Thursday, June 13, 2024

Data Patterns: Pushing Indigenisation, Adaptability, & Cost-Saving In The BrahMos Supply Chain Ecosystem

By Aritra Banerjee

The extraordinary success story of the BahMos missile system is built upon a vast network of over 200 dedicated supply chain partners and industry collaborators. Their contributions have played a crucial role in shaping the success of BrahMos Aerospace. Indian Aerospace & Defence delves into the companies that have served as the backbone of the BrahMos supply chain ecosystem.

Data Patterns, a significant contributor to the BrahMos missile program, is a prime example of the synergy between indigenisation, adaptability, and cost-saving. Specialising in the indigenous manufacturing of BrahMos missile check-out equipment (COE), Data Patterns has achieved substantial cost savings, reducing what was once paid to a Russian supplier.

In addition to this, Data Patterns made a groundbreaking achievement by successfully designing the FCS for BrahMos, the first instance of such a system conceptualised and developed within India. Further contributions include developing the Air Version Launcher for the Sukhoi-30 aircraft and other electronic systems, solidifying the supply chain for BrahMos.

To delve deeper into Data Patterns’ role in the BrahMos ecosystem, IADB spoke to Vijay Ananth K, the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Information Security Officer of Data Patterns. An industry veteran with over two decades of experience in software engineering and product management, Vijay holds a master’s degree in computer applications and serves as the Whole-time Director of the company.

Excerpts from the conversation…

Q. How is your supply chain prepared for the increased volume of BrahMos Aerospace’s exports and the further upcoming potential additions in terms of export orders?

Ans: We have been associated with BrahMos for more than two decades. BrahMos is very proactive in providing information about their future procurement plans to all their partners. We provide them with some of the critical systems like Fire Control Systems (FCS) for Land and Air (Su-30) along with Checkout systems for the production testing of Missiles. 

We are well prepared and have our supply chain aligned to meet the export orders. In fact, we have already started supplying for exported orders and are on track to deliver it ahead of time. Being a Product Company, we have the advantage of planning and ordering our components in bulk, considering our future consumption since many of the components are used across various products in our portfolio. This helps us to deliver ahead of time. We are fully prepared to meet BrahMos’ ambitious path to export our prestigious products and other future programs.

Q. What investments or upgrades have enhanced the robustness and flexibility of your supply chain for BrahMos Aerospace? Could you provide examples of innovative solutions adapted to enhance supply chain agility for BrahMos Aerospace?

Ans: BrahMos has a very good commercial team which approaches the requirement in totality than in piecemeal. This gives us an advantage in procurement, production planning and infrastructure. At times, due to various circumstances, BrahMos has asked us to deliver systems much earlier than the stipulated schedule due to interest from customers in addressing some emergency situations. During such requirements, we could ramp up and deliver it as required. 

This is possible since we have multiple orders for various end customers of BrahMos. For example, even for the export order, since original deliveries were a little away due to the requirement to field the systems earlier, when we were asked to deliver it within the shortest possible time, we re-routed the systems to meet this urgency. We have increased our production infrastructure and assembly line to produce more every year. BrahMos has always appreciated our flexibility in delivering the systems in demanding situations.

Q. BAPL has already indicated a potential reduction in the cost in case of bigger orders for their potential customers. How do you optimise the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of your supply chain for BrahMos Aerospace? Do you see the potential cost reduction in supply-chain cost if the numbers further increase substantially in the coming days for the benefit of the potential customers?

Ans: As such, BrahMos always orders full quantities with a scheduled delivery plan. Hence as a first step, this helps us to negotiate better with our supply chain to reduce the cost. However, the moment export orders intake by BrahMos increases, it will provide additional cost benefit even to our In-country end users since the additional quantities will help in reducing the cost of Raw materials through volume advantage. Moreover, BrahMos is also trying to come out with other products (smaller variants); we are considered a reliable partner for many critical systems, hence once these orders are placed on us, we will be able to increase our bargaining power further to provide substantial cost benefits and increase the value proposition to BrahMos.

Q. Looking at the intense disruption in the global supply chain, what strategies are in place to minimise supply chain bottlenecks and disruptions for BrahMos Aerospace?

Ans: As mentioned earlier, we are a Defence Product Company by DNA. Hence our approach to procurement has always been a multi-year plan. This has helped us immensely during Covid and other recent disruptions in the supply chain. Since we are the OEM and have complete control over the design, we even managed to re-design the modules to mitigate the non-availability of some components. BrahMos is an important customer rather partner to us; hence we always keep track of our inventory levels to ensure a steady supply to them. 

Most of the modules used in BrahMos systems are part of our portfolio of reusable building blocks; hence, when there is a shortage of components to meet the requirements of BrahMos, we re-route those components to meet the BrahMos demands first. Our strategy of planning ahead, using reusable building blocks, re-designing if needed and advance procurement in bulk has demonstrated its worth time and again. Incidentally, one of our export customers has appreciated us for continuous delivery even during covid lockdowns. That demonstrates the level of preparedness even before such disruption took place.”

These detailed insights from key industry partners shed light on the intricate dynamics of the BrahMos supply chain. They reflect the constant innovation, collaboration, and adaptability required to sustain a thriving and responsive defence ecosystem.

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