8 Ways the Chennai Floods Demonstrated the (Good & Bad) Power of Social Media

8 Ways the Chennai Floods Demonstrated the (Good & Bad) Power of Social Media

Last month, Chennai, the coastal capital of Southern State Tamil Nadu often called the Detroit of South India, was battered by record-breaking rains that exceeded normal levels by three times and broke a record that had held for more than a century. The torrential downpour submerged the city, brought transportation of all types to a screeching halt, and left many homeless.

The deluge was particularly bad news for many multinational automakers since the city is a thriving manufacturing hub to that industry. The city, which also offers an inexpensive, industrious, and disciplined workforce, counts for almost one-third each of the country’s automobile and automotive component sales. The supply chain for these auto industry leaders was badly shaken in the aftermath of the rain. However,  a quick look at how regular people used social media to make the best of a bad situation may offer some good insight to electronics OEMs on how to leverage these platforms to get up and running more quickly.

In the midst of disaster, people pulled together and everyone, whether Hindu, Christian, or Muslim, rolled up their sleeves to help with the recovery efforts. Notably, social media outlets, from Facebook to Twitter, proved to be key tools in streamlining the process of handling the overall crisis.

Connecting people & bringing them together

Facebook brought people together, across borders, across religions, and across languages and cultures. Upon seeing the damages inflicted by the rain in real time on social media, people opened up their homes, schools, colleges, and marriage halls to provide space for affected people to stay. Others, prompted by compassion spurred by online tales of the disaster, cooked food, packed it up and distributed in multiple places to total strangers.

One popular movie star Siddharth and his movie director buddy jumped into the water to help out, leveraging millions of their Twitter followers. Not only did help come from nearby cities, such as Coimbatore and Bangalore, but also from places as far away as San Francisco, Atlanta, and Dubai. Through the power of social media, those affected really felt that there are other people in the world that cared for them.

In the supply chain, certainly these same platforms could be used to let OEMs and their partners around the world band together to get things done.

Inspiring volunteerism

Once people started seeing the reaction to these efforts, several others jumped in the fray to help out. Several individuals prepared even more food and brought it to Chennai in their own cars and vans. Others tag-teamed these efforts by bringing other essentials by the bus and truckload.

In a disaster, organizations can be inspired just as people can—and electronics OEMs are no different.

Connecting helpers with those in need

Facebook was also leveraged to get additional and special help to those in most dire need. For example, several pregnant women that were stuck in rain were air lifted with helicopters. These helicopters were able to reach them only after getting the message through Facebook. There were people that were stuck asked for food and essentials who were offered food and essentials only because they were able to get the messages out to the world through Facebook.

Smart organizations could use targeted social media efforts to put the word out about critical situations. I find myself wondering if the industry would take notice and step up to help.

Originally published at Smartgladiator.com on Feb 28, 2018.

Puga Sankara is the co-founder of Smart Gladiator LLC. Smart Gladiator designs, builds, and delivers market-leading mobile technology for retailers, distributors, and 3PL service providers. SG LoadProof is a patent pending Centralized Enterprise Photo/Video Document System on Cloud for Supply Chain. SG LP is built on the fact that photos & videos are vital docs as important as POs/SOs/Legal Contracts/Fulfillment Orders that reside in ERP/WMS/TMS systems, that serve as compelling, conclusive, unequivocal proof of crucial, critical, vital operations executed in Supply Chain within/across orgs when fulfilling customer orders as well as meeting contractual obligations between orgs as merchandise is transferred between different parties that partake in Supply Chain functions & operations. And these photos/videos data should not be stored in someone’s Smartphone or Email Inbox or in their personal/work Computer, but should be stored in a Centralized Enterprise system, where such data can be pushed into super-fast, stored securely, accessible to all stake holders (CFO/Sales Reps/Customer Support/AR/AP) in an org, as well as facilitates super-fast retrieval/sharing. LP is an Enterprise System of record for Photo/Video docs & is as important as an ERP which is an enterprise system of record for POs, SOs, Legal Contracts between parties etc. that have huge legal ramifications, also as important as a WMS (Warehouse Management System) that hold indispensable shipment & fulfillment data on orders. Like how Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat etc. have evolved into social media platforms/systems that enable individuals to showcase their beauty/pretty clothes/lovely cosmetics/hep coolness etc., LoadProof is an Enterprise system that holds similar photos/videos, but for a different reason, not for show off, but to serve as compelling, conclusive, unequivocal & indisputable system of record and proof that can be presented even in the court of law, when there is a dispute between parties while they execute many facets of the Supply Chain functions & operations. Puga is a supply chain technology professional with more than 25 years of experience in deploying capabilities in the logistics and supply chain domain. His prior roles involved managing complicated mission-critical programs driving revenue numbers, rolling out a multitude of capabilities involving more than a dozen systems, and managing a team of 30 to 50 personnel across multiple disciplines and departments in large corporations such as Hewlett Packard. He has deployed WMS for more than 30 distribution centers in his role as a senior manager with Manhattan Associates. He has also performed process analysis walk-throughs for more than 50 distribution centers for WMS process design and performance analysis review, optimizing processes for better productivity and visibility through the supply chain. Size of these DCs varied from 150,000 to 1.2 million SQFT. Puga Sankara has an MBA from Georgia Tech. He can be reached at [email protected] or visit the company at www.smartgladiator.com. Also follow him at www.pugasankara.com.