Supply chain system in India takes a hit during the lockdown

Supply chain takes a hit during the lockdown

While many of us had huge plans for the year 2020, the year apparently had a different plan for us. India went under lockdown from 25th March to contain the spread of the coronavirus outbreak which lead to restricted movement of goods and put a hold on the functioning of industries. As a result, companies that sell fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), as well as retailers of such goods, saw severe disruptions across the value chain.

Companies are struggling to keep pace with new shifts and disruptions in the procurement and supply chain processes.

Businesses are being shut, and the supply chain is disrupted. Industries are either closed or operating at sub-optimal utilization (with 8-10% of staff).

Companies in the healthcare, logistics, technology and media sectors are witnessing an increase in spending because these companies had to invest in unplanned remote workforces which became functional virtually overnight. Retailer supply chain happens to be one of the most crucial ones to be impacted by the pandemic and the on-going lockdown.

While many are losing jobs and many retail stores have reached the verge of shutting down, the lockdown is probably proving to be boon for the food retailers. Grocery as well as medical stores have seen a sharp rise in demand but due to the situations they were facing severe constraints of stock replenishment as company salesperson visits were severely hit.

While the online food and grocery stores are stepping up their operations to supply essentials to the masses, the overall food supply chain is battling a number of challenges to stay functional.

Retailers reported changes in the demand profiles of specific products, as shoppers’ behavior changed in response to the outbreak of COVID-19.

Supply chain takes a hit during the lockdown
Supply chain takes a hit during the lockdown

How the lockdown has affected the supply chain?

• Sourcing challenges
• Fewer sales channels for the raw material producers and farmers
• Capacity constraints
• Operational disruption

While various factors are forcing logistics and supply chain networks to adapt and rise to the challenges, going forward in order to ensure that if a situation like this pandemic is to rise again, companies across all sectors will be working on innovative ways with use of technology to smoothen the supply chain disruptions and have better visibility and communication.

The end goal ideally would be to ensure that the customer regardless of the situation should have access to the products they need.

Unfortunately, the road to recovery is not as straight forward as we expect.

Interested in more market-specific insights on the impact of Covid 19 on the supply chain system?

Partner with us to get solutions to how you can prepare for the new normal post-Covid-19.

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A study to understand the impact of COVID-19 on consumer mindset

We are observing – Unexpected lockdown, the concern of increasing Covid-19 cases on a continuous basis, the confusion created due to process of extended lockdown and partial unlocking procedures, the concern of self & family health, sense of instability, fear of job security, financial security, economic slowdown – these and many such are the outcome of the current Covid-19 pandemic.  

Consumers are experiencing lots of such ups and downs in this pandemic and getting adjusted to New normal life. Market Search India have recently conducted a consumer sentiment study among 500+ respondents across India and have come up with quite interesting findings.

Few insights are as below:-

  • Consumers are stepping out only for essential products currently make prefer to buy other products online
  • They are willing to start in-store purchase for food & grocery immediately post lockdown but purchases of other non-essential products would be done at in-store only after 3-6 months. Whereas high-value purchases (jewelry, car, consumer durables), would get extended to beyond 6 months or 1 year.
  • Very few consumers are quite optimistic about India’s GDP over the next 1 year.
  • Consumers find that there would be a severe increase in the unemployment rate for the next 1 year.  This is been felt by all consumers having/ not having insecurity about their current employment.
  • Also currently unemployed consumers find there are less chances of getting a new job in the next 6 months.
  • Employed consumers find it is less likely to get a good bonus/ raise this year and also income would decrease in the next 1-3 months.
  • Consumers with no income change would not have any change in a financial investment except for loans where they would not invest.
  • Consumers with an expected increase in income level and with no change in income level would increase their savings.
  • Consumers with an expected decrease in income would reduce their expenses on most non- essential product purchases in the next 6-12 months.
  • Though consumers find they would resume their normal day-to-day routine in the next 9 months, they would be curtailed down on their out of home activities.

