Amul, India’s largest dairy cooperative society, was formed in 1946. This cooperative brand is managed by a cooperative body, GCMMF. Presently making up the revenue of Rs 52,000 crore, this brand has proven to strengthen its position and remain undeterred amid this deadly pandemic.
The MD of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), RS Sodhi recently had a talk with the editor of The Economic Times, about the current situation of Covid-19, how the organization is being operated in such unprecedented crisis, how a company like Amul has a different mindset from private companies and whether they knew this lockdown would happen or not.
RS Sodhi said that the lockdown was not completely unpredictable and the organization saw it coming. He talked about the curfews that stretched to several months in Ahmedabad in the late 1980s due to certain riots and how Amul worked in that situation without disruption. He also mentioned how the cases COVID-19 and Ahmedabad curfews are different from each other in terms of intensity, technological availability, and advancements (phone, internet, etc).
How Amul prepared for the lockdown?
RS Sodhi said that the lockdown was not an all of a sudden situation and was expected, knowing what was all happening in China. Thus, the organization saw the lockdown coming and prepared themselves almost 10 days before the lockdown was officially announced by our Prime Minister.
Milk comes under essential products and is consumed every day. It is also an important source of livelihood for various farmers and poor women. So preparing beforehand was an urgent need to handle the situation more efficiently amidst the lockdown.
On March 17, various aspects like proper precautions, sanitisation, social distancing, invoicing, and warehousing were taken into consideration and the main focus was to ensure the powerful and vigorous working of the backbone of IT to operate the processes effectively and smoothly.
When the lockdown was announced on March 24, there was chaos and panic all around. As an MD of the cooperative, RS Sodhi tried to remain calm to create a sense of reassurance amongst others. So he communicated with the consumers and the farmers via a small 2-minute video. Interaction with the major stakeholders including transporters, retailers, dealers, farmers, consumers, employees, etc was very crucial at that point. He also had video calls with all the staff members and announced an increase in incentives of up to 40-50% for everyone.
Food is the most important thing, says RS Sodhi, and being a multi-product and multi-location company, this pandemic didn’t have a significant impact on the company.
Out of 84 plants, 4-5 plants were affected, while the remaining plants operated overtime.
How Amul is different from a private company?
As Amul is a cooperative, the resources are supplied by the farmers followed by further processing and marketing.
Here, the suppliers are treated as owners.
The main motive of this organization is to buy the resources as costly as possible and sell the finished products as cheaply as possible so that there exists a minimum difference between the buying and selling price.
This is where the difference lies between Amul and a Private firm because a private company tries to buy the resources at low prices and sell the final products at a significantly high rate.
This shows that the motives of Amul and a private company are entirely opposite.
Amul is efficiently surviving this pandemic because they maintain a perfect balance between keeping the stakeholders happy and smoothly selling its products. Their roots of culture have rendered them unaffected in this situation and they are gradually strengthening its position in this FMCG space.
Amul: Official Website
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