Going strong: MP Jackson
From a dominant market position to creating a near-ubiquitous presence, scaling an already established business is exciting yet difficult. MP Jackson, the Managing Director of KSE Limited, is doing it with aplomb.
Kerala Solvent Extractions Limited, now known as KSE Limited was founded 58 years ago in Thrissur, Kerala and has since become one of the most prominent cattle feed and dairy product manufacturers in India.
"KSE was formed by legacy business families in 1963 and I am now part of the second generation of these families," KSE Limited’s Manager Director, MP Jackson, tells The CEO Magazine. "We now have over 50 per cent market share in Kerala and a major presence in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu as well, and we’re currently looking to expand our product portfolio and cover more markets."
Prior to the company’s incorporation in 1963, southern oil mills would have to sell their coconut cake in Bombay as there were no companies in Kerala for this purpose. "In Kerala, we started a company to procure coconut cake and process it to dry out the oil. After removing the oil, the product was marketed as JC cake, for the purpose of catalysis. That’s how we started, and it’s also how we ended up pioneering the industry," MP explains.
In Kerala, we started a company to procure coconut cake and process it to dry out the oil. After removing the oil, the product was marketed as JC cake, for the purpose of catalysis. That’s how we started, and it’s also how we ended up pioneering the industry.
"Thereafter, we found that dairy farmers weren’t interested in feeding their cattle only coconut cake; they also wanted to supplement it with a mixed cattle feed. For this reason, in 1972 we started our cattle feed plant in Irinjalakuda, which, at that time, had a capacity of 40 tonnes per day. Today, the plant produces 1,800 tonnes of cattle feed per day," he shares proudly.
Focused on the future
MP joined KSE Limited four years ago and, within three months of employment, was promoted to Executive Director of the company. MP’s father had been Managing Director of KSE Limited for 30 years and, it seems, MP was destined to follow in his father’s footsteps as he himself has recently taken on the role of Managing Director and is currently overseeing land acquisition and expansion projects in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
When it comes to KSE Limited’s long-term growth strategy, MP says he has complete clarity of mind. "We are planning to increase our production from 1,800 tonnes to 2,500 tonnes per day within two years – soon we expect to be producing 800,000 tonnes per year," he explains. "We are planning to increase the production of dairy products, such as milk, paneer, milkshakes, butter and ghee, and also expand our dairy units to cover the South Indian ice-cream market. Currently, we have three units – one in Tamil Nadu and two in Kerala."
We are making cattle feed with the best quality available. Whatever the raw material price is, we never compromise with the quality; we never add urea or other chemicals and we never harm the cattle. What you get is pure, organic feed.
However, MP is well aware of the current challenges KSE Limited may face in meeting these goals. He says he is focused on trading for raw materials to reach more farmers in North India to cut down the intermediaries. And to facilitate growth and meet challenges head-on, he is also implementing artificial intelligence and machine learning in the business.
With the increasing cost of raw materials, oil prices and significant COVID-19 disruptions also having an impact, he says he’s actively working to resolve consequent issues around spiralling logistics costs. "The transportation costs of raw materials and finished goods are very high right now, so the logistics should be corrected," he says. "For this purpose, we have to arrange new warehouses in different locations in Southern India and to ensure equal distribution is possible in all areas."
Banking on authenticity
According to MP, KSE Limited has maintained the number one spot in South India for so long because of its unflinching values of quality and authenticity. "We are making cattle feed with the best quality available. Whatever the raw material price is, we never compromise with the quality; we never add urea or other chemicals and we never harm the cattle. What you get is pure, organic feed," he explains.
We were here for 60 years and we will survive for another 100 years yet.
The company has 10–20 key suppliers that provide critical products and MP says he treats each one of them equally because "every supplier is valuable to him". He sincerely believes that satisfied suppliers are good for business. "We plan to give our suppliers 90 per cent of their value the moment they supply the products to us and we ensure they get the rest after lab tests are completed," he says.
MP believes that the strong bonds that KSE Limited has built with their family of suppliers over the years ensures that the future of the company looks incredibly bright. "We were here for 60 years and we will survive for another 100 years yet," he says.
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