Being a fresher, I was all geared up for my first in-depth corporate experience with a conglomerate of this stature. With butterflies in my stomach, I entered the Ferrero Office in Pune, to be welcomed by the Sr. HR Executive Ms. Priya, who was responsible for the orientation as well as being the SPOC for the coming 9 weeks.
After the knowledge of the history, values, product portfolio and Indian presence of this FMCG giant, I felt at ease, especially after receiving the famous chocolate goodies welcome kit as shown below - need I say more?
The orientation week was an extremely hot, fun and challenging roller coaster ride where within a span of 4 days I covered markets in Pune, Satara, Sangli and Kolhapur, learning about sales coverage, retailer responses, consumer behaviour and distribution mechanisms.
Post this experience, it was time to deep-dive into my project.
My project was in the RTM domain in Traditional Trade and my guide - Akiv Sir, the Head of this Department gave me an overview of the entire strategy and horizon of Route-To-Market in the company. I was then explained the project gist relating to sales coverage and optimization which I had to study, aid and implement at 4 Distributor points. For this, I worked in close tandem with the distributor, Sales Officers and Salesmen at every point.
The total outlets I worked upon were over 5000. My work involved geographical, physical and digital mapping, daily beat visits to around 40 outlets, beat restructuring, constraint analysis (eg. traffic, outlet closure, distances), in order to maximize sales coverage as well as aiding the company in the process changes that they envisioned. I also undertook benchmarking and conducted retailer and salesperson interviews to understand their sensitization towards the process and noted down any issues which arose.
Each day in the hinterlands of Pune posed a different challenge because every area was so different from the other. Although the team and my guide at the Head Office had other commitments as well, they were always just a call or meeting away during my travel stints, which helped clarify all the issues that arose during my project.
There was a sense of haze at first, but by the end of the 9 weeks, aided by the coaching and guidance, I put in my best effort to match the deliverables, analyze data relating to the project, and come up with suggestions to enhance the coverage which I then presented to the teams at Pune, and Mumbai (via video conference). This went extremely smoothly, and the teams were receptive to my insights and recommendations.
The Factory Visit at Baramati
The factor visit at Baramati was another memorable experience where we got to see how every chocolate is made as well as interacted with the operations and manufacturing teams. There was also a visit to the Pietro Ferrero Kindergarten where children of the employees as well as the community are cared for and educated up to the age of 6.
Word of Advice
The next time any of you visit a retail store, irrespective of its size, just look around. Look at the customers walking in, the product portfolio, the visual merchandising. Ask the retailers a few questions because a lot of wisdom nuggets just lie in our simple kirana stores!
The chocolates, support, motivation and learnings kept coming in equal measures, and this is definitely a memorable internship experience which I will always cherish!