Keshava Ram

About Keshava Ram

Keshava Ram is the Managing Director of Cocoguru Coconut Industries Pvt. Ltd. The company was incorporated on 2nd September 2010. He setup a new coconut oil manufacturing unit at Kallarpe and started its operations in December 2011. He is a B.E in Computer Science from SJCE, Mysore and MBA in Marketing from NMIMS, Mumbai. He presently lives at his home town Puttur, married to Suprabha.

A tribute to our best vendor

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAThe Vendor I am talking about is Weigh Control Systems Pvt. Ltd., in particular Mr. Samarjit Biswas. Weighmatics based in Bangalore are manufacturers of Filling Machines, Weigh Bridges and other weight based control systems. Mr. Biswas is the director of the company.

On the first day after I started my life as a Coconut Oil businessman at Puttur, I went with my father to our coconut oil retail outlet. A customer visited the shop and asked for 2 litres of coconut oil. Father asked me to give it in loose by filling his long bottle. Oil was filled in a 50 litre steel drum. It had to be measured in measuring container and filled carefully into the bottle through a narrow mouth. As a first timer I struggled and spilled the oil all over the place mostly on the outer surface of the bottle. The customer and my father were both getting frustrated at what was happening, but they didn’t show any of it towards me. Now that partial quantity was poured, it was difficult to find out the balance portion to be filled. Then our helper came out and helped service the customer. Father said, “Don’t worry, it comes out of practice”. I thought, it was not my cup of tea to dispense oil like that.

I had seen every consumer product dispensed through a Vending Machine in Japan and there was absolutely no human being from the Vendor side. Item and Quantity are to be selected, cash to be inserted, exact change will be dispensed, bill automatically printed and items are rendered. How simple, fast and perfect. When they can dispense difficult to dispense items like Rice and Juice bottles, I thought dispensing a liquid like Coconut Oil should be easy. Though I was not looking for the machine to collect cash, dispense change and print bills, I was at least looking for a oil dispenser given the quantity.

Oil Vending Machine

Oil Vending Machine

I searched the internet for filling machines with various keywords. I got many results for bottle filling machine that one can use inside the factory for filling bottles in large scale. But couldn’t find one that can be used at a retail counter.

Finally I came across “Flowmatics” which is now rebranded as “Weighmatics”. They said they have already supplying to many edible oil brands in India and overseas. I requested for quote and got a quote in a beautifully written document. I asked for a few customizations, the Sales executive could only deliver lip service but couldn’t come back to me with revised offer and concrete actions. I called him up on his mobile, after a few calls he stopped picking them. I got desperate and called up the landline. This time it was a holiday and instead of receptionist picking up, somebody else picked up and said, “Hello Mr. Keshava Ram, I am Biswas, the director, how may I help you?”. I explained my requirements, he listened carefully and said what can be done and what cannot be done. He understood that I was a first timer and offered to educate me through a live demo at his factory in Bangalore. I promptly made a visit there and learnt about the systems. He took a lot of patience in educating a novice to the field. At that time i felt it was just a marketing pitch, but reflecting back I realise it was a genuine attempt at educating a prospect.

He also told me about his filling machines that I could use inside the factory for filling bottles, cans and tins. I discussed with my father and placed order for 3 machines – Oil Vending Machine, Bottle Filling Machine and Tin Filling Machine. Before coming for erection, they gave me a list of things to get done at site. I promised they will be done by a certain date and they will do their work from that date. Due to inconsistency from our Vendors for Plumbing, Electricals, Fabrication and Civil works, they couldn’t be done. Still, their Service Engineer came, completed his erection works in one day but had to wait for 6 days to do a trial run. Despite that their service fees didn’t increase.

We were happily using their machines to get our work done. After about 4 months, Vending Machine stopped working. We immediately called them for service and next day their Engineer was here. He immediately found that the cables were cut and how? by rats running around. Even if it was our problem, he didn’t charge any service fees as it was within the warranty period.

I started working on setting up the new company and factory. I managed by hiring a fresh graduate as Accounts Executive, after some time the extent of compliance required mounted high and we were not in good position to deal with them ourselves and with the local auditor. I tried through various references and on internet, the options I got were either not good enough or were too expensive. I rang up Mr. Biswas and requested for help, he said, “Don’t worry, I will request my company’s auditor and see if he can help you.” These auditors are always short of time and don’t want to take up any new accounts. The auditor sort of agreed and setup a meeting with me and Biswas. Auditor said, “Normally we don’t take any new accounts, even if they are multinational software companies, we only took yours because you have come through Biswas’s reference”. And the Auditor is serving us well over the last 2.5 years.

