Gambhir, the MD of Godrej Consumer Products took to LinkedIn to highlight a key concern around approvals required for transportation and distribution of goods at the state level.
With the national lockdown in place, operations across segments in the entire country has come to a stand still. While work that can happen digitally over the internet is still rolling, what about the physical part of the business? - The distribution where things have to move physically from place to place. Raw materials from source to factories and from factories to states across the country till reaching the retailer’s shelves. FMCG companies, the likes of GCPL rely heavily on distribution, so do consumers for their daily essentials. This article stems from a crucial piece of insight shared by Vivek Gambhir, managing director of Godrej Consumer Products (GCPL), on LinkedIn.
Gambhir mentions that globally, India has the most complex, yet efficient, supply chain for FMCG products with 1.1 crore retailers. Meaning, every third retail shop globally is in India. The country also has three lakh distributors and wholesalers.
“The supply chain involves thousands of factories, raw material and packaging suppliers, transporters and other channel partners. All of these are supported by millions of employees. During this COVID-19 lockdown, it is a Herculean task to ensure that all the links of the supply chain work well so that essential items are available,” he writes.
He further explains that for the supply chain to function smoothly, workers need to be allowed to travel to the factories and depots - trucks need to be allowed to operate across district and state borders - distributors need to be allowed to work in the market.
But where is the roadblock?
The permissions and passes are not centralised and most of these are regulated locally district to district. While the Central Government’s guidelines mention that transportation of all goods without distinction of essential and non essential is permitted during the lockdown, the ambiguity is at the states’ end.
“The district authorities now need to make process of permissions simple and fast to avoid shortages. The approval process should be online, if possible. It will greatly help if states would also consider a one window (or one nodal agency) approach for the entire state rather than a district by district approach. Agile and well-coordinated actions are the need of the hour. The FMCG industry is fully committed to ensure that essential items are readily available,” Gambhir suggests in his post.