Rising against the ranks of the greats in the industry could be no mean task, especially if done in a quick timespan of only two decades. Defying detractors, the largest private milk co-operative in the country, Mahanand Dairy, an ambitious venture of the Maharashtra Rajya Sahakari Dudh Mahasangh Maryadit (MRSDMM), has raced ahead of its contemporaries including Amul, Aarey and Gokul, in becoming the single largest producer and distributor of milk in the state.
With a daily figure exceeding 9 lakh litres, Mahanand occupies almost 17-18 per cent market share in the organised sector. The company recorded a commendable 8 per cent rise in net profit to Rs 415 crore (2003-04) as against 385 crore for the year 2003-04. This, despite tough competition from local favourites including Amul, Aarey and the recently introduced Mother Dairy.
"As a first step to project ourselves as the best in the sector and to keep pace with the ever-increasing competition, we have planned a series of new interventions in the field that would also add to the convenience of the consumers", says Dr R A Rajeev, Managing Director, Mahanand.
According to him, the state co-operative would be opting for tetrapacks instead of its regular pouches to add to the agility of the product. This would also include simultaneous launch of a host of milk products in different flavours to capture the market share. Other initiatives include the zone-wise launch of ice-creams in Mumbai that would be spread to other cities based on the initial response to the product.
Revealing other plans, A T Bahekar, Senior Manager, QA / Mkt OS, said the company was in the process of finalising a couple of other initiatives in the coming months. Says he, "One of the highlights of our makeover plan will include the setting up of Mahanand fresh cafes in the city. Final blue print on the first such cafe is ready and will be set up in the campus itself. To cost a few crores, the plan will include the setting up of children's park with some theme rides apart from the retail store that would sell only milk and milk-based products. It would be the first such amusement park that would sell only milk and milk-based products", says Bahekar.
The first to start the concept of homogenised milk production, Mahanand is credited for providing the city a pure and natural taste of cow milk, which earlier was of very dilute nature. With an initial production capacity of 500-600 litres of toned and whole-milk in its early days, the leading milk supplier has extended its outreach today to include sterilised liquid milk and flavoured milk in its production itenarary.
"After we receive our daily milk from our 85 milk unions further divided into 20, 000 societies, the milk is sent for processing at the Goregaon factory from where it is sent for final packaging to our units located at Vashi and Byculla. While the Goregaon unit has a packing capacity for 4 lakh litres, the Vashi plant has a capacity for 3 lakh while Byculla has a capacity for 1 lakh litres", says Bahekar.
Apart from several initiatives, the dairy is responsible for generating funds to the tune of Rs 1400 crore that is disbursed annually towards the rural economy. Apart from the annual bonuses and gratuity, the organisation also provides insurance and mediclaim schemes for its workers.
Based on its early success in Maharashtra, the company plans to go full-throttle with its product launches in Gujarat and Hyderabad. This will include a whole class of its products comprising lassi, masala milk, butter, milk, curd and ice-creams. But it will only do so after it affirms its monopoly in the all-important milk market of the country, namely Maharashtra.