Big Mac's Supply Chain Success

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Big Mac's supply chain success
The seed of McDonald's success was sown in 1990 - six years before it started its actual operations. Sanjeev Bhar traces its supply chain management that played a vital role in its growth. About two decades ago, the QSR wouldn't have meant much to the Indian F&B segment. Today, the acronym has been seamlessly absorbed in the industry lingo. McDonald's, arguably, one of the first brands that left a strong imprint on the Indian QSR history, has much to do with this. And its success is credited to its well-established supply management chain. According to Vikram Bakshi, managing director and joint venture partner of McDonald's India (North & East), the company invested about Rs 400 crore even before its first restaurant commenced operations in October 1996. "We had to ensure that we had the back-end linked up to the farm level for delivery commitment." The company also deployed the latest state-of-the-art food processing technology for having a sound supply chain. The transition towards the latest technology, which has been subsequently noticed in other QSRs as well, changed the Indian fast food scenario to match international standards. Tracing its success path

McDonald's had been working critically on its supply chain part. Considering, an international brand trying to make inroads into the Indian consciousness, its Indian supplier partners were developed in such a manner that made them stay with the company from the beginning. Bakshi explains, "The success of McDonald's India is a result of its commitment to sourcing almost all its products from within the country. For this purpose, it has developed local Indian businesses, which can supply them the highest quality products required for their Indian operations." As per today's standings, McDonald's India works with as many as 38 Indian suppliers on a long-term basis, besides several others standalone restaurants working with it, for various requirements. In the supply chain management for a QSR, the distribution centres hold special place for bringing food right to the outlet counters. For McDonald's India, the distribution centres came in the following order: Noida and Kalamboli (Mumbai) in 1996, Bangalore in 2004, and the latest one in Kolkata (2007). McDonald's entered its first distribution partnership agreement with Radha Krishna Foodland, a part of the Radha Krishna Group engaged in food-related service businesses. The association goes back to July 1993, when it studied the nuances of McDonald's operations and requirements for the Indian market. Recalling the association, Bakshi remarks, "Better facilities and infrastructures were created along with new systems by them to satisfy McDonald's high demands, which finally culminated into an agreement with McDonald's India, for Radha Krishna Foodland to serve as distribution centres for our restaurants in Delhi and Mumbai." As distribution centres, the company was responsible for procurement, the quality inspection programme, storage, inventory management, deliveries to the restaurants and data collection, recording and reporting. Value-added services like shredding of lettuce, re-packing of promotional items continued since then at the centres playing a vital role in maintaining the integrity of the products throughout the entire 'cold chain'. The operations and accounting is totally transparent and is subject to regular audits. "McDonald's had worked aggressively to attain the right suppliers and systems that ensured that 90 per cent of yield was indigenous before the doors were opened to consumers. The only products that we used to import were oil and fries, for which we have had made arrangements to manufacture the oil in India. We ensured that the products developed locally abide by global McDonald's standards," informs Bakshi. Over the last 10 years, the company has gained experience and adopted procedures that helped in maintaining a continuous supply of food products irrespective of...
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