For filtering systems, we need to pump oil at a pressure and flow has to be adjusted based on filtering speed that varies with the cycle. One solution is to have by-pass valves that releases excess flow. Better solution is to have a Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) when speed of motor can be adjusted at run-time. When I tried looking for vendors, they quotes were very high and many times higher than the cost of pump itself. Again, Biswas gave me a reference of a Vendor in Chennai who offered at a reasonable rate. In between, I had asked for several other references also. But many of them didn’t work too. For Pouch Packing Machine, Air Heater and Centrifugal Blower, Screw Conveyor and Fabrication services. He even shared references of couple of distributors who may be interested in selling our coconut oil. He has also shared with me many industry insights that helped me know more about the industry that I operate in.

We have later purchased Volumetric Bottle Filling Machine, Load Cells for Copra Tank Weighing systems. He has set sight of selling me a Weigh Bridge one day. I have recommended his products to other oil millers and industries. He has got a few orders from them.

In our very fist meeting, he used to call up people and refer to me as his friend. I used to think it was just lame marketing tactic. But over the years I have realised he really meant it. Most vendors talk rubbish that they give good customer service and cater to their needs. Again his company has gone extra mile to meet our needs. He has a team of service engineers to service his machines all over. He isn’t motivated towards service because it is his business or it is good for business, but because he believes his customers needs the service. While in distress or good times, he calls me or I call him. We share jokes, to be specific he cracks jokes and I just laugh, both Veg and Non-Veg, tells me various stories/incidences from his vast experience. He looks young for a man in early 50s, more importantly he thinks like he is young.

When one customer was bargaining over phone for a machine in front of me, he said, “I have already given you the best price. Please understand, if you are to grow, you need suppliers also. They are the pillars of support for any business”. Good suppliers can indeed be strong pillars on which business builds.

By |August 28th, 2013|3 Comments

New Website for Cocoguru

cocoguru.com now has a new website and design. This is the 3rd design since it started. This time the speciality being, the site is all self developed. Here I like to share our development process and ideas.

Domain Registration of cocoguru.com was done earlier with godaddy.com. Hosting was also done at godaddy.com’s server. Being a market leader in web domain and hosting space, it is also the best in business with minimum downtime and reliable service. Dealing with free hosts or any local hosting space provider can be painful at times.

Website static pages can be developed with html on a text editor or html editors like dreamweaver. Also website can be developed with dynamic pages using Content Management System (CMS) softwares. They provide easy user interfaces where even common users can develop and maintain website pages. WordPress, joomla, drupal are among popular CMS softwares. WordPress.org from Automattic Inc. is the most popular free open source platform for website and blog development. Countless themes are designed, plugins are developed to make the complete ecosystem pretty strong and vibrant. Latest version of WordPress 3.5 was installed directly from godaddy’s hosting dashboard. Then the complete website design and development is done by logging into wordpress dashboard.

We strongly believe in minimalism where focus is only on what is required i.e. contents and anything unwanted i.e. flashy designs are ruthlessly deleted. Latest default theme for wordpress i.e. Twenty Twelve was chosen for this site. It is free and there are many other themes and some of them are paid. Once a theme is selected and systematically followed, the site developer can write his contents plainly in text and not bother about formatting. There may be some aspects of the theme that you may not like, they can be modified if you can or you will have to just live with them. A few free plugins like akismet (for spam protection), mappress (for showing maps), tablepress (for tables), sharethis (for social sharing buttons), formbuilder (for creating forms) etc were installed.

Website pages can be developed by adding pages, Blog can be created by just adding posts. WordPress dashboard has a easy Visual and Text editor to add contents. Each page/post comes with a comment form and a button for sharing on facebook, twitter, linkedin, google+ and email. Header, Footer and Menu are common to all pages and posts.

The contents posted are genuinely about us written by me and not website development company. None of the text or photos are copied from other sites. They are free from jargons/exaggerations like customer satisfaction, high quality, modern infrastructure, excellent service, social responsibility, striving towards growth etc. Photos are again taken by me with minimal editing to just crop the required portion. Information is openly shared to enable viewers to clearly understand about us.

Key Message
Small businesses need not use the services of Web Designers to get their website done. They will charge anywhere between 15,000 Rupees to 35,000 Rupees to get a flashy website done. Instead you could do it yourselves and write great contents to attract visitors.

What next
The present template is Twenty Twelve as it is. It needs to be customized to get Cocoguru brand’s feel. More contents are to be updated to make the site content rich.

