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Coronavirus crisis: Godrej consumer durable business transforms digitally amid pandemic

Godrej has made it a win-win situation for both consumers as well as trade partners. Even as Godrej recently observed a dent in sales across channels, the company believes that the online channel will see more traction than offline

twitter-logoNidhi Singal | July 14, 2020 | Updated 00:11 IST
Coronavirus crisis: Godrej consumer durable business transforms digitally amid pandemic
Kamal Nandi, Business Head and Executive Vice President, Godrej Appliances

With customers confined to their homes amid coronavirus lockdown, consumer durable brands adopted the latest technology to reach out to their customers. With the deployment of technology at every step, Godrej has made it a win-win situation for both consumers as well as trade partners. Even as Godrej recently observed a dent in sales across channels, the company believes that the online channel will see more traction than offline given the social distancing norms in the coming times.

Godrej has assisted its trade partners to come aboard on Google My Business,  and enabled its offline retailers to build a digital presence by creating a Facebook Business Page. "Godrej is targeting each of its 25,000 offline retailers' networks to have a Facebook Business Page by end of June, with 12,000 already on board and counting. All the Godrej Exclusive Brand Outlets and bulk of the preferred retailer partners and Godrej Green AC Hubs have already been made live on Facebook with their shop pages. This allows them to link up with consumers through WhatsApp also to discuss, negotiate and conclude the sale," says Kamal Nandi - Business Head and Executive Vice President - Godrej Appliances. For customers, this will help them access product information and allow them to purchase a Godrej appliance from their familiar local retailers.

Facebook is not the only platform Godrej is enabling its retail partners on. "We are also enabling them with other platforms like Google My Business to make them easily discoverable by more consumers,  Benow which offers end to end solution from cataloguing to payment facility or PineLabs ePOS which enables customers to make payment via multiple modes like UPI, QR code, cards, net banking, payment wallets, etc.," says Nandi. Godrej is also registering its exclusive outlets on e-commerce platforms like Amazon. It helps in leveraging the digital wave creating a synergy on both sides - with Amazon being able to reach customers in tier 3 to 4 cities and Exclusive Brand Outlets (EBOs) getting more business from online space.

Customer experience

As touch and feel continues to be an important factor in decision making when it comes to purchasing consumer durables, Godrej has introduced a new video-assisted remote selling initiative. Consumers being cautious of social distancing and avoiding visit to stores, this initiative allows scheduled live demonstration via video call from the brand's store-based advisors followed by flexible payment options.  "The lockdown period is being used effectively to train the large network of promoters and store staff by training them online. We have conducted more than 2,000 batches of online product and sales training and ongoing and the initiative has received tremendous feedback. We are also working on more tools to enable better product experience at store and outside in coming times," says Nandi.

A customer's journey doesn't end at the time of purchase but goes beyond, pushing after-sales service to be one of the key considerations. "With faster service delivery becoming hygiene, we have adopted mobile workforce solutions in the form of apps for our field engineers and consumers. These apps bring speed, ease of use, and a better experience for the consumer. The apps enable the field engineers to store vital information for easy access on the run, let them track customer needs, maintenance histories, help schedule customer visits, collaborate with support staff, etc. and on the other hand, the app and dedicated website allows customers to track the service resolution status and helps automate the process to a greater extent," adds Nandi.

Technology adoption has created far-reaching ramifications for after-sales service by delivering service more efficiently and improving customer satisfaction. Technology has helped Godrej in delivering service excellence even in the pandemic times by introducing certain initiatives to resolve its consumer service requests. 'Remote Assist' in after-sales service with 'Do It Yourself' videos or voice assistance helped in resolving some of the simpler service requests. "Since the lockdown, we have resolved over 15,000 service requests through remote assistance technology," says Nandi.

Technology adopted for manufacturing

Under the 'Make in India; initiative, the country is aiming to become a global manufacturing hub to enhance economic and employment growth. Owing to the pandemic, it has become even more crucial to work towards local manufacturing. In line with 'Make in India', Godrej has been working towards boosting indigenous manufacturing capabilities for the past 3 years and is now ready to manufacture each of the categories in India. This will also help in mitigating at least to some extent the risk from such an operational crisis in future.  "As social distancing becomes the new normal on the shopfloor, automation and digitization will play an even bigger role in manufacturing. The digitization journey roadmap at our end includes the evolution and integration of ERP, MES i.e. Manufacturing Execution system and PLM (Product life cycle management) - the three pillars or the holy trinity of Manufacturing. It will help us gain a clearer view of how raw materials, manufactured parts and information flow through the value chain. Coupled with digital technologies and data analytics, it will support sound decision making and risk management as well," adds Nandi.

Godrej has integrated IT in manufacturing with real-time data on production and maintenance as part of industry 4.0 adoption. It has helped in quick resolution of problems and aided in the long term and effective solutions for recurring issues. The company plans to further enhance manufacturing efficiencies with the introduction of emerging technologies like cobots (collaborative robots) with advanced safety features, wherein human and robots interface together - working alongside to deliver higher productivity. To reduce dependency on manual operations and proximity of the workforce with one another (to maintain social distancing at the workplace), Godrej will be prioritising further automation and moving forward on the robotic journey.

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