Interview Times had a great opportunity to have a conversation with one of the stalwarts entrepreneurs of Odisha, Mr. Sushanta Panda, MD of Bharat Masala. Mr. Panda, known for his humble behavior, had an all-embracing discussion with us regarding his journey with Bharat Masala. It was the efforts of Mr. Arun Kumar Mahana, the sub-editor of Interview Times, who was able to connect us with Sushanta Panda. This was how the interview went-
Can you brief about yourself to our readers?
I am Susanta Kumar Panda, and I hail from a small village at Matagajapur on the outskirts of Cuttack city. I am an MBA, and I am presently the Managing Director of Jay Bharat Spices Pvt Ltd, whose brand name is popularly known as “Bharat Masala. “I am the son of Shri Surendranath Panda, an entrepreneur extraordinaire, currently the company’s Chairman. I am blessed with a son and a daughter pursuing their academic careers in school & college, respectively.
Did you wish to become an entrepreneur since childhood, or did your father influence you?
My childhood was spent watching my father engaged in agricultural farming and many other businesses. I have seen his struggle and dedication in industry and the intense desire to succeed in life. He inspired me to become an entrepreneur, and today we are one of the leading spices and food processors in Eastern India.
How were the initial days of Bharat Masala?
“Bharat Masala “was founded by Shri Surendranath Panda, the present Chairman of the company, with a meager capital investment of Rs 400 only with the help of two workers. When big and established Spice Brands were ruling the market, we channelized all our efforts in the direction of providing spices of high quality and purity to our customers at a comparatively lower price. Our turnover was very low, and our margins were kept quiet, and we were operating at the micro-level. However, commitment to quality, better customer service, and customer satisfaction was the company’s core objective, making our products popular among customers and helped the company grow in terms of turnover and profitability.
What were the challenges you faced when you took over the organization?
There is no takeover. It is a closely held company, and we all work together as a team along with my illustrious father, who is the Chairman of the Company. Although he is old, he is young, energetic at heart. He still works hard for the company. We always look up to his valued advice on all essential matters.
The Spice domain is fiercely competitive, and every single day there is the entry of a new brand in the market. Added to it is the fluctuation in raw material prices and availability during the off-season i.e. non-harvesting season. Therefore our focus is on calculated inventory management and timely raw material procurement. We have also expanded our Distributors and Marketing network in Odisha as well as other states. We have been exporting to countries like Dubai, Malaysia, Kuwait, Oman, Srilanka, Nepal and have won Excellence Award in Export for the last three years.
How has been your journey with Bharat Masala so far?
My 21-year journey with the company has been full of hurdles and challenges. Years of experience in this field have taught us meaningful lessons to cope with the challenges and move forward. The success story of “Bharat Masala “has been scripted by the hundreds of workers who have put in their blood and toil to this organization and the hard work and dedication of the Directors.
What are your future goals?
We are in the process of setting up four production lines to manufacture Ready-to-eat snacks and cold storage projects. The state govt has already allotted 4.20 acres of IDCO land for this new project. The ultra-modern plants with cutting-edge technology will produce a variety of crispy snacks to flavor the taste buds of our customers. The company proposes to manufacture sauces and pickles also.
What is the USP Of Bharat Masala?
Ans- The USP of Bharat Masala is the quality of our Spices and Food products. It has always been our effort to leverage technology to bring about a quantum improvement in the quality of our products. Our spice products are processed at Ramdaspur, Baranga, and Cuttack in technologically advanced “Cryogenic Spice Grinding Plants “in -196°C, which ensures unique taste and aroma purity, and zero- contamination of spices. This plant is the only one in Eastern India which is truly world-class. Similarly, our Pasta products ( Macaroni, Fusilli, and Penne ) are manufactured in State-of-the-art Italian Pasta Plants.
Image Source- Google
Interview By- Sayak Karmakar, Resident Editor, Interview Times
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