Saurabh Agarwal, director, Kamdhenu Paints, a division of Kamdhenu Group, e-connects with Sourcing Hardware to tell how the company is rising to COVID-19 challenge:
How has COVID-19 pandemic affected your operations?
As per the government guidelines, we have ceased operations at our paints factory currently in a recovering phase after the devastating factory fire in 2019. Our main plant is located in Chopanki, Rajasthan. Due to the mishap in the plant last April, it is in the process of restoration of production, and around 50% of the plant had become operational. Thereafter, we started the restoration work of the remaining 50% but held up due to COVID-19 pandemic. Our first priority remains the safety of our employees and our channel partners. With the extraordinary situation that we are in, Kamdhenu Paints is doing what it can in the fight against COVID-19. We will look at resuming operations after receiving the go-ahead from the authorities.
What challenges do you foresee for your business?
While the fight against the pandemic is ongoing, we can foresee the challenging times ahead. From manpower to sourcing raw materials, there will be enormous challenges as production has stopped and people have gone back to their hometowns. The large-scale displacement of migrant workers will also lead to problems in logistics and distribution channels later on. The global pandemics and large-scale events generally leave a lasting impact, and COVID-19 is expected to completely change the whole business scenario in the country and the world at large.
What are the steps that you are taking to enable your partners, customers and employees navigate the situation?
Apart from ceasing operations, we had launched massive social media campaigns to support ‘Janata Curfew’ announced by the Prime Minister. We have also rolled out a social media campaign, ‘India Mil Kar Fight Karo Na – Together we will defeat Corona’ to bring about awareness on the Coronavirus pandemic. We are concerned about the welfare of our partners, especially the painters who have registered with us. We have arranged to transfer an amount of Rs 300 directly in their bank accounts. Our company’s initiative has benefitted over 400 out of the 4000 painters so far. Besides, we are distributing ration packets to painters to help them tide over the crisis. We are also looking at other steps to help them.
Our Kamdhenu Jeevandhara Foundation is also arranging funds to help the needy in society; we will achieve that as a family with valuable contributions from employees and channel partners. We assure all our workers and staff that their jobs are secured and they can come back to their old jobs once situation permits. We will also not go for salary cuts of any of our staff and will provide the necessary support to them in this time of crisis.
How the government’s fiscal and monetary reliefs are expected to help you?
We wholeheartedly welcome the fiscal and monetary reliefs announced by the government, be it the relaxation in EMI or regarding the filing of returns to ease the burden on the citizens and stimulate the economy. Any such initiative will directly or indirectly benefit our employees and our channel partners, who are worried about repaying the EMIs. As a corporate, we believe that this is the time for giving and extending a helping hand to whoever needs it to tide over the crisis. Just as we are trying to do our bit for workers and channel partners the same way the government’s steps are expected to help us in mitigating the present crisis. The pandemic will have fallout that we will have to overcome like all other businesses and industry.
What was the company’s turnover for 2018-19? What turnover do you expect for 2019-20?
The turnover of Kamdhenu Paints for FY 2018-19 stood at Rs 270 crores. In spite of fire incident and corona pandemic, we are expecting a turnover of around Rs 225 crores for the FY 2019-20.