Impact on expenditure level on different Product categories in near future:-

Impact on expenditure level on different Product categories in near future
Impact on expenditure level on different Product categories in near future

There are a lot many more observations that we have received as insights from the study.

We can conduct similar consumer sentiment or consumer confidence study across product segments. These deeper insights would help companies to take strategic decisions, plan marketing activities, design promotional campaigns as per the changing buying behaviour of the consumers.

Contact us if you would like to explore the dynamics of your consumer mind-set, we would be happy to help you.

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How marketers should react on changing marketing scenarios?

In each downturn advertisers wind up in ineffectively outlined waters on the grounds that no two downturns are actually similar. We’ve recognized patterns in buyers behavior and firms  procedures that either drive or subvert performance. Organizations need to comprehend the advancing utilization patterns and adjust their procedures according.

During a monetary downfall, buyers set stricter needs and reduce their spending. As deals begin to drop, organizations ordinarily cut expenses, reduce costs, and delay new ventures. Marketing expenditures in areas from communications to research are often slashed across the board—but such indiscriminate cost cutting is a mistake.

Companies that put customer needs under the microscope, take a scalpel rather than a cleaver to the marketing budget, and nimbly adjust strategies, tactics, and product offerings in response to shifting demand are more likely than others to flourish both during and after the downfall/recession.

It’s basic to follow how clients reconsider needs, reallocate funds, switch brands, and redefine value.

Understanding the connection between the economy and promoting can help entrepreneurs assign their advertising assets and react to changes in the recession atmosphere.

Underneath indicated is a network that clarifies the conduct change in the purchasers.

Behavior change

Your strategic opportunities during the downturn will strongly depend on which of the four segments your core customers belong to and how they categorize your products or services.

For example….

  • Prospects are reasonably good for value-brand essentials sold to slam-on-the-brakes consumers, who will forgo premium brands in favor of lower prices.
  • Value brands can also effectively reach out to pained-but-patient consumers who previously bought higher-end brands.
  • Value brands have opportunities with postponable products, as well.
  • Repair services can market to the pained-but-patient group, who will try to prolong the life of a refrigerator rather than buy a new one.


“Growing Together” is what vendors would like to hear from any of their business partner or customers.

A satisfied vendor is the one who would always standby you and your business in critical situation and considers your success as their success.

Strong backbone makes a body posture look strong and stable. Vendors are the backbone of any business. Vendors are integral part of business and they play a very important role in overall supply chain.


Its quire essential to know how to keep your vendors satisfied –

      • Find out what make them happy – which parameters
      • Understand the current issues faced by them
      • Ask them where you can do better
      • Measure perceptual image of your company
      • Compare your company’s performance with other companies

Factors that would influence vendor- customer relationship –

      • Fair commercial policies
      • Integrity in business dealings
      • Ethical practices
      • Supportive leadership
      • Clarity of communication
      • Understanding capabilities of the vendors while placing an order
      • Assurance of the regularity of the business
      • Timely payment
      • Support and co-operation as and when needed
      • Technological advancement – make vendors upgraded with latest technology to strengthen the overall business process
      • Loyalty program – listen to your vendors and rewarding the best performers
      • Relationship & trust with vendors
      • Professional approach in dealing with vendors

Key questions to know –

      • Are vendor’s needs and expectations being met by the organization’s products and/or services?
      • Do vendors believe the organization’s claims about current and projected organizational performance?
      • Do vendors believe that organizational performance can be sustainable?
      • Given their relationship to the organization, what suggestions do vendors have for improvement?
      • How do they contribute new product development and understanding customers’ needs?

 So if you want your vendors to believe you saying – “Growing Together”, just Stop Quoting and Start Doing!!!

We will help you make this happen! Contact us  to know further details

Men like fat in their food more than women


The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) survey revealed that men consume more fat at 34.1 gram per person daily, than women who consume 31.1 gram per day across the seven cities – Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai.

