Kronos readying to scale up India operations, says CEO

Kronos, which started its operations in the domestic market nearly three years back, plans to increase the number of its customers in India to 300 from 35 at present

US-based player in work force management, Kronos Systems, has chalked out business plans to grow its footprint in the domestic market, primarily focusing on manufacturing and service industries, a top official has said.

"We are looking for at least a 10-fold growth over the next three years. This will be done through innovative business models and aggressive client acquisition," Kronos System's chief executive officer (CEO) Aron Ain told PTI.

The company, which started its operations in the domestic market nearly three years back, plans to increase the number of its customers in India to 300 from 35 at present, Mr Ain said.

According to Mr Ain, the country's workforce management industry is still in an evolving stage and is expected to grow to a $100-million business over the next few years.

The company, which has sold over one lakh licenses in India, has around 30-35 big companies as its clients here presently, he said.

A work force manager helps firms to manage operational costs without downsizing the employee strength, Kronos' country manager James Thomas said.

"Normally when a company needs a cut in its operational costs, they trim the work force. But through our system, we can downsize the operational cost by stopping leakages in the salaries instead of trimming the employees," Mr Thomas said.

Compared to developed economies, the country's work force management industry is yet to open up, Mr Thomas said.

"In India, so far, only 10% of this sector is opened up. Compared to the developed world, where workforce management is one of the top priorities, India has to be educated about it," Mr Thomas said.

According to Kronos' data, more than 35 million workers from various companies worldwide are managed by Kronos' workforce management systems.

Elaborating on its growth strategy in the country, Thomas said that Kronos will be focusing on firms from industries like manufacturing, IT-BPO, retail and healthcare sectors, primarily.

The method Kronos uses to manage the workforce of firms enables those companies to compensate their employees according to their performance, he said.


Havells: Shock lagaa! Now what?

Advertisements are known to get bizarre at times, but this commercial takes the cake

One popular term that gets bandied around ad agency offices is ‘Surprising Solutions’. Which basically means providing a surprising, refreshing creative idea for a brand. Which is the way it should be. However, after watching the Havells bulb TV commercial, I think they should expand the phrase to ‘Surprising, Relevant Solutions’.
Here’s why I say this: Havells has unabashedly used death as an advertising platform for its CFL bulbs, a deadly route that even life insurance companies would chicken out of. In that sense, this must be the first full-on macabre commercial in Indian advertising’s recorded history. The TVC features a hangman, who goes about his job pulling the lever on death row convicts. (It’s another matter these sods are jobless these days). Later, the chap gets a sudden conscience attack, and decides he must do something nice to atone for his ‘sins’. So he introspects out of the hanging chamber, goes home and promptly switches on the energy-saving Havells CFL bulb. VO: ‘Zindagi mein hum sabko paap karna padta hai. Kuchh toh punya kamaa sakte hain… bijlee bacha ke.’

For its noticeability and its clutter-busting ability, I like this commercial, though the contrast between death and saving electrical energy is bizarre, to say the least. Yes, it will allow the brand to swiftly land into the consumers’ mind space. Bulbs are, after all, a low consumer involvement category—most people buy bulbs as commodities, so I quite understand where Havells is coming from. However, I am not certain this ad will lead to actual sales, as Indians in general are a superstitious lot, and would shy away from brands that remind them of death and misery. So, a brave effort but the commercial may well see an early hanging by the client.
Which is where the point of ‘relevance’ comes in. It’s darn easy to break the TV clutter with outlandish advertising. Sex is often used for that purpose. Notice that bikini-clad chick arising out of the sea waters in the JK Super Cement ad. Absolutely no relevance to cement unless you match the product with the stiffness of the babe’s expressions. And there are countless such sexy instances.
So Havells has managed to shock us with its bulbs. And that’s where its story will most likely end. However, the ad has resulted in many jokes on Twitter. I like this one the most: The client asked the ad agency to forget about a great idea and give him an excellent execution. And that’s just what they did, ha ha.



V Kumar

7 years ago

I was reading an Edgar Wallace where a police officer tells a hangman that he (the hangman) is an officer of law just like the police officer and there is nothing to be ashamed of in carrying out the work dictated by the law. That was written 100 years ago. But that was England. In India, even after 100 years, educated people like copywriters think that a hangman commits a sin. This ad puts down the a legitimate job and should be condemned.

Another in the same series is quite unabashed about showing child labour. The matter of acceptance of child labour is very disturbing.

PepsiCo engages 12,000 farmers in contract farming

PepsiCo's contract farming has picked up very fast—the company had procured 22,000 tonnes of potato in the last harvesting season

Riding on high sales of its snack brands like Lays and Uncle Chipps, PepsiCo has engaged 12,000 farmers across the country for contract-farming of potato.

"There are 12,000 farmers doing contract farming of potato for us, involving 16,000 acres of land," Nischint Bhatia, executive vice-president for agro-business at PepsiCo Holdings told PTI.

He said that out of the 12,000 farmers, 6,500 of them are in West Bengal, working on 2,600 acres.

Mr Bhatia said that PepsiCo's contract farming had picked up very fast, adding that the company had procured 22,000 tonnes of potato in the last harvesting season.

He said that with the growing sales of its snack brands, the company would adopt more farmers in the country for contract farming.

At present, PepsiCo is involved in contract farming for potato only.

Mr Bhatia said that farmers were ensured a captive off-take even in periods of glut and also a remunerative price.

He said that PepsiCo was buying potatoes at Rs6 per kilo from the farmers, which was higher than what others were getting by selling the crop to intermediaries.

Asked whether the company would enter into contract farming for other crops, Mr Bhatia said that the company was planning to follow a similar line for oats.

He said oats were presently being imported for its Quaker Oats brand and the company was in talks with various agricultural universities for cultivating the crop in the country.

"It is still in the research stage and may take three to four years," Mr Bhatia said. He said that oatmeal was becoming a popular breakfast cereal in India due to health reasons.


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