How Borosil is Staying at the Forefront of Technological Innovations
From being an inward-looking glass manufacturer, Borosil has evolved into a customer-focused brand. Borosil’s product ranges include kitchen and table consumer products, solar glass, and its original business of pharmaceutical glassware and equipment.
During the journey of the last 60 years, Borosil has been the pioneer of many consumer categories in India, including microwavable glassware, glass lunch boxes, multi-utility glass storage, etc. In fact, the name ‘Borosil’ is used almost as a synonym for microwavable glassware in the country.
Shreevar Kheruka, MD, Borosil Ltd, said, “Our scientific product division serves the needs of our pharmaceutical industry and it also delivers high precision measurement equipment to the top pharmaceutical companies in India. In addition to this, glass packaging made by us is used to deliver critical drugs including vaccines to large parts of India as well as the world. The growth of our organization has just begun and even though we’ve moved ahead in leaps and bounds, I do believe we have a long runway of adding delight to our customers’ everyday lives, ahead.”
Like businesses all over the country, Borosil too felt the economic ramifications of the pandemic and was definitely not immune to the fall-outs.
“Our consumer products division that produces serving and dining ware, kitchen appliances, etc. felt the impact more due to a complete pause in offline activities, as these products fell in the non-essential category. However, once restrictions were lifted, this sector too was able to bounce back with alacrity. Our scientific products division was relatively less impacted owing to the pandemic as pharmaceutical companies were operating virtually throughout the year. The closure of schools, colleges, and some R&D institutions did dent demand somewhat, but not to a great extent,” Shreevar said.
“The performance of Borosil Renewables in Q1 FY21 was impacted severely due to lockdown restrictions. Many of our distributors also had to stop production due to lockdown and subsequently due to unavailability of labor. However, the company bounced back quickly and production/sales were ramped up in a very short time. Substantial improvement in production and operating performance, cost savings in inputs/expenses added to the margin. This reflected in a stellar revenue and EBITDA performance during the year FY21,” he further stated.
Post-COVID Recovery Strategy
Over the past decade, Borosil has managed to create multiple and diverse growth paths that have de-risked the business to a large extent. Examples of these have been introducing various new product ranges in both its consumer and scientific divisions.
“The decision to launch appliances a few years ago helped us substantially during the pandemic as there was a shift to @home cooking. On the scientific side, the decision to enter into pharmaceutical packaging, helped us as we could offer various glass products used for packaging Covid therapeutic drugs and the Covid vaccine itself,” he asserted.
In addition to this, Borosil Renewables Ltd could achieve a turnover of more than Rs 500 crore during FY21 for the first time in the history of the company’s operations owing to the robust demand for solar glass used in solar panels.
The Importance of Customer Experience
Borosil aims to be a customer-centric company. Customer experience is at the front and center of all that the company does.
Shreevar informed, “Whether it is our B2B or B2C customers, we want to create an experience that’s not just transactional, but drives customer delight. In order to achieve that goal, we’re streamlining our CRM processes, increasing customer touch-points, analyzing customers and conducting sentimental analyses to understand our customers’ needs, and bridging that gap between ‘need’ and ‘access’ with innovative products.”
Earlier, Borosil’s distribution was largely reliant on mom-and-pop outlets, large format stores, and canteen store departments; however, it has been able to successfully multiply its customer base by adding online retail as well. Online channels include its retail website and other large e-commerce platforms.
“Borosil has also built a robust D2C strategy reaching its consumers through multiple channels. The e-commerce channel has provided access to consumers through marketplaces and the brand's own website. While sales through offline channels suffered on account of lockdowns and social distancing requirements, e-commerce sales experienced very strong growth. Supply chains, TAT between order placement and delivery, and other similar processes were re-aligned for the D2C model,” he informed.
Staying at the Forefront of Technological Innovations
Borosil is using technology in a number of ways to direct it on how to best serve its customers.
“We’ve initiated work on automation of order booking and supply process for the trade customers. We’re also working on an automated supply chain dashboard to monitor fill rates customer-wise that will make procurement decisions more efficient,” he stated.
“As the e-commerce business is growing, we also saw a trend of customers reaching out to us directly than via retailers or distributors. This inspired us to set up a full-fledged customer response management system at the backend. We are in the process to implement a Master CRM. This will help in 360-degree customer visibility, enrichment of our customer database, more direct engagement opportunities with the customer, efficient response management leading to more customer satisfaction and eventually increase in customer lifetime value,” he added.
“We have also introduced a chatbot on our own website and on WhatsApp where customers can approach us for pre-sale, post-sales, and service queries,” he further added.
Going forward, Borosil is focused on new product development and improvement on the products it already offers. The brand wants to be able to deliver products that aid its customers in bettering their quality of life, make chores easy for them.
“Our aim is to not just increase the market size for glassware but also make usage of glass more normal in Indian homes. We’re also looking to enter global markets with our scientific glassware,” Shreevar said.
He further stated, “For Borosil Renewables, with our recent expansion, our glass production capacity has increased from 180 Tonnes per day (TPD) in 2018 to 450 TPD in 2019, which is sufficient to produce the solar glass required to manufacture 2.5 GW of solar modules. We are in the process of expansion and shall be adding a 500 TPD furnace by Jun’22. We already have secured and are seeking approval for expanding our capacity by 1000 TPD that will enable the company to serve a demand of around 10 GW by 2024.”
“With the expanded operation in the immediate future, the company plans to cater to customers in new geographies, also develop and launch the products for new segments like solar thermal, Greenhouses, Building Integrated Photovoltaic, etc,” he concluded.