Home / Companies / News /  FMCG firms continue to grapple with manpower shortage, raw material procurement

NEW DELHI : India's top fast moving consumer goods companies said that while a lot of their plants and warehouses for essential goods are now operational, albeit at scaled down levels, a shortage of manpower, and lack of raw material is still limiting their capacity to ramp up production.

Dabur India Ltd said it has resumed production at facilities that make a range of hand sanitizers, ayurvedic medicines, and other essentials.

Nestle India too updated the exchanges that its manufacturing locations have received permission to operate but at limited capacities.

While HUL said its plants were operational, it's employees are facing restrictions.

“We need three things to ramp up the production in current times—availability of manpower, clearances from administrative authorities and demand for our products. While we have witnessed good demand across the country, the other two aspects pose a challenge," said Navin Tewari, CEO, Capital Foods, that sells Ching's Secret and Smith & Jones brands. The company is already operating at 70% of its capacity in certain product categories, however with 45% workforce. "Today all our plants are operational but one," said Tewari.

He added that migration of workers and restrictions on the movement of people across cities have dented availability of manpower. “We have seen a phenomenal response from the central government and its various departments, but percolation down of information to local administrative authorities and their internal coordination needs to be strengthened," said Tewari.

Companies that supply essential goods such as packaged foods, soaps, personal hygiene products, shampoos etc, have received permission to partially resume production they said that there were gaps in the supply chain—for instance availability of raw and packaging material.

India’s largest packaged consumer goods company Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) said that it continues to face a shortage in manpower despite its factories commencing operations partially.

“Most of our factories, many of our distribution centres and majority of our suppliers are operating, but not at their full capacity," a company spokesperson told PTI. The spokesperson further added that "We continue to work with local and state government authorities to get our operations towards the required capacity that the people in our country expect from us."

Earlier this week, packaged goods company Dabur said that while almost all of its factories are operational—producing a range of Ayurvedic medicines, hand sanitisers, hand wash and daily essentials—it is now trying to maximise production given the supply chain constraints, and material and manpower availability, Shahrukh Khan, executive director-operations, Dabur India said.

Khan added that forced closure of some of its suppliers' factories (largely MSMEs) was affecting the smooth functioning of its supply chain, especially in areas that are designated hot spots.

On Wednesday, packaged food and beverage company, Nestle India, said it has received permission to operate all manufacturing units in the country—that are now operating at scaled down levels. In a filing to the BSE, the maker of Maggi noodles, and Kit Kat chocolates said that most of the company's distribution centers and warehouses, and suppliers too were operating at scaled down levels, keeping in mind social distancing norms and lesser deployment of people.

It added that it will rely on further central and state government directive before “scaling up, scaling down or suspending of operations at various locations".


Suneera Tandon

Suneera Tandon is a New Delhi based reporter covering consumer goods for Mint. Suneera reports on fast moving consumer goods makers, retailers as well as other consumer-facing businesses such as restaurants and malls. She is deeply interested in what consumers across urban and rural India buy, wear and eat. Suneera holds a masters degree in English Literature from the University of Delhi.
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