Added fat was high in dishes such as dal fry, rice, stuffed paratha, chuduva, bisi bele bath – a rice-based dish with origins in Karnataka — and puliyodharai also known as tamarind rice. Mutton Birynai has more fat than chicken biryani or cereal-based and non-vegetarian recipes, it found.

According to the study, those who eat deep-fried food consumed more added fat than those who ate boiled and shallow-fried food.

Also, almost all non-vegetarian foods, mostly consumed in urban areas, has high amounts of added fat, the study revealed.

The average intake of added fat in Mumbai and Hyderabad were the lowest at 28.8 gram per person daily and 25.1 gram per person each day respectively.

The average intake of added fat in all the seven metro cities pooled together was 32.6 gram per person each day, which was higher than ICMR-recommended levels at 20g/person/day. Overall, 18 per cent of the total intake of energy was obtained from visible fat, the survey found.


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How effective are your company’s Corporate Social Responsibility activities?


India is the first country in the world to make corporate social responsibility (CSR) mandatory, following an amendment to the Company Act, 2013 in April 2014. Businesses can invest their profits in areas such as education, poverty, gender equality, and hunger.

CSR is the procedure of assessing an organization’s impact on society and evaluating their responsibilities. Companies now have specific departments and teams that develop specific policies, strategies, and goals for their CSR programs and set separate budgets and “external implementing agencies” to support them.

Why you should assess the impact of your company’s CSR activities?

This is to understand the following

  • Does CSR project create an impact?
  • How successful has the project been in achieving planned results for the beneficiaries?
  • Are there any winning conditions (enabling environment) to ensure sustainability after the project?
  • Are outputs delivered in a cost-effective manner, in expected quantity and quality?
  • Are the project objectives consistent with beneficiaries’ needs, state and national policies, and with the partner’s vision & mission-aligned to this project?

Benefits of conducting CSR Impact Assessment Study

  • Market Search India carries out impact assessment study post conduction of CSR activities to check its effectiveness among beneficiaries.

The study captured information about the satisfaction of beneficiaries in terms of


  • The feedback from the target segments helps the company to understand the impact of CSR programs and changes suggested by the beneficiaries to make the activity more effective.
  • It also helped to track the performance of the implementing agencies and areas of improvement required.


AI will diversify human thinking, not replace it: Tata Communications study

According to the study, 90% leaders agreed that cognitive diversity is important for management and 93% believe AI will enhance decision making.

A new study by Tata Communications on the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace finds that AI will diversify human thinking, rather than replace it. Carried out in collaboration with UC Berkeley professor Ken Goldberg, the study is based on inputs from 120 global business leaders like Tony Blair, Executive Chair of the Institute of Global Change and former UK Prime Minister, who said that “AI will allow us to do what it is that we are uniquely meant to do: focus on high-level thinking, strategy, and paving the way for innovation.”

According to the study, 90% leaders agreed that cognitive diversity is important for management and 93% believe AI will enhance decision making. Three out of four expect AI to create new roles for their employees.

Ken Goldberg, UC Berkeley professor and co-author of the report, said “The prevalent narrative around AI has focussed on a ‘Singularity’ – a hypothetical time when artificial intelligence will surpass humans. But there is a growing interest in ‘Multiplicity’, where AI helps groups of machines and humans collaborate to innovate and solve problems. This survey of leading executives reveals that Multiplicity, the positive and inclusive vision of AI, is gaining traction.”

The study further found that AI could enhance cognitive diversity within groups, which could yield better outputs, while helping employees become more nimble and agile.

Co-author Vinod Kumar, CEO and Managing Director at Tata Communications, said, “AI is now being viewed as a new category of intelligence that can complement existing categories of emotional, social, spatial, and creative intelligence. What is transformational about Multiplicity is that it can enhance cognitive diversity, combining categories of intelligence in new ways to benefit all workers and businesses.”

