India Lockdown: Britannia Says Operating At 65% Capacity
Tiger brand cookies, made by Britannia Industries Ltd., are arranged for a photograph in Mumbai, India. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg News  

India Lockdown: Britannia Says Operating At 65% Capacity

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Consumer goods major Britannia Industries Ltd. on Thursday said it is now utilising 65 percent of its installed capacity and is "better poised" to tackle challenges in the extended lockdown period.

In a bid to scale up production quickly, the food company said it is focussing on stock availability rather than consumer demand with staple stock-keeping units being preferred rather than those SKUs which demand labour intensity in order to optimise limited available manpower.

"While the business dynamics has changed in the last few weeks, we are now better poised to tackle the situation. With close to 65 percent manufacturing capacity utilisation till now, we have stepped up efforts to address the challenge of inadequate labour in our factories," Britannia Industries Managing Director Varun Berry told PTI.

He was responding to a query on the company's preparedness for the extended lockdown.

Elaborating on the company's strategy, he said, "to optimise on the limited labour permissions obtained, we are focusing on staple SKUs rather than SKUs which demand labour intensity.

Stating that the challenge is to quickly scale up production, Berry said, "the current model is largely based on stock availability rather than on consumer demand."

He said Britannia is also working closely with several state governments such as Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal "to smoothen our operations there".

Also read: India Lockdown Extension: Flipkart, Amazon Can Sell Select Non-Essential Items From April 20

While carrying out the operations, Berry asserted that the company is ensuring that its employees are fully protected and are following all safety protocols, including social distancing.

"The wellbeing of our employees is at the centre of all our actions, and every step is being taken to ensure 100 percent compliance to safety, hygiene and social distancing protocols, he said.

Britannia, which had a revenue of Rs 10,482.45 crore in FY 2018-19, operates 15 manufacturing units in India, which are widely spread in states including Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Uttranchal, Bihar, Odisha and Maharashtra.

Also read: The IMF’s Chief Economist on Lessons From the ‘Great Lockdown’

The government on Wednesday issued new guidelines for the second phase of lockdown and allowed functioning of industrial units located in rural areas from April 20, although all kinds of public transport continue to be suspended and opening of public places are prohibited till May 3.

India is presently going through an unprecedented complete lockdown from March 25, to prevent the spread of coronavirus pandemic.

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