With over 12 million outlets, India's retail sector, worth $500 billion, and growing at 15 per cent every year, plays a crucial role in the nation's growth story. A major constituent of this burgeoning sector is the chain of 'kirana' shops (your friendly neighbourhood small grocery stores), which contributes almost 90 per cent to the retail sector. These players cater to the majority of the Indian population, and more importantly, are the primary channels for the sale of the popular beverage Coca-Cola.
Recognising the need to build the capacity of 'kirana' retail owners in the country, the Coca-Cola University (CCU) launched a nation-wide programme called 'Parivartan' (change towards the better). The programme aims to spread knowledge of best practices and equip traditional retailers with the right skills, tools, and techniques necessary to make their business more profitable, as well as build business skills in the four key areas of shop management, stock management, customer management, and finance management.
An extensive research was conducted to understand the developmental needs of such retailers, the findings of which were translated into the programme content. To ensure that Parivartan is accessible to the remotest retailer, including those based in rural India, CCU was introduced on wheels - a mobile training unit armed with state-of-the-art equipment. The two-and-a-half hour programme is delivered in vernacular languages with practical anecdotes for impactful communication.
The CCU has also announced that it will train 3,50,000 people by December 2017 in the areas of grocery and convenience store retailing, and in food services. The training module will be a mix of classroom training and in the CCU bus called 'Coca-Cola University on Wheels'.
While the CCU has been training 'kirana' retailers under its Parivartan programme for the past eight years, the module on quality and food services is being launched this year. Titled 'Parivartan E&D', the training module has been designed by the CCU based on two key insights as the most important parameters while choosing an eating-out option by customers who are on-the-go. These are lack of hygiene, and the importance of good customer service.
The training module will focus on the owners and employers of 'dhabas' and other small food service outlets and street food vendors, mostly in the unorganised sector. The training and upskilling of 3,50,000 people by the CCU will aid the government's Skill India programme, which aims at capacity building for employability.
Announcing this at the India Retail Forum 2016, held recently in Mumbai, Sameer Wadhawan, vice-president, HR and Services, Coca-Cola India and South West Asia, says, "The Coca-Cola system in India has already taken several steps towards skill enhancement, both in the social, as well as sporting arenas. Other than through Parivartan, we are also partners in programmes such as training People with Disabilities (PwDs), and farmers in sustainable and efficient agriculture practices. We share India's urgency on skill training and want to do more than our fair share towards this goal."
CCU certified trainers will conduct three-hour long training sessions through presentations and live-examples, as well as through videos, in regional languages. They will focus upon food quality and hygiene, clean atmosphere, customer satisfaction, customisation of food, and customer interaction.
Until now, more than three lakh retailers have been trained under the Parivartan programme. Training is offered in six regional languages through trainers certified by the CCU. Parivartan is open to all retailers, not just those who stock Coca-Cola products. The programme has reached out to retailers in more than 5,500 cities across India. More than 7,500 training sessions have been conducted till date.
The brand also launched a first-of-its-kind training delivery innovation on Interactive Voice Response (IVR). Using this platform, any retailer could dial into a toll-free number to take Parivartan lessons from the comfort of his/her home.