Service level improvisation & meeting demand Vs supply key to success
To spread the importance of sleep and to motivate people for healthy living during the lockdown due to COVID-19, Centuary Mattresses has launched a few initiatives, which are receiving an encouraging response and participation.
Getting ‘Better Sleep’ helps the human body for overall wellbeing, including a reduction in stress, especially in current times, with certainty looming over the industry, jobs, and availability of sources.
Centuary Mattresses started a social media campaign to engage and educate people not only on the benefits of sleep, but also helping engage the family members in getting better sleep.
Centuary Mattresses is running a special campaign, wherein children along with family members are encouraged to listen to the stories during bedtime. An expert comes online and in an interesting storytelling manner reads out a specific story on Facebook. The activity is helping the audience to inculcate a habit of sleeping on time leading to a night of better sleep and feel relaxed in the morning. The activity is also witnessing encouraging participation on the social media platform with a high number of views to the videos.
Each story not only engrosses the child, but also gives a message on human values helping the child to become a better human being.
Aneesa’s new doll – 122k views
A stonecutter’s journey – 96k views
In another activity, Centuary Mattresses ran a contest where people were encouraged to share their stories/ experiences during the lockdown. People wholeheartedly participated in the contest and shared their experiences, such as how they are spending time with family, how they keep fit during this period, etc. The best entries were also rewarded by Centuary Mattresses.
In conversation with Adgully, Uttam Malani, Executive Director, Centuary Mattresses, speaks at length about his company’s strategies to tide over the COVID-19 crisis as well as remaining relevant as the situation improves and we enter a new normal.
Centuary Mattresses is running some interesting campaigns over social media promoting sleep. Whom are you targeting here and what channels are you using in social media to get the desired impact?
In continuation to our efforts in engaging our audiences during the lockdown period with campaigns like KaroNa wherein we motivated people to start learning to play musical instruments, indoor games, have a family discussion to enhance the bonding, etc., we thought of making it more interesting and provide relief from boredom to all our audiences through an interesting #SleeptimeStories campaign which is still ongoing. Sleeptime or bedtime stories are the most cherished moments of everybody’s life be it grandparents, parents, and kids as well. Under #SleeptimeStories campaign children along with family members are encouraged to listen to the stories during bedtime. These are not just a random story, but handpicked and curated to bring out today’s desired values and morals. At the same time, we wanted them to more relevant and non-preachy. So, we made them light-hearted, hopeful, and value driven. We brought a storytelling expert who interestingly narrates a specific story on social media platforms. The activity is helping the audience to inculcate a habit of sleeping on time leading to a night of better sleep and feel relaxed in the morning. The activity is also witnessing encouraging participation on the social media platform with around 1.13 million overall views received for the 5 stories narrated so far. Each story does not only engrosses the child but also gives a message on human values helping the child to become a better human being. The target audience for these campaigns are entire family members of all ages, this is a complete family engagement activity.
In fact, our video tribute to the medical fraternity which is tirelessly working to help in the treatment of COVID-19 patients was also well appreciated with cumulative views of over 1.1 million. We run these campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.
Please tell us more about the contest and how was the response?
Everyone would like to listen or tell stories, so we thought of engaging our audiences too with the same concept. We are running this content to make our audiences more engaged and also be part of this campaign by inviting them to come up with interesting stories and choose the 3 best stories from the list at the end of 15 days. The winners will be given the surprising gifts from Centuary Mattresses and so far the response has been very good.
We also ran another campaign, #StayHomeDiaries during quarantine in another activity, Centuary Mattresses ran a contest where people were encouraged to share their stories and experiences during this lockdown period. People wholeheartedly participated in the contest and shared their experiences like how they are spending time with family, how are they keeping themselves fit during this period, etc. We received active entries and the best entries were also rewarded by Centuary Mattresses.
Going forward, it will be even more exciting for both the audiences and Centuary.
What was the objective of running the social media campaign?
Centuary’s objective is to keep all the present customers and future prospective customers informed about the brand and its relevance to the present situation. To make them aware as to how we are striving to service our customers and also at the same time serving the nation as well by encouraging the healthy practice of sleeping resulting in better health. We will continue to strengthen our communications with all of them through various mediums; be it over personal messaging or digital and personal touchpoints, etc.
Apart from the social media campaign how is the brand saliency maintained when there is no major mass media activity?
Apart from digital marketing, we are present through print media in the relevant markets. We are active through e-magazine with select publications and also through very active PR in both print and digital media publications.
Supply Chain and distribution have been hampered due to the lockdown. What is your strategy here to reach your products to the customers?
It is very important for all the manufacturing organisations to keep a healthy bottom-line. It is also important to streamline the capital to ensure a proper fund flow. During this crisis time, we need to have service level improvisation and meeting the demand Vs supply for smooth functioning. Companies need to have robust inward and outward inventory management systems. We feel that it may take some more time for retailers to adapt to the changing environment.
