Shekar Natarajan

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Shekar Natarajan
Shekar Natarajan photo.jpg
Chandrashekar Natarajan

(1979-07-23) 23 July 1979 (age 39)
EducationBSc and MSc
Alma materJawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad and Georgia Institute of Technology
OccupationSupply chain specialist and business executive

Shekar Natarajan (Chandrashekar Natarajan), was born 23 July 1979 in Secunderabad, India,.[1] He formerly served as the Senior Vice President of Network Planning and Operational Design for Target Corporation. He also serves as a panelist at international conferences and writes in the field of supply chain management.

Early life[edit]

Natarajan was born in Secunderabad, Telangana, India. Natarajan received his Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad in India and Master’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2003.[1][2] He also holds an executive certificate from the Center of Transportation and Logistics at MIT, and an Advanced Management Degree from Harvard Business School.

Executive career[edit]

Natarajan worked with Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated as the senior supply chain network manager and as a corporate development specialist for Alliance Rubber Company. He then moved on to PepsiCo in 2006, where he was the Director of Supply Chain Planning.[3][4] While there he was in charge of the company's new "direct store delivery" system, a transformation for which he received the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals 2010 Supply Chain Innovation award.[5]

He next moved to Anheuser Busch to serve as the North American Senior Director of Supply Chain Planning.[6] His approach to supply chain management has been described as, "first ... have in place 'diametrically opposite alternative' plans ... [2nd] constantly evaluate those plans, based on changing conditions and sensitive variables ... [3rd] understand that the planning process is continuous in nature, with no defined end point ... [4th] make sure that the right people are in the right jobs."[7] Supply & Demand Chain Executive also wrote of Natarajan's ideas on supply chain management that, "To bring competitive advantage to their enterprises, supply chain executives must also look to hire, train and retain creative problem-solvers, Natarajan adds. The goal is to drive "productivity of the mind" within the supply chain organization, emphasizing systematic thinking and developing problem-solving skills." Natarajan pointed out in the article that increasing supply chain efficiency is a method of adding coinciding value in other parts of the company as well.[5]

In 2013 Natarajan partnered with Ron Hammond to research a series of best practices in the supply chain management industry. Based on that research they created a "supply chain maturity" model, used to identify a range of corporate behaviors, and places corporations into one of five categories: myopic, sluggish, aware, anticipative, and prescient.[8] He is also a public speaker on the subject of supply chain and executive management.[9] In September 2013 Natarajan was named Vice President of Business Process and Technology, Integrated Supply Chain Management at Disney.[10]

Natarajan's delivery systems, typified by the "CoolLift" technology, reduced the workplace injuries of work floors where they were employed by 97%, reduced the carbon footprint of the system by 50%, and reduced delivery costs by 2.5%. He has also been involved with on the ground delivery logistics, creating urban-specific delivery plans in traffic congested cities like São Paulo, Brazil in order to deal with traffic jams. In Tanzania and Zambia, Natarajan also linked his delivery systems to the delivery of children's medication through the Cola Life program, which distributed medications to delivery locations of Coca-Cola for no additional charge.[11] He later became the Vice President of Last Mile and Emerging Sciences at Walmart,[12] where he worked on projects including the implementation of drone technology into Walmart warehouse infrastructure and delivery systems. Natarajan and his team developed the autonomous drones in collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration and NASA[13] in an effort to significantly improve the efficiency of inventory checks and improve the safety of Walmart’s distribution centers.[14] Shekar demonstrated the technology at a distribution center in Arkansas in 2016.[15] In November 2016, he then became the senior vice president of network planning and operational design of Target Corporation.[16]

Board positions[edit]

Natarajan is a member of the editorial advisory board for Material Handling & Logistics,[6] an industry member of the board for the College Industry Council of Material Handling equipment,[17] on the board for the Material Handling Institute of America, was the co-chairman of the Institute Of High Performance Planners,[18] is on the board of Colalife,[19] and an advisory board member of DC Velocity, a supply chain magazine.[20] He is also a member of the Catastrophic Disaster Recovery Plan program headed by the White House.[21]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Natarajan won the Medallion Award from the Institute of Industrial Engineering in 2010.[22]

