FMCG players begin operations across select product lines

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on April 07, 2020 Published on April 07, 2020

At a time when most companies continue to reel from shortage of manpower and supply-side disruptions because of a coronavirus-induced pan-India lockdown, FMCG companies have begun operations of select product lines.

Some may operate at a reduced scale; however, there are many who are yet to restart operations or are awaiting “clear instructions” from respective State governments and local authorities.

For instance, Dabur India, has commenced production of Ayurvedic medicines “to meet demand”; while some factories of Godrej has received permission to “manufacture essential hygiene products.”

“Some of our factories have received permission to manufacture essential hygiene products, at reduced capacity. Some CFAs too have received permissions to distribute goods,” said Sunil Kataria, CEO (India and SAARC), Godrej Consumer Products Ltd, told BusinessLine. If one goes by volumes, nearly 85 per cent of its manufacturing is done in-house; while another 15 per cent is outsourced.

Emami Agrotech restarted operations at its edible oil plants in Jaipur (Rajasthan), Haldia (West Bengal) and Krishnapatnam (Andhra Pradesh). All plants were made operational in a phased manner over the last 4-5 days.

Select products, limited staff

ITC Ltd said ensuring adequate availability of essential food and hygiene products in the country was critical. Accordingly, it was “working closely” with State authorities and local administration to ensure that manufacturing and distribution activities continue uninterrupted with minimum people.

“While we have progressively obtained permission in some States, availability of trucks continues to be the biggest challenge at the moment. Inter-State and local truck movement has been severely impacted along with the challenge of shortage of manpower in factories,” a company spokesperson said.

Incidentally, market sources point to more items being added to the list of “essential items”, and as ambiguities clear, capacity utilisation is expected to ramp up.

Godrej says its priority has been to ramp up production of soaps, hand wash and sanitizers, as these products have been included in the essential items list. It also remains “committed to dramatically reduce the number of people involved in its manufacturing, warehousing and distribution” by 50 per cent, while also ensuring global standards of safety and hygiene.

Similarly, Dabur India Ltd’s Executive Director-Operations Shahrukh Khan said that approvals are in place and will be restarting production of its hygiene products soon.

“We have already got the approvals in place and will be restarting production of our hygiene products, including sanitisers and hand wash, over the coming days. We have put in place stringent hygiene checks within the plants to ensure the safety of all workers and employees. To begin with, we would start operations with limited staff,” he said.

Awaiting clearance

Meanwhile, some FMCG companies are yet to get permission to restart work.

Jyothy Labs pointed out that most of its products across categories like personal care (Margo), fabric care (Henko), mosquito repellent (Maxo) and also dish-wash (Exo and Pril) fall under the daily essentials category. There is great demand too. However, all 25 factories are closed temporarily and the company was awaiting further intimation.

“All our 25 factories are closed temporarily, but with further intimation by the government and authorities, we aim to resume the operations of all our products since most are in the essential care segment as defined by government,” said Ullas Kamath, Joint Managing Director, Jyothy Labs.

Emami Ltd, too, is looking to restart operations which remain suspended because of the lockdown, say market sources. The company was yet to confirm the same.

Published on April 07, 2020

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