The Role of Consultancy Firms in Navigating Dairy Product Innovation and Market Trends


Saurabh Uboweja, Managing Partner BOD Consulting

Consultancy firms create value for organizations by supporting them in two main areas: helping them address sticky and complex to resolve challenges and in helping them leverage growth opportunities in a proactive manner. At BOD Consulting, we categorize these as high impact goals or HIGs that an organization needs to work on in a systematic, hyper focused manner in short sprints of 2-3 years.

Dairy is one of the largest and fastest growing sectors in India today, transforming rapidly from small scale unorganized procurement and selling of milk and milk based products to large scale procurement, product innovation, production, marketing and sales of hygienic and safe to consume products. This movement began with the cooperatives in many parts of the country with the White Revolution of the 1970s but is led in equal measure by organized private regional and national dairy brands today. We are already amongst the largest producers of milk in the world though amongst the lower per capita consumers. Therefore, we are still just scratching the surface of the large opportunity in front of us.

Consultancy firms have played an integral role across the complete value chain of dairy industry, as a catalyst driving innovation, change and growth. They provide an outside perspective, industry best practices, and expertise that can help dairy businesses thrive in a high growth but highly competitive and evolving market like India's.

Having worked closely with the founders and leadership team of one of the largest private dairies in the country – Gyan Dairy over the last 8 years, we have helped them achieve several high impact goals. What started with the repositioning and an organization wide brand transformation program, driven by a strong internal focus on providing the purest and freshest milk to their consumers, eventually became the anchor for creating one of the most loved dairy brands in Uttar Pradesh. 

We assisted the founders in creating a long term vision for the company, and in developing a comprehensive and long-term business strategy. This included identifying growth opportunities, market expansion, and diversification strategies. We were also closely involved in advising them on adoption of technology solutions for milk collection, processing, inventory management, and sales & distribution to increase operational efficiency and data-driven decision-making. 

One of our most significant contributions in driving digitalization at Gyan was to help them incubate a new digital business model for supplying milk to consumers directly. While Covid19 was the trigger, this eventually went on to become a self-sustaining distribution channel for Gyan. The Direct to Consumer (D2C) channel now serves over 15,000 households every day and growing.

Given Gyan’s rapid growth over the years from ?500cr to ?1500cr in sales, it required the company to proactively invest in talent development, an area which has traditionally been a big pain point for the dairy industry given the sector’s image as rural or semi urban. We wanted to make dairy sector and in particular Gyan dairy an aspirational workplace and got an opportunity to work with the founders to create an organization strategy and assist them in recruiting, and mentoring the next layer of leadership that was to become their anchor for driving balanced growth. 

Rapid growth brings fresh challenges such as sustainability and corporate governance. At the same time, it is an opportunity for an organization to plan for the future that may include bringing in external investors or planning for a public listing that can allow millions of shareholders to participate in the growth of an organization. As a consultant, we felt it necessary to proactively prepare for this and helped Gyan Dairy constitute an advisory board mirroring a corporate board bringing in subject matter experts as well as financial and operational experts who could openly challenge the founders in strategic and operational matters.

As a consultant we may have made important contributions at each stage of Gyan’s evolution, but the real credit of Gyan Dairy’s success goes to the visionary founder duo of Jai and Anuj Agarwal, who have been extraordinary lifelong learners and been relentless at execution creating value for all stakeholders alike. We are effective and of value only when our clients, that is the leaders behind an organization are willing to change and grow. We are proud to have partnered with such leaders at Gyan, not once but several times over the last 8 years.