"Be Prepared to Listen; Be Open to Criticism"

Acharya Balkrishna, Managing Director, Patanjali Ayurved

Acharya Balkrishna, Managing Director, Patanjali Ayurved / Photograph by Bandeep Singh Acharya Balkrishna, Managing Director, Patanjali Ayurved / Photograph by Bandeep Singh

Q: What was the problem you were grappling with?

A: The last few years have been full of learnings. First, it was demonetisation, followed by GST. We realised that our supply chain and distribution network were not geared to embrace the new system. Most of our MNC competitors were ahead of the curve as they were prepared for it. We had to reinvent ourselves completely.

Q: Who did you approach for advice and why?

A: We knew we needed to upgrade ourselves and met a lot of supply-chain solution providers. Each of them told us the benefits of their product and disadvantages of their competitor's product. By the time we met the fourth or the fifth solution provider, we knew what questions to ask and little did the person know that our knowledge had come by listening to his competitors. I was also quite moved by a statement of Infosys Founder Narayana Murthy, who had said that a person fails when he is in his own shell and doesn't listen to what the world around him is saying, when he is not open to criticism. One has to be open to listening to criticism.

Q: What was the advice?

A: Listen to what is happening around us with an open mind and do not be biased. I listened to people and learnt a lot about technology, despite having no formal training in it. We realised that we could have our own tech start-up and we came up with our own end-to-end supply chain and distribution technology.

Q: How effective was it?

A: I have five tech patents to my credit and I am even ready to sell my solution to third parties. Patanjali is back on the growth track, as we have fixed the gaps in the business. We hope to close FY21 with a revenue of Rs 10,000 crore, and double our growth in the coming years.