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CII–BCG report, 'Winning With Uncertainty' released at CII retail meet
Thursday, 13 June, 2013, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, Mumbai
A report by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) – titled 'Winning With Uncertainty' – was released at the inaugural CII National Retail Summit and its co-located event, the CII National Fast-moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) Summit 2013, which took place at the Hyatt Regency in Mumbai recently.

The report explores how FMCG companies and retailers can leverage uncertainty to their advantage. Along with the global best practices culled from BCG's vast international experience, it also showcases the perspective of Indian industry leaders, and details how FMCG companies must develop flexibility across the value chain and retailers must build agility within their DNA to win in this uncertain business environment.

Inaugural speakers at the meets included Ravi Dhariwal, chief executive officer, Bennett Coleman and Co Ltd; Mohan Jashanmal, regional manager, Jashanmal National Company, Abu Dhabi, UAE; Abheek Singhi, partner and director, The Boston Consulting Group; Bhaskar Bhat, chairman, CII National Committee on Retail 2012-13 and managing director, Titan Industries Ltd, and Sanjiv Puri, member, CII National Committee on FMCG and divisional chief executive, ITC Ltd.

CII National Retail Summit 2013
In line with this macro-theme, the CII National Retail Summit 2013 chaired by Bhat focussed on winning the consumer in a multi-channel world. Dhariwal reflected on how brands that help build sustainability for businesses are always available, affordable and adapting to consumer needs. “Delighting and understanding the pulse of the consumer was the underlying fundamental driving the Jashanmal Group’s growth across the Middle-Eastern markets since the early 1900s,” said Jashanmal.

Addressing and participating in the sessions at the retail summit – themed 'Managing multiple formats'; 'Convergence – Myth or reality?' and 'Big data-powering retailers' were Amitabh Mall, partner and director, The Boston Consulting Group; Chetan Sangoi, owner, Sarvodaya Super Market; Avani Davda, chief executive officer, Tata Starbucks Ltd; C K Venkataraman, chief executive officer (jewellery), Titan Industries Ltd; Vishak Kumar, chief executive officer (supermarkets), Aditya Birla Retail Ltd; Jamshed Daboo, chief executive officer, Trent Hypermarket Ltd; Arvind Subramanian, partner and director, The Boston Consulting Group; Abhijit Mitra, chief executive officer, Ebony Homes Pvt Ltd; Lalit Agarwal, chairman and managing director, V Mart Retail Ltd; Deepa Thomas, e-commerce evangelist, eBay India; Simeran Bhasin, head, marketing, Fasttrack and new brands, Titan Industries Ltd; Justin Sargent, managing director (India), Nielsen; Nagarajan Karuppiah, architect (business intelligence innovation and consulting), Tata Consultancy Services; Jayaraman Krishnamurthy, industry director, consumer products and retail, SAP India Pvt Ltd; Sridhar Hari, smarter commerce leader, India/SA, IBM India, and Sandeep Dhar, chief executive officer, Tesco Hindustan Service Centre.

CII National FMCG Summit 2013
The CII National FMCG Summit 2013, chaired by Kurush Grant, chairman, CII National Committee on FMCG 2012-13, and executive director, FMCG Businesses, ITC Ltd, focussed on winning in volatile times.

The objective for the summit was to highlight the importance for FMCG companies to develop an operating model which can deliver to the consumer at the right cost and sustaining growth, especially in times of uncertainty.

Addressing and participating in the sessions at the FMCG summit on capturing the $10-trillion-prize – 'India consumption opportunity'; 'Streamlining the Supply Chain', and 'Tailoring your Value Proposition to Changing Consumer Needs' were Abheek Singhi, partner and director, The Boston Consulting Group; Shiv Visvanathan, professor, OP Jindal Global University; Chandramouli Venkatesan, RCT lead, chocolate category, Asia-Pacific, Cadbury India; Jayant Singh, executive vice-president (marketing), GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Ltd; Asha Gupta, managing director and area vice-president, Asia-Pacific, Tupperware India Pvt Ltd; Dinesh Dayal, chief operating officer, Loreal India; Shireesh Joshi, chief operating officer, strategic marketing group, Godrej Group; Ankur Bisen, head and vice-president, retail and consumer products, Technopak Advisors Ltd; Anshuman Singh, managing director and chief executive officer, Future Supply Chain Solutions Ltd; Ajay Kaul, chief executive officer, Jubilant Foodworks Limited; Debashish Mukherjee, consumer industries and retail practice, Asia lead (food), A.T. Kearney Ltd; Shailendra Tyagi, vice-president and head, supply chain and logistics, ITC Ltd; Jasjit Sethi, chief executive officer, TCI Supply Chain Solutions; Nimisha Jain, principal, The Boston Consulting Group; Anil Chugh, senior vice-president, Wipro Consumer Care, Wipro Enterprise Ltd; Geetu Verma, executive director (foods), Hindustan Unilever Ltd; Prakash Iyer, managing director, Kimberly Clark, and S Nagarajan, managing director, Mother Dairy Fruit & Vegetable Pvt Ltd.

The session concluded with the power session, FMCG and retail (moderated by Sunil Alagh, founder and chairman, SKA Advisors, and former managing director, Britannia Industries Ltd; Prakash Nedungadi, group head, consumer insights and brand development, Aditya Birla Group; Mini Menon, executive editor, Bloomberg TV India; Visvanathan; Singhi; Rakesh Biyani, joint managing director, Pantaloon Retail India Ltd; Vineet Agarwal, joint managing director, Transport Corporation of India; Kainaz Gazder, director, marketing, Procter and Gamble India; Venkatesan; Bhat, and Puri.

The Indian consumer demands more, better, now and is increasingly trading up. Adding another dimension to this complexity is the diverse profile of the shoppers across the country. There is a strong need for retailers to provide a seamless, converged consumer experience across channels and leverage a multi-channel proposition to drive profitable growth. A seamless consumer experience requires retailers to follow a coordinated approach across formats and functions.

Marketing needs to develop skills on social media, track consumer conversations seamlessly across channels and handle the complexity of maximizing RoMI (return on marketing investment) across multiple consumer touch-points. In-store and digital formats need to complement each other such that demand originating on one channel can be served seamlessly on the other.

Companies need to revamp the supply chain to handle higher complexity and merchandising teams need to dynamically optimize pricing and promotions across channels. Robust IT, strong data analytics and an organisational commitment are fundamental to success.

But as hard as the journey maybe rewards are ample. Internationally companies that have provided seamless convergence across retail channels have yielded a 3X shareholder return versus those who have not. Indian companies can leapfrog a generation by integrating this concept into their business models from the very beginning.

Businesses are capital constrained (due to a global slowdown), facing volatile commodity prices and seeing a cautious consumer sentiment. The Indian consumer however, is still willing to spend and trade up for the right value proposition, differentiation and innovation.

“Aspiration is still driving her to choose the best for her family and herself, while she balances her monthly basket. Hence consumer businesses in India, need to constantly walk the tight rope balancing growth and efficiency,” stated Bhat.
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