Q. What are your trajectories for the next five years?

As companies are moving more towards digitization, AI, and predictive analytics, SCM is no exception. S3 Group is working with clients to help them to move in the following trends.

  • Supply Chain in the Cloud and Digitization
    Supply chain cloud computing offers flexibility, scalability, and a global reach while doing away with the need to maintain extensive, expensive on-premise computing infrastructure, maintenance, and costly upgrades. Cloud-based supply chain applications offer a better user experience, greater functionality, and easy access to new features and releases. S3 Group is partnering with Infor, a leading SCM software provider in the industry, to offer their solutions to customers and migrate from legacy or on-prem solutions to cloud-based solutions. Digitization encompasses all efforts to integrate SCM systems into a unified whole as well as implementing new digital technologies. This creates paperless systems and provides a unified single way of looking at Data.

  • Omnichannel Supply Chains
    Allowing consumers to seamlessly shop online or in brick-and-mortar stores, omnichannel supply chains place greater demands on logistic and supply chains with the simultaneous requirements of supplying individual customer orders, wholesale orders as well as replenishing stock at retail stores. Helping clients switch from single and multi-channel supply to omnichannel fulfillment and re-design their supply chain logistics

  • AI, Machine Learning, and Predictive Analytics
    With greater access to big data, more organizations are turning to AI and machine learning to simplify tasks and automate procedures. Predictive analytics and machine learning algorithms are being used to improve planning and decision support systems, identify purchasing patterns, automate complex warehousing processes, and manage inventory. Many organizations are using AI to replace humans performing repetitive supply tasks and perform complex supply chain calculations. While sometimes regarded as the new entry in the market place, prescriptive analytics is being increasingly used as a supply chain decision-making tool.
  • Robotics and Automation
    With the pandemic and change in consumer behavior, companies respond to the increasing demands of multi-channel supply chains, especially concerning the need for flexibility and agility, many are turning to automation and robotics to speed up labor-intensive tasks. Robots are ideal for repetitive tasks such as stocking, sorting, picking, counting, and even for fetching and moving products in the distribution center.

Poornima Kaddi: A Trusted Leader

Poornima Kaddi, Co-founder, serves as the Chief Executive Officer of S3 Group Inc. She has wealth of experience in supply chain planning and execution areas. She has started a career with Manhattan Associates and worked as a senior consultant at Kurt Salmon Associates. During her career with these leading SCM companies, she worked on many retail, wholesale clients including Nike, Haggar, UniFirst Corporation, LL Bean, etc. She was a director and CFO of Idhasoft and helped the company grow from startup to over USD 100M. 

“We help clients plan and collaborate with their suppliers, logistics service providers, and customers, and drive toward mutually available risk plans for each link in the supply chain.”