Pramod Jajoo is the SVP Technology and India Country Head for ShipBob with over 30 years of expertise across the business landscape with internet companies like BigBasket and Freight Tiger. He’s also a mentor and advisor to select startups and corporates and is actively involved as an angel investor in the Indian startup ecosystem. Jajoo has been a mentor to Nasscom's Deep Tech Club (DTC) startups for the past four years and previously served as a Senior Vice President at Flipkart where he managed product and technology teams for Flipkart’s Fulfillment Services Group. In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Jajoo shares incredible insights on the innovations in the supply chain domain and how enterprises can unleash their potential for growth and impact with a people-centric culture.
What is the vision for the future of ShipBob? What has been its business impact on the supply chain enterprise?
ShipBob’s vision is to serve merchants of different sizes, from small and mid-sized to enterprise companies. This is done by democratising fulfilment with best-in-class logistics across all merchant’s sales channels, from e-commerce to retail. Feedback from the customer community is vital to steer the ship forward for any business and even more so for a supply chain enterprise such as ours. As a result of the open communication channels with our customers, innovations become a byproduct, such as new fulfilment centre locations, more robust integrations, and support of sales channels to other services that can enable a seamless supply chain.
The business impact has been immense, especially in a rapidly digitised world. Merchants can get up and running on our platform in a matter of days, leading business functions at speed, at scale, and in cost-effective ways.
What is the role of technological innovation in the global supply chain enterprise? What are the challenges it seeks to address?
Technology innovations are vital because they increase choices for our community and, at the same time, improve the customer experience, efficiency, and cost. When supply chain companies offer customisation and growth capabilities to address omnichannel fulfilment needs, regardless of where their customers are located and the delivery choice, there is an inevitable expansion in terms of reach. During the pandemic, we noticed that most sellers had shifted to e-commerce. Accordingly, fulfilment solutions had to adapt, but in the post-pandemic world, there is a shift towards physical, in-store operations and the solutions that companies such as ours provide have to shift simultaneously.
This agility is imperative and comes from the skilful use of data science and machine learning technologies to improve the efficiency of resource planning and every step of the fulfilment process.
Simultaneously, to increase one’s capacities and reach in the supply chain, investing in a partner fulfilment network has proved very successful for us; however, partners have to be onboarded fast and seamlessly, so there are no hiccups in the solutions delivered.
In a hypergrowth economy and a highly connected marketplace, the talent you hire is critical to any organisation’s business success. So, for ShipBob, what is the hiring outlook?
Solving complex problems for customers to scale and succeed at their business seamlessly requires deep product, engineering thinking and excellent merchant care.
As a result, the talent that gets hired becomes a key differentiator in realising the company's mission. Four significant functions, notably Technology, Product, Customer Success, and G&A, will see the judicious hiring of highly skilled professionals in the next 12 to 18 months.
I firmly believe that when the talent hired aligns with a company’s mission, purpose, and culture, that very talent can be empowered to innovate in service of global customers and achieve great heights. The supply chain industry is evolving quickly, and technology will continue to drive efficiency and bring innovation to the industry. One of the best ways to enable this is by having a deeply skilled, highly engaged, and motivated workforce from diverse backgrounds.
How can organisations today enhance cross-functional collaboration as the workforce becomes increasingly distributed?
Cross-functional collaboration is essential for an enterprise with a multi-geographic presence to keep the business running. Of course, there are challenges when a global organisation has to serve a global market, but empowering teams and individuals to set boundaries and set expectations with each other leads to greater work-life integration. This is one of the core practices of flexible working that we as leaders must ensure.
We have to trust each other, be in sync with each other on priorities, and, at a tactical level, be great at the documentation and asynchronous collaboration to move forward continuously.
For instance, a single threaded leadership structure that entails incorporating members from different parts of the organisation under a singular leader can be an interesting strategy.
This divides the workforce into smaller focus groups and enables autonomy and decentralised decision-making, and we have seen this happen at ShipBob. One of the greatest benefits that it yields is a heightened sense of ownership and accountability amongst your people, which will positively impact workforce collaboration and employee engagement.
As the world of business prepares for unprecedented business disruptions, what are some words of advice you would like to share with our community?
Building a people-centric, purpose-driven organisation that focuses on the professional and personal development of the employees is the priority. We, as leaders, must strive to create a culture of innovation and flexibility, and steer away from a culture of compliance. In today’s environment, too much policy and too much bureaucracy will stifle the growth and adaptability of any organisation or team. Instead, we must design our organisation and work streams to be agile, resilient, and human-centred so we can thrive in times of uncertainty and continuous disruption.