Driven by a path-breaking vision for the downstream steel distribution, Schic Lattice LLP aims to revolutionize its clientele’s comprehension of steel to an elevated paradigm at par with global standards. They continue to step towards the goal of creating a supply chain that’s less capital intensive and more knowledge-driven to adopt a transparent, reliable, compliant system and eliminating duplicity thus making it cost-efficient.
The genesis of Schic Lattice was based on the need to address the ever-existing real-time everyday problems embedded in the prevalent steel supply chain. They intend to extend to their customers an enriching user-friendly buying experience and generate value from the existing ecosystem, with negligible extraneous addition.
Having navigated the business through calibrated milestones, they are moving up the maturity cycle in 2021. The company reached its first milestone as a dependable, fair, and knowledge sharing steel supply chain partner to their discerning clientele.
They are industry leaders who provide sheet metal (steel) products to automobile component manufacturers. They have been able to deliver better-priced products and enhance buyer experience through technical consultancy to ensure enhanced raw material performance.
In 2022, they are launching the knowledge-intensive customer productivity focussed software application that will be a game-changer for the steel supply chain industry. They are designing the application for raw material optimization at the existing press shop, which will almost eliminate yield loss due to non-optimal raw material.
At the same time, they are designing another application to run across a ‘closed supply chain ecosystem’ comprising component manufacturer, steel mill and distribution service provider. This will offer Real-time optimization of all ‘cost burdens’ of the supply chain, viz.-inventory v/s JIT, logistics, quality rejection, etc. Both the products are aimed at improvising profit with no major investment.
In a conversation with The CEO Magazine, Co-Founder and CEO, Neelamuthu T Nadar shared about the challenges, team, leadership, and various other aspects of the business. Edited excerpts:
Neelamuthu: We started this ambitious journey in 2018. It was a commitment by us, in the face of stiff cultural resistance, to an industry battling everyday competitive pressure. We focused on the motto of “Uncommon thinkers reuse, what common thinkers refuse” - J.R.D. Tata.
Price cut, cutting corners on the process and product design within the permissible perimeter has come to a plateau. Improvisation of raw material has less bearing in the current context of consumption due to ‘out of sync’ between variables on the supply and demand side. Our industry experience of over two decades challenged us to experiment with this novel opportunity.
We had to think of new options to solve a pertinent everyday problem/malaise of this industry and thus we set upon our knowledge-intensive business. 3 years of this journey which began by operating a hands-on supply chain distribution vertical was enriching, akin to institutional learning. This has set the stage for the next foray. Schic Lattice has identified ‘select partners’ to start the next phase to generate case studies of this experiment. Operational scaling up will be taken up in mid-2022.
Neelamuthu: Yes, it was overwhelming in the beginning but we never lost sight of the larger good that was to follow. Our reputation kept us in good stead and helped us build a healthy relationship with customers. To permeate the existing thought process among the industry stakeholders, as expected, has been an uphill task considering that we are speaking to our audience about a paradigm shift.
We decided to make it a Quid pro quo process of ‘learning’ cum ‘revelation’. Our ‘cash burn’ phase of the supply chain cycle was utilized to secure market positioning. Our priority was to instill confidence in our customer’s minds and to be his prerogative. This was much needed to position our knowledge-based product within the perceptible spectrum.
Neelamuthu: For us, the one most primary challenge is to condition a potential customer to see the advantage of using our services by translating it to real profit numbers. Second, we are designing an application for performance optimization of the existing press shop, each of which is dissimilar industry-wide with less scope for duplicity. The element of nonconformity that comes with each contract challenges us.
Neelamuthu: The steel supply chain is a long existing industry with numerous replicate localization of mature global models. However, Indian players have not attained the ‘best service quality and value for the money situation’ on account of incomplete systemic efficacy. Our long association with the customer has sensitized us to this opportunity and we aim to convert this into our USP offering. We strongly believe our attempt is an industry first.
Neelamuthu: At the helm, I along with my partner manage the business as qualified engineers. I bring to the table my association with the steel industry for almost 30 years. We are strengthened by a support team comprising marketing, operation, logistic and account staff. Our new induction is a team of data analysts and programmers.
Neelamuthu: The biggest motivator for me is the possibility to bring a positive change in the supply chain service, through knowledge adoption. We want to help technocrats contribute as value creators in the business rather than being mere participants.
Neelamuthu: With the EV revolution at our doorstep, it has necessitated peak operational efficiency from the existing stakeholders to ensure sustainability and relevance. This transformation will see enhanced adoption of Information technology into their process.
Neelamuthu: We boast securing our place in our start-up market Bangalore, has been a significant milestone. Customer’s acknowledging our work and joining hands to help us scale up fast is our biggest award. To mention as well, this recognition by the CEO Magazine is certainly the “icing”.
Neelamuthu: Tiding over challenges and timing the right opportunity of the cyclic business have been the greatest learning during 2020 alongside the understanding that customer-centric business will always succeed. In 2020, we have inched up to INR 10 crore turnover. In 2022, we plan to quadruple this number. We have invested in analysts and programmers to achieve this scaling up. We will also strengthen our servicing vertical team.
Neelamuthu: Every youth must strive to bring his ideas to the world through entrepreneurial endeavor. Start early and bring a positive change. Our nation needs more entrepreneurs to accomplish the dream of becoming a developed economy. Entrepreneurship is the sure way to drive excellence.