Kanpur Confectioneries

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Indian Institute of Management


Kanpur Confectioneries Private Limited (A)
On September 10, 1987, Mr. Alok Kumar Gupta, 47, Chairman and Managing Director of Kanpur Confectioneries Private Limited (KCPL), was in a meeting with his brothers, Vivek, 42, and Sanjay, 33, to decide their response to the proposal of A-One Confectioneries Private Limited (APL) that KCPL might consider becoming its contract manufacturer. APL was a leading national player in the confectionery industry. It had desired to expand its supply to the market by subcontracting orders to other manufacturers. It had also desired to retain full control over the quality and production processes. It had promised to the sub contractors that it would compensate them adequately in terms of volume of business and conversion charges. To KCPL the advantages were in getting assured return on its investment and access to APL's manufacturing expertise but the disadvantages were in the possible loss of independence in decision making, dilution of company’s own brand, ‘MKG’, and family prestige. KCPL and its Background KCPL was started in 1945 by Mohan Kumar Gupta, then 28, in Jaipur, Rajasthan State, to sell sugar candies under the brand `MKG’. Earlier, he was a worker in a candy unit in Jaipur. He started his own business with the dealership of candies produced by others. With the experience gained he set up a production unit in Jaipur in 1946. Between 1946 and 1950 thirty units were set up in the unorganised sector in Rajasthan to sell a variety of candies. As competition increased the margins came down. KCPL could not compete on costs as its costs were higher than the other manufacturers. Mohan Kumar faced a financial crisis. He decided to shift the production to another state and reduce costs. In 1954, he bought one and a half acres plot in Radha Industrial Estate, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh (UP) and set up a candy making unit. He became the first entrepreneur to set up a candy making unit in UP. He appointed three sales representatives to cover the entire state, establish dealership and promote `MKG' as a leading brand. He advertised ‘MKG’ in the vernacular news papers and on hoardings located at cross roads. To build further on his success, he established a dealer’s network in the neighbouring states of Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. By the end of sixties he was a leader in candies in the northern region. He decided to invest his surplus cash to diversify into making glucose biscuits and selling them under the ‘MKG’ brand. In 1970 there were two large national and six regional manufacturers. The demand was growing at more than 15% per annum. The margins were attractive. He saw the biscuits’ venture as an extension of the candy business. The process was simple and the equipments were available indigenously. Sugar was the common raw material. However, he had to

Prepared by Professor Mukund Dixit and Mrs. Vandana Dixit. The names of places, products and people are disguised. The case writers express their gratitude to the members of the family that cooperated with them in writing this case. Teaching material of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad is prepared as a basis for class discussion. Cases are not designed to present illustrations of either correct or incorrect handling of administrative problems. © 2001 by the Indian Institute of management, Ahmedabad.

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arrange for regular supply of other raw materials like maida (refined wheat flour) and vegetable oil (vanaspathi). He tied up with local merchants and commenced production in 1970. He rented depots in key towns for stocking the biscuits. He continued to advertise the brand in vernacular newspapers. He also advertised the brand at retail shops. The business was profitable but the acceleration of production was constrained by the scarcity of ingredients like maida, sugar and vanaspathi. He extended his range and offered cream, salt and Marie...
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