For the Indian retail sector to reach its true potential, modernisation of front-end is an important requirement.
This was stated by Vikram Bakshi, MD, McDonald’s (North & East), at the recently held India Retail Summit, which was organised by Birla Institute of Management Technology (BIMTECH), in association with Retailers Association of India (RAI), at Indian Habitat Centre, Delhi on February 25.
Addressing the issue of the high level of wastage of agricultural produce in India, Bakshi said, “We need to invest in technology to reduce this heavy wastage.” He also said bulk purchase and cooperatives must be encouraged, and highlighted the need for change in government policies.
K Rajagopalan, CEO of RAI, who, along with Vikram Bakshi, was the guest of honour at the summit, said the retail scenario is changing at a fast pace. He focused upon four things – customers, knowing what is happening in the world, identifying the retail scenario in India and what can retailers do as part of it. Rajagopalan said a good strategy was needed for a successful business.
The summit was broadly divided into three sessions, each addressing thrust areas pertaining to retail.
In the first session, “Future of retail in tier II and tier III cities”, N Roy Choudhary, branding and marketing head of DSCL, talked about purchase behaviour of the customer and the importance of women’s role in the buying process.
Another speaker, Lalit Agarwal, CEO, V-Mart, focused upon various opportunities and challenges that tier II and tier III cities offered. The discussion was further led by Pawan Bakhshi, head business development, Airtel, who talked about enabling the reach of retail through the mobile phone.
Samir Sahni, director, Ritu Wears, gave further insight on the potential of tier II and tier III cities. He emphasised on the unique nature of every location. R S Rekhi, CEO, Future Adhaar Retail, concluded the discussion by highlighting the differences in consumers of rural and urban India.
During the second session, “The art of handling the internal customers”, Ketan Krishna, head HR (North), ABRL, said the focus had shifted from employers’ market to employees’ market. He suggested the focus of HR should be on employee value proposition and culture, which include innovation, organisation design, systems and processes, service delivery, capability building and engagement.
Nihar Ranjan Ghosh, senior vice-president, HR, RPG Retail, emphasised that serving the customer was of utmost importance. He further said the right kind of person should be available to do the right kind of job at the right time.
Mukul Rastogi, VP, HR, ITC Lifestyle Retailing Business Division, pointed out that managing the internal customer was not only an art, it was also a science.
Rajendra Mehta, head HR, DSCL Retail, highlighted the importance of communication as remoteness is the main challenge which retailers face.
Shalini Naagar, head HR, Marks and Spencer, said delivering value to business is the mantra of HR and HR is the key to bring sustainability to the business. She also emphasised on Employee Experience Management.
The final session was regarding achieving operational excellence. Anil Rajpal, head-retail and consumer goods, TCS, defined operational excellence as ‘delivering at the first instance’. The discussion was carried forward by Mayank Sangani, zonal manager operations, Infiniti Retail Ltd, who stressed that systems, processes, inventory management and logistics should be in place for achieving operational excellence. The session was concluded by Atul Ahuja, vice-president, Apollo Pharmacy Retail. He focused on three main areas – cost competency, inventory management and fulfilment of customer needs. The concluding remarks of the summit were given by Dr Kartik Dave, associate professor, Centre for Retail, BIMTECH.
IMAGES Group was the media partner for the summit.
– IndiaRetailing Bureau