Comparative analysis of Supply chain process followed by HUL and P&G in India with main focus on “Distribution Channels”
Nishant Kumar Gupta
AMITY INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS SCHOOL, NOIDA AMITY UNIVERSITY – UTTAR PRADESH
PLAN OF ACTION
1. Introduction - Hindustan Unilever Limited
Hindustan Unilever Limited (‘HUL’), formerly Hindustan Lever Limited (it was renamed in late Jun2007 as HUL), is India's largest Fast Moving Consumer Goods company, touching the lives of two out of three Indians with over 20 distinct categories in Home & Personal Care Products and Foods & Beverages. These products endow the company with a scale of combined volumes of about 4 million tonnes and sales of nearly Rs. 13718 crores.
HUL is also one of the country's largest exporters; it has been recognised as a Golden Super Star Trading House by the Government of India.
The mission that inspires HUL's over 15,000 employees, including over 1,300 managers, is to "add vitality to life. " HUL meets everyday needs for nutrition, hygiene, and personal care with brands that help people feel good, look good and get more out of life. It is a mission HUL shares with its parent company, Unilever, which holds 52.10% of the equity. The rest of the shareholding is distributed among 360,675 individual shareholders and financial institutions.
HUL's brands like Lifebuoy, Lux, Surf Excel, Rin, Wheel, Fair & Lovely, Pond's, Sunsilk, Clinic, Pepsodent, Closeup, Lakme, Brooke Bond, Kissan, Knorr-Annapurna, Kwality Wall's – are household names across the country and span many categories - soaps, detergents, personal products, tea, coffee, branded staples, ice cream and culinary products. These products are manufactured over 40 factories across India. The operations involve over 2,000 suppliers and associates. HUL's distribution network comprises about 4,000 redistribution stockists, covering 6.3 million retail outlets reaching the entire urban population, and about 250 million rural consumers.
Distribution Network of HUL
The HUL’s distribution network has evolved with time. The first phase of the HUL distribution network had wholesalers placing bulk orders directly with the company. Large retailers also placed direct orders, which comprised almost 30 per cent of the total orders collected. The company salesman grouped all these orders and placed an indent with the Head Office. Goods were sent to these markets, with the company salesman as the consignee. The salesman then collected and distributed the products to the respective wholesalers, against cash payment, and the money was remitted to the company.
The focus of the second phase, was one wholesaler in each market as a "Registered Wholesaler," a stock point for the company's products in that market. The company salesman still covered the market, canvassing for orders from the rest of the trade. He then distributed stocks from the Registered Wholesaler through distribution units maintained by the company. The Registered Wholesaler system, therefore, increased the distribution reach of the company to a larger number of customers.
The highlight of the third phase was the concept of "Redistribution Stockist" (RS) who replaced the RWs. The RS was required to provide the distribution units to the company salesman. The second characteristic of this period was the establishment of the "Company Depots" system. This system helped in transshipment, bulk breaking, and as a stockpoint to minimise stock‐outs at the RS level. In the recent past, a significant change has been the replacement of the Company Depot by a system of third party Carrying and Forwarding Agents (C&FAs). The C&FAs act as buffer stock‐points...