Chennai: “Technology has enabled them to fasten the process as they are able virtually to meet and make quick decisions based on understanding,” Venkatesh Vijayaraghavan, Group CEO & Director ( FMCG), CavinKare while delivering his keynote address at the third edition of Medianews4u Straight Talk.
“Even at adverse times like these, there is always an opportunity for the FMCG industry from a consumer’s perspective. This helped us tide over this phase” he said and explained the four important perspectives they looked at as a company: Process (tried to automate as much as possible using technology), Productivity, Product (usually takes 24 to 36 months to launch a product in the market but during pandemic crunched it to months) gave the example of sachet sanitizer launched in 2 months and other hygiene products in about 3 months of time; and People (Clarity, Connect and Compliment),” said Vijayaraghavan.
Improvements over the pandemic
According to the FMCG veteran, from an organisational perspective, they have become lean with no hierarchy, have fastened the process of decision making without worrying about failure and the ownership of employees has increased.
As an organization they have achieved the following over the course of the pandemic:
- Reached 1 million outlets & 50% of villages
- 100% factory running with 35-50% manpower
- Launched more than 50 products and 5 new brands in 3 new categories in a span of 3-6 months
- Reached across India with 85%+ efficiency
On the lessons learned from the pandemic, he said that marketers should not take anything for granted. He also averred that there is always room for improvement and they had an opportunity to unlearn and relearn themselves how we conduct business.
Key market trends
Strong brands have become much stronger over the course of pandemics due to the loyalty and trust built. Regional brands have grown stronger compared to national brands over the past two years. Therefore, a single approach won’t work and the local connection is very important. Ecommerce is making market access easier and ignoring rural markets comes at a cost because for the FMCG industry rural markets are growing faster than urban markets. “Hence, we are focusing on rural.3 things to focus on is Insights leading to Innovation and innovation leading to brands and brands leading to growth. Insights need to be drawn from the unique problems to be solved for the consumers.”, he concluded.
Plans for the future
Some of the plans which he mentioned during the pandemic were to go digital, providing a global reach with local connect, understanding data and analytics to get insights, resisting the fact that ‘one-shoe-fits-all’ doesn’t work and hence build capability according to regions and clusters in India. Another key plan ahead for the brand is to understand rural markets better.