Tuesday, October 29, 2013

HUL VP visits SIMSREE campus

A Guest Lecture was arranged by the Corporate Relations Committee for the first year students of SIMSREE on the topic- Managing Business in a VUCA World. The speaker for the lecture was Mr. Kabir Ahmed Shakir- VP, Finance, HPC Division, Hindustan Unilever Limited. Mr. Kabir is a finance and business professional with over 20 years of experience, distributed equally between developed and D&E markets. He worked in various positions at Unilever, India before becoming the Director - International Funding (Treasury) at Unilever N.V and the Finance Director - Global Supply Chain at Unilever. 

Mr. Kabir explained the meaning of VUCA, which is an acronym for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous with present-day examples. He mentioned the post-2008 situation where the economic equations have changed, the fluctuation of crude oil prices, the volatility of the rupee, the economic policies of the government, the uncertain tax structure, and the unpredictable consumer mind. He stated that the VUCA world has created many challenges for the business world. Since consumers have a wide variety to choose from, they frequently change brands. To face this challenge companies have to come out of their comfort zone and give utmost importance to quality. In a scenario of tough competition, if a company tries to maintain or reduce costs by compromising on quality then it might lose ten times of what it saved in the cost cutting process. He shared his experiences from a market survey which highlighted the importance of quality, where a girl with limited income wanted to use the same brand with increased price by reducing her quantity of consumption.He explained that costs should be reduced by minimizing inefficiencies. He also explained that the way to fight recession is through innovation.

Mr. Kabir shared a very interesting insight. He talked about the price as a brand. When the sachets of products are sold at low prices, it is not the brand, but price that is the USP of the product. This is the reason companies maintain the same price for years irrespective of the inflation. For this companies have to acknowledge that every unit of the business can't generate profit. Some units have to work to connect with consumer's demand and continue to generate revenue.

While talking about HUL, he said that it has deep-rooted values.He expressed that the leaders of HUL have shaped it in different ways and are responsible for where it is today. Robust Suppply Chain Management (SCM) and agility in SCM and production center make the product a success within months of its inception. This is the reason many other companies try to partner with HUL in India. He reinstated HUL's quest for sustainable developing.

It was a pleasure interacting with Mr. Kabir and we look forward to many such opportunities.


The lecture gave insights of the FMCG industry, its challenges and the way ahead to tackle the challenges.First guest lecture arranged by Junior CRC... Well begun is half done :)

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