With business dipping due to the coronavirus outbreak, and liquor shops being shut down to maintain social distancing, the current situation is certainly not favourable for distillers and their business.
In conversation with HRKatha, Biplob Banerjee, chief people officer, Allied Blenders & Distillers (ABD), says, “We have started deferring the salaries of the top management by up to 50 per cent, owing to the huge economic burden post the outbreak.” This implies that there has been a momentary deduction, and the remaining amount will be paid as arrears at later stage.
Makers of India’s top-selling whiskey, Officer’s Choice, ABD, have stated that the salaries of the frontline workers will not be touched in this process.
The Company has also confirmed that there will be no job risks for its employees during the lockdown.
“Our business model operates around 40 per cent of the frontline employees, which is way less than other companies. Hence, deferring their salaries will not make a big difference to the business. It will only demotivate these frontline employees and create insecurity among them,” explains Banerjee.
Earlier this month, representatives of various liquor makers petitioned for allowing home delivery of liquor, which will also comply with social distancing. As no such initiative has yet been taken by the Government, distillers, such as ABD are facing a hard time in managing their business amidst this uncertainty.
“We have absolutely no clue as to when sales will resume and for how long. Our current priority is to conserve cash and liquidity, and for that, we have started readjusting the numbers amidst this uncertainty,” shares Banerjee.
“The usual way of planning has gone for a toss. We are breaking down the annual operating plan into multiple units and looking for the best case scenario,” Banerjee adds.
Currently, ABD has over 10 per cent share of India’s whiskey market and sells around 38 million cases of whiskey in a year.