Keeping costs low while balancing the interests of farmers and consumers is the biggest challenge for companies, according to S Nagarajan, Managing Director, Mother Dairy.

Despite being the world’s largest producer of milk, fruits and vegetables, prices of milk and potatoes in India are higher than in a country like Germany. Establishing efficient and transparent systems will help address this challenge, he said addressing the inauguration of the Madras Management Association’s annual convention on the theme India 2016 – Leading Change.

Mother Dairy, a ₹ 7,000 crore company works with dairy farmers through producer companies promoted by the farmers. It is an interdependent-independent structure that helps both partners to bargain and finalise mutually acceptable prices. Mother Dairy hiked milk prices last in May 2014 and the next hike is not likely till 2017. But the price of milk paid to farmers has been increased. The key is in efficiency.

In 2010, as a ₹ 3,000-crore company it had about 3,000 employees. The number is still the same even though the company’s business has more than doubled.

Mother Dairy
                                   Mother Dairy

Gautam Kumra, Director, McKinsey & Co, said leaders need to have the capacity to adapt fast as disruptive changes driven by technology make it hard to predict the future. Five major trends driving the change are the increasing role of emerging markets, disruptive technologies change the way even traditional businesses operate, increasing urbanisation, aging population in various countries and global shocks.

Leadership in a changing environment will involve the ability to keep an eye on long term trends and short term needs. Leaders will need a vision that is capable of being a `telescope and a microscope’, he said.

R Seetharaman, CEO, Doha Bank, said ecology and economy will have to be balanced for sustainable development. It was in this context that the Millennium Development Goals globally have evolved into sustainable development goals. As India integrates with global economy its policies will have to be based on sustainable concerns.