Covid-19 : How FMCG sector is pulling out all the stops to maintain supply chain for essential products

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on May 01, 2020

Covid-19 pandemic has upended the FMCG industry like never before. Despite manufacturing and selling essential products, in this lockdown period, FMCG companies have had to swiftly respond to unprecedented challenges, with innovative strategies to maintain supply chains and ensure consumers can access their products.

Mohit Anand, Managing Director, Kellogg South Asia said, "We started navigating these precarious times effectively by making a rapid business resumption plan, with uncompromising focus on people safety. Our first order of business was to put together a "crack" team comprising representatives from our supply chain, sales, regulatory and legal functions and executing with a ‘hyper-local’ approach to restore our supply chain and distribution."

Anand said the company worked closely with Central, State and district level authorities and industry associations, to secure permissions to re-start its manufacturing units and overcoming supply chain disruptions by "re-starting warehouse and distribution operations, town by town, city by city, State by State."

Last mile delivery

From implementing strategies to scale-up or re-start operations at plants and warehouses, to striking unique online and offline partnerships for last mile deliveries, FMCG companies have had to pull out all the stops to stay resilient.

Parveen Dalal, Sales Director, Mondelez India said, "Our utmost priority is to build a resilient system that will enable us to maintain good service levels across channels.We are working directly with hypermarkets to negate any possible time lag or safety risks for the consumers. While e-commerce continues to be an important part of our network layout, by modelling strategies like direct store deliveries, customer backhauls and fostering partnerships with tech-enabled delivery platforms like Swiggy, Scootsy, Delhivery, Dunzo, we are consolidating our circuit to reach retailers and consumers." In partnership with Near.Store, the company has begun residential deliveries to 70 housing societies in Mumbai, which will be extended to other cities.

Besides enhancing existing e-commerce partnerships, MTR Foods has also tied up with Swiggy, Zomato and even Sunay Bhasin, CMO, MTR Foods Pvt. Ltd said, "We have also tied up with Shell to ensure our products are available across their petrol pumps in South India. We have also enhanced direct deliveries of orders placed through our own website to nearly 15,000 pincodes during the lockdown.”

The focus has not just been on enhancing B2C deliveries but also on efficient B2B deliveries to distributors and retailers. Sanjay Mishra, COO-India Sales and Bangladesh Business, Marico Ltd said, "We have partnered with national players like Delhivery, Shadowfax and Lalamove to ensure products are delivered from factories to depots and thereafter to distributors. Additionally, the services of these logistics partners have been extended to the distributors so as to ensure movement of goods to the final retailers." Besides last mile delivery tie-ups with e-commerce partners, Marico has also commenced tele-servicing and introduced an app for retailers.

Will these innovative strategies remain a stop-gap arrangement or become long-term strategies? Pinakiranjan Mishra, Partner and Leader, Consumer Products and Retail, EY India said, “FMCG companies will become more active in their direct to consumer outreach as this crisis will have a long-term impact on consumer behaviour and they will need to devise strategies to adjust to this new reality. Recent trends such as the outreach to various resident welfare associations and tie-ups with e-commerce for last mile delivery are examples of how companies are quickly adopting to the external environment, the changing consumer need and behaviour and thus, looking to turn it into long-term, sustainable business strategies.”

Published on May 01, 2020

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