328 week ago — 6 min read
Time bestows prosperity on enterprises that have leaders with vision and a level of dedication to match. Lazza-JSF Holdings, with third generation entrepreneur John Simon as director, is one such company. With humble beginnings 45 years ago, this South Indian ice cream enterprise now has a turnover of INR 300 crore per annum.
The promise of affordable, high-quality ice cream is central to the growth of the company. Employees, distributors, and vendors have spent decades in the service of the company and their achievements are valued in an atmosphere that rewards loyalty. Today, they are looking to consolidate their hold in the South Indian market and gain more market share in Africa and the Middle East.
In conversation with GlobalLinker (GL) John Simon (JS) shares the journey of his firm and plans for the future. Watch this video to learn more:
GL: Tell us about your business.
JS: Lazza Ice Creams is the largest seller of ice creams in South India. This company was started by my grandfather - Mr. M.C John. My father is the present Chairman. He grew sales from about INR 1 lakh per year to about 300 crores per year that it is presently. My uncle, Francis John is also a director. He manages the technical aspects of running the factories.
Today we are present across South India and in parts of Africa and the Middle East. We started with one small factory in Kerala. Now, we have 24 factories including one in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and another in the Middle East.
In manufacturing, we have tried to move to a higher level of automation in the last five years. Most of our products are totally untouched by hand — right from the processing of the mix to the end product. The customer will be the first person to touch the ice cream that they eat. We have been very strong on quality and hygiene.
Moving from affordable ice creams to premium ice creams has also been an important transition. The customer expectation from the ice cream has improved. We also try and exceed their expectations. Our natural ice cream with no preservatives and real fruit, gives the consumer an authentic natural fruit eating experience.
GL: What are the challenges you have faced in establishing your business?
JS: We’ve been in the business 45-50 years. The challenges my father faced growing up are totally different from the realities now. The latest challenge we face is the speed at which technology progresses. The challenge for us is to adapt to this changing technology and move as fast as the market demands. That is specifically what we are trying to address now.
My work in marketing is also challenging. Every year we have a new competitor entering the market. Staying relevant and staying ahead is a constant need. There are different tools to engaging your team. You have to lead by example. You have to be the employee you want your employees to be. You want to be a problem solver, you have to lead from the front in good times and in crises. That is how you have to inspire your team.
GL: What is the USP of your business?
JS: Our value system, our philosophy, is to serve value-for-money international quality ice cream and provide it everywhere through our cold-chain network. Over the years our philosophy has evolved. Now we have a premium range of ice creams. We pride ourselves in best-in-class, international taste and have introduced natural ice creams with real fruit and no artificial flavouring and preservatives.
GL: What are some of the milestones of your business?
JS: My father’s passion was not to make the maximum amount of ice cream, but rather to make ice cream affordable and available everywhere. In South India, we have succeeded in that objective. My father was also a people’s person. He would cherish the people who have helped grow the company. The sales workers, the production staff, the distributors. A whole generation has spent a lifetime with our company. They have had children, grandchildren who are educated. Sometimes they go abroad. These are things my father would celebrate and I carry forward this ethos.
GL: What role do you feel GlobalLinker plays in connecting & assisting SMEs?
JS: Technology is a great enabler. It can accelerate our development as a nation. It can help a company grow faster. Some of the process of generating and vetting leads and closing a sale can happen instantaneously over GlobalLinker. I think it’s a great platform and initiative by GlobalLinker and I support and encourage it.
GL: What is your big business dream?
JS: India as a nation wants to be a global brand. We want to be India’s global brand for ice cream and grow more in Africa and the Middle East.
GL: What is your message to aspiring entrepreneurs?
JS: There is no mantra for success. A successful entrepreneur is a combination of heart and head. There will be times in your life you have second thoughts about the baby you are nurturing. If you really believe it in your heart, hang on, times will change and prosperity will come. Management skills and entrepreneurship skills can be learned from online schools or B-schools but if you follow your heart, if you are passionate, sooner or later you will break through.
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Posted byGlobalLinker Staff
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