The Best IT Teams Constantly Work In Start-up Mode

by Swaminathan B    Feb 07, 2017

Managing IT functions in a large logistics solutions company is no joke. And, Shirish Gariba knows that is his team of IT Professionals that keeps the wheels moving at DIESL, one of India’s leading providers of end-to-end logistics solutions. Connecting over 200 warehouses spread across more than 7,000 towns and managing a whopping 3.2 million transactions a month. 

shirish gariba

As Chief Information Officer at DIESL, he plays a key role in managing the company’s business of maintaining a well-oiled supply-chain for the company’s clients across a variety of sectors, ranging from telecom to consumer durables and high-tech engineering to automobiles and retail industry. As a provider of third-party logistics (3PL), Gariba knows that the technology at the backend is what delivers value to the customer. In a brief chat with, Shirish Gariba discusses the business and how IT supports it. Excerpts: 

CXOToday: You firmly believe that the concept of cost-cutting is no more an achievement for the modern day CIOs. Can you elaborate on this, more so from your own point of view as the CIO of a company like DIESL? 

Shirish: Actually, there is a difference between cost cutting and cost rationalization. Cost cutting is passé now as technology drives most businesses. Cost rationalization is monitored at all times and has become a key agenda item for all CIOs. We also practice the same and whenever we see an opportunity to rationalize costs, we do so. Our approach is quite simple: “Do it with less and doing it differently.” We treat this as an opportunity and not a challenge. 


CXOToday: Can you provide us with examples where IT teams in your organization have gone up a level from the traditional approach to that of a profit-enhancing division? 

Shirish: If you take the above example one of the methods we use is to challenge demand, reduce discretionary spend and renegotiate vendor contracts. Consolidate IT platforms, hardware, infrastructure and data centers, reduce complexity, errors, duplication, simplify activities and increase the productivity. Play a more active role in supporting the company’s strategy that directly helps the company sell more of its products and services.  By improving quality, price, service or speed we also make the company more relevant to customer demands, and the result will always be more sales revenue.

CXOToday: What are the top five areas of IT spends in your organization in the coming days? 

Shirish: That’s quite simple. We believe that enterprises need to spend on cloud solutions, mobility, data analytics, security and on application development. 

CXOToday: As far the logistics industry is concerned, what are the pain points you face and which is likely to come. And how are you planning to face it? (We believe you might have predicted)

Shirish: The pain points that we face and will continue to face include customer pricing pressures, demands for faster response times, rising customer service expectations as the top three issues that supply chain leaders and professionals find very or extremely challenging. We are addressing the above issue with the following technologies.  

Network optimization tools can be very powerful in determining where to hold inventory, which transportation modes to use, and how to differentiate service response times by product and customer. 

These are power decision support tools to model end to end supply chain costs and trade-offs. One can design networks that deliver orders at lowest landed cost and also address constrains like cost, service levels and capacities.  Along with this we also use Analytics tools, which permit our operations to get insights on cost, profitability, service levels, KPI and customer complaints. Sensors and automatic identifications help us in tracking shipments and vehicles.  For speed of information delivery mobile solutions helps our customer and operating team


CXOToday: What is your view on IT teams in organization should have a ‘start-up’ approach?

Shirish: This is my personal opinion. I try and adopt a lean start up approach, which means rather than engaging in months of planning and research we would go with untested hypotheses – basically good guesses and try to adoptnew technology as POC.

Second, lean start- approach is to test these hypotheses basically go out and ask potential users and partners for feedback on all elements. The emphasis is on nimbleness, speed and voice of customer. The third is Agile development – by developing iteratively and incrementally.