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How Digitalization Is Helping Bring Clean Water to India

July 7, 2017 by Ajitabh Das 1

Staggering economic growth may have improved the lifestyle for millions in India but there are still millions who struggle for basic amenities like clean water.

According to a report by WaterAid, a global advocacy group on water and sanitation, around 63 million Indians don’t have access to clean drinking water. To compound this shortage, an estimated 40 per cent of the supplied water is lost to leakages in pipes and connections. Those statistics are why the Indian government has accorded a high priority to universal access to drinkable water.

To meet the enormous demand and improve the delivery of clean water, Indian water storage and transportation companies like Vectus, based in the northern city of Noida, have turned to IT to increase their operational efficiency. Vectus, a leading producer of water tank and piping devises, has 13 manufacturing and 13 Depots sites across India and has grown at an average annual rate of 35 percent. Despite achieving this impressive annual growth, the company faced operational performance challenges with its IT systems.

Employees had to manually record customer orders, process billing, and keep track of product dispatches. The operational task was laborious and often inaccurate. According to Manish Sinha, head of IT at Vectus, they “faced major issues with server downtime that caused staff to put in extra shifts to enter data, costing up to 12 million Rupees (USD 180,000) in overtime payments.”

To address their problems, Vectus turned to SAP. In just four and half months, the company went live in all its 24 locations with SAP S/4HANA Enterprise Management and has seen impressive results. Sinha says that after going live “we have experienced no downtime and have not once had to restart the server during working hours. In all, we believe we have increased total operating efficiency by 60 percent across the company.”

Vectus has seen 50 percent faster access to real-time data to monitor business performance, enabling smarter budgeting and planning. They can now check real-time inventories to know which products are selling. That helps them plan production and determine which products they should emphasize more for market promotion. By comparing real-time sales data with inventories, the company reduced waste and total procurement cycle time from over 21 days to just 15 days. Because of one-click accounting and cross-business transparency, the company is better prepared to meet compliance regulations, complete audits, and quickly report financial information.

Digital intervention will not fix all the problems related to India’s perennial water shortage, but it does provide a new effective tool for companies like Vectus to drive efficiency and effectively deliver much- needed clear water storage and transportation solutions to its customers.

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