By |January 13th, 2013|1 Comment

What is the Salary?

Cocoguru has now grown to a 25 member organization, with immediate plans to increase the size to 35. When it started operations a year ago, it was about selecting whoever was willing to work with us, without regard to their skills and attitude. We were lucky to get a few good people, and few of them were groomed to be disciplined and develop a sense of ownership towards their roles. Now, with the base set, we will select more people selectively. In this post, I discuss about my experiences/frustrations with those selections and expectations from candidates. It is a mighty challenge to get good people to work for a startup especially in a rural area.

Preparation
In the job advertisements, we would mention the company name, address, working location, vacancy position, qualification, contact details, few times salary range also. Candidates will do well to observe the details carefully before applying. Rather what we see is that they apply blindly and then back out during later stages of selection process due to the very facts already disclosed to them. Good candidates visit the website, find out the company’s product offerings, perform background checks with references, sometimes with existing employees, visualise themselves working here for a long term.

The classic opening question
The job market has tilted so decisively towards sellers i.e. employees that they start calling the shots. This is how a conversation begins
Candidate – “Is this Cocoguru?” (Many times they don’t even bother to pronounce the name)
Me – “Yes, Sir”
Candidate – “You have advertised for a vacancy, right?”
Me – “Yeah, Right”
Candidate – In either a disinterested tone or rude tone, he then asks “What is the salary?”!!!
Me – Unhappy that the discussion is entirely off-direction, I ask “How much do you expect?”
There goes the conversion meaninglessly, each one trying to defend his ego and finally ending the conversation in a bitter manner. The classic opening question leads to an immediate conclusion.

In my theory, money is not everything as it is made out to be. It is merely a currency of “value”. Businesses should make good profits to reflect the value they create to its customers. Employees should take home good salaries for doing a valueable work for the company. Focus should be on creating value and money will follow.

In the above example we have seen how bad the conversation went. Instead it could be much more fruitful, if it went in the following lines
Candidate – “Hello, my name is Vaibhav, I saw your advertisement in today’s Suddi Bidugade, and I am interested in applying for the position of Sales Executive”.
Me – “Okay. Good. Tell us more about yourselves.”
Candidate – “I am from Sentyar, a B.Com graduate, having 6 years of experiece in Line Sales, last 4 years with Dash Marketing Agency selling ITC cigarretes in and around Puttur, Sullia and Subramanya.”
Me – “Why do you want to leave your present job, when it is so easy to sell cigarretes where demand is more than supply that too for a brand like ITC?”
Candidate – “I am liking my job as it is giving me opportunities to meet new people and I have developed good relations with a few retailers. I am only looking for better prospects.”
It would be blunder to say something like “Cigerrate is injurious to health, but Coconut Oil is good for health.” Because we know, you are looking to change for your own benefit and not for our benefit or that of people’s health at large. It will only prove that you are lier.
Me – “How do you plan to increase our sales?”
Candidate – “Sir, what is your present distribution setup? What places do you cover?”
Here, the candidate has not only given a overview of himself, but also has shown keen interest to know more about the company and the job he is going to do.

Brain Drain
Dakshina Kannada is a district that has so many bright talents and great educational institutions. So many top ranks in SSLC, PUC, CET etc go to them. Result percentage is also highest perennially in Dakshina Kannada. But they migrate to cities like Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, Gulf and America. For all the talent they have, they are happy to work for someone outside. They don’t take risk to build a dream company at home or work for someone who wants to build such a company here (read Cocoguru ☺). It is right if suitable opportunities are not available here, but to squander them when available is bad. Only salaries are compared between 2 opportunities in Bangalore and here. Luxury of being at home with family, lesser travel to work place, staying away from hustle bustle busy city life and much lower cost of living are not considered in the decision making equation.

Influence
Influence from a well known person may help get a job in government sector, where performance and results don’t matter. Some candidates who are otherwise not worthy of the job, try to have influence in their selection. Will that influential person be responsible for what the candidate delivers in the job? No, rather he threatens us with negative consequences when he is not selected.

Fixed Salary, Routine Job
Since we have only seen the candidate once and at most had an interview. It will be difficult to determine his worth for the company. So, we place him on probation for a lesser salary, with the intention of increasing it to generous levels once he proves him selves and is made permanent. Even once he is permanent, there will be periodic Appraisals to review his performance and salaries will be increased inline with his performance. Sadly, the candidates don’t think long term, they only compare the salary during probation and assume it to be his lifelong income. Similarly, he has fixed his skill set to what he has acquired till now, without any aim of acquiring new skills on the job. He comes to office with the intention of performing routine jobs where Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are defined. Anything beyond the routine takes him completely off-guard.

