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Outsourcing tackle

Kanika Goswami | June 8, 2008
When the old have the agility to take on the young: it's a formula that people love. So when the 114-year-old Indian company Dabur outsourced its IT in order to stay quick-footed, plenty of industry watchers held their breath.

The challenges posed by the expectation of higher levels of efficiencies on shelf availability and inventory are also being addressed by our supply-chain system. More efficient supply-chain practices like electronic order and data processing and changing processes to facilitate e-payments, etcetera have been put into place.

You are also in the food business. How does IT help manage products with six-month shelf lives?
IT played a key role in the foods business rollout. To start with, we upgraded our IT systems to ensure a First-In-First-Out (FIFO) policy -- for both raw materials and finished foods. Then, training programs were introduced at the stockists' level to ensure the smooth movement of stocks.

You aim to increase penetration in south India. What is your strategy?
From rechristening brands in local languages to creating special products with a local flavor and even roping in local celebrities as brand ambassadors, Dabur India is using every possible route to drive deeper into the south Indian market. Often, people treat India as one big market, but the reality is that India is more like the European Union: a mix of different cultures, languages and markets. With these initiatives, Dabur India is taking advantage of this diversity by creating and adapting brand mixes for the south Indian market.

Here are some examples: we have rechristened Dabur Lal Dant Manjan as Dabur Sivappu Pal Podi in Tamil Nadu. Similar local brands are planned for a host of other products. The idea is to give brands a local flavor to make them easily understandable to a Tamil speaking populace. The key is to get brands more recognition and acceptability down south.

We are also tailoring products to suit a south Indian audience. Recognizing a south Indian consumer's want for natural products, Dabur Herbal toothpaste was launched only in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, where it has established itself as a niche player. An ayurvedic product called Dabur Shwaasamrit was also launched in Karnataka and Kerala, and is successful, mainly because Shwaasamrit provides relief from breathlessness, chronic cough, cold and bronchitis, which are common in Karnataka and Kerala.

Tailor-made television ads are also being created for south India. These campaigns were put together after intense research revealed that the messaging to the southern consumer needs to be more rational and needs to portray a south Indian ambience.

So, Dabur is signing on south Indian celebrities to endorse various brands in these markets. We have already signed on south Indian film star Khushbu to endorse our Dazzl range of hard-surface cleaners and Genelia D'Souza as the brand ambassador for the Vatika hair care range. With these initiatives, we are on track to expand our presence in south India.


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