The game is all about distribution in our business

Written by Lalitha Srinivasan | Updated: Dec 12 2013, 09:18am hrs
Britannia Industries executive director and COO Varun Berry is drawing up strategic plans to strengthen the companys presence in the branded dairy and bakery sectors in India. The company is not focusing on its packaged snacks business at present, according to Berry, whose game plan includes, new manufacturing facilities, innovative distribution strategies, recruitment plans, increasing rural penetration and cost-cutting measures. With sales turnover of R6,000 crore in FY13, Britannia Industries is setting up a manufacturing facility for biscuits at Erode in Tamil Nadu in the next fiscal at an investment of R100 crore. In an interview with Lalitha Srinivasan, Berry elaborates on the growth plans of the company. Edited excerpts:

What were your key priorities when you took charge of Britannia Industries this year How successful have you been so far

My priority has been to strengthen the foundation, block by block. A back to the basics approach on the front end and strong cost management approach at the back end. Results are visible in strong numbers that the company has witnessed over last couple of quarters. Going forward, our focus will be on securing profitable growth for our brands, through innovation, channel focus and cost effectiveness.

The companys prime focus seems to be on its dairy and bakery business in India. What about your packaged snacks business

We are not focusing on our snacks business at this point in time. Our key priority is to grow our two core business namely dairy and bakery. That does not mean we are exiting the packaged snacks business in India.

Britannia is betting big on distribution strategy to drive volumes in competitive markets. Tell us about your strategy.

The game is all about distribution in our business. We are increasing the depth of our distribution in metro markets. Instead of one salesman going to an outlet, we send two salesmen with different sets of stock keeping units. Though many consumers are aware of Britannia brands, they are not able to buy it because its not available in a shop which is close to their house. Our job is to make our products available at such shops. With investments in distribution, we currently have over 67 lakh outlets across the country.

What is Britannia Industries rural strategy for this fiscal

In rural markets, we are running a hub & spoke model to increase our penetrations there. This is a big initiative for us. Indian rural markets are growing at a faster rate than urban markets. Under the current circumstances, when the countrys GDP growth is flagging, what is really driving the economy is rural demand. We have got to be there where there is potential. We will be investing in Britannias rural penetration in the next few months.

Is there a freeze on recruitment plans Are you still restructuring What are the cost-cutting measures Britannia has taken

We are happily recruiting and there is no freeze on our recruitment plans. There are no lay offs too. We have not implemented any cost-cutting measure. Our focus is on becoming more efficient. For instance, we are using state-of-the-art ovens in our new manufacturing facility in Gujarat, which cuts energy costs by 25%.

What about inorganic growth plans Are you keen to pick up stakes in Balaji Wafers

We do not have plans to acquire any brands at this point in time. No, we are not interested in picking up stakes in Balaji Wafers.