Wipro, Coke, Pepsi, Danone line up to buy Bisleri!

bisleri1.jpg I am not at all surprised that companies like Coke, Pepsi, Danone and Wipro are queing up to buy Bisleri from Mr Prakash Chauhan.

In India Bisleri is synonymous with the category. I and million Indians like me, buy a ‘bisleri’ not bottled drinking water!

Coke, Pepsi, Danone and Wipro are buying Bisleri for the brand value. And rightly so!!

I would also place a very high value on Bisleri’s distribution too. Distribution is a key contributor to Bisleri’s success as a brand. As always supply chain is hardly ever acknowledged for the crucial but silent role that it plays in the success of any business.

As a supply chain professional, I admire Bisleri’s distribution strategy. Bisleri’s distribution strategy is not unlike Coke or Pepsi’s – keeping the product within arm’s reach. However, what is different and is the efficiency and execution of the distribution strategy.

For bottled water, reliability and depth of distribution is key to success. Bisleri’s processes achieve these two objectives, very well.

What can companies learn about distribution, from Bisleri?

Robust processes:
The processes have to be robust. This means they must be simple, ‘idiot proof’ and have emergency alternatives.

The trucks have to leave the factory/plant at the designated time, follow the route cover the outlets as per the journey cycle plan, have a standard call process at the store, deliver and collect and then return to the factory/plant at a designated time after covering the route.

At the factory/plant they should have a fixed process- tally the inventory, tally the cash, report problems with the truck and report any competitive activity.

The truck would get loaded at the factory over the night. There would be a fixed loading quantity with a fixed, loading pattern.

Backup processes:
These are processes to take care of any emergency or issue.

There would be processes to take care of vehicle breakdown [ having a spare vehicles]. There would be processes to take care of leave [ have people on the bench, multi-skilling like all helpers/ merchandisers trained as drivers, drivers and helpers/merchandisers familiar with 2-3 routes].

Balanced scorecard:
All parameters of the distribution network would be measured – what gets measured gets done!
Measures on the scorecard would include, what time the vehicle left, how many outlets they covered, what time they returned, stocks reconciled and cash reconciled.

And the incentives and compensation of the drivers, helpers, warehouse team would be linked to this scorecard.

It is fascinating to see this process at work. I worked in Mumbai for a few months. My workplace was close to the Bisleri plant at Chakala on the Western Express Highway. To use a cliché, “ I could set my watch by the Bisleri truck”. I would pass the Bisleri truck at nearly the same place on my way to work, I would see the Bisleri truck at nearly the same time everyday, in the retail outlet opposite my workplace and in the evening you could see all the trucks back at the plant.

Wipro and Danone will learn and gain the most from the distribution model. They could learn and re-apply from the model after modifying it to suit their products and strategy. [ The Bisleri model ‘in toto’ works well for limited number of skus and brands].

The distribution model reflects Mr Prakash Chauhan’s style; simple, commonsense and no fancy jargons for him. I liked the way he changed Bisleri’s colour to sea green to make the brand standout from the commoditized ‘ blue water bottles’.

As an Indian, I would want Mr Prakash Chauhan to sell Bisleri to an Indian company. Coke and Pepsi will just kill the brand to promote Aquafina or Kinley.

For the full story click on the link below;



14 thoughts on “Wipro, Coke, Pepsi, Danone line up to buy Bisleri!

  1. Hi,
    Good note on the distribution strategy of Bisleri.
    However, Bisleri’s biggest success lies in, as you yourself mentioned, selling the concept of ‘bottled water’ and even more so, paying for water – to a nation where serving water to anyone is the true mark of hospitality. That marked a generational change in the way we thought about water, about hygiene, and unfortunately, about adulteration of even our basic amenities.

  2. Hello Hanif!

    In the aerated drinks business/ category, availability within hand’s reach is very important. Availability within a hand’s reach drives the business. So the supply chain and logistics strategy focuses on ensuring availability at all outlets.

    Trucks set out every morning, on a fixed route, visit the retailers and replenish the empty bottles with full bottles. Pepsi will also take back empty bottles of Coke. Similarly Coca Cola will take back empty bottles of Pepsi.

    Hence, the measures for top management is availability and stock weights at retail outlets.The availability and stock weights are dependent on trucks setting out on time and covering the routes and outlets reliably.

    The other strategies would include supply chain costs, speed to market for new product launches and speed to reacting to competitive activity.

  3. Hello Shweta!

    Bisleri has bottlers who manufacture the water, bottle it and pack it. In Mumbai Bisleri does it’s own bottling. In other places it has 3rd party bottlers. The bottlers have a fleet of trucks that supply the mineral water bottles and cans throughout the city. Hope this helps. Thanks.

  4. mr masroof u can do one thing….there is a report which was published in ICFAI monthly journal …what u have to do is just go and buy that journal which was issued in feb 08.

  5. hi,
    i would like to know the supply chain management of bisleri and how it is different from its competitors aquafina and kinley?

  6. hi
    i would lyk to knw the supply chain details as wel as the logistical mgmt details of bisleri!! please let me know.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s