Covid-19: ‘Opportunity for the mattress segment to evolve into next avatar’ : K Madhavan
By Mohit Manghani | June 03, 2020
In these testing Covid-19 times, businesses and individuals are going the extra mile to decimate the impact of the pandemic. In doing so, one critical problem companies are facing is managing business continuity. As organizations look to turn current challenges into a competitive advantage, business continuity plans are being tested and reworked every day given.
In an exclusive interview with Retail4Growth, K Madhavan, Managing Director, Peps Industries Private Limited shares his take on biz continuity during covid-19, 3-pronged plan to ensure dominance post COVID and more.
1. What does business continuity mean to you? How would you define it?
The continuity of the business, especially in hard times, depends on minimizing costs and maximizing sales, as always. Covid-19 poses the dual challenges of business continuity and business growth. To keep our business up and running and serve customers with minimal disruption, it is essential to reimagining business resiliency and fine-tuning business continuity plans.
For me, business continuity can be defined as:
A value-driven culture that reinforces the identification by personnel with the company's goals and business philosophy.
A consistent commitment to quality in everything the company makes and does.
Business processes that ensure that costs do not overwhelm profitability
A communicated image in the marketplace of honesty
An unbroken reputation for reliability.
2. Has the current situation forced you to take a harder look at biz continuity/store design model? Does it help you prepare better you for the future?
Yes, the current situation demands a change in the traditional way of functioning while carrying out the business. We are all game to adhere to the guidelines set by the government with regards to social distancing and frequent sanitization of the store in order to ensure the safety of the employees as well as our customers.
3. Can you share some measures you have taken towards ensuring continuity in your business?
Peps is following a 3-pronged plan to ensure continuity and dominance post COVID.
Production is the backbone of any goods company and ensuring Peps’ factories and employees are safe is our top priority. We are currently ensuring strict adherence to the instructions provided by the government with regards to employees in attendance at our factories. Hygiene has always been a priority at our factories and the same will continue with the addition of social distancing amongst the employees. Measures like the use of protective gear, regular sanitization of both the environment and the body are currently underway.
An advantage we at Peps have is the use of imported, technologically advanced machinery that has a reduced requirement of humans. Going forward, we will be implementing a shift system in which employees are utilized in batches to avoid contamination and ensure production. This step will enable our employees to return to work safely.
The online sale of mattresses has seen significant growth over the last few years with the emergence of a multitude of startups that sell exclusively through the internet. However, when it came to legacy mattress players such as Peps, a large majority of our sales came from offline purchases. This was because a mattress is a very interactive product whose impact varies from one customer to another. However, going forward, there is going to be a surge in the selling of products through the online medium, even in legacy companies.
Peps is prepared for this surge through the implementation of an innovative online store and customization website that caters to the consumers' needs. An advantage we have is resources.
Getting the products to the consumer is going to be one area that will see a change. We will be automating the supply and distribution chain. Implementation of technology, innovation and automation will result in a more optimized distribution chain and a decrease in human intervention.
Our offline stores will also witness a few changes. Customer experience is an area we are looking at very closely. Adoption of self-assisted kiosks and robots to make online purchases while experiencing the products will be the new way to sell products at the great sleep store. More education will be imparted to the sales promoters front-ending sales at the stores. Online campaigns will be activated to attract customers to the stores.
Moreover, our offline partners have immensely contributed in our growth story & they will continue to play a vital role in the future as well. We still believe mattress as a product must indulge with the clients to visit our offline stores to experience the products suitable to them. It is a personalized choice that needs a touch & feel approach.
Product innovation is going to be the driving force for most company’s growth post the pandemic. At Peps, our exclusive association with Restonic Corporation of USA gives us access to trade and product innovations that cannot be seen anywhere else in the market. We are currently in the R&D phase of a multitude of products that are sure to shake the industry and showcase Peps as the undeniable leader of the industry.
4. Technology obviously is inevitable in biz continuity plans. How do you leverage it for your business?
While most people look at the current situation as a terrible curse, we at Peps tend to look at it in a positive light. We see this as an opportunity for the mattress segment to evolve into its next avatar.
While businesses are hit badly, it will not be long when we see a surge in the new models of business continuity. This crisis will give birth to many innovations and will accelerate the mechanics of automation.
Until now, innovation and automation have been buzzwords in many industries. Technological advancements and sustainable developments have been the mantra for companies to grow – however, these will become the basis of companies’ existence. Mattress companies will start to apply hybrid models in carrying out admin and factory operations. Implementation of newer technologies will increase – automation, work from home will find its place in manufacturing setup as well. This will serve 2 purposes, the first being an increased capacity for production and a higher standard of product.
We have always been at the forefront of implementing technology with a majority of our machinery imported from countries like Sweden and Germany. A relook at manufacturing and an embrace of technology is key to sustaining a mattress company.