Q&A with the Joint Managing Director

Ullas Kamath, Joint Managing Director, shares his thoughts on the transitions at Jyothy Laboratories and the priorities for the Company going forward.

How has the transition paved the way for transformation?

The Henkel acquisition was a game-changer for Jyothy Laboratories. Our optimism paid off and in two years of acquisition, we turned Henkel around and shifted our focus from a region to the nation.

At one shot, a three-brand company leapt into the big league with six Power brands.

This was followed by an integration strategy to ensure that the merged organisation derives optimal benefits and functions in a cohesive manner. This meant capitalising on synergies from sourcing, manufacturing, distribution and marketing. We also had to compete and thrive. Our CEO, S. Raghunandan, was instrumental in this effort.

The Henkel acquisition and the transition in the Company in the past two years delivered strong results. Each brand in our portfolio of Power brands has since grown profitably.

The Company has embraced a performance-driven culture. Our goal,has been to double our turnover and triple our profits, due to scale advantages in the next three years.
Last year, we performed well because of the passion, sincerity and hard work of our employees and our product superiority.

How has Jyothy Laboratories changed in the past two years?

Jyothy Laboratories has adopted a differentiated approach to operations.

We have made changes in operations and optimised in supply chain and manufacturing. We have moved from an exclusive model to a hybrid distribution model, with our salesmen giving synergy to our sales force for deeper penetration of our brands.

We have also unleashed communication campaigns, contests, trade shows for consumer engagement and brand-building initiatives. We brought the “Best Team” who made the most effective changes in quantitative and qualitative terms. We would need to further synchronise our strengths and expectations of each other, and set forth on achieving our goals with greater ease.

In many ways, the major trends of FY 2014-15 reflect the shifting market fundamentals seen in the previous two years. The Company has observed these trends and consolidated its capabilities to compete with its peers in the industry. Despite difficult economic conditions, our profits grew, mainly due to the successful Henkel turnaround and a continued focus on cost management.

Despite this transformation, what remains unchanged at Jyothy Laboratories?

We started our business in Kerala in 1983. Even as a region-based player, we became category creators and market leaders with our flagship Ujala brand. With Exo and Maxo, we entered highly competitive market segments with clearly differentiated products. These brands drove our portfolio till 2011. In our journey over the past three decades,it took us almost 17 years to grow to a revenue of ` 100 crore. However, it took us only 12 years to grow to a ` 1,000 crore revenue.

From a single brand to a multi brand, multi category pan-India company, Jyothy Laboratories has not changed emotionally or culturally. Our values have remained the same even though our size has increased and our Power brands are on a positive growth path.

Our personality is compassion-driven with empathy for problems of our stockists, associates or vendors, salesmen and dealers. We are always there for every employee. We have not lost touch with our emotional quotient and long term consideration for our employees and their families. Even though we are sales driven, our team ethos and compassion is intact. Our people are our assets and we will continue to invest in our people and products.

What are your priorities going forward?

The Company has grown remarkably since 1983. The transformation strategy of the new management team has enabled a successful turnaround for our Power brands and enhanced brand presence in a national context.

The successful integration between our organisation and Henkel reflects in our performance during the past year.

Going forward, the future looks bright and promising, given the successful restructuring. Our new team is geared to deliver and our brands are on course to chart the journey for the next 25 years. Ms Jyothy, a member of our promoter family, has also come on board. We are hoping that this management team will propel the Company’s top line and bottom line growth with collaboration, enthusiasm and commitment.