Technology Has Been Always a Part Of Growth Story in Vinod Cookware

Swaminathan

Established in 1986, Vinod Cookware​ one of the leading kitchen appliances brands has an extensive range of 400 products in India across 7 categories. This Indian brand also has a State-of-the-art technology with manufacturing unit in Palghar, Mumbai . Vinod Cookware claims it is one of the firsts to launch Pressure Cooker in India, pioneered the Technology. A brand valuing more than 180cr with extensive presence in North India and dominant in South India. Sunil Agarwal – Director, Vinod Cookware, speaks on how SMEs should scale up and how technology can help them in all stages.

What were the key challenges you faced from a small organization to a brand?

Establishing Vinod Cookware, has not been a very easy journey for us. Initially, the market was extremely fragmented and it was challenging to build our name. Unlike other brands, we wanted to give the customers value for their money which is why we focused on ‘quality’ with ‘functionality’ whereas the competition focused on“affordable” products. We were the only brand to emphasize on Warranty, in an Industry which was cost driven. Hence convincing the consumers on the reason for the higher prices was also a bigger challenge given the availability of cheaper products in the market. Over a period of time, with right awareness and educating our potential consumers about the difference between the new age technologies used by Vinod Cookware and others in the industry, we established our foothold in the Industry.

What are the common mistakes every SME will make and how to avoid them in
1.HR
2. Sales
3. Finance
4. Administration?

Owning and managing a small business can be time consuming and overwhelming. You’re often required to perform a variety of tasks yourself, everything from marketing to Sales to HR. With so much going on, it can be easy to get so involved in monitoring business growth that other tasks are pushed to the side. Understanding the same some few things to remember, under each functioning:

HR: Avoid the hiring process to be so hasty. From poor job descriptions that attract less- than-stellar candidates to a hurried interview process that results in hiring “warm bodies,”hiring mistakes can be detrimental to business. The right employee classification is also very essential. Employee Training should be ongoing and not take a back seat. Lastly, don’t forget to document performance issues.

Sales: Failure in spotting the right customer could have an adverse impact on the business. While your product/service caters to a large audience, considering everyone to be a potential customer is a mistake. Presence in social media to connect to your potential customers even at the time of crisis is crucial. Blend into the touch of automation for Sales, to avoid lengthy manual tasks.

Finance: The key pain point here is ‘Not having enough cash reserves’ Entrepreneurs should know that they will probably need money to invest in the setup of their business, but it may take several fiscal quarters to realize a steady income from the company, let alone to make a profit. So, start with adequate operating cash. Don’t fool yourself with wishful thinking that the money will somehow be there.

Administration: It makes sense to bring people on to help with the internal, administrative duties that have to get done but that doesn’t necessarily contribute to success. Unfortunately, these employees can take a toll on your cash flow. And when revenue is lean, they still need to get paid. Instead, you should consider outsourcing some administrative tasks, which can often be done at a fraction of the cost against it would take to hire an employee to do them.

How technology (IT/Computers) had helped you in the growth story of your
organizations?

From year to year, technology has helped firms of all sizes fulfill their business potential. While the pace at which technology is evolving is faster than ever before, these advancements present a range of growth opportunities for several Industries. In the case of Vinod, Tech trends which have helped business like ours to scale includes – Usage of AI (Artificial Intelligence) to service our existing customers via Chat Bot, this also enhances the customer experience. Adoption of Cloud Technologies has also helped us eliminate the specific need for IT departments. With the right technology, businesses like ours also has the flexibility of accessing data from any location at any time. Lastly, productivity Apps like Zoom, Slack have also helped us enable work from home effectively. It’s not just about adopting Technology but using Technology wisely too.

How many households you are present in India? And through how many retailers?

It is quite difficult to give the exact figures on no of households in India. In the case of Vinod, we are currently connected with over 5300 retailers in India and we aim to double by the end of 2020. Even if we calculate approx 1000 customers from each store we reach 5,300,000 households. We believe the number is much higher than this as we live in a country with a population of 1.3 billion and Vinod Cookware is a veteran and trusted brand throughout the years with good reviews.

Please explain your organization’s road map in the coming years.

We are investing more on the e-commerce platforms as we see a lot of potential there. And now with Covid19, impacting the Indian economy, we do see a huge shift in the buying behavior of the consumers. We are also set to come up with new cookware range with some key tech usage, which will be launched by the end of the year. Our main goal is to build a niche for Vinod, not just as a cookware brand but a Tech – Cookware Brand. Its time, we don’t treat this Industry in the traditional pattern.

How much dependency on your organization is on technology and how are you planning to scale up.

We have always manufactured and designed our products using the latest technology in the market. In fact, our Manufacturing unit at Palghar boasts of having the finest Machinery imported from across the world adopting Automation and also, tech Trends.