FMCG companies scale down, shut manufacturing facilities

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on March 24, 2020

Leading FMCG players have either shut down or scaled down manufacturing operations, in line with the State governments implementing a lockdown due to the Covid-19 outbreak. However, some industry executives, on conditions of anonymity, pointed out that there seems to be lack of clarity, and some ambiguity, in the implementation of the lockdown, especially with regard to manufacturing and distribution of essential products.

In a statement, Coca-Cola India said: “In compliance with the government directive, we at the Coca-Cola system in India have temporarily suspended production at our manufacturing facilities.” The company said that at the same time, to provide ‘essential’ beverages to consumers, it will operate its manufacturing facilities in very small numbers in compliance with local government regulations, as and when required.

In a BSE filing, Nestle India said: “In view of the lockdown..., the operations in some of the locations (manufacturing, distribution centres/warehouses, offices, suppliers) are scaled down or suspended. As the company is into the manufacture and sale of food and beverage products, the company is in discussions with the authorities to continue operations in the factories/distribution centres where the operations have been suspended.”

Industry sources said that local level authorities need to allow production and distribution of food and other essential times to maintain supplies when large parts of the country are under a lockdown.

Mayank Shah, Category Head, Parle Products, said: “We are currently working with 50 per cent manpower at certain plants, while some other plants are not operational in accordance with State and local government directives.”

In a BSE filing, Godrej Consumer Products Ltd said: “The operations in several of our locations are scaled down or shut down. The operations at some of the company’s overseas locations are also scaled down and will be operated as per the local guidelines.” Stating that the duration of this lockdown is uncertain at this point and will depend on directives issued by the respective government authorities, it said the overall impact on the operations of the company is not immediately assessable.

An ITC spokesperson stated, “While it is extremely critical to ensure adoption of precautionary measures including hand hygiene, social distancing and isolation during this period, it is also important, that during such challenging times, essential products are made available to consumers in a safe and sustainable manner across the length and breadth of the country through continuity of supply. As various state governments issue notifications, we are in discussions with them to ensure that manufacture and distribution of essential products is streamlined. A few select factories that manufacture essential products have been operational with bare minimum people. We have redoubled our efforts to ensure a heightened level of precaution and have implemented strict protocols for personal hygiene and sanitation in these factories.”

Published on March 24, 2020

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