Suunil Dabral: An embodiment of wit, grit and tenacity taking
As our quest to bring an extremely inspiring and enthralling success story to our global aficionado makes us go above and beyond, we have managed to bring the profile of a leader who has made a noteworthy mark with his business acuity in the supply chain automation space. Yes, we are talking about Suunil Dabral – Senior Vice President & Business Head of Godrej Körber Supply Chain Ltd. This read represents how with his entrepreneurial and decisive leadership, Suunil Dabral steered the traditional manufacturing mindset company on a dynamic transformational journey to become an agile “Systems Integrator and Project Excellence” company.
Today Godrej Körber Supply Chain has marked its strongest ever presence in the market with a rebounding force offering an exciting “Value Proposition’ backed by the German technology & “Make In India” promise of our Honorable Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi. Godrej Körber Supply Chain Ltd is backed by the strong conglomerates like Godrej & Boyce and Körber Supply Chain part of the Körber AG Group. The joint venture began around 25 years ago between India’s leading Godrej & Boyce and Portugal’s Efacec Group. Later Körber Supply Chain acquired Efacec’s warehouse automation business and now the joint venture is well-acclaimed to be known as “Godrej Körber Supply Chain Ltd”.F
The company is into automated material handling solutions in the warehouse automation domain. In 2022, the company got the much-required facelift and the repositioning in the market and eventually the strides made by the joint venture Godrej Körber are commendable and would prove to be an informative read for our global readership.
In a tete-a-tete with our team, Suunil Dabral happened to share his in-depth insights into the industry as well as cover his leadership style to inspire the readers in the best possible way. Let’s dive into the excerpts of the conversation held with him
In February 2022, Suunil Dabral was appointed as the Senior Vice President and Business Head at Godrej Körber. He holds a postgraduate degree in International Business from the top-ranked institution known for its notable contribution to India’s foreign trade policies “Indian Institute of Foreign Trade” in collaboration with Nyenrode University, Netherlands, and has completed his project management from the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi. Mr. Dabral is also a certified independent director from the Institute of Directors, India.
Mr. Dabral is a certified independent director from the Institute of Directors, India Chapter.
With over 24 years of experience, Mr. Dabral has gained diversified business expertise in leading MNC organizations across various industries such as FMCG, Pharma & Healthcare, Agri-Commodities, Supply Chain Services & Intralogistics (Warehouse Storage & Automation). He has worked in various roles including sales, marketing & communications, corporate strategy, and managing company P&L as CEO.
His significant work experience initially has been into setting up a start-up businesses for the companies or new businesses expansions and growing them. Prior to joining Godrej Körber, he led and managed SSI Schaefer India for almost 10 years as “Country Head & Executive Director,” where he was responsible for revamping and transforming the company and driving it towards growth and success, gaining a strong position in the market.
At SSI Schaefer, he also served additionally as the “Regional Product Manager” for a shuttle based ASRS solution developed by him for the Indian market to address a specific target market gap, which eventually gained high popularity and demand in APAC / MEA and North American markets. Throughout his career, he has won around 25 awards for himself and the companies he has worked for.
Mr. Dabral firmly believes in the power of ideas, disruptive thinking, problem solving and creativity, which he considers his core strength. He is a passionate professional-level photographer and drone enthusiast and pursues his interest during his free time or international travels.
Company at a glance
Godrej Körber is uniquely positioned as a full-fledged systems integration company and provides a broad range of proven, end-to-end automated material handling solutions to help their customers to conquer their supply chain complexities.
Their portfolio includes AS/RS Systems like stacker crane-based and Shuttles based, Conveyors, Shuttle cars, Rail Guided Vehicles/Autonomous Mobile Robots and various Robotics based solutions, end of line automation solutions, palletization, Layer Picker systems and software solutions to seamlessly operate all these various systems. Godrej Körber has a very strong software platform with WCS and WMS solutions to handle almost anything inside the warehouse.
The product & service portfolio also includes various services as follows-
• General contractor and system integrator for automated solutions like AS/RS (Stacker Cranes, Shuttles, Mini Load cranes & shuttles etc)
• Consulting, planning, engineering services and project management
• In-house design and manufacturing of all the equipments in their factory near Mumbai.
• Palletization and de-palletization, Layering, and singulation systems
• Rack supported warehouse (RCW) consulting and solutions
• Bulk goods and pallet conveyor technologies and flexible conveying systems like AGVs/AMRs
• Robust and proven life cycle management services 24/7
• WCS, WMS, Voice & Light-based technologies deployments and logistics emulation/simulation/modelling
Infrastructure Consultation and integration that scales from non-complex to highly automated warehouses. The mission set forth by Godrej Körber is to develop and manufacture automated solutions and a self-sufficient intralogistics industry in India and support actively the “Make In India” movement by bringing European technologies into India. The total warehouse automation market size is worth 5000 crores and is growing at a CAGR of 12-14% in the target segments for Godrej Körber. The company expects to grow higher than the market growth.
How did it all start?
Körber Group acquired Efacec automation back in 2015 which was Godrej’s then joint venture partner at the time. The joint venture was renamed Godrej Consoveyo and then rebranded again as Godrej Körber Supply Chain after ‘Körber Supply Chain” later. Through this partnership, Godrej Körber has become a technology leader in India, offering solutions that address supply chain complexities, including software, materials handling automation, and life cycle services. Moreover, this collaboration has enabled Godrej Körber to export solutions to SAARC and Asian countries.
In 2020, twelve of the world’s top supply chain technology solution providers, including Godrej & Boyce’s former partner Consoveyo, unified under the Körber brand. Together, these companies have formed a global supply chain technology powerhouse that offers a wide range of solutions, spanning software, automation, voice, robotics, and material handling equipment, as well as system integration and consulting services.
