“WHEN A COUNTRY DOES WELL, EVERYONE DOES WELL. ONCE THE UPSWING COMES, THE COMPANIES THAT ARE EXCEPTIONALLY WELL-POSITIONED WILL DO EXCEPTIONALLY WELL – AND WE ARE ONE OF THEM.”

Ullas Kamath, Joint Managing Director, sheds light on the insights, ideas and impact that have helped Jyothy Laboratories move steadily ahead in the industry, powered by both business gains and customer trust

HOW DO YOU SEE THE PAST YEAR FOR JYOTHY LABORATORIES, IN RELATION TO THE INDUSTRY AND THE NATIONAL ECONOMY?

To answer that, let me talk about the Jyothy Laboratories DNA first. Because our performance in the past year stands on the shoulders of our achievements of more than three decades. During this time, we have positioned ourselves as a company catering to the needs of every Indian household. Those needs can only grow, and we have a long track record of meeting them effectively. All our product innovation has been done keeping in mind the smallest details of a consumer’s life.

Against this backdrop, in the year under review, compared to the rest of the FMCG industry, we have done well. As for the national economy, it all comes down to job creation and consumption. The ‘Make in India’ initiative is very important in this context. Because of this initiative, Indian manufacturing is getting the attention it has never got before. ‘Make in India’ is about confidence in your own strengths, it is about self-reliance in manufacturing and quality – things we have always believed in.

WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST STRENGTHS OF JYOTHY LABORATORIES IN THE CONTEXT OF INDIAN COMPANIES COMPETING WITH INTERNATIONAL PLAYERS?

Our portfolio has products that are of world standard and offered at an affordable price. We are competing with the multinationals, and all our brands have become profitable in the shortest possible time. We have taken on the fiercest competition and come out a winner, because of our ear-tothe- ground insights, the agility of our product idea development, and the impact of our precisely targeted communication. With every launch, the Company has been able to disrupt that particular category, gaining market share at an exponential rate.

ARE YOU ALSO ABLE TO REACH OUT TO EVERY CONSUMER SEGMENT NOW?

Yes, indeed. Following the acquisition of the Henkel India bouquet of products, our Company has a presence in every consumer segment. That acquisition was a turning point in other ways, too – it infused an additional measure of modern business practices into the Company, helping us adapt still faster to changes in consumer needs and spending patterns.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING TO HAVE HAPPENED AT JYOTHY LABORATORIES IN THE PAST COUPLE OF YEARS?

As we expanded across segments and launched new products within those segments, we also built a great management team to deliver the desired results. The major transformation, as I said, began from the point of acquiring Henkel India. We were already doing very well, taking leadership positions in extremely competitive product segments. Building on that, we revamped our management policies and systems, and brought new team members on board, making the company culture even more performance-driven. As a result, we are now much more streamlined, efficient, and better fortified against external factors.

All aspects of key functions were looked at with a critical eye – this included sales, marketing, manufacturing, research and development, and human resource development. To help the new management team stay focussed on the new goals, we set annual KPI (key performance indicator) metrics and monthly reviews.

HOW DO YOU SEE THE ROLE OF CORPORATE INDIA IN THE COUNTRY’S INCLUSIVE GROWTH? AND THAT OF JYOTHY LABORATORIES PARTICULARLY?

Inclusive growth means, when a country does well, everyone does well. Once that upswing comes, the companies that are exceptionally well-positioned will do exceptionally well – and we are one of them. That is going to be the India growth story. We firmly state that we are with the government initiative. Only companies with great differentiated products can grow this country. We have to create jobs. We have to be everywhere. We believe in India’s growth story.

WHAT ARE THE SPECIFIC STEPS YOU HAVE TAKEN – OR WILL – IN THIS DIRECTION?

At present, the government has given impetus to skill development and job creation. We, too, believe in this – Jyothy Laboratories has proactively invested in skill development and employment generation programmes. We have created jobs at every level of the Company. Our consistent growth, despite the fluctuations in the external sphere, has shown that we are agile, innovative and prepared to face challenges. Our Company is about having the right direction at the right time in the right country.

AND THE FACTORS DRIVING THE JYOTHY LABORATORIES GROWTH?

Well, let me say that we have delivered on every front: excellent and relevant products; the most advanced research and development; strategic brand extensions; optimal advertising and sales force to propagate our brands; and an apt communication strategy. Jyothy Laboratories is family owned professionally managed and the most modern business practices which means a great culture.

PLEASE SAY MORE ABOUT YOUR ORGANISATION AND POWERBRANDS.

The organisation is nimble, with complete control on our manufacturing and R&D, the essential drivers of success. Our reach is deep, covering places even with small populations. The insights we gather, the way we ideate, and then make an impact, all of that has helped us replicate the success of Ujala in our subsequent products, Maxo, Exo and in the reinvention of Margo, a 95-year-old highly trusted brand. In the past year, we saw a drop in rural consumption because of deficient rainfall, but we expect a turnaround this year based on the monsoon prediction.

WHAT IS YOUR STRATEGY FOR CREATING A NEW GENERATION OF LOYAL CONSUMERS?

A growth strategy must always be around innovation. And innovation in our industry has to be driven by insights. If a company has insights into the mind of the youth, it would do well. In this country, 65 per cent of the population is under 35 years of age; they are the consumers of the future.

For instance, our Powerbrand Ujala is not only with the first Ujala woman, but also with her daughter or her granddaughter. If they – the youth – stay with our brands, that makes a big difference.

SO YOU REACH OUT TO SOCIETY THROUGH YOUR BUSINESS?

Absolutely, yes. A company making great products makes a profit, obviously, but it also makes the national economy and society that much more vibrant. From excellence in manufacturing to job creation, from promoting educational facilities to helping the marginalised, in every way, we exemplify the key facets of the roadmap laid out by the government initiative. From the first year of our journey, we have lived that agenda.

Our business philosophy is in sync with the thinking of the country. This, we are certain, will help us keep growing alongside India.