Amidst the global pandemic followed by lockdown for months India’s prime minister Mr. Narendra Modi urged India to be ‘vocal for local’, moving towards anAatma Nirbhar Bharat in which he appealed to all citizens to buy and endorse products made in the country.
With the lockdown coming to an ease at various levels multiple issues and complexities have arisen especially in managing supply chain. The pandemic has forced companies and businesses to rethink their strategies and find new solutions. Many businesses used this opportunity to boost production and exports by focusing on automation and digitisation as key tools.
‘Vocal for Local’ is a campaign that gives great opportunity for local brands to strengthen their position in India by being proud of their “make in India” stamp of authenticity. This move will work as a catalyst to strengthen our ability to produce, manufacture and distribute locally on a large scale. It will also definitely lead to an increase in demand due to a changing sentiment in the consumption pattern of Indian consumers. There is an openness among people to trust and value brands which are homegrown.
For us at Borosil we have been enhancing our local manufacturing and productivity keeping in mind our core capability to provide the best quality products at most affordable prices to our consumers. Over the last couple of years, I have noticed that they are many other Indian brands and companies that also have a similar level of attention to detail towards their offerings. In many industries such as FMCG, pharmaceutical, automotive, solar and financial services, Indian companies are leading the charge and have been able to withstand larger foreign players and compete neck to neck.
By now, the fear of the pandemic is so ingrained that the consumers are no longer visiting malls and shopping centers. The focus is more on visiting shops close to their vicinity. Consumers nowadays are also only buying necessary items or are already prepared a list of items they want to buy leading to a dip in impulse purchase. This visible shift in buying patterns and behaviour of the consumer has propelled more local brands to step up and deliver effectively.
But on the other hand we also havesome local entities facing severe challenges. We are a nation with limited resources and cash flows. My fear is that in a few months’ time, foreign companies, flushed with support from their local governments/ banks will return in a big way again putting pressure on our local enterprises. So we need to not only take advantage of the current change in buyers sentiment but also use this time to step up to face future competition which might get more fierce.
At the end of it, I believe every crisis comes with opportunities to learn and evolve. Over the period of the last few months, this time has given me two key learnings. The first is how we must innovate on product development to be relevant to the current times. Our focus has always been on trust, hygiene and safety. This will at the forefront of the new products we develop soon.
Furthermore, institutional support by the state via capital subsidy and production-linked incentives to local manufacturers in addition to offering protection via duties will help us not only emerge as market leaders now but further encourage this self-reliance in the long run.
Today, India’s credibility amongst Indians and beyond is stronger than ever. There is visible momentum, energy and optimism which local manufacturers like ourselves are experiencing and with the right kind of environment we can use this as an opportunity for long term success of Indian enterprises.