Award recipients: (fifth from left) Joydeep Mukherjee, head, technical services group, Voltas; (seventh from left) Ashish Tripathi, assistant vice-president, HDFC Bank; Nilesh Panchal, head, digital transformation, KEC International; Samip Mutha, vice-president and group head (digital and innovation), RPG Group; Rahul Raghuraman, senior manager, group strategy office, Mahindra and Mahindra; Saurabh Pushkarna, deputy general manager, Mahindra Truck & Bus; (twelfth from left) Abhijit Singh, head of technology, ICICI Bank.
Award recipients: (fifth from left) Joydeep Mukherjee, head, technical services group, Voltas; (seventh from left) Ashish Tripathi, assistant vice-president, HDFC Bank; Nilesh Panchal, head, digital transformation, KEC International; Samip Mutha, vice-president and group head (digital and innovation), RPG Group; Rahul Raghuraman, senior manager, group strategy office, Mahindra and Mahindra; Saurabh Pushkarna, deputy general manager, Mahindra Truck & Bus; (twelfth from left) Abhijit Singh, head of technology, ICICI Bank.

How some companies used cutting-edge emerging technology for business efficiency to turn winners

At the Digital Innovation Summit, Mint and EY felicitated firms that have leveraged new technologies in their businesses

A subsidiary of RPG Group, KEC International, is one of the leading engineering, procurement and construction companies in India. Its ability to estimate project cost at the time of bidding helped it win projects, deliver margins and mitigate risks. These estimates were based on the analysis of contour maps and physical surveys, which was both time-taking and prone to human errors. After trying out several alternatives, KEC decided to go with autonomous surveys using drones. Once the data was captured, it used image analytics, computer visions, and machine learning models to calculate excavation and backfilling of land. This allowed its bidding team to estimate project costs more accurately and this improved its bid-to-win ratio significantly. In terms of cost savings, the spending on excavation and backfilling quantity was reduced by up to 30%. Now KEC can survey 250 acres in five hours, which earlier took more than five days. This has also allowed it to build a repository of data in digital format for future use.

Internet of Things (IoT): Voltas Ltd

Voltas has seen immense benefits by using IoT to gather data to perform preventive and predictive maintenance of its cooling equipment. Providing services to a fragmented enterprise customer base of 3,500 across 45 locations in the country was proving to be a major challenge for the company. That is when it decided to turn away from a reactive after-sales service, where it had to be informed by the customer of the breakdown, to an I-T-based predictive and preventive maintenance system where all connected Voltas equipment share real-time data with their engineers, allowing them to remotely keep track of the equipment’s health. This not only helped them prevent failures but also ensured customers’ business remained unaffected by breakdowns. According to Voltas, the general turnaround time is 10-12 days, but with the help of IoT, it has managed to bring it down to three days. In terms of cost savings, this has allowed the company to reduce raw material and overhead rationalization by 10% and has led to revenue growth of 15% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) since deployment.

Robotic process automation (RPA): HDFC Bank Ltd

HDFC Bank processes around five million loan applications across multiple locations every year. The average processing time for each loan request was over 45 minutes as everything from application indexing, data entry, document verification and underwriting forward was being done manually. By using RPA, HDFC Bank has automated the data capturing process. Loan processing across all locations is now placed in a centralized server where real-time loan processing status would be visible to all credit administrators. It has also allowed the bank to allocate the cases to credit managers based on the nature of loan, location and eligibility.

This has reduced the turnaround time for processing loan requests by 50%, offering the bank the opportunity to scale up and handle more customers. The tangible benefits of RPA have been the improvement in productivity of data entry staff by 40% and decision-making staff by up to 12%. This has also minimized the scope for manual errors, resulting in better credit quality decisions.

Blockchain: ICICI Bank Ltd

ICICI Bank has emerged as one of the first banks in India to use blockchain for paperless trade process that is safe and secure. The platform is being used for exchange and authentication of overseas transactions and international trade documents. The switch to blockchain has helped the bank reduce the turnaround time of trade cycles, leading to better management of cash flow and inventories. It has also made transactions more transparent as auditing and tracing of blockchain transactions is a lot easier.

The bank hopes this will bring in new asset classes and open up new revenue generation opportunities for it. On a daily basis, the bank is processing all overseas transactions between India and Canada via blockchain. So far, it has processed Canadian $32 million on the platform. Another area where the technology has helped the bank is in trade, which is a paper-intensive process. The bank is looking at how to create a digital letter of credit within 10 minutes.

Augmented reality (AR)/Virtual reality (VR): Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd

In the intermediate commercial vehicles industry, most customers are single vehicle owners or driver owners, who usually rely on feedback or advice of friends and peers when it comes to buying new vehicles, since most original equipment manufacturers in the industry do not provide ownership experiences to them. Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) is using VR to provide individual buyers a more personalized experience.

The automaker’s VR platform provides 360-degree videos of the working of its Furio trucks in real-life environment. It puts the customer in the co-passenger seat while the driver can explain the various features of the truck. It includes a VR headset developed by Procus and a Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro smartphone that comes preloaded with a Furio VR App and mobile device management service.

It is being used for customer/driver meets or local events and during individual customer showroom/office visits. M&M is hoping the use of Furio VR will help improve the conversion ratio of leads to sales and save around 15-30 lakh per dealership.

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