Ullas Kamath, Joint Managing Director, Jyothy Labs Limited, talks about demand, inventory levels, segments that is performing the best and consolidation and launches during a candid chat with Swati Khandelwal, Zee Business. Edited Excerpts:
Q: Tell us the current scenario. Is demand back to the pre-COVID levels or some more space is vacant?
A: As of now, we are better than the pre-COVID levels. The demand is back, especially for essential goods, 85% of our business is for essential items. To that extent, the business comes at a pre-COVID level across the country, both urban and rural.
Q: Can you update us about the inventory level of the company and the level to which production has been ramped up to meet the demand?
A: We have 27 factories across India and most of them are at a 100% production level. Inventory build-up at all India level is maybe over 7-10 days bad the stock is of 10-15 days. So. whatever we are producing is around 100% of the pre-COVID level and it is going the market and is being consumed in the market place. The liquidity situation in the market place is also much better than the pre-COVID levels.
Q: Can you tell us the product or range that is witnessing a strong demand as compared to others and also name the range that has recovered the fastest?
A: Anything to do with health and hygiene is doing well. The dish wash segment is showing double-digit growth in our portfolio because people are eating at home and are working from home. So, cooking is happening more and things are more hygienic as people are washing utensils much more than before. So in our portfolio, dish wash segment is growing at healthy double-digit and is followed by special kit product Margo. It is doing good as people are having a repeated bath, in which when they get out and when they come back, they take a bath.
So, there also we are seeing healthy growth. Similarly, detergents as again people are washing their clothes more often than before. To that extent, I would say the dish wash, followed by personal kits and then detergents across the country, both in urban and rural and are going to healthy levels when compared to pre-COVID levels. Added to that rural is doing much better than urban. Both are doing but rural is doing much better because the government has given free food grains till Diwali. The money is coming out for the non-food items. Also, the direct transfer some of the benefits are coming to FMCG because people are buying the normal products, they need for daily needs. So overall, we have a healthy demand what we are seeing at the marketplace and supply is working at 100% in terms of productivity.
Q: What is the new product pipeline and do you think that there are few new segments where you would like to enter or there will be a consolidation of what you have at present?
A: We are consolidating whatever the product range we have but during the COVID-time we announced the Margo sanitizer, which is doing extremely well. We also had a Margo hand wash, which we launched just pre-COVID era during the December and January and there also we are at the top of production.
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We have also set-up a new factory in Pithampur on July 2, 2020, for enhancement of the production capacity of Exo dish wash bar. So to that extent at this point of time, there will be a small launch here and there but big launches will not be there till March 31, 2021, because we are increasing our market share in all the products, we are already in and to a great extent we are focused on our existing portfolio.