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Last updated: 27 Apr, 2020  

Vinod.9.thmb.jpg Industry to see massive change in consumer behaviour, buying pattern post COVID-19: Vinod Cookware Director

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SME Times News Bureau | 27 Apr, 2020

Consumer behavior as well as shopping pattern will have a massive change post COVID-19 crisis, Sunil Agrawal, Director of Vinod Cookware said, adding that he is optimistic about the Indian industry getting through this tough phase successfully.

Excerpts of the interview …

Please tell our readers about Vinod Cookware and its entrepreneurial journey.
Sunil Agrawal: Vinod Cookware, started its Journey in the Year 1962. It’s a family run business, led by my father and later joined by me and my brother Anil.  We started off, with a small Manufacturing unit in Bhandup, and entered the most ‘cost-conscious’ and ‘non-Quality driven’ market with a premium range of cookware. Our first product being the very humble Pressure cooker. The customers those days had a fixed mindset on features, parameters and cost and were not willing to buy cookware that cost more than other brands’ products. We faced a lot of challenges, as customers failed to grasp the advantages of buying Vinod Cookware pressure cookers. However, with no compromise in Quality, and strong customer relations which evidently led to positive word of Mouth, we made the shift from an unknown brand to a popular household name. Despite being a premium brand in a cost-conscious market, Vinod Cookware, today is among Top 5 Cookware Brands in India.

What are the products Vinod Cookware offers? Do you export as well?
Sunil Agrawal: Over the years, Vinod cookware has built a strong image and a trustworthy connection with home makers. After a decade experience and repertoire of over 400 products spread across five categories, Vinod Cookware’s Pressure Cooker is the firm’s biggest success story as it has manifested the launch of ‘Sandwich bottom’ in the history of Indian kitchens. One of the Accepted and well-loved cookware Brand names, our portfolio includes state-of-the-art cooking technologies such as non-stick cookware, hard anodised cookware and much more. Very recently we have announced India’s first SAS cookware which is India’s first Steel – Aluminium – Steel construction, revolutionizing the age-old cooking methods. On the other bit, Yes, we do export under the Brand name Kraftware.

How the ongoing lockdown has affected the Indian manufacturing industry?
Sunil Agrawal: Considering the ongoing lockdown, we have halted our Manufacturing and everything has come to a standstill. It is imperative for us to monitor the situation closely, analyze the supply chain and optimize the inventory to sustain consumer demands. We are in continuous touch with both our trade and service partners as well as our supplier partners so we have a pulse of both front end and back end. We are also focusing on ensuring collections and mapping and monitoring cost heads closely. Our work on product development has not stopped and people are connected digitally on a daily basis so that none of our long-term plans get affected. We are working in tandem with all relevant bodies and authorities to ensure that we maintain a good balance between business continuity and fluid market conditions.

Do you think the government should come out with a stimulus package for the industry? If so, what are your suggestions?
Sunil Agrawal: The government cannot do much, as the economy was already running slow and the treasury coffers going empty. It would be great if they honor the honest taxpaying companies and adjust at least 50% of income tax paid for the year 2019-20. This would be a novel move and not very expensive for the government as well.

How do you see the industry and economy post the COVID-19 crisis?
Sunil Agrawal: It's very unlikely to predict any numbers for the future apart from the prediction that there is going to be de-growth in the GDP. According to ICRA report the economy will de-grow by 4.5% and then gradually progress to grow just by 2% by the end of the fiscal year. Sectors like Travel & tourism, Hospitality Business, Aviation, all in all the service industry will be hit hard and it will take time to recover the losses. We strongly feel that the Consumer behavior as well as shopping pattern, will have a massive change. It’s a tough situation but we all are in it together and will get through it together. The economy is going to suffer for a while but is expected to recover by 2021.

What is your strategy to cope with the situation after the crisis? Is your workforce intact?
Sunil Agrawal: We plan to re-open the manufacturing units, in sync with Government Guidelines,with over10% percent of the staff and not more than 3 people in one unit. Each of our units be it warehouse, service center etc. will adhere to strict safety guidelines. We have already installed sanitization machines & built semi - sanitization tunnels for the working staff. Along with that, masks & Gloves shall be mandatory and social distancing norms will be strictly maintained. Our workforce has been intact. Like always, our employee well-being is always the priority. 

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