By our reporter
At the end of November 2017, Britania Allied Industries’ longest serving General Manager for Sales and Marketing ever, retired; Mr.K.R Sridharan retired after serving for over 21 yrs at the helm of Uganda’s first fresh fruit juice processors-Splash and confectionery business.
The company launched a hunt to replace this magnanimous, all round manager that finally crossed Ugandan boarders all the way to India after numerous interviews locally yielded ‘Not-so well’. A young energetic, forward looking and insightful Ritesh Rajnikant Sheth would finally be poached from Parle Agro Pvt. Ltd, one of India’s biggest Agro processing and manufacturing companies, where he was working as Sales Manager. The seemingly calm and accommodative Ritesh had also previously worked with major food processing company, such as Gandour India Food Processing Pvt.ltd and ITC ltd, an Indian multinational Organization specialized in cigarettes, foods & personal care. In summary, the 40 year old comes with over 16 yrs experience in various capabilities into Africa.
In our exclusive interview, the seemingly humble marketing guru reminds this reporter to keenly mind about his title-[Asst.] General Manager Sales & Marketing as he serves his probation.
Follow the verbatim Interview:
QN: So how long have you been in Uganda?
ANS: I came to Uganda in May 2017, so, also help me there….(laughs)!
QN: How old are you sir?
ANS: If I was born in 1977, how old would I be? Help me also..…smiles again! [40 yrs I guesss].
QN: Level of Education?
ANS: I’m a grandaunt of commerce from Saurashtra University, India. I graduated in 1998.
QN: Working experience?
ANS: I have worked with major big & multinational companies, rising from bottom-up. I worked with Parle Agro pvt. Ltd, ITC Ltd, India ‘s one of the biggest FMCG Organization and Gandour India Food Processing Pvt.ltd, a leading food processing Multibillion company in Asia. I come with over 16 years of experience to Africa, the continent I love most for its diverse EVERY THING….
QN: Tell us your over view about Britania products with its clientele nature
ANS: One thing that is not debatable is the fact that Ugandan consumers have emotional connect with Britania products and can relate well with their daily needs. That’s built over time, because they (customers) realize that you understand and appreciate their potential. That’s precisely why we make products and cost them according to their needs, not the company’s needs as a manufacturer. So I come in to simply facilitate that connect further. Because I realize one of the challenges I have to deal with now is distribution cycle.(I will elaborate that more when the time for that question comes, if you ask).
Me: sure, go ahead and answer, because my next question was bordering on what will your next 100 days at Britania look at improving or introducing.
ANS: Ok, thank you, My first 100 days here are going to basically focus on improving the distribution networks of our products. Here in Uganda (not only in this company) my research shows a big percentage is still using old systems of distribution channels. My training and experience in India with International companies pushes me to think about changing that to internationally recognized distribution modules that are more practical and easy to monitor.
We want to be able to reach out to all our customers anywhere, everywhere through our distribution networks efficiently and timely, so that’s my first taget. And I have already rolled it off.
We are the market leaders and drivers of food industries policies in Uganda,It’s more challenging to sustain your top position that achieving the top position, because you now have to keep thinking ahead of others.
QN: Any last word for your consumers
Ans: I think Britania customers have more reasons to smile,now that we even have an outlet at the factory that serves at factory price. It means we’re working to simplify their needs.