Office work vs Field work
The number of enquiries for office work like Accounting far exceeds that of field work like Sales. Logically, hard work gets paid lot more than easy work. A sales man when he exceeds his targets gets more money in the form of commission. An accountant can at best get his annual bonus on superior performance. When we opened our factory last year for operations, about 50 ladies from nearby areas walked in looking for easy packing kind of jobs under a factory roof. They were willing to work for as low as 80 Rupees per day. The same people are not willing to work in a nearby farm for 250 Rupees a day. Not only about the nature of work but it is also a question of their prestige. They perceive Factory job to be a lot more prestigious than agricultural or household work.

By |October 29th, 2012|5 Comments

Difference between Roasted and Cold Pressed Coconut Oil

Cold Pressed Oil (left), Roasted Oil (right)

Cold Pressed Oil (left), Roasted Oil (right)

Our new factory at Kallarpe (Aryapu Village, Puttur) manufactures Roasted Coconut Oil. Our new customers have instantly liked it because of its enhanced aroma and taste. But our Old customers who have used Cold Pressed Coconut Oil manufactured from our old factory at Parladka (Puttur) have various kinds of doubts about it. I seek to clear those doubts here.

Cold Press Coconut Oil
Virgin Coconut Oil is many times referred to as Cold Press Coconut Oil. Virgin Coconut Oil is extracted from fresh Coconut. But, here we refer to oil extracted from Copra (dried coconut).

Copra with about 8% moisture is crushed as it is on Rotary Machine (Chuck/Ghana). Oil is filtered through sedimentation of solid particles for 7 days in settling tanks. The process is extremely simple and requires minimum capital investment.

The resulting oil has crystal clear transparent color, smells and tastes like Copra as it is. Many people like this as it is considered to be natural and local made product.

Roasted Coconut Oil
Copra is cut into small pieces and dried using hot air to about 5% moisture level. This copra is heated for about 1 hour on a multi stage steam-jacketed vessel for roasting. A bit of steam is also added to copra for cooking. This opens up the fat cells and helps in easy oil extraction. Oil is then filtered using Pressure Leaf Filter and Filter Press to remove sediments as and when oil is extracted. This process requires more capital investment for a Steam Boiler, Pipeline, Cooker with Agitator and Motor. Also has higher running cost in fuel for steam generation and power.

The resulting oil has a golden yellow color. It has a stronger smell and taste. It has just the same effect as what roasted Ground Nuts give.

During processing, the temperature of oil and oil cake rise up to 100 degrees, while in cold pressed it is only about 60 degrees. In the process the oil loses moisture and reduces the risk of going rancid. Copra gets sterilized as the bacteria and fungus die, which again prolongs shelf life.

At higher temperatures, triglycerides in other oils start breaking into free fatty acids causing rancidity. But Coconut Oil being mostly Saturated Fat and is quite stable. So, roasting does not deteriorate the quality of oil.

Hair Oil manufacturers prefer Roasted Oil for its stronger smell and longer shelf life. It has a 5% premium in the bulk oil market over Cold Pressed variety. But we are selling at the same price to consumers now. It is something new to them here in Dakshina Kannada market and not yet fully accepted. We have been working hard in educating them about this new variety.

Despite so much of difference they are still the same i.e. Coconut Oil. Both of them are made from same quality of copra, they have the same chemical composition, both have the same miraculous health benefits of coconut oil.

Download Write up of Roasted Coconut Oil FAQ

By |March 11th, 2012|10 Comments

Letter for Revision of VAT Rates

This is the letter that we submitted to the Industry Chamber and hence to the Government of Karnataka to clear many of the anomalies in Value Added Tax for Coconut Oil in Karnataka. Majority of these issues are brought out in an earlier post.

