Business Today 14th January 2018 - Page 86

The Best Management Lesson I Learnt couldn’t we have garlic-flavoured butter? We realised that the popularity of garlic bread was rising and this was a great idea. Within the next three months, Amul Garlic and Herbs Butter was in the market! With such a swift innovation process, our consumers con- tinuously get world-class products at reasonable pric- es. We receive so many e-mails and tweets from con- sumers telling us that they do not have to spend hefty sums on imported dairy products because Amul has brought them their own lactose-free milk, camel milk chocolate, single-country origin chocolate, chocolate butter, Gouda cheese and Emmental cheese. Further, the more value added products we launch, the less is our de- pendence on the commodity market and the more stable the remuneration to our farmers. T instead of going for new, unknown equipment. The same goes for us employees as well – the entire top management of Amul consists of people for whom Amul was their first job. We go for campus placements from reputed A-class institutes and ensure we ingrain our value system in each employee. Every employee in the organisation treats the customer as king. Contact numbers of our entire top management are easily available – if any one of us gets a customer com- plaint, irrespective of what we are doing, we make that our priority. I remember I was once in the middle of a meeting with a CEO. I received a call from a lady in Delhi, who had tried to complain about a leaking packet of milk but could not get through to our cus- tomer care representative. She found my number and called me. She was furious, and it took me five to seven minutes to calm her down. Immedi- Companies ately after her call, I telephoned the create multiple concerned area manager to resolve the issue and meet her in person. The brands without CEO I was meeting, commented: any need for “Were you talking to a customer all them. It’s often this while?” I said, “Yes. Definitely done to satisfy the customer is more important to the egos of me!” oday, Amul butter is more than 50 years old. The original po- sitioning of “Utterly, Butterly, Delicious” continues. Similarly, Amul Butter Topicals, our corporate cam- paigns – Amul, The Taste of India, ad- opted in the 1990s, and Amul Doodh Pita Hai India started in the 2000s – connect well with consumers and we have continued with them. Another choice we made was to create an um- their heads of brella brand for all product categories. marketing or ast but not the least; I want to We see companies creating multiple advertising talk about transparency. Dr Ku- brands without any need for them. rien used to say: “If you are al- It’s often done to satisfy the egos of agencies... ways honest with yourself, it doesn’t their heads of marketing or advertis- Ultimately, it’s take much effort to be honest with ing agencies. When a new person takes the customer others.” As an organisation, our in- over, the campaign is changed, or new who ends up tegrity does not allow us to replace brands are launched, because each one paying to fulfil milk fat with vegetable fat in our ice wants to leave her own legacy. Ulti- their aspirations creams, or sell 180 ml flavoured milk mately, it’s the customer who ends up in 200 ml packs or add more sugar to paying to fulfil their aspirations. We dairy whiteners as many of our com- do not face such situations because petitors do. Similarly, on the procure- we practise consistency in human re- ment side, there is transparency due to complete sources. digitalisation, wherein farmers can see historical Business is about people – your suppliers, dis- and current data of milk poured, fat and SNF (solid tributors and advertising agencies are your part- not fat) content and payment status, on their mo- ners. Our partnerships are like an Indian marriage. bile apps. Every fortnight, payment is credited di- You take your own time to consent to one; you rectly to their bank accounts and an SMS alert sent. check everything about the family, its reputation, Give more to earn more might sound counter- etc. But once you marry, it’s for a lifetime. There intuitive; however, this is completely in line with may be some shortcomings in your partner, but how our forefathers looked at business. Amul, at that happens in all families. You try to work on the its core, is still run with the wisdom and common problem areas. B.N. Chatterjee, my first boss, used sense that our visionary leaders – Dr Kurien and to tell us that it is better to grind and regrind exist- Tribhuvan Das Patel – passed on to us. ing tools – which in this case were our partners – L 86 I BUSINESS TODAY I January 14 I 2018