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Industrial Marketing Is Not Consumer Marketing

President, MPC Consulting

My first job out of college was with the Hyster Lift Truck Company. I started out in the plant working in production control to learn the manufacturing business. I was promoted to a job in the new product development department, where I was able to see how the marketing and sales strategies worked.

It was a big shock to find out that the marketing and sales I learned in college was totally different from the marketing of lift trucks.

I always liked machinery, and over the years I was involved in manufacturing and marketing lift truck attachments, marine cranes, palletizer systems, material handling robots, conveyors, and other industrial products. It didn’t take me long to figure out that marketing these industrial products required a very different kind of marketing—industrial marketing.

Since local colleges did not teach industrial marketing, I had to learn it on my own by trial and error. Then I had to train every new person that was hired in sales or marketing, both in the technical side of the products and marketing of the product.

Understanding the difference between industrial and consumer marketing is very important for manufacturing companies, particularly those companies that manufacturer custom or highly engineered products. But there are very few places to go to learn the techniques.

Several years ago I tried to find out how many colleges taught industrial marketing. I found that out of 2,500 business schools, fewer than 30 schools taught industrial marketing or industrial sales classes.

Let me explain some of the differences between consumer marketing and industrial marketing, along with why this is a problem that needs a solution:

  • Product complexity. First and foremost, most industrial products are usually more complicated than consumer products and, as a result, require significant technical knowledge to sell. Industrial and technical products range from off-the-shelf bearings to custom-engineered machines of incredible complexity. The more custom the product, the more custom the marketing strategy.
  • Industrial buyers. Consumer marketing presupposes powerful sellers and passive, inexpert buyers who can be influenced to purchase by a variety of advertising techniques. In contrast, industrial markets consist of very knowledgeable buyers (and often buyer teams) who analyze products and purchases in terms of user benefits often measured in dollars or as return on investment. In the case of capital equipment, the sales people do not get to talk to the final decision makers—the board of directors.
  • Bids and quotations. Consumers either buy or don’t buy from listed prices. On the other hand, industrial products are often sold by request for quotes (RFQs) that may require a quotation with elaborate specifications to define the product. Specifications can be hundreds of pages long and can specify a machine right down to the type of fasteners and wire colors.
  • Advertising and promotion. It is relatively straightforward to develop a newspaper ad for impulsive shoe buyers, but it is very difficult to even identify the buying influences of dragline machines or material-handling robots. Inquiries produced by industrial advertising are only the beginning of a long, expensive selling process, sometimes lasting years before the sale occurs.
  • Market information. There is a lot of database information available on consumer products and an enormous amount of consumer demographic information that can identify the customer profile and market segment. However, information on industrial market niches is very difficult to acquire, is generally qualitative, and requires considerable industrial experience to gather. For example, if you are a manufacturer of a machine that stacks 50-lb. sacks of cheese whey, you will have to identify the market niche to succeed. The food industry has 23,000 plants in the U.S., but the buyers who would be interested in your machine are a niche of a niche, of a niche, of a niche like this:

Food industry – 23,000 plants
Cheese natural and processed – 712 plants
Processed cheese – 332 plants
Dry condensed cheese – 191 plants
Dry condensed cheese and whey – 85 plants

When you analyze the niche further to define the line speeds, size of bags, number of shifts, number of employees, you will find that there are 20 to 30 prospective buyers that could buy your equipment. How you find and sell to these buyers is completely different then finding and selling cell phones to young adults using television advertising.

Finding and defining the buyers in industrial market niches is perhaps the most difficult part of industrial marketing. For example, palletizing machines are sold in 20 different industries and hundreds of market niches. The buyers could be the owners of a small food processing plant or multiple buyers in a multinational corporation.

