June 14, 2024


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Business in times of corona: How some firms are battling odds amid Covid-19 pandemic

Dusty roads leading up to locked factories have become a common sight in most of India’s cities and towns as businesses apart from those manufacturing/selling essential commodities have been temporarily shut due to the 21-day lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

A large number of businesses are staring at unprecedented losses due to the situation prevailing around the globe and in India.

Many firms have gone out of their usual to not only tackle the growing health crisis but also to keep their business afloat. Others like video content service providers are providing a wide array of content to keep viewers engaged during the lockdown.

Some sectors which have seen higher demand ever since the virus outbreak are pharmaceuticals, FMCG, OTT platforms and e-commerce.

Medical battle against Covid-19

The medicine and healthcare sector is leading the global fight against the virus. For instance, masks, sanitisers and gloves are high demand and stocks are running out in all parts of the country.

The shortage of such products including other single-use items for medical professionals has led to the entry of several new players in the segment, reported Business Today.

Some firms have seized the opportunity to manufacture such equipment and fill the shortage after government fast-tracked manufacturing permission.

It may be noted that at least 15 firms received permission from the government to produce PPEs or personal protective equipment including Arvind Mills, JCT Mills Phagwara, Amare Safety, Mumbai-based Sure Safety, Delhi-based Sai Synergy, Manchanda, and Shree Healthcare, Chennai.

All of these companies have been given permission by the government to produce surgical gloves, goggles, hand sanitiser, clinical dump bags, blood and fluid spill kits, mask fit test kits and thermometers, said the report.

It added that all of these PPEs were mostly imported from China earlier, but now these companies have had to step up to the role.

Meanwhile, several Indians firms have also chipped into produced medical devices for intensive care including ventilators most of which were earlier imported. In fact, many countries are currently facing a shortage of ventilators at hospitals.

For India, the situation could turn ugly soon with less than 50,000 ventilators at its disposal.

Experts say this will not be enough to deal with the Covid-19 situation if it gets any worse. Several automakers in the country including Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra & Mahindra, Tata Motors and Hyundai are in process of developing ventilators to reduce the shortage.

The Business Today report added that the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), is working with Tata Motors and M&M to develop multi-patient ventilators, which will support several patients at once.

FMCG shines amid crisis

FMCG sector has become another key economic player during the crisis period as demand for many household goods have jumped tenfolds over the last few days, especially the days leading up to when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing a 21-day lockdown in India.

The FMCG sector has performed fairly well on the domestic stock markets amid widespread panic-buying the country. All companies in the sector including Nestle, HUL, ITC, P&G, Godrej Consumer, Dabur, Amul and others are set to gain big amid the sudden gush of demand.

A Nielsen report shows that there has been heavy stockpiling of not only essential food items but also indulgence items like biscuits, chocolates, salty snacks and cookies.

But there are challenges for the FMCG sector during the lockdown as well. All of them are facing production and supply chain challenges as the lockdown has led to reduced staff, leading to delay in delivery.

FMCG companies also make many hygiene products like sanitisers, cleaning wipes and other disinfectants. All of the top FMCG players are ramping up producing to meet the requirement.

E-commerce and online grocery

The e-commerce and online grocery delivery service have also become a key sector in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic. As people have been locked down in their homes due to the government’s order, delivery of essential goods has been allowed by the government.

Some of the companies whose businesses are expected to boom during the period are BigBasket and Grofers who have witnessed a mountain of orders over the last few days before facing severe disruption due to the announcement of the lockdown. They have now started delivering all essential goods.

Many online grocery delivery services are now being joined by major e-commerce companies Flipkart and Amazon, who are delivering only essential goods in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. It won’t be surprising if all these companies see an exponential rise in their profits during the period of lockdown.

Content surge

There has been a surge of content consumption among individuals after the lockdown due to novel coronavirus was announced in India.

There has been a sharp spike in online content consumption and internet usage during the first week of the lockdown, said the Business Today report quoting a consumer survey. Some of the bigger players like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney Hotstar are also expected to see a rise in profits during the period.

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