Meet our Procurement Wizard, Chaitanya

Meet our Procurement Wizard, Chaitanya

No task is too tough for Dainday Lakshmi Chaitanya. Once he receives a purchase requirement, he ensures getting the best supplies for the best prices possible. Chaitanya, who believes that negotiation is his superpower, has experienced an incredible journey at Ninjacart and we’re proud to have him as an Associate Manager in our Procurement team. Read his story in the latest edition of #LifeAtNinjacart.

#MyPathToNinjacart

I was educated to be an engineer, but eventually, I found my passion in the field of procurement. Before Ninjacart, I was working at a major electronics manufacturing company as a Team Lead. I led a team of 6 members and handled end-to-end PR(Purchase Requisition) and PO(Purchase Order) requests for the Philippines projects. Since I didn’t see my career growing the way I envisioned, after 2 years in the company, I decided to move on.

As I was applying for jobs, the special thing that made Ninjacart stand out to me was the possibility of new experiences and exposure to working with a  growing startup. The switch was especially exciting because it was a completely new domain (from IT to Agritech). It would give me the opportunity to utilize my strengths in Cost Optimization and Vendor Management at scale.

I am someone who actively seeks self-improvement and personal growth, along with my professional career. So, Ninjacart seemed to be just the right choice. It offered unique challenges and tested my skills in the real world. 

Today, it has been 2 years since I joined Ninjacart. As an employer, it has exceeded my expectations, which has been an extremely fulfilling experience. And I’m just getting started!

Getting Started at Work

I received my first major project in the first week itself. I was entrusted with the expansion of our business in Delhi, Coimbatore, and Ahmedabad. Today, I can proudly say that I’ve been a major part of setting up our operations in those cities. Currently, I handle procurement at a pan-India level. 

What do I do?

As a Procurement Manager, my work includes the delivery of Opex(Operational Expenditure) and Capex(Capital Expenditure). 

  • Opex are the day-to-day expenses a company incurs to keep its business operational.
  • Capex are the major purchases that the company makes, for use over a long period of time.

When we set up business in a new location, I receive a list of requirements from the project head and the department. It is then my responsibility to arrange for everything and get it delivered to the respective location. While I do it, I must ensure that we get everything at optimum prices and within the budget.

Loving It At Ninjacart

There are so many things to love at Ninjacart and its culture. Take its flexible hours, for example. In my previous company, you had to put in fixed hours of work every day, irrespective of the load. But, at Ninjacart, you have the privilege of flexible working hours. You only have to ensure that your work is on track.

The open workspace at the office gives a feeling of openness. There are no barriers to communication, and you may even talk to the co-founders directly. This friendliness allows people to share ideas, experiences, and feedback freely, which helps you learn a lot. The colleagues are down-to-earth, open-minded, and easy to talk to. Even if they’re handling a lot of responsibilities, they won’t let the stress show up in their words or actions. I try to imbibe this quality in myself.

I deeply believe in the core values of the company. But, the one which stands out for me is ‘Adapt, learn & be curious’. I always find myself adapting to the situation and learning new skills because I’m inherently curious. It is very beneficial for me in my professional life as well as my personal life. I keep myself up-to-date on innovations and changes in the industry.

Learning from your Mentors

My manager, Mariyan Kumar empathizes with everyone, whether it be his reportees or vendors. I find it very touching that he treats everyone equally with respect. Whenever anyone approaches him with an issue, he first reassures them and then proceeds to provide help. It reduces the chances of escalations and vendor attrition. It is not only humane but professionally effective.

Our Biggest Challenge During COVID Last Year

When the first phase of lockdowns was announced, we received a message from our CEO, Thiru. He said that now is the time that our skills will be tested to the hilt, and encouraged us to face the situation bravely. As the procurement team, we had to respond first to the sudden lockdown by arranging for and delivering safety equipment and supplies, like masks, sanitizer, dispensing-stands, rubber gloves, etc., to our centres, all over India. Arranging the materials was especially challenging because most manufacturers had closed their operations, too. But, we somehow managed to find contacts of active manufacturers and arranged everything in Bangalore within 24 hours. By the next 3 days, safety equipment and supplies had reached all 9 cities. 

I lived in a PG. They asked all tenants to vacate the rooms after lockdown. But, I stayed, despite the difficulties of the lockdown. I couldn’t have abandoned my responsibilities at such a critical time. It was time to rise beyond personal comfort and stand firm as a pillar for the company.

Soon enough after the restrictions were eased, we had started our e-commerce business and were moving up to 1000 tons. Even at that time, we couldn’t get proper support from the vendors because their manufacturing units were still not operational. We wanted to expand our business but were facing difficulties due to Opex shortfalls, continued lockdowns in some states, and a general atmosphere of fear.

We solved the situation by using couriers and trucks to manage the operations and the business. The situation was nightmarish but, by God’s grace, we didn’t have to stop operations, and it was business as usual.

My motto in life is: Without challenges, there can be no growth. It guides me through every challenge because I know that at the end of it, I’ll be one notch better at solving challenges.

Featuring
Dainday Lakshmi Chaitanya
Associate Manager (Procurement)

 

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