As the number of SKUs and distribution routes, changing market demands, and supply chain disruptions take place, the businesses must manage their growth plans and strategies too as per the changing market dynamics, this increases the complexities of the customers’ supply chains which need to be agile. At the same time, companies are striving to cut costs and outperform their competitors.
While implementing new technologies can be challenging due to limited skills and resources, they can also provide significant benefits. Godrej Körber helps businesses turn these challenges into opportunities by providing solutions that leverage emerging technologies to optimize supply chain management. Godrej Körber is backed by a global technology group Körber AG whose business philosophy is to attain market leadership through technology leadership.
Syncing with tech advancements to win customer faith
Suunil explained, “Godrej Körber collaborates with customers throughout the project life cycle by providing a range of solutions, including consulting, system design, equipment supply, installation, testing and commissioning, system ramp-up, annual maintenance contracts, operation, and maintenance, as well as retrofits and upgrades.”
Godrej Körber has set its sights on revolutionizing India’s warehouses and transforming them into smart warehouses by providing state-of-the-art automation solutions for all kinds of applications with the right technologies like AS/RS(Stacker Cranes, Shuttles, Mini Load cranes & shuttles etc) Conveyors, AGVs/AMRs s and a variety of other sub-systems, digital and AI-based solutions.
These solutions allow businesses to have complete control over the storage of all palletized goods and light goods without or with minimal need for manual handling. Its goal is to tackle supply chain complexities across various sectors and automate a significant number of warehouses in India by combining cutting-edge technologies with innovation.
By partnering with global leaders and integrating best-in-class technologies, Godrej Körber provides cutting-edge customized solutions to meet the unique needs of different industries. These automated solutions span a broad range of sectors, including Pharmaceuticals, Chemicals, Agro-Chemicals, Food & Beverages, Dairy, Textile, Paper, Paints, Automotive, Railways, and more.
Godrej Körber maintains high-quality and safety standards, and its robust software processes and efficient after-sales services have earned repeat orders from satisfied clients, including Pidilite, Mother Dairy, Berger Paints, Sun Pharma, Wagh Bakri, JK Paper Ltd, Philip Morris, and many others. By 2022, Godrej Körber had a very big install base in India with more than 125 projects and still counting in 2023 and the future.
Here comes the most considerable part- the unique value proposition. To this, Suunil remarked, “We believe in delivering value to customers in conquering their supply chain complexity by offering end-toend automation and software solutions. We offer European Technology manufactured in India & fully supporting our Honorable Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi’s initiative “Make In India”.
We partner with the customers to improve their material handling process efficiency and support the customer throughout the project life cycle. We have built expertise across functions of R&D, Design, Automation & Software with the ability to conceive complete solutions inhouse in the supply chain domain and provide 24/7 online customer support across the country.”
A few of the considerable aspects to consider are the organization’s edge in the industry: Possessing 25+ years of experience with first mover advantage, with proven expertise in automated storage solutions, movement, tracking and handling solutions. Godrej Körber has in-house equipment development capabilities with a dedicated R&D department and complete Service support across all customer locations in India covering all aspects of Customer Service ranging from Maintenance, Spare Parts, Inspections & Audits and Retrofitting, etc.
Godrej Körber has become a pioneer in AS/RS Solutions of all types – stacker cranes, mini-load stacker cranes, pallet shuttles and conveyors and other various transport technologies like AGVs/AMRs etc. for better performance. To add to the list of their competitive edge, the in-house R&D department continuously keeps on improving the performance of the automated systems, developing new designs to optimize a variety of factors that impact the project throughput. Impeccable Conveyor systems, picking technologies like robotics and shuttle-based systems, and Autonomous robotic vehicles like AGVs / AMRs, etc, have been causing spur across the industry.
Furthermore, Körber Supply Chain partnered with Attabotics which provides an intelligent Cube storage solution to meet the ever-changing fulfillment needs of modern customers and modern commerce. The company was founded in 2016 and is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, with over 300 employees from all over the World.
Feathers in the cap
Since the joint venture’s inception, awards and recognitions have been raining here and there. It has managed to draw global attention owing to the marvels bagged so far. The list of accomplishments is as follows-
• Awarded Warehouse Automation & Software Company of the Year 2015.
• Bagged Best System for Warehouse Automation 2015
• Received Best Supply Chain Technology/ Solution Implementation 2016.
• Conferred with Best Cold Chain Warehouse Automation System 2016.
• Awarded Material Handling Equipment Manufacturer of the Year 2016.
• Received Best Company In Intralogistics Automation 2017.
• Became recipient of the Operational Excellence in Intralogistics Automation 2019.
• Awarded Best Warehousing Automation Project of the Year 2018
• Received Food Logistics Top 3PL & Cold Storage Provider award 2022.
• Mankind Pharma Limited acknowledged the Group’s insightful support in the On-time Completion of the Central Warehouse Project.
• Körber won the prestigious Procter & Gamble (P&G) 2022 External Business Partner Excellence Award.
• The venture also won- Best Warehouse Automation & Software Company of the Year in 2022.
• Körber Supply Chain was awarded as a leader for the fifth consecutive year in a row in the 2023 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Warehouse Management Systems.
Five years down the line
When asked to reveal his future roadmap for the next five years, Suunil Dabral revealed.
“Striving towards success by scaling up our warehouse automated solutions, we aim to provide technologically advanced intralogistics solutions to warehouses and ease up their supply chain . Our goal is to target a growth rate higher than the market growth rate in the next 5 years thereby contributing significantly to the transformation of the Indian supply chain automation landscape in India. By offering an unmatched depth and breadth of technologies and expertise, we aim to conquer supply chain complexity across sectors in India.”
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