“Integrating traditional values into current norm and expectations” --Interview with a vice president of a nut processing and supplying company in India--
Western India Cashew Co. Pvt. Ltd.
Ms. Lakshmi Harikrishnan (Vice President-Quality & Food Safety/ R&D)
Many business people from abroad including the emerging countries have participated in AOTS training programs. Positions of the targeted audience vary with the programs, and there are some programs aimed for top executives.
We conducted an interview with a vice president of a nut processing and supplying company in India.
Having 85-year history in Kerala
“Traditional values” and “Innovation”
Customer philosophy: We try to contribute to customers’ happiness, success and profitability by understanding, respecting and exceeding their delivery and quality expectations including provision of convenient, tasty, healthy and affordable nut-based food to the consumers.
Operations philosophy: We set a high value on safety, quality, innovation, productivity, speed and excitement.
Employee philosophy: We need to foster a relationship of fairness and mutual respect, where employees develop personally while contributing to the company's objectives including delivery, profitability and growth.
Social Philosophy: It is important to be consciously consistent with the core traditional values which have been espoused for the last eight decades, such as honesty, dignity, and commitment to society, and combine them into current norms and expectations, as the third generation of a family-owned company. We also have to be proactively environment friendly in every facet of our business.
40 hours of training programs per year
From the quality point of view, when production volumes grow, it is difficult to manage the proper systems to maintain product quality. To avoid affecting the quality in any undesirable way and consistently keeping our brand quality, more and more personal attention is required.
Employment is a great challenge. Hiring the right people for the right positions is a very difficult issue, especially for those middle positions. Recruitment of competent people, training programs, and actions need to be compiled in a descriptive manner so that deviations are recognized and rectified immediately. Motivation of employees could be strengthened through incentives. To develop human resources in my company, we have a recruitment policy, equal opportunity policy, under age policy, environment health and safety policy, responsible sourcing practices, workers welfare committees, and a training policy.
Regarding training, in our company, every employee is supposed to have 40 hours of training per year. We have all kinds of training programs, such as quality training, external production training, health and safety training, finance training, and external top management training. Not only employees but top managers constantly get training. We always try to improve ourselves through those training programs.
Always try to understand and realize customers’ needs
-What are your business prospects inside and outside the country?
We have been exporting our products to a company in Japan for almost 10 years. We also supply our products to supermarkets in the USA and Europe.
In India, competition in this industry has currently been getting higher, but our advantage is that we always try to understand and realize our customers’ requirements. We always consider the delight of our customers, so we try to keep the quality of our products. We do not sacrifice the quality, but at the same time, we try to make our products cost effective. We frequently communicate with our customers and keep a close and good relationship with them to know their needs. Since our manufacturers are very close to our company, we can supply fresher nuts than other suppliers.
Keys to successful global business expansion
Our company entered the retail market only recently. Consistent quality at low cost which is sustainable is the main focus based on market intelligence. The combination of capability, consistent quality through robust systems and communication abilities, and product uniqueness are the major barriers for market entry by competitors. While diversifying retailing in India, we have also entered into the US retailing market with our own brand which has been expanding our business very well.
Typical Business Customs in India
- Priority for moral and ethical values
- Freedom of association and trade union activities are encouraged.
- Minimum wages act
- Employee benefits such as provident fund, employee state insurance, and gratuity
- Women are encouraged to work by providing paid maternity leave for six months.
- Creche system at the work place to look after small children
- Unity in diversity at the work place with reference to people from different languages, different religions, different cultures, different food working in harmony