FMCG firms go all out to ensure last-mile delivery amid third Covid wave

Topics FMCGs | FMCG stocks

As Covid-19 infections surge once again, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies are prepping to make sure last-mile delivery of stocks to retailers carries on unhindered even if their sales staff fall ill. Though the situation appears to largely be under control, consumer companies have started taking orders via phone calls and are also pushing retailers to order through their B2B (business-to-business) applications. Retailers have also increased inventory to ensure that there’s no shortage. “While the situation is still manageable on the ground, there is a possibi.....
As Covid-19 infections surge once again, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies are prepping to make sure last-mile delivery of stocks to retailers carries on unhindered even if their sales staff fall ill.

Though the situation appears to largely be under control, consumer companies have started taking orders via phone calls and are also pushing retailers to order through their B2B (business-to-business) applications. Retailers have also increased inventory to ensure that there’s no shortage.

“While the situation is still manageable on the ground, there is a possibility that sales staff could fall ill and we expect some disruption towards the end of January if the number of cases continues to rise,” Angshu Mallick, chief executive officer of Adani Wilmar, told Business Standard.

The company sells essentials like edible oils, wheat flour, and rice. He explained that the firm is pushing retailers to order directly from its app so that its salesforce won’t have to visit them as often.
“We have also seen a pick-up in demand for larger stock keeping units (SKU) and demand for 5-litre packs are higher. Consumers are also picking up 1-litre packs,” Mallick said.

Chennai-based CavinKare has also seen some disruptions on ground, but the company says it still has the situation under control.

Its strategy is similar to Adani Wilmar’s and it, too, has asked retailers to order through its app. “In case, there is a shortage of sales staff, we will deploy our trainees to take orders,” said Venkatesh Vijayaraghavan, CEO and director of FMCG, CavinKare.

However, the bigger problem that FMCG companies are facing is importing packaging material, which comes from China, Vijayaraghavan said.

Parle Products, which sells the Parle-G and Monaco biscuits, has seen a 15-20 per cent spike in online sales so far in January as more customers are staying home and ordering in. To make sure that its retailers remain well stocked through the wave, the biscuits major’s sales staff has requested retailers to stock-up more to reduce visits. “Our salesmen are also taking orders on the phone and servicing orders that come via our app,” said Mayank Shah, category head at Parle Products.

Distributors too are rationalising the number of people they deploy on the ground by trying to keep their sales staff home and are focused on order execution.

Data from retail intelligence platform Bizom also shows that retailers are stocking-up more than normal.

“We’re seeing about 5 per cent higher stocking in kiranas even as the number of active kiranas has dropped by 11 per cent. The higher stocking is the result of brands trying to ensure uninterrupted product availability despite having as many as 10-20 per cent members of their field sales teams being impacted in this wave,” Akshay D’Souza, chief of growth and insights at Bizom, explained.

“There is no major disturbance on the ground and distributors have resorted to taking orders on the phone and it is serviced by staff, which is helping distributors keep on-ground staff limited,” said Dhairyashil Patil, president of All India Consumer Products Distributors Federation.




Key stories on business-standard.com are available to premium subscribers only.

Already a premium subscriber?

Subscribe to get an across device (Website, Mobile Web, Iphone, Ipad, and Android Phone applications) access to Premium content, Breaking News alerts, Industry Newsletters, Stock and Corporate news alerts, access to Archives and a lot more.


Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel
Read More on

FMCGS

FMCG STOCKS

CORONAVIRUS

COMPANIES

NEWS


Most Read

Markets

Companies

Opinion

Latest News

Todays Paper

News you can use