  • Industrial Market Research. Consumer market research methods generally do not work for industrial products, because the industrial samples are small and the buyers are not a homogeneous group that can be considered a valid sample. Because of these two problems, statistical techniques for projecting the sample cannot be used as representative of a larger market. Answers to questions on market share and market size must be found using qualitative techniques that requires field research and personal interviewing. Suffice it to say, this can only be done by an interviewer who has a strong background in technical and industrial products and knows how to do an unstructured interview.
  • Product range. Perhaps the most important factor that separates consumer from industrial marketing is what I call the product range. The chart below shows that industrial products range from simple components that are standard and off-the-shelf to engineered systems with custom engineered machines.

As you move from left to right in the product range, marketing strategies change drastically with the type of product, length of the sales cycle, product size, and the number of decision makers.

For example, the selling, promotion, and pricing strategies that are used to sell low price products, say standard hydraulic motors, to known accounts, are fairly straightforward, and consumer marketing techniques might work.

As the industrial products become more complex with higher prices and longer sales cycles, the selling, sales channel, advertising, pricing, and product development strategies become more complex and more specific to the situation. Capital equipment used on production lines is usually very large, designed to the customer’s specs, very complex, has high unit prices must be justified in terms of ROI and approved by the board of directors.

For example, selling a complete production line to a multinational company begins when a sales engineering department answers a request for quote that includes hundreds of pages of specifications. The technical sales is usually handled by the factory’s major account sales department and may require selling many decision makers on the buying team, such as plant manager, plant engineer, purchasing manager, and division manager in different geographic locations. If the company gets the sales contract, they must have a service department that can install the products, write customized operation manuals, and take care of the production line with 24/7 service.

The point is that the organization and strategies used for marketing and sales of a standard off-the-shelf product will not work for the marketing and sales of a large, complex industrial system.

The Knowledge Gap

“Most students who graduate from university marketing courses are not ready to go to work in industrial companies,” says Jack McNally, dealer sales manager of a midsize casting company. “The methods for marketing industrial products are substantially different from consumer marketing. Our industry has to invest considerable time in on-the-job training to teach these people industrial sales and marketing. It would be helpful if college professors went out into the manufacturing sectors to see for themselves how industrial products are bought and sold.”

Mr. McNally’s experience is much like my own experience training salespeople to sell industrial equipment. For years we had to take technical people who were very familiar with the equipment (like engineers and technicians) and try to make them salespeople. This only worked part of the time, and the on-the-job training was very extensive because these people had never had any education or training in industrial sales or marketing.

I finally took the time in 1993 to write a basic primer, The Manufacturers Guide to Business Marketing, on industrial marketing that could be used as a training program for engineers and sales people. This helped people learn the basic strategies as they were also learning the field sales techniques and helped them understand the basics of the company’s marketing plan.

American small and midsize manufacturers are floating on an ocean of uncertainty caused by the invasion of Chinese products and the continuous outsourcing of product lines by multinational companies. Most of them need to diversify and find new customers and markets to grow. To accomplish this, they must first understand and define the market niches in terms of specific users and then to choose the strategies that will achieve their sales and profit forecast.

The product development, pricing sales, sales channel, and promotion strategies to find new customers and markets are very different from consumer marketing.


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Sneak Peek into Pune’s Mall Industry

A fourth of Pune’s shopping malls remain empty though that’s an improvement over the 27% vacancy levels seen in the last two quarters. With supply at a standstill, retailers are once again signing up for space. However, the relief might be temporary since fresh supply is on its way; Westend Mall with 3,50,000 sq.ft. space in Aundh and Spot 18 with 1,50,000 in the Pimpri-Chinchwad region—are slated to open soon.

In the meanwhile, the exits continue for MNCs like Marks & Spencer, French retail chain Auchan and others. Mariplex, a 90,000 sq.ft. shopping centre in Kalyani Nagar is to be converted into a food and beverage area while the one lakh sq ft Jewel Square, in Koregaon Park will now house offices. Others have been less fortunate; Koregaon Park Plaza, is said to be on the block.

Continue reading Sneak Peek into Pune’s Mall Industry

Market Research Consultancy, Market Research Company in Mumbai, India