The afternoon of 04 November, bronchi 2016, at JBIMS was graced by the presence of Mr. Saranathan Ramaswamy, Associate Sales Director and Head, India Distributor Operations, P&G. Students were very eager to listen to the stalwart with a vast experience of 14 years across sales and distribution. As soon as Mr. Saranathan stepped in, the students sensed they were in for a treat as he dived straight into an interactive session with the audience.
Mr. Saranathan started with a brief account of the glorious history of P&G, the biggest FMCG company in the world, and what makes the company tick. He described the matrix organization structure at P&G, and how it had adapted to the changing rules of the business world. He seemed mighty impressed with the trivia about P&G that the students came up with. He discussed how P&G’s proven business model had stood the test of time, while attuning to the dynamics of the global markets.
Mr. Saranathan then conducted an interesting activity wherein the students had to build an FMCG product from scratch. The students came up with various factors – such as the market scenario, market gap, consumer behavior, core strength of the company – that have to be taken into account while coming up with a product. Further, the students engaged in planning the product development and launch strategy, by identifying the target group, the pricing and marketing strategies of the product, and the market launch plan. Mr. Saranathan then stressed on the vitality of having a robust distribution network to ensure the reach of the product to every section of the target group, since non-availability of a well-marketed product could lead to customer alienation. Stating that the task had just begun, he remarked that implementing customer feedback and research development for an ever-improving product was essential to strengthen and expand the product. The activity ended with the students receiving the mantra to an FMCG product’s success – Identify the value the customer is willing to pay for the product.
Mr. Saranathan then moved on to a Q&A session. While answering the questions, he tactfully engaged with the students to make them figure out the answers on their own. He talked at length about how the markets had changed rapidly over the past decade with the advent of modern retail, wherein consumers experienced an organized way of shopping as compared to the scattered process that existed earlier. E-commerce, another behemoth, is growing in stature, and every company will have to deal with the challenges that arise and find a way to leverage e-commerce to its advantage. He mentioned how P&G strives endlessly to align itself with the evolving market by negotiating its relationships with traditional as well as modern retail channels.
The enthusiastic students gained valuable insights and were grateful to Mr. Saranathan for leaving them enriched with significant knowledge about the various facets of sales and distribution.