Chai Pe Charcha

 

“I strongly believe that every course opens up new  avenues of opportunities”
Mr. T R Vijayakumar

An interactive event with business leaders is truly a worthy time for those in pursuit of excellence in business. We are proud to take the initiative to provide an admirable opportunity for the students of Commerce Stream to have a real time connection with the world of Entrepreneurship. And for the premier of Chai Pe Charcha, we felt fortunate to have Mr. T R Vijayakumar, M D of E l it e Group of Companies & President of
Chamber of Commerce,Thrissur. His positive involvement made the interaction more productive. Students could learn about the practical side of business theories , e-commerce industries, beating competitors, impact of governmental policies, and much more. The got revitalized by understanding new perspectives, and thus bridge the gap between academics and profession.

There are different functions of management like marketing management, H R management, finance management & operational management. From among them which one you find critical to manage Sir?

I believe that all are equally important. And the one I find difficult to manage is the HR section; it’s not easy to get the right person for the right position. In the present scenario, competitions are increasing in our industry – the food manufacturing industry, so job hopping is getting common. We cannot blame the millennial employees because when they get better offer they cannot resist. Even there occur incidents like the employees who left the company request to rejoin, realizing that our company is better. Rehiring depends on their talents and efficiency.  Therefore keeping a consistency in HR Management is quite strenuous.

 

2.5 decades before you created a new market segment – “Supermarket” in Thrissur, which is the center of provision stores. How did you identify the gap for the segment?

It was my passion. Whenever I went abroad, visiting supermarkets was one of my keen interests. Our first supermarket was in Swaraj Round, Thrissur. Actually, during those days I was in search of an apt building for setting an office for myself. And I came across this building in Swaraj Round – a vacant building. The availability of the building contributed to my idea of starting a supermarket. Yes, Why not a Supermarket! I asked myself. Thus we renewed the building and started our supermarket. And, 26 years back we were the only one – in the middle of many provision stores. But now there are many. Still we stand special believing that we are the No. 1 among all…….or may be the people of Thrissur like our shop a lot.

 

In the last five years we believe there is a sprout of competition in the supermarket field. What are the challenges, threats or opportunities you faced with the entrance of new competitors?

Yes, the field of Supermarkets is extremely competitive. Adding to that, some companies offer almost 50% off in product prize to attract more consumers. But I don’t believe this strategy. We concentrate on the quality of the product. Our endeavor to provide premium quality is a never-ending process and we carefully evaluate each and every product sold at our stores. We have special group of supervisors to ensure the quality of our products. If you are confident about the quality of your products you need not worry about the competitors.

 

In every product segment there will be multiple brands. Do you give any preferential support to one brand over the other?

Not at all. It is all about customer’s inclinations. They decide their brands. Customer’s choice is my choice, whether they prefer Elite or some other brand. Customer satisfaction is the biggest achievement in field of supermarket business. I prefer to make my customers happy.

 

How do you see Elite growing as a brand in the next five years? What organizational strategy are you envisioning?

I have a mission of starting 100 shops in Kerala. Presently we have shops at various locations in Thrissur, Kunnamkulam, and Angamaly. The availability of appropriate place with all the requirements should be considered. As you all know the real estate values have gone high. So, there are challenges……….overcome them to make life meaningful.

 

Many companies use Brand Ambassadors for their product’s promotion. What selection criteria do you consider while choosing a Brand Ambassadors?

As far as Elite food industry is considered, we don’t have a brand ambassador. As I have