To,

The President
Puttur Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Subject :- Revision of Value Added Tax rates for Coconut Oil as Edible Oil

Respected Sir,

With the Union budget and the State budget coming up shortly. As part of the Coconut Oil Industry, we request the Government to

  • Reduce the Value Added Tax rates for Coconut Oil from present levels (5%)
  • Consider coconut oil sold in all quantities (above/below 200 gms) as for edible purpose and apply same rate (instead of 5% and 13.5%)

The following are the points considered to arrive at the above conclusion

  • Coconut Oil is a prime cooking oil not only in Kerala but also in coastal Karnataka.
  • Neighboring states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu don’t have any taxes for Coconut Oil. While in Karnataka VAT is 5% for quantity above 200 grams and 13.5% for quantity equal to and below 200 grams.
  • Under such high tax regime, business that pay taxes can’t compete with businesses that don’t pay taxes. So the market is flooded with adulterated and lower quality products.
  • Various researches have shown that Coconut Oil is good for heart and health, so it should be promoted for use in cooking.
  • Since the price of coconut oil is higher, other edible oils such as palm oil, sunflower oil and soybean oil are being imported without any customs duty and is becoming a threat to indigenous coconut industries and farmers.
  • While other edible oils are trading with lesser taxes, coconut oil with higher taxes is not having a level playing field.
  • Weaker sections of the society who earn daily wages and have to spend for their daily food prefer to buy their cooking oil in smaller quantities like 50 ml, 100 ml and 200 ml. These are now taxed at a whopping 13.5%!
  • Prices of the essential commodities like coconut oil and coconuts have doubled over last one year and is becoming less affordable to majority i.e. middle and lower class consumers.
  • We manufacture coconut oil for edible purpose, we follow the Prevention of Food Adulteration guidelines and have obtained Edible Oil Packing license for the same. But the products we sell attract taxes that are meant for cosmetic items and not edible items.
  • Being an essential commodity, the market is extremely price sensitive and any reduction in taxes will benefit the farmers and lower class consumers tremendously.

Request you to kindly communicate the matter to the respective government departments for taking necessary steps and actions.

Thanking You,

Yours faithfully,
For Cocoguru Coconut Industries Pvt. Ltd.
B. Keshava Ram
Managing Director

Update on 25th February 2011 – Karnataka Government hikes tax rates for goods presently taxed at 13.5% to 14%

Update on 1st August 2012 – Rate is again hiked from 14% to 14.5% with effect from August 1st 2012 to July 31st 2013

By |February 25th, 2011|0 Comments

Beware of Vanaspati, Margarine, Partially Hydrogenated Oils and Trans fats

Edible Oils are in 3 forms on the basis of processing viz. Crude Oil, Refined Oil and Vanaspati. The uninitiated, based on the terms used, will perceive

  • Crude oil is natural and not yet fit for consumption
  • Refined oil is improved and made perfect for consumption
  • Vanaspati, in Sanskrit means ‘lord of forest’, should be very healthy

This is where consumers are misguided by the names and their literal meanings. The fact though is

  • Crude Oil that is just filtered after extracting oil from the oil seed is the healthiest. Unrefined oils still have healthy bioactive components, Vitamin E, flavour and aroma.
  • Refined Oil is highly processed with the use of chemicals and heat to just retain the oil. Even oils extracted from lower quality oil seed can be refined. So, refined oil though pure is not as healthy as corresponding crude/unrefined oil.
  • Vanaspati is formed by partial hydrogenation of refined vegetable oil is extremely harmful. They have Trans fats which are formed as a by product of hydrogenation.

In India, of the total 13 million tons of edible oil consumed, 10% is in the form of Vanaspati and 45% each in refined and unrefined form. Doctors and Health Departments warn consumers against intake of saturated fats, but the real culprit for all the heart problems and obesity are trans fats. Chemical analysis of trans fats gives a logical reason why trans-fats are harmful.

Chemistry of Fats
Fatty acids are characterized as either saturated or unsaturated based on the presence of double bonds in its structure. If the molecule contains no double bonds, it is said to be saturated; otherwise, it is unsaturated to some degree. A saturated fat has no double bonds, has the maximum number of hydrogens bonded to the carbons, and therefore is “saturated” with hydrogen atoms. The more double bonds in the fatty acid the more vulnerable it is to rancidity, as free radicals attack double bonds.

In most naturally occurring unsaturated fatty acids (and all saturated fatty acids), the hydrogen atoms are on the same side of the double bonds of the carbon chain (cis configuration — from the Latin, meaning “on the same side”). However, partial hydrogenation reconfigures most of the double bonds that do not become chemically saturated, twisting them so that the hydrogen atoms end up on different sides of the chain. This type of configuration is called trans, from the Latin, meaning “across.” The trans conformation is the lower energy form, and is favored when catalytically equilibriated as a side reaction in hydrogenation.

The trans configuration is straighter, while the cis configuration is noticeably kinked. Trans fats have a much higher melting point (45 °C), due to the ability of the trans molecules to pack more tightly, forming a solid that is more difficult to break apart. This notably means that it is a solid at human body temperatures (37 °C).

