From Kargil, Drass, and Siachen to Flipkart: How this ex-Indian Army officer is acing the supply chain game
Captain Jyoti Bisht’s father had a dream — either his son or daughter should join the Armed Forces and serve the nation.
While her brother chose to study engineering in an IIT, Jyoti cleared a different set of exams and joined the Indian Army, fulfilling her father’s dream.
Captain Jyoti Bisht during her Army days
She had moved out of her hometown, Nainital, to pursue a Master’s in Computer Science at St Xavier’s College, Mumbai, post which she worked at Nexus Solutions for a while.
“That was the happiest day of his life and mine. I joined the Army as a lieutenant in 2004 and underwent training in the Officer’s Training Academy, Chennai. The intense physical and mental training changed my personality. From the shy, small-town girl, I became confident and ready to face the world,” she tells HerStory.
Jyoti’s first posting was in the Kargil sector in Ladakh, where she started her journey in the Army’s supply chain department, looking after the functions in Kargil, Drass, and Siachen — popularly known as the highest battlefield in the world.
“There are eight central ordnance depots across the country, which supply all requirements for the Indian Army. From these depots, all the materials required for the Army, such as clothes, tanks, machines, weapons, and ammunition, were sent to Kargil and Drass,” Jyoti explains.
From here, Jyoti’s team sent everything to various posts located 24,000 feet above sea level.
It was an intense two-and-a-half year of experience, where besides the high altitude, vagaries of climate, and transportation challenges, the team also had to deal with heavy shelling from the enemy at times.
To top it all, Jyoti was the only woman in the unit of around 900 men. After her tenure in Ladakh, she enrolled in a higher supply chain management course at the College of Materials Management.
She was posted to a central ordnance depot in Delhi. From procuring materials to storing them to supplying them to the forward areas — Jyoti was responsible for end-to-end supply chain management for the Army.
She got married in 2010 and left the Army in 2014 when she was pregnant with her first child. She took a break of two years and joined the Army School as a teacher when her husband was posted at Pathankot.
Meanwhile, Jyoti completed an Executive MBA programme from IIM-Ahmedabad and joined a healthcare supply chain company. By this time, she had moved to Kolkata to be with her husband on his next posting.
From the Army to Flipkart
Her entry into Flipkart happened quite by chance. A friend told her about promising career prospects in the company and an enviable work-life balance.
In March this year, Jyoti joinedand works as an Operations Manager at one of its most extensive facilities in West Bengal.
She is responsible for ensuring the customers’ shipments are processed, packed, and shipped in the fastest manner possible.
“The pandemic has thrown up a lot of challenges for ecommerce companies. My job is to ensure prompt delivery and excellent customer service. We do this by monitoring and ensuring adherence to our operating plan and operating metrics. Besides overseeing operations, I am responsible for formulating people policies and building a diverse team,” Jyoti says.
She supervises a team of 140 at Flipkart’s fulfilment centre. She says the lessons she learned in the Army, especially being confident and thinking on her feet, has helped her navigate many challenges. Moreover, the supply chain field is essentially a male-dominated one like her stint in Ladakh, with similar obstacles.
However, the “friendly culture” at Flipkart has worked to her advantage, Jyoti claims.
“We have many employee-friendly benefits, which include work from home options, pick and drop facility, meals, and a creche for children. When all these things are taken care of, we can work freely and balance family and work,” she adds.
Jyoti also believes that the FlipAhead course has helped a lot of employees grow within the organisation. Facilities like Awaaz helps employees in the company voice out their grievances.
Interactive sessions with the top leadership are also conducted, where employees can voice their concerns.
“I like the work environment here as it is meritorious and bias-free. I want to do well in my career,” she says.