6th October, 2017
Patanjali Ayurved Ltd (PAL), headquartered in Haridwar, has been touted as India’s fastest growing FMCG company. Having doubled their revenues since the past financial year to over Rs 10,000 Cr, Patanjali Ayurved has driven conglomerates and giants like HUL to sleepless nights. HUL plans on cutting its staff by 10-15% in an attempt to reduce costs1 while at the same time relaunching their premium Ayurveda based line “Ayush” at more affordable rates2. Other established FMCG companies like Dabur have called Patanjali’s success a “Blessing in Disguise”. CEO, Sunil Duggal believes that Ramdev’s charismatic persona and strong connection amongst the countrymen has converted many sceptics to firm Ayurvedic product users. Dabur, which for the past 19 years had focused on diversification to Non-Ayurveda based products, has regrouped and plans on doubling its herb production, from the current 2000 acres to 3800 acres to account for the increase in products they plan on selling.3
What does it actually feel like, working for Baba Ramdev?
First things first, it certainly isn’t like working in a regular corporate office. It has a unique work culture based on the concept of “Seva”. The first thing which strikes an outsider is how the workers abandon their posts to queue up and touch the feet of Baba Ramdev or his right-hand man, Acharya Balkrishna. Workers are heavily discouraged from asking for a raise. The work culture in the higher offices is unique. During each meeting, Ramdev sits in a raised seat while everyone else gathers at his feet, below him. The concept of brotherhood is perpetrated through this exercise4.
Can the organization grow at the same pace as the past year?
On the outlook, it seems like a difficult prospect mainly due to the large expectations of people and maintaining the same level of consistency in all their products. Maintaining brand loyalty especially in the face of competition from other brands-both in the Ayurvedic and Non-Ayurvedic sectors will be a challenge.
Can it sustain the same growth without the saffron political support?
Baba Ramdev has been a huge supporter of the Modi-led NDA and the “Make in India” campaign resonated with his “Swadeshi” movement. One of the major reason for Patanjali’s success was that it fed on our inner fear of being “looted” by foreign companies and his “swadeshi” ideology found great monetary and resource based support from the ruling party. However, Baba Ramdev hasn’t extended an all-weather branch of friendship to NDA and has been known to take a potshot or two against them. In the end, the right wing leaning of PAL and the ruling party will certainly go hand in hand towards creating an informal alliance.
– Snigdha Lahiry