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Hind Lever to expand Project Shakti reach

BS Bureau in Kolkata | November 18, 2003 10:58 IST

FMCG major Hindustan Lever will take its Project Shakti, the rural direct-to-home distributor model, national and reach out to 100 million people in four years' time.

Addressing a press conference, M S Banga, chairman HLL, said the project is at present on in Andhra Pradesh but will be soon be rolled out to other remote villages across the nation. The target is to establish access with 100 million people in 3-4 years' time.

Banga was in the city to address the Infocom 2003. Emphasising the importance of the project, Banga said the rural economy had immense potential and they were the consumers of tomorrow.

Supported by micro-credit, the women from self-help groups were HLL's rural direct-to-home distributors.

The idea behind Project Shakti was to help the company reach, penetrate and communicate with rural consumers. The initiative benefited women in more than 4,750 villages.

The vision was to change the lives of women in 100,000 villages by making them Shakti dealers. This would provide economic opportunities for the underprivileged while creating a distribution and communication channel for brands to access untapped rural markets with a consumer base of 100 million rural Indians.

Banga said that the model could also be extended for sourcing raw materials for HLL products.

When asked whether HLL was open to partnerships, the chairman said the company could take on partner companies in non-competitive businesses if it brought synergies.

While maintaining that HLL's power brands also catered to the mass, Banga said that if the need arose the company would consider customising some of its brands to cater to the rural market.

Earlier in the day, addressing Infocom 2003, Banga brought out the utility of IT in driving business forward.

With the help of IT the company planned to introduce daily planning and operating cycle to provide ready stocks to consumers and also streamline its supply chain management.

"Days are not far away when the entire Rs 10,000 crore (Rs 100 billion) business would be operated on daily planning and operating cycle to realise the maximum benefit out of this" he said.

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