Vice-Chairman of Dabur India talks about his journey towards a successful career and says his ideas motivate him to work hard
Amit Burman, 41, is the Vice-Chairman of Dabur India. Born with silver spoon; hard work, dedication and the passion to excel describe this entrepreneur. He is accredited for foraying Dabur into the processed food business by setting up Dabur Foods Ltd. Burman is the brain behind brands like Real and Hommade, which have seen major success in the Indian market.
Burman has been quick to identify market demands and supply products accordingly. He has now diversified into the food retailing sector with Lite Bite. This venture has opened a chain of quick service and fine dining restaurants and food courts. Burman holds a MBA degree from the University of Cambridge, a M.Sc. degree in industrial engineering from Columbia University and a B.Sc. degree in industrial engineering from Lehigh University.
Away from the business side, Burman enjoys spending time with his family. He is a health freak and a regular at the gym. He also enjoys flying and has a private pilot's license. Devika Jeet gets a peek into his success story.
I started working with Colgate-Palmolive in New York. Coming from an engineering background, I worked in the manufacturing strategy department. Working abroad was like a stepping stone in the process to excel. I learnt a lot through this and I value the experience a lot. Initially, when I started working at Dabur, I found myself lost. I was working with different teams trying to understand each division. I decided to work my way up in the organisation. Once I got a hang of things, I decided to branch out with Dabur Foods. In 2007, Dabur Foods merged with Dabur India.
The idea behind a product is very important. New ideas either come from research and development or from the marketing team. Both fields usually highlight the trends of the market and market demand. This helps us develop new products and realise the demands of the industry. The idea behind packaged food was a little different. While I was studying at university I enjoyed packaged food like juices.
Once I came back I noticed a demand for packaged juices in India but there were no suppliers in the market, hence the idea behind Real juices developed. People in India enjoy drinking juice and it is seen as a healthy option. There is a demand as we find small shops and vendors selling fruit juices in every colony. Hommade was another venture that was developed by Dabur Foods.
Abroad, I also noticed the help and assistance we got with cooking pastes and sauces. This was what I wanted to replicate in India. Hommade specialises in ethnic cooking pastes and chutneys. The brand provides food assistance that will reduce labour and help in cooking the food. Before introducing a product, testing is imperative for us. We want to continue the trust people have had on Dabur for all these years.
Some of the challenges we faced were working on the idea, perfecting our distribution channels and understanding what our customers required. Our products have a shelf life of two years so it was very important for us to develop this and work to provide our customers with the best. Dabur decided to follow a path of modernisation and this led to many changes in the company.
Challenges faced in the foreign markets are very different from that in India. Dabur products are available in over 60 countries. We localise the products to fit the demand for the international market like in the Middle East Dabur Vatika supplies cactus oil, which is not available in India. We have to take decisions based on market research before introducing new products in foreign market and understand the client requirements.
My driving force
My main driving force has to be my team. It is all team work that makes our products a success in the market. The team believes in my vision and then helps the vision become a success. We have to empower the team. I first sell my idea to my team and only after they believe in my ideas can they take it ahead and sell it well.
It is imperative for the team to believe in your idea and vision and help you create something that has never existed. My mantra will be my belief in the idea. Hard work is another important element for which there is no short cut. My ideas motivate me to not stop till the idea has become a big success. Along with belief, education is very important. It helps you take logical decisions and develop ideas.
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