These entrepreneurs leveraged technology to power segments like dairy and footwear and built successful businesses
Digital adoption has become a key factor for small and medium businesses to not just thrive, but also to survive. Digitisation has enabled many micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to reach out to more customers, enhance their productivity, and increase operational efficiencies.
This week, SMBStory covered the journeys of Ahmedabad-based Prompt Dairy and Coimbatore-based Walkaroo. These companies strengthened their operations by leveraging technology and digital tools.
Shridhar Mehta, Director, Prompt Equipments Pvt. Ltd
Ahmedabad-based PN Mehta realised there was scope for growth with technology adaptation in the dairy sector, way back in the 90s. Mehta was already into portable electric power tools manufacturing, a business he started in 1978, and so foraying into dairy tech was not as cumbersome, and in 1992, Prompt Equipments Pvt. Ltd was born.
Mehta’s idea of using electronic weighing scales to measure milk in litres got the business a leg up. Farmers welcomed the new innovation wholeheartedly, and this sparked enthusiasm in the founder. He continued to strive to understand the problems faced by farmers, with an aim to find unique solutions.
In 1995, the company launched the Automatic Milk Collection System, followed by Fat’omatic, a fully automatic milk fat measuring machine in 1999. He says that at the time, Rajasthan Electronics and Instrumentation Limited (REIL) was manufacturing this kind of product but Prompt accentuated the product by adding more features to it like the measurement of milk density. This new feature enabled farmers to check on the milk quality at the collection centres themselves.
The years that followed saw a lot more innovations from the company.
Today, Prompt’s technologies are present in 24 states and 50,000 villages across India and its clientele includes big dairy brands like Amul, Heritage, Ananda, Mother Dairy, and other local players from different states.
VKC Noushad, Founder of Walkaroo
In 2013, VKC Noushad launched a brand called Walkaroo, which offers products that intersect fashion, quality, and affordability. It offers casual shoes, formal shoes, flip-flops, open footwear, slippers, sandals etc for men, women, kids, etc.
The shoes are manufactured at the company’s own 12 manufacturing units across Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, and a few more places. The units together have a capacity of producing four lakh pairs of shoes per day.
While Noushad believes that companies need to become operationally strong before becoming digitally robust, he also says Walkaroo has tried to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to leveraging technology and increasing operational efficiencies. To this end, they have implemented SAP, ensured sales automation, and taken the omnichannel route.
Apart from launching its own website, Walkaroo listed itself on ecommerce platforms such as Amazon, Flipkart, and a few others in 2019. However, Noushad maintains that it is not a digital-first brand.
Walkaroo clocked a turnover of Rs 1,245 crore in the last financial year.
Other top stories of the week:
In the 60s and 70s, Rajmal Parekh’s family used to run a grocery business in Rajasthan. But Rajmal had bigger plans and dreamed of leaving his home state to migrate to Mumbai.
The allure of the city’s hustle and bustle led Rajmal to shift there in 1972 and try his hand at numerous business ventures.
Starting with a small steel trading venture, he went on to trading jewellery – a business that gave him good margins and allowed him to network with a large number of people.
He quickly developed a passion for the jewellery industry and began making jewellery under the brand name Parekh Ornaments, which was started in 1983.
Parekh Ornaments, today, has become a family business, making jewellery from gold, diamonds, uncut polki, precious and semi-precious stones, silver coins, etc.
Pankaj Poddar, CEO, Cosmo Films Ltd.
Cosmo Films Ltd., started in 1981 by Ashok Jaipuria, is one of the leaders in the BOPP film manufacturing business. The company manufactures films for four verticals, including packaging, labelling, lamination, and industries.
The New Delhi-based company, also listed on Bombay and National Stock Exchanges, recorded a 109 percent increase in its Profit after Tax in FY21 compared to FY20, and reported net revenue of Rs 2285 crore for FY21.
Some of the other major players in this space include UFlex, Jindal Films Americas LLC, Chiripal Poly Films, etc.
Last year, Cosmo also launched a chemicals-manufacturing vertical called Cosmo Speciality Chemicals Pvt. Ltd. According to Pankaj Poddar, CEO of Cosmo Films Ltd., this vertical is slated to see some mighty growth in the coming years.
SMBStory caught up with Pankaj days after the company’s Q4 results were announced. Among other things, he spoke about the industry, challenges, and holding the banner of sustainability high.