In essence, hydrogenated oil/trans fats are stable making the food products last longer and are solids at body temperature making it harder to digest.

Why Hydrogenate?
Hydrogenated oils are more stable than corresponding natural oils with unsaturated fats. Saturated fats are mostly found in animal sources (Butter, Ghee etc) which are scarce and hence expensive. Oils from vegetable sources are mostly unsaturated, abundant and less expensive. So, partial hydrogenation of less expensive unsaturated fats from vegetable sources is an attractive commercial proposition. They are not only stable and make the fried food product last longer but also adds to the taste. That is why we find widespread use in commercial cooking in Breads, Cookies, Cream Biscuits, Sweets, fried snacks, chocolates and ice creams.

Health Risks
The primary health risk identified for trans fat consumption is an elevated risk of coronary heart disease. The reason is trans fat increases the level of LDL or bad cholesterol and decreases HDL or good cholesterol. Other ill-effects are Alzheimer’s disease, Cancer, Diabetes, Obesity, Liver dysfunction and infertility in women.

Prevention of Food Adulteration Act specifies that the melting point of Vanaspati be strictly less than 41 °C. That means manufactures must ensure that hydrogenation is stopped before melting point reaches that point. Also, the labels in packed food products must show the amount of trans fats in the food sample. ITC, Britannia and the likes who are branded manufacturers of such food products clearly mention that Trans fats are bad for health just like Cigarette packs mention ‘Smoking is injurious to health’.

It is highly advised that consumers avoid all commercially prepared foods (Bakeries, Hotels and Packed foods) to the extent possible. One should also carefully read the labels for its ingredients and nutrition values. Food items containing Edible Vegetable Fat or having Trans fats value more than 2% should be avoided.

Sources – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans_fat

By |January 16th, 2011|2 Comments

Dimensions of the most economical Carton Box

Problem Statement – To economically design a carton box to pack 20 half litre pouches

Half Litre Pouch
Carton Box for Secondary Packing

 

Regular Slotted Carton
Carton box is formed from regular slotted carton (RSC). The image shows how a cardboard is cut to form a carton box.

Regular Slotted Carton

Regular Slotted Carton

Solution

If l is the length, b the breadth and h the height of a formed carton box, then the area of the cardboard shown above is 2 * (l + b) * (b + h). Cost of the carton box is directly proportional to the area of the card board used. So, the problem boils down to reducing the area of cardboard for a given volume of carton box.

Minimise 2 * (l + b) * (b + h), given l * b * h = V, a constant

Ideally, the surface area of any cuboid is 2*(l*b + b*h + l*h), but there is an extra 2b2 area in the figure. That extra area becomes the inside flaps during forming of carton box. It gives additional strength to carry load inside the carton box. Also, in order to avoid that area, the card board has to be cut into a more complex shape. With that area, cutting the card board is a simple i.e. a rectangle of length 2*(l + b) and breadth (b + h).

We know that, the cuboid with minimum surface area for a given volume is a ‘cube’. But that is not the case here as there is extra 2b2 area.

Let F(l, b, h) = (l + b) * (b + h) = lb + lh + b2 + bh       Ignore the factor 2 for time being

To eliminate factor ‘l’ from the expression, substitute l = V/bh     (Since lbh = V)

F(b,h) = V/h + V/b + b2 + bh

Differentiate partially w.r.t. ‘h’,   Fh(b,h) = -V/h2 + b

Equating to zero, we get, b = V/ h2

Substituting for V = lbh, we get, b = lbh/h2 or l = h.

Rewriting the problem, by substituting l = h, we get,

V = bh2

Area = 2 * (h + b)2

(h + b)2 is minimum when (h + b) is minimum, since (h+b) can’t get negative.

Minimise (h + b), given bh2 = V

Let, F(b,h) = h + b

We can eliminate the variable b by substituting for b = V/h2

F(h) = h + V/ h2

On differentiation, F’(h) = 1 – 2V/h3

Equating to zero, we get, h3 = 2V or h = (2V)1/3

Now, b = V/h2 or b = (V/4)1/3

For optimal solution, l = (2V)1/3, b = (V/4)1/3 and h = (2V)1/3

In our case of 500 ml pouches, though the volume of coconut oil is 10 litres, about 25% allowance should be given to accommodate the pouch film, and the pouch though flexible is not a perfect fluid to occupy all the space inside the box. So, the volume of carton box required is 12.5 litres or 12500 cubic cms. So, the dimensions of carton box area l = 29.24 cms, b = 14.62 cms and h = 29.24 cms for V = 12500.

