NEW life has been breathed into the fortunes of Srichand facial powder, a product that had been trading on little more than nostalgia for a storied past until Rawit Hanutsaha came along.
Rawit, now managing director of Srichand United Dispensary, became the third generation of his family to enter the business. And he lost no time in setting about the task of reviving the brand, with the help of a fresh outlook and an engineering degree.
Last year, sales jumped to Bt300 million, attesting to the transformation that is under way.
The Hanutsaha family established the business in 1948. As a youngster, Rawit remembers observing his parents’ hard work in growing the medical and cosmetics concern.
He says Srichand aims to become a customer-centric company within three years by developing products that fit with customers’ demand. He hopes to see the firm listed on the stock market in 2020.
Rawit says he embarked on his chapter in the family business in 2006, when he joined Srichand United Dispensary, producer of the Srichand facial powder brand.
“I am the third generation to take care of the Srichand facial powder brand, which was established in 1948 by Phong Hanutsaha, my grandfather. I aimed to help him mange our family business,” Rawit says.
Before he signed up for the family business, his grandfather and the second generation had produced only facial powder, which sold for only Bt18 per unit.
He brought about big changes in 2015, announcing new products, along with a rebranding and company reorganisation, while tapping online channels to ramp up the marketing of the traditional facial powder.
“I felt that customers were in decline,” Rawit recalls of his start in the business. “I therefore in 2015 decided to redesign the packaging, come out with new products, undertake the reorganisation, develop the advertising strategies and expand the marketing channels to modern trade.
“We also utilised online channels such as social media and digital marketing to support our existing and new products. Beforehand, I did not know a lot about such things. I just wanted to help my grandfather and that became the turning point.”
He says that among the big changes he brought in for the facial powder product was a formulation designed for use with other make-up under a new design, The resulting product was priced at Bt280.
With the product changes and the new approach the business transformation resulted in revenue increasing by 10 times.
He says that all the products under the Srichand brand have undergone design changes and benefited from research and development to fit the need of the customers.
“Our cosmetic products can compete with the premium cosmetic products and mostly we use premium raw materials from Japan and Switzerland,” Rawit says. “The products also have unique design packaging and suitable for the needs of our customers.”
The company’s cosmetic products such as make-up powder and lipstick now comprise 50 stock keeping units (SKUs) under the Srichand brand. The brand is focused on customers aged between 22 and 40. The most popular product type is facial powder.
The firm last year developed a new brand and officially released it on the market in May this year. The Sasi brand covers eye liners, lipstick and powder designed for younger consumers aged from 13 to 25, along with other people in their first jobs who are looking for premium products at affordable prices. Sasi products now number 50 SKUs. The most popular product item is lipstick. Prices start from Bt39.
As for the company’s social media strategy, Rawit says it makes use of platforms such as Line to reach out to its customers as members of the new generation who are used to accessing information from digital sources.
“We utilise both online and offline channels such as advertising in the theatres, on Line, Facebook and with influencers who promote our products to the market, depending on our target customers,” Rawit says. “I think that the cosmetic business is very challenging and it is marked by strong competition.
“We therefore are developing new products at the premium level in order to provide alternative choices for our customers and to support the demands of the market.”
The company makes its products both in its own factory and under arrangements with original equipment manufacturers (OEM).
“Before each product comes out on the market we would have spend around 18 months on research and development,” Rawit says. “This is to ensure that we produce the kind of cosmetic products that really support the demands of our customers. We also have a mission to become a customer-centric company.”
To help ensure the company meets its goals, Rawit says that artificial intelligence (AI) and Big Data technologies will be put to work to collect the data of its customers. The subsequent analysis of the data can help the company better shape new products to the needs of its customers.
Rawit says the company aims to have such capabilities in place within three years. For now, it relies on traditional research.
“We will utilise AI and Big Data in order to set up a customer-centric operation, with a focus on the customers outside and also on our staff within the organisation, when it comes to developing new products,” he says.
“The new products that result will be developed based on the demands of our customers. This means customised products will be created to give us a competitive advantage over our rivals as well as keep our customers happy. We will have products that will be top of mind for customers within three years. We will develop testing procedures and a prototype of a customised product next year.”
Rawit says that this year the company will devote more attention to Chinese customers, By the end of this year, he expects that Chinese customers will account for around 1 per cent of the total revenue of around Bt500 million. The firm expects this level to rise to 5 per cent within three years.
With the revenue of Bt500 million by the end of this year, this would represent growth of around 30 per cent from last year.
The firm expects the proportion of the revenue from the Srichand brand to account for 75 per cent of the total, with the rest from the Sasi brand.
The firm distributes its products to six countries and territories, including Vietnam, Singapore, Taiwan and Malaysia.
It also sells products online in order to collect customer data and insights into their behaviour and help with the customisation of products,
In terms of staff management, Rawit says the company plans to use Objectives and Key Results (OKR), billed as the first fully-fledged reference guide on Objectives and Key Results, which in turn is described as a critical thinking framework designed to help organisations create value through focus, alignment, and better communication to support staff within an organisation.
The use of the system for the 180 or so workers will create personalisation and develop the capability of the workers, says Rawit, who also expects that they will become happier in their jobs as well. And this means they will be more inspired to better meet the needs of the customers, he says.
Rawit says he hopes to be able to list the company on the stock exchange by 2020.