In 2008 the Brazilian government recognized him for his keynote delivery at Movimat 2008.[22] In 2009 Global Supply Chain Review named Natarajan to its list of "Top 25 Supply Chain Executives".[23] In 2010 he was named one of the top visionaries of the year by Consumer Goods Technology[3] and a 2009 as well as 2010 "Rainmaker" by DC Velocity.[20][24] In 2010 he also received an Institute of Industrial Engineers Medallion for "outstanding contribution to the field of industrial engineering through leadership and innovation of methodology".[1] In addition, he was "formally recognized him for the content and insights he provided for developing and managing supply chain processes" by the government of Brazil, in response to his keynote address at the 2008 Motimat conference.[18] In 2011 Natarajan was then named a Next-generation Thought-leader by Supply & Demand Chain Executive[19] and again called a thought leader in 2013 by Logistics Insight Asia.[25] In 2013 Natarajan was named one of the "Non-Resident Indians of the Year" in the Professional Category by Times Now television.[26][27] Supply Chain Quarterly named Natarajan a "Pragmatic Futurist" in 2018.[28]


  • Planning by Design, co-authored with Richard Muther[1]
  • Simplified Systematic Network Planning, co-authored by Lee Hales[1]
  • Systematic Logistics Redesign and Optimization
  • Art and Science of Planning Anything

Personal life[edit]

Natarajan is married to Hima Venkata.[29] They have been married since 2007.


  1. ^ a b c d e BHARGAVI KULKARNI (10 September 2010). "Supply Chain Expert Honored by Engineering Group". News India Times. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  2. ^ "Shekar Natarajan Education". Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  3. ^ a b Alliston Ackerman & Alarice Padilla (2 June 2010). "2010 Visionaries". Consumer Goods Technologies. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  4. ^ Reese, Andrew K. (30 April 2010). "ProsFile: Shekar Natarajan". Supply & Demand Chain ExecutiveSupply & Demand Chain Executive.
  5. ^ a b "ProsFile: Shekar Natarajan". Supply & Demand Chain Executive. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
  6. ^ a b Tom Andel (7 September 2010). "Andel and Handling: The Meeting of Your Life". Material Handling & Logistics. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  7. ^ "Are You Really Thinking Outside of the Box?". Supply Chain Brain. 9 November 2009. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  8. ^ Tom Andel (August 2013). "Let Your Prescience be your Guide". Material Handling & Logistics. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
  9. ^ "2011 Next-generation Thought-leader for Supply Chain". Retrieved 29 August 2013.
  10. ^ Tom Andel (20 September 2013). "Disney and Fortna Hire MH&L Board Members". Material & Handling Logistics. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  11. ^ "Finding systems solutions to BIG problems". South Asian Times. 24 May 2014. p. 26. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  12. ^
  13. ^ Feloni, Richard. "Walmart is developing a drone". Business Insider. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  14. ^ "Walmart Ventures into Drone Technology for US Warehouses". Trackimo. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  15. ^ Abrams, Rachel. "Walmart Looks to Drones to Speed Distribution". New York Times. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Members". Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  18. ^ a b Lee Kok Leong (1 March 2012). "Conversation with a Thought Leader". Logistics Insight Asia. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  19. ^ a b "2011 Next-generation Thought-leader for the Supply Chain — Shekar Natarajan" (PDF). Supply & Demand Chain Executive. 24 March 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  20. ^ a b "SCOPE West conference slated for Aug. 21-23 in Las Vegas". DC Velocity. 30 June 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  21. ^ "Summit Day One schedule" (PDF). Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  22. ^ a b "CONVERSATION WITH A THOUGHT LEADER - Logistics Insight Asia". Logistics Insight Asia. 2012-03-01. Retrieved 2018-01-29.
  23. ^ "2009 Top 25 Supply Chain Executives". Global Supply Chain Review. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  24. ^ "The Rainmakers". DC Velocity. July 2009. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  25. ^ "Forging Ahead: The Path for 2013". Logistics Insight Asia. January–February 2013. p. 11. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  26. ^ "Times Now Honours NRIs of the Year". The South Asian Times. 5–11 April 2014. p. 15. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  27. ^ "NRI winners". Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  28. ^ "The pragmatic futurist – Technology – CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly". Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  29. ^ "IHPP - Spring 2010 - Workshop Photo Gallery". Retrieved 2017-12-25.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]