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Growing the local supply chain optimisation business

Growing the local supply chain optimisation business

Raghav Sibal talks about how supply chain operations have become a critical business function for businesses

Even since his appointment as ANZ managing director of global supply chain optimisation provider Manhattan Associates, in January 2011, Sydney-based Raghav Sibal has been working with local customers and partners in the country to expand the company’s footprint in the market.

This year, Sibal says the company is paying close attention to New Zealand and expects business to continue to grow. “We are keeping a close watch on the New Zealand market and have a few initiatives going on,” he says. “I believe New Zealand will grow at a marginal rate, driven mainly by Canterbury rebuild and recovery in domestic demand. Exports should also pick up as Australia and Asia continue to expand,” he adds.

The company has seen a surge in online retailing in New Zealand over the last couple of years, which translates into new opportunities for partners, as many local businesses are re-evaluating their supply chain operations significantly. The supply chain operations are no longer a back-end process, and are now being seen as a “critical business function,” Sibal says.

With more and more companies turning towards “omni-channel” strategies to increase sales, an efficient supply chain is one of the company's main concerns. As part of his job, Sibal facilitates all aspects of Manhattan Associates’ operations, including sales, marketing, consulting services, customer service and business development.

His busy schedule and responsibilities across the region involve a fair deal of travelling but Sibal’s also ensures that he is a constant presence in his children’s lives so a personal life and work balance is key to his success. “The days when I’m not travelling I usually wake up at around 6.30 or 7 am to the sound of my two year old and spend about 30 minutes with the kids over coffee,” he says. “Most mornings I have one or two calls with the US office to take advantage of the time difference, then I head to the office. I also drop my five-year-old daughter to school on the way, which gives me some one-on-one quality time with her. My morning workload can include internal operational briefings, project briefings and catch up meetings with the other directors. I spend time with the team in the office reviewing ideas and sharing experience whilst helping them with deliverables. The rest of the days, I travel to meet customers, prospects and partners to help our teams drive customer satisfaction and close new business,” he adds.

It’s a busy routine but Sibal has no complaints. “I love the fact that the IT industry is so dynamic. I also love innovation that drives business. The IT industry, especially in supply chain, is driving customer behaviour and retail commerce,” he says. “The most satisfying part [of the job] is sharing the knowledge I have gained from being in the supply chain industry with my team and customers.”

Sibal says his father, an engineer and businessman, is his main source of inspiration for his career. “My father is my biggest mentor both personally and professionally. For me it comes down to the fundamentals and basics that help with decision-making. I am always looking for wisdom and it can often come from unexpected sources,” he says.

“Only make promises you can keep” is the best advice Sibal can give to others in the same industry, as he stresses the importance of having reachable goals and never disappointing anyone in business. It seems to be working so far. Manhattan Associates has over 1200 customers worldwide and provides supply chain solutions to a number of companies in New Zealand, including Jeanswest and the Super Retail Group.

Q+A

Where do you live now and where did you grow up and have lived before?

I currently live in Sydney, Australia however I was born in London, Ontario in Canada. I grew up in New Delhi, India and have previously lived in Bangalore, Toronto, Chicago and Atlanta.

Are you married? Kids?

Yes, I am married and have two kids – a 5-year old girl and a 2-year old boy.

What are you currently reading?

Great by Choice by Jim Collins.

Do you have any favourite sports?

Cricket

And your favourite website?

Google; It’s the best tool on the web for finding just about anything.

What's your drink of choice?

In the day – soda water, in the evening – Scotch.

If you weren't in technology, what would you be doing?

Investment banking.

What do you consider to be your major strengths or skills?

My ability to gain the trust of people around me as well as my analytical skills.

How do you keep the work/leisure balance?

Spending as much time as I can with my kids is a priority outside work.


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