Pepsi betting big on digitisation for growth, to connect 10 mn retailers

Team Udayavani, Oct 28, 2018, 11:40 AM IST

Mumbai: Food and beverages major PepsiCo India is betting on digitisation as a big growth opportunity and is looking at using technology in both backward and forward integration.

The maker of Lay’s, Kurkure and many a cola brand, including Pepsi, said it is working on a project to digitally connect about 10 million retailers along with about 600 million consumers, with the supplier.

Ahmed El Sheikh, president and chief executive officer PepsiCo India, told PTI that the company has just finalised a project which is digitising the total supply chain within PepsiCo India, end-to-end.

“We are working on another project to digitise our connection with farmers. We are talking about thousands of farmers where we want to be connected with the crops in the field, getting certain parameters measured and taking corrective action against it through digital solutions.

“We are using digital in backward integration of supply chain network,” he added.

Sheikh said the company is making technology as the cornerstone and building the business around it.

“We are looking at how technology is going to reshape India and I think this is one of the key enablers to unleash the potential of our business in the country,” he added.

The company, which reported profit in 2017-18, after a gap of seven years, is bullish on the prospects in the country and is rolling out the first river shipment of its snack portfolio from Kolkata to Varanasi.

“We are going to start the first river shipment this month, from Kolkata to Varanasi. This is based on GST, which we are leveraging. We are starting a pilot with the government.

“It is the first containerised movement on inland waterway on river Ganga,” he said.

Sheikh, PepsiCo India’s first expat president, further said the company, which has been in the country since 1989, is seeing healthy growth coming out of India, which is well balanced between food and beverage, while the nutrition segment comprising Quaker Oats and Tropicana, is growing faster albeit on a lower base.

“We need to be positive growth driver for PepsiCo, but that growth needs to be sustainable and responsible,” he said.

He added that the water and juice segment outgrows the soft drink segment in India, and the company is counting on being glocal to succeed in the food segment.

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