Covid-19 06 May 20 Om Anand

Hope you are well and safe! As the lockdown is extended with greater relaxations given by the governments to indulge factories and standalone shop units in India, we had our second edition of roundtable discussion (jump over to read the blog on the first edition) with renowned companies from different parts of India. We discussed the common problems the industry is facing at large, its solution, and future implications.

Firstly let me introduce you with the panelists for this roundtable discussion: (Going alphabetically)

  1. Ashok Chopra - Country Head,  Fresca Juice
  2. Jaisinh Vaerkar - Director, Paprika Oleo’s
  3. Keshav Choudhary - Director, Anmol Industries
  4. Mitanshu Shah - Director, Girnar Tea
  5. Rajesh Gandhi - Director, Adinath Agro
  6. Sudeep Goenka - Director, Goldiee Group

The discussion was compared by Paramdeep Singh -  CEO, FieldAssist

We had a one-hour long discussion. In that, the first round was compared by Paramdeep Singh, wherein he asked some of the most relevant questions of the current scenario. Post this round, the panelist had an opportunity to cross-question and learn from each other.

The key insights from the entire discussion are as follows:

1. “This is the right time for brand building and increasing product penetration,” says Mr. Sudeep Goenka

Many FMCG companies are still gauging the situation and execution is very slow. In this scenario, FMCG brands can accelerate their growth by-product placements and increasing brand visibility to beat the competition. “A strong data-driven approach towards making this decision will be key,” says Mr. Goenka

2. “Market will be different with new challenges. Re-strategization is important” says Mr. Rajesh Gandhi

Rightly pointed out by many panelists that communication models are changing. The way distributors interact with retailers, and teams interact with one another is changing drastically. Mr. Jaisinh and Mr. Mitanshu pointed out that startups like swiggy and zomato are realigning their business to deliver FMCG products - companies can use this opportunity to manage supplies at this time.

3. “Horeca segment in FMCG have to be re-oriented,” says Mr. Jaisinh Vaerkar

Mr. Jaisinh- director of prominent FMCG companies that have a huge Horeca client base says that Horeca sales have literally paused for a while. In this scenario, the companies that rely on Horeca have to quickly move towards a multichannel approach. The production, packaging, and sales team needs to be realigned to get this approach running as soon as possible.

4. “Upgrading skills of the team should be a focus in this time,” says Mr. Keshav Choudhary

Mr. Keshav pointed out that there has been a very strong focus on upgrading the knowledge bank and skills of respective teams. This will increase the efficiency of the entire team when the lockdown is over and consumer demands get back to normal with fierce competition in the market.

5. “KRA of FMCG sales team has changed,” says Mr. Ashok Chopra

Mr. Ashok - Country head of famous Fresca Juices said that the beverage industry is operating like the Milk and Bread industry. They are doing calls early in the morning to ensure mobility and minimum intervention. Mr. Goenka also pointed out that the sales team that used to do 40 physical visits per day have to do 100 telephonic calls per day to retailers to ensure the same productivity. Rather than monthly sales review, companies have moved to weekly sales reviews.  In this light the sales team KRA that was prevalent before lockdown is not valid today.

6. “Managing migrant workers is an immediate problem,” says Mr. Mitanshu Shah

Mr. Mitanshu pointed out that the migrant workers in factories are demotivated and chances are that when the market opens, they will move to their respective states causing the disturbance in operations. Mr. Jaisinh pointed out that this is an important issue and the company has to ensure that they solve the basic needs of these workers. Also, help them in daily commutation to the factories.

Mr. Sudeep Goenka made a valuable point here to make your vision understood to the on-ground worker. Tell them why you exist and why it is important as a food company to operate in Covid-19. Directors and top management should keep themselves accessible to feedback and grievances of workers.

One of the key takeaways from the entire team was technology will play a much important role in the FMCG business. The way data is used and seen will give any company a strong competitive edge leading to greater penetration and sale. We are really excited to be part of this journey of these companies. Thank you, panelists, for sharing your thoughts!

Om Anand

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