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Value for many: R.S. Sodhi

Varsha Chidambaram | Oct. 24, 2012
There are very few brands that evoke a sense of fondness and pride in its customers the way that Amul does. Whether it's Amul's witty socio-political ads or its business culture that has lead to the upliftment of 3.5 million Indian farmers. It's no wonder then that R.S. Sodhi, MD, Amul has been with the co-op for 30 years. Born in a village, raised in the country's lustrous farms, Sodhi has grown with the organization the way we have grown on Amul's ghee, butter, and milk. And today, at the company's helm, he's taking Amul to new heights, never once forgetting the humble values Amul was built on.

There are very few brands that evoke a sense of fondness and pride in its customers the way that Amul does. Whether it's Amul's witty socio-political ads or its business culture that has lead to the upliftment of 3.5 million Indian farmers. It's no wonder then that R.S. Sodhi, MD, Amul has been with the co-op for 30 years. Born in a village, raised in the country's lustrous farms, Sodhi has grown with the organization the way we have grown on Amul's ghee, butter, and milk. And today, at the company's helm, he's taking Amul to new heights, never once forgetting the humble values Amul was built on.

CIO: Since you took over, there's a new vigor in Amul's growth plans. What's changed?

R. S. Sodhi: Amul has been thriving for 60 years. In the last three years, we have grown at over 20 percent which is much more than the previous years. Last year, our turnover was Rs 9,800 crore, this year it will be above Rs 11, 000 crore. This is the result of a few steps that we have taken.

We are the only FMCG company in India to have four distribution channels--unlike others who have only two or three. But we were not able to cater to smaller towns as our distributors were located only in the major towns of the country. So we introduced the concept of the super distributor. We identified 200 districts and added a super distributor to each of the districts. This super distributor would then cover 15-20 small towns. Last year, we added 3,000 more towns and cities to our distribution network. Today, all our products reach the whole length and breadth of the country.

The second change relates to sourcing of milk. Until recently we sourced our milk only from farmers in Gujarat. Therefore, we were able to sell fresh milk only within Gujarat and weren't able to meet the increasing demand for milk in other states. Hence since the last year, we have started buying milk from the co-ops in West Bengal, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and UP. Today, we produce 145 lakh liters of milk, out of which 17 lakh liters come from other states. We have increased our milk production by 22 percent.

We also changed our product mix. We've expanded our product portfolio to include non-conventional products such as sweet lassi, and frozen yoghurt.

CIO: By foraying into new products are you trying to re-invent the Amul brand?

R. S. Sodhi: Our plan is to double our capacity by 2020. At the rate we're growing, we'll probably reach our target by 2018. I've been with Amul for three decades now. It's my first job! When I joined Amul it was an organization of Rs 120 crore, this year we expect it to be Rs 11,000 crore. I want to take it to Rs 30,000 crore.

 

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