Companies

Reverse migration of labour a main production challenge, says Tata consumer products official

Amrita Nair-Ghaswalla Mumbai | Updated on June 12, 2020 Published on June 12, 2020

Similar to other companies in the FMCG industry, Tata Consumer Products too encountered many challenges initially with stock availability, but things have progressively become better. It was only during the initial weeks of the lockdown that production and movement of stock was a challenge in some geographies, states an official.

Since the company’s foods portfolio comprises of essential products such as Tata Salt, Tata Sampann pulses and others. it could continue production in many areas. “While we had challenges in terms of interstate and inter district movements, the permissions and positive notifications from the government helped ease the situation,” Richa Arora, President, Packaged Foods, India, Tata Consumer Products told BusinessLine.

With all these aspects now settled in most parts of the country aided by free movement, the official added the company is now able to compensate for the loss of production in some areas by moving stock to low Covid impact areas.

Meeting consumer demand is not an issue for Tata Consumer Products, with the official stating the company has adequate inventories. Production though continues to be a challenge, with the reverse migration of labour.

Direct-from-farmer

“We are engaging regularly with our partners and local authorities to address specific challenges. We also took quick steps to deal with sourcing challenges. For example, with mandis shut across the country, for sourcing agri based commodities, we moved to a direct-from-farmer sourcing model to ensure adequate stock levels,” said Arora.

Elaborating on how the company managed the strains on the supply chain, the official said, “One part of the supply chain is production and movement to the distribution hubs, and the other is the movement to the final consumer. To manage the former, we set up a task force to ensure constant monitoring of hotspots and containment zones to anticipate potential production bottlenecks.”

Continuous engagement with state and central government authorities, district collectors and village panchayats helped the company find solutions on ground.

The company also made innovative use of technology, with Arora noting that since most (employees) were/are in WFH mode, technology was put to use even for aspects such as guidance on machine repair.

Innovative channels

Reaching the end consumer during the lockdown was a challenging task for the company. With many distributor points closed and majority of retail markets shut for prolonged periods, the company chanced on some innovative channels.

“We used a mix of initiatives such as tele selling, partnerships for direct-to-home distribution and strengthening our e-commerce platform. Teleselling is typically not associated with FMCG , but we used it effectively to manage most of our order bookings. Teams on ground worked around the curfew times, delivering material even at odd hours like 4 am or 5 am. Additionally, we used direct-to-home distribution models by partnering with Zomato, Flipkart and Domino’s Pizza for delivery of our essential products,” said Arora.

The company has also started delivery through its own nutritional content cum e-commerce platform, Tata Nutrikorner.

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Published on June 12, 2020
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