Vora & Company-Case

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  • Topic: Oat, Oatmeal, India
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Understand the Concept of Marketing Mix

In December 1963, M.C. Vora, proprietor of Vora and Company manufacturers of Blossom Quick-Cooking Oats located at Lucknow, sought counsel from the Small Industries Service Institute at Lucknow regarding steps that might be taken to increase the sales of his company. The company had been organized in 1959, had started to sell its product nationally in 1961, but by December 1963 had failed to attain a profitable volume of sales.

Mr. Vora’s family had been in the group business for several generations. In 1959, some four years after the Government of India had stopped the importation of packaged cereals, Mr. Vora and his family decided to enter the business of processing and selling a product similar to Quaker brand of quick-cooking rolled oats, a product of the Quaker Oats Company of the United States. For some years previous to the Government’s embargo, this product had been imported into India by the firm of Muller and Phipps, which acted as sole selling agents. The firm had advertised the product in many Indian cities and reportedly had attained at least a moderate volume of sales, particularly in South India, in the states of Kerala and Madras.

In 1956 shortly after the embargo on Quaker oats, the Ganesh Flour Mills of Delhi started to develop and market a quick cooking white oats under the trademark Champion. After some three years of experimental marketing in nearby areas, Ganesh Mills extended its distribution nationally, devoting a moderate amount to advertising in city markets throughout India

The management of Vora and Company developed the machinery and the method of processing its product on a trial and error basis. The first product offered was not deemed satisfactory by the management and was withdrawn from the market. Not until 1961 was the company satisfied with the product’s quality and with its processing equipment, which, when perfected, could produce on a one shift basis 500 cases a month, each case consisting of 36 tins of 550 grams each. White oats of finest quality were imported from Australia under Government licence, since India grown oats of required characteristics were not available.

The perfected product was submitted to test among consumers and was rated by them as equal to or better than the competing product. The management had made application for permission to use the mark of the Indian Standards Institution and learned that the product and its processing measured up to required standards. Mr. Vora anticipated early arrival of the papers, which would permit the company to place the I.S.I certification mark on its packages and to refer to the mark in company advertising and selling. He looked upon the I.S.I certification mark as a valuable aid towards building a reputation among the trade and consumers as to the quality and purity of the product. The competitive product Champion bore the I.S.I certification mark on its packages. -----------------------

*This case was made possible by the cooperation of Small Industries Extension Training Institute, Hyderabad.

When entering the business Mr. Vora had no definite data regarding the volume of sales that had been obtained by Muller and Phipps for Quaker Oats before the embargo, nor did he know the sales figures for Champion Oats. He did know that oatmeal porridge was the leading hot breakfast cereal in the United States and some European countries. He had been informed that the cost of the imported product had restricted its sale in India, to families with high medium to high income. Moreover, he found that its use had gained wider acceptance in South India than in other parts of the country. From his discussion with agents Mr. Vora listed demand for quick cooked oats in order of quantitative importance by regions as follows :

6.Northern region comprised of Delhi, UP & Rajasthan.

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