Comparison
At present, we are using the standard sized carton box for both half litre and one litre pouches. We don’t have any other option now as our order quantities are small.

l = 32, b = 19 and h = 21, V = 12768 cm3 and A = 4080 cm2

For V = 12768, with minima solution, we have just arrived, l = 29.45, b = 14.72, h = 29.45 A = 3902 cm2

Or the ideal solution is 4.35% better. It may look insignificant but carton box is a packing raw material with repeated use and large quantity. So, it can result in significant cost savings. At Cocoguru, we examine each of these items for its costs and try and minimise it without compromising on customer value.

Cutting Costs is not about Cutting Corners but about careful Value Engineering.

By |October 24th, 2010|0 Comments

Cocoguru Coconut Industries Private Limited – Incorporated

Company Facts

Name – Cocoguru Coconut Industries Private Limited
Registered Office
IV-616,Sri Rama Building, Main Road,
Yelmudi, Puttur Taluk, Dakshina Kannada District,
Karnataka State, India. PIN – 574201
Business Activity – Manufacturing of Coconut based products, Presently Pure Coconut Oil
Promoters
Shivashankar Bhat – Chairman
Keshava Ram – Managing Director
Santhosh – Director
Gayathri Devi – Director
Incorporation Date – 2nd September, 2010 (World Coconut Day)

Why Cocoguru Coconut Industries?
Cocoguru brand has a simple vision of “spreading the benefits of coconut to people”. Brand was launched in early 2010 to direct Sri Rama Industries’ focus on manufacturing coconut based products. Now the business activities of the brand Cocoguru are separated to a new company. Having the same product brand and corporate brand simplifies the branding process.

Dissecting each aspect of the name, we have

  • Cocoguru – Trademark, brand name
  • Coconut – Vision, brand essence is about Coconuts
  • Industries – Business activity is not just about trading/marketing, it also involves manufacturing

Why Private Limited company?
Forming a company is not compulsory as

  • The cost of incorporation, amount of procedures and regulations are high in a company
  • All the promoters and top management personnel are in the same family
  • The company has no external equity investors as of now

Yet we have formed a company because

  • It enables separation of personal and business activities
  • It enables us to raise funds though sale of equity when chances of raising debt funds have exhausted
  • It enables professional management by bringing in professional managers on merit and family can cede day to day management activities to them.
  • Promoters are very serious about the business; want to scale it to a high level and become a Public Limited company

What is the future of Sri Rama Industries?
Sri Rama Industries is a proprietorship concern started in 1987 by Shivashankar Bhat for Coconut Oil manufacturing.

  • The existing manufacturing setup at Parladka will be tailored to just provide job work service. Whereby local farmers can get oil extracted from their own copra using our facility.
  • The existing retail outlet cum copra collection centre at Yelmudi will be used to distribute Cocoguru company’s products to local, Puttur market and collect copra on behalf of Cocoguru Company.
  • The 1st floor of the building at Yelmudi will be rented out to the company for its Registered Office.
  • Sri Rama Industries being the owner of trademark Cocoguru, will license it to the company for marketing its products.
  • Sri Rama Industries will also carry out non-coconut based businesses like trading of Til Oil, Pepper and Honey.

What now/next for the Company?
The company has the following agenda for the next 1 year.

  • A new factory, at new site, to manufacture and pack coconut oil
  • Factory will be highly mechanized/automated/modern, ISO 22000 Food Safety management standard
  • Have a copra crushing facility of 15 tons in 24 hours
  • Acquire all the necessary licenses and commence production in 6 months.
  • Spread the market/distribution network for Cocoguru products from Puttur to whole of Dakshina Kannada
  • Begin supply of edible copra and by products like Oil cake and 2nd quality copra

Company got incorporated on 2nd September, recognized as World Coconut Day. For the company that does its business with coconuts, its truly a great day to be born. Seek the blessings and everything (kalpa) of ‘Kalpavrisksha’ for the company’s great future.

By |September 2nd, 2010|3 Comments

Book Review – “The Coconut Oil Miracle” by Bruce Fife

Coconut Oil Miracle

Coconut Oil Miracle


If a 250 page book has to be written exclusively on one product, without much repetition, making full sense with understandable logic, by veteran nutritionist, then this should suggest how miraculous the product (Coconut Oil) should be. Now, why isn’t there a similar book that talks about the so called healthy and widely used oils like Sunflower Oil, Soyabean Oil or Hydogenated Oils (Vanaspati)?

