Etika responds to virus crisis

Etika Group CEO (Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei) Khalid Alvi (pic) said said during these trying times, the company has a crisis response plan in place to ensure consumer needs are met in the absence of disruption to its supply chain.

PETALING JAYA: One of the country’s top beverage distributors is stepping up its production strategy in the wake of the sluggish economy fuelled by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Etika group CEO for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, Khalid Alvi, said during these trying times, the company has a crisis response plan in place to ensure consumer needs are met in the absence of disruption to its supply chain.

Like many fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies, Etika is also strategising to weather the pandemic and maintain its market share in the competitive beverage segment.

Elaborating on its production strategy, he said that “when the movement control order (MCO) was first implemented, we saw many changes in consumer behaviour, particularly a sudden surge in demand as consumers were not sure of continuous supply of their favourite beverages.

“Despite this, we have always been prepared for such sudden changes and have a ready crisis response plan that we can implement during times like this.

“As such, we have been able to maximise and optimise manufacturing to ensure we meet the demands and also deliver what the consumers needed, ” Khalid told StarBiz.

Etika Group CEO (Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei) Khalid Alvi with some of the company's  latest range of productsEtika Group CEO (Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei) Khalid Alvi with some of the company's latest range of products

In addition to demand anticipation and fulfilment of shortages, he said the company has kept close contact with government authorities, ensuring proper approvals, keeping up to date with best practices in hygiene, etc.

This is to ensure proper and total compliance with current regulations, he noted, adding that this was important in distribution and logistics to ensure minimal to zero disruption in the supply chain.

Etika is one of Malaysia’s leading drink distributors. It markets and distributes some of PepsiCo’s global brands such as Pepsi, Tropicana, Mountain Dew, Revive Isotonic, Mirinda, 7Up, Gatorade, Lipton Ice Tea, MUG, Sting and Evervess exclusively in Malaysia.

The company also manufactures, distributes and markets WONDA Coffee and Calpis, plus its own brands like Goodday Milk, Dairy Champ, Kickapoo (a Monarch trademark), Chill Asian Drinks and Bleu Water.

In terms of market share, the company is one of the biggest ready-to-drink beverage players in Malaysia and has plans to grow its product range over the next couple of years.

As for business sustainment amid the virus outbreak, Khalid said: “One parameter that we have adapted is to get all our employees to work from home.

This includes all employees in the sales, marketing, and Human Resources.

“We are also observing global and local consumer behaviour and keeping ourselves constantly updated on their needs. Etika is also observing how this scenario has shaped global markets in terms of presenting new challenges, opportunities and shifting demand, ” he said.

With the global trends and updates as a result from the pandemic, he said this would be a new normal and the company would continue to evolve as needed.

As a company that prioritises innovation, he noted that it has embraced challenges positively, adding that Etika believes it has the right recipe to continue delivering to meet consumers’ needs.

Commenting on some of the measures it has taken to ensure the safety of its employees and operations, Khalid said it has, among others, implemented strict hygiene protocols for all personnel working in the manufacturing units.

“At Etika, we have always had a high level of sanitary standards.

“This has been further strengthened in order to guarantee full safety of our products in accordance with government directions.

“For our employees, especially the logistics team, we have adapted extremely stringent measures to ensure their safety including the right use of personal protective equipments.

“We are trying to carry out the same task with a minimum number of people involved so we are able to comply with the government’s social distancing measure, ” Khalid said.

Etika has also recently announced the Etika Cares campaign with the intent to do their best to serve the community in these trying times.

This includes the first-ever concert from home in Malaysia (Konsert #WONDADiRumah) to keep people home, safe and entertained; distribution of drinks to frontliners, B40 income families, homeless and other public volunteers as well as worked with food trucks to buy meals and deliver to frontliners and other individuals in need.

Headquartered in Malaysia, Etika has established a distribution network across Malaysia, with over 40,000 direct customers.

The group also has presence across key markets in South-East Asia such as Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei, Myanmar, Philippines and Vietnam.

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