FMCG companies have implemented new production and distribution schemes to help in the 15-day lockdown in Maharashtra. These include focusing on select brands, small packs, and creating buffer stocks to minimize disruption. Distribution plans also include reducing the time it takes for goods to move from factory to dealers and moving inventory closer to markets where goods are consumed. Companies are building inventory in warehouses.
Dabur India Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mohit Malhotra said, “We have put at least four to five days of inventory for the distribution pipeline so that there is no shortfall at the retail level.” The effort is to ensure that sufficient stock is given to the distributors for a period of 15 days. If the lockdown is extended then we still have no fear of any problem. ‘ Last year the companies halted production for a few days due to lack of further preparation in a nationwide lockdown.
Sunil Kataria, CEO of Godrej Consumer Products (India and SAARC countries) said, “Our inventory has been distributed to warehouses and we will soon be able to meet the requirements of the business.” The Maharashtra government hopes that within a fortnight the chain of virus spread will break as strict restrictions are placed on the movement of goods, services and people. All non-essential movement has been reduced for a fortnight and people are encouraged to stay indoors.
Mayank Shah, senior category head, Parle Products, said, “Food comes in the essential category. We have been allowed to operate our plants with a 50 per cent labor limit. However, to reduce supply chain bottlenecks, emphasis will be placed on small packs and popular brands. Popular brands of Parle Products include Parle Gee, Marie, Monaco, Crackjack and Hide & Seek Cookies.
Experts in this field said that the lockdown in Maharashtra started on Wednesday evening and its impact would be felt from Thursday. The FMCG company has a 10.15 per cent share of sales in Maharashtra and is among the major consumption and production markets in the country.
Companies say that this year they are carefully prioritizing their needs and are also planning to extend the distributorship loan period. At the same time, the incentives of frontline sales personnel are also increasing as they advance their products in the market. RS Sodhi, managing director of Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation, Amul’s production company, said, ‘In an epidemic, the focus of consumers is on the essentials. That is why apart from milk, we are focusing on segments like cheese, butter, curd, dairy products and ghee. ‘