However, we at Centuary Mattresses are continuing to tap the opportunities by manufacturing mattresses to meet the requirements of government hospitals, healthcare centers, medical fraternity needs, etc. We have received orders from the government of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha to supply mattresses.
We are providing online solutions to our customers and clients. We supplied our PU Foam to one of the Head Gear for medical fraternity manufacturers based out of Hyderabad. We are keeping all our customers and stakeholders engaged through various social media platforms to provide them the required information and entertainment in these difficult times.
Post lockdown, how do you plan to get supply and distribution back on track and how much time will that take?
Though the impact can’t be predicted accurately at this point, however, it doesn’t mean that we need to only wait and watch. We need to alter certain things to keep ourselves up and running rather than being credit exposer, it is better to control the credit and set limits. Judicious buying and supplying will ensure better inventory management. We are planning very well to address all issues of supply and distribution and geared up to put the things in place with do’s and don’ts of supply chain management. We are selecting the right logistics partners to deliver timely supplies.
Customer experience is gaining traction hence, it is very important. Thorough predictions and projections are very important in going forward. Projected sales Vs inventory Vs supply Vs Logistics are to be assessed properly using past experiences. We are also gearing up for the price war, strong sales pitches, and robust marketing strategies. We are closely monitoring the demand and supply with a strong sales return management and Preparedness for after-sales effects.
The first quarter will almost go without much sales happening for almost every industry. How will that impact your company and the brand? How do you think the mattress industry will perform overall in this quarter and the coming financial year?
As a result of the pandemic Corona Virus, cleanliness and hygiene have become a focused area to be healthy. Due to the extended lockdown, people have got enough free time to assess their original requirements, especially when it comes to households. They might have experienced the importance of quality mattresses to get a good sleep – a key factor in being healthy in the current stressful lifestyles. Hence, we see a light on the other side of the tunnel which is called a ‘calculated hope’. We believe customers will shift their focus towards quality mattresses than just buying cheap and poor-quality products. We are confident that awareness which was a major hurdle while purchasing a mattress will be addressed to a large extent as people are now able to understand the importance of sleep and a good mattress for it. I think a set of people still require some deep education to make their own choice of choosing the right mattress. The same shall be overcome by adapting to the new change in retail patterns.
What is your view on going the digital route to reach your target audience? Have you moved more of your budgets to digital from your mass media budget?
As digital consumption is going up constantly, we will also continue to spend more on this area by replacing print and part of TV spends. If you look at digital marketing consumption across the world, this has become the trend as almost every country is investing heavily in it. Today everyone has a smartphone and consuming a lot of data as it is available at a cheaper cost. The average time spent on mobile has gone up substantially by an individual. As Centuary has forecasted this trend 5 years ago, we have started building our digital assets accordingly. Now we are far ahead of our competitors in terms of having digital capabilities.
Which are your strong markets?
By the virtue of being based out of Hyderabad, we are strong in southern states, Odisha and Chhattisgarh. We have also made our presence felt in the western markets as well where we are constantly growing.
How have you grown as a brand and how are you different from your competition such as Duroflex, Kurl-On, and Sleepwell?
The biggest advantage for Centuary Mattresses is the vision of manufacturing everything under one roof – that ensures quality and control on the production and serviceability, etc. Our core business model is continuous improvement in each of the processes including manufacturing by having the cutting-edge production facilities that are making us one of the most efficient and technologically advanced mattress manufacturing companies in the country. As a core value, the management believes in a strategy that is transparent, ethical, and hands-on direct involvement in the day to day business activities. Diversification is one more advantage for Centuary to outperform peers in this segment. Our Foam manufacturing capacity came as a step towards backward integration in the year 2000; just then the foam market demand was going up as the industry started diversifying into other allied production activities. More recently, the company has ventured into the specialized baby mattress segment under its brand extension ‘Beddy by Centuary’ and the sleep accessories market under ‘Sleepables by Centuary’.
Do you keep innovating new products from time to time? Any new products that are in the pipeline which you plan to launch in the near future which will excite the customers?
Thanks to the efficient production setup at manufacturing plants, Centuary is one of the most innovative companies in India today. We are much ahead of the competition with spearheaded management and efficient manpower backed by adapting to required changes from time to time. We are open to adapting to newer technologies and innovation; be it within or outside sources. We are open to change and committed to bringing in the change within the industry too.
From the year 2015 onwards, the industry at large started moving towards EPE based products to hit the mass market with lower price points, which are harmful for use in a mattress. Being an ethically operated company, we were at a crossroads then and in dilemma over choosing the right path. We knew that our sales will be impacted due to the dump of cheaper quality products though more profitable. However, keeping true to the company philosophy of high emphasis on quality and goodwill, we decided to remain to stay away from the spurious and hazardous materials; and at the same time continued to grow our business despite the short- term impact. As a brand, we always come up with innovative and quality products that will serve the real needs of the people of India.