Delivering the Goods – Godrej Consumer Products Story
Godrej Consumer Products supply-chain has adopted replenishment philosophy like first nature – a story that has many takeaways for Indian consumer goods companies. And the man in the thick of the action is rakesh Sinha, Chief operating offi cer (Marketing & operations), GCPL. Aanand Pandey reports. If you are an FMCG supply-chain buff, then Godrej Consumer Products (GCPL) is where the action is at the moment. The reason: Godrej group has been on a drive to consolidate its consumer portfolio, moving in the last few years to combine the operational synergies and scale of its consumer brands – in an effort to make the best of the breakneck FMCG growth, and to take on the big boys of the business, here and abroad. On October 14, the GCPL board approved the merger of GCPL and GHPL (Godrej Household Products Limited, erstwhile Godrej Sara Lee). Now, the unifi edentity, GCPL, will sell GHPL’s GoodKnight and Hit brands, along with its own - Cinthol, Godrej No. 1, Expert, Ezee, Fairglow, Jet, and Snuggy and others. The merger has been made formal now, but operationally, GCPL and GHPL have been sharing resources – marketing and supply-chain, for quite some time. To add to the action, GCPL has been on a global shopping spree during the last few years, adding multinational legacy to its supply-chain knowhow. Beginning with the UK’s Keyline Brands in 2005, GCPL has acquired several consumer brands – in Asia (Megasari), Africa (Rapidol, Kinky and Tura) and Latin America (Issue and Argencos). Clearly, GCPL, and notably its supply-chain function, has had a busy outing and the man in the thick of the action is Rakesh Sinha, Chief Operating Officer (Marketing and Operations), GCPL. With his prolific resume boasting of a gallery of mission-critical operational roles and coveted qualif ications, Sinha could just be the right man to steer GCPL’s supply-chain – at a time when Godrej is poised for a major phase-shift in the FMCG world.
The Man Who’d Move Things
Sinha and GCPL go a long way back. An alumnus of Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Sinha did his post-graduation in Industrial Management from NITIE, Mumbai, at a time when management was not yet a fad. He joined Godrej Soaps as a management trainee in 1980, straight from NITIE through campus placement. This year, he completed thirty years at Godrej. When asked about his long innings with one company, a feat rare in the corporate world, he reels off a host of reasons, “Their (Godrej’s) values match with mine – straight dealing, honesty, freedom to work, freedom to experiment. One can do a lot of innovative things. It’s a professional company which also gives emphasis to entrepreneurship.” Enterprising people influence a company’s processes in positive ways, he believes: “Entrepreneurs take risks, if the risks pay off, great, otherwise there’s always some learning in the process.” A keen observer of people and processes – it’s only natural that strategic planning is close to Sinha’s heart. During the initial years with Godrej, Sinha added ICWA (The Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India) and CFA (Chartered Financial Analysts) programs to his armory to round up his strategy acumen, “Having a background in operations and finance is good for strategic planning,” he fills us in. He got his big break in strategy in 1988 when he was asked to shape formal strategic planning for the Godrej Group. The following years would be the time when the Godrej management would strengthen its FMCG arm. From 1993 to 1996, Godrej Industries (then Godrej Soaps) had a joint venture with Proctor & Gamble – Godrej manufactured the soaps and P&G marketed them. That was the time Sinha took on the additional role of handling Godrej’s side of the supply-chain. While at it, true to his style, Sinha obtained a Doctorate in supply-chain management from IIT Bombay in 1996. Apparently he was the first in India to do a...
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