Book is smartly organised because the author understands that readers have been misinformed so far. In the first chapter he works on dispelling the deeply held myths. In the next he builds the foundation by discussing about the basic of fats and human body. In each of the subsequent chapters he discusses each one of those benefits giving scientific reasons and examples. To conclude he guides the reader on how one can buy and use coconut oil.

Summary of the book
The truth about the miraculous benefits of coconut oil has been hidden by the western companies to protect their business interests. Tropical oils like Coconut Oil and Palm Kernel oils used to be popular in America and was a threat to their domestic soyabean oil industry. In order to popularise their products they had to somehow prove that tropical oils were bad. So they funded a research to say that coconut oil contains saturated fats and saturated fats are the cause for heart related diseases. They proved this by testing using a hydrogenated fat on rat. Later the went on a massive campaign against tropical oils and promoting their oils. The domestic edible oil companies made their monies but with it went the health of average american. He has acquired obesity, heart disceases and many others.

Saturated fats are highly stable as all the carbon atoms have formed bonds with hydrogen atoms and carbon atoms bond with each other through stable single bonds. Unsaturated fats have a few double bonds between carbon atoms and they are free to break down into toxic free radicals and oxidation causing rancidity. Oxidation and free radical formation are accelerated when heat, light and pressure is applied. That is why Coconut oil can be stored conveniently for 2 years while other oils hardly last 6 months.

Fatty acids have chains of varying length of carbon atoms ones with less than 12 carbon atoms are medium chain and more than 12 atoms are long chain. Shorter the length easier it is to digest. Fatty acids found in coconut oil are medium chain and they are quickly digested by lever to get energy while other fats are stored. That is why replacing other oils by coconut oil can promote weight loss. Also coconut oil is used by athletes who need quick burst of energy.

Coconut Oil has excellent anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties with no side effects. That is why it is among the ultimate natural medicine. If people come to know of this the pharmaceutical companies will lose business big time. Coconut Oil is used in most Ayurvedic therapies and ancient Indians were aware of the benefits. AIDS has no cure and AIDS patients are advised to consumer coconut oil as it gives them immunity that they severely lack.

Coconut Oil is a great anti-oxidant, removes dead cells and gives complexion to skin and hair. It is very good at preventing premature aging of skin.

Coconut Oil can be Virgin or refined(RBD – Refined, Bleached & Deodorized). Virgin is one which is extracted by least amount of processing, it has the natural coconut smell and taste. In Refined version it is subjected to about 200 degree heat and chemicals, it is bland and will not overpower the taste of food on which it is used. Author recommends the Virgin Coconut Oil.

This is just a summary and the book contains a lot more interesting facts and analysis to make for a fascinating reading. I personally am both delighted and angered on reading the book. Delighted because I have grown up (still continue) consuming coconut oil for all purposes (edible and cosmetic). Never knew such wonderful properties of coconut oil. Angered because the american companies, doctors have maligned people from consuming coconut oil into unhealthy refined and hydrogenated oils. The author or I don’t suggest that Coconut Oil is the only healthy oil. Other healthy fats are Butter/Ghee, Olive Oil, Til Oil and Palm Kernel Oil in raw form. But Virgin Coconut Oil is the healthiest of all.

Read the book online @ Google Books

Buy the book @ flipkart.com

By |May 16th, 2010|0 Comments

Unique challenge with marketing pure edible coconut oil in small packets

It is logical that per unit cost of a commodity sold in bulk is less than that sold in lesser quantity. But that difference isn’t very significant. Ideally, if 1 litre of coconut oil pouch costs 60 Rs, 100 ml pouch should be around 6.5 Rs if not just 6 Rs. Government tax laws makes it costlier.

Here is how
Pure coconut oil is used all over India as a hair oil (cosmetic purpose) but people of coastal Karnataka and Kerala use it for cooking (edible purpose) also. Edible items are considered essential commodities and are taxed less. Government in its bid to differentiate the usage of pure coconut oil has come out with this dubious way of classification. All packets above 200gms are for edible purpose, attracts no excise duty and 4% VAT. All packets at or under 200 gms attracts 8.24% excise duty and 13.5% VAT OR combined (8.24% + 13.5% + 8.24%*13.5%) 22.85% ~ 23%. So, 100 ml pouch which was 6.5 Rs without tax now becomes 8 Rs after tax i.e. 80 Rs per litre. 1 litre pack which was 60 Rs before tax will become 62.4 Rs after tax. That is a difference of 17.5 Rs or 28%!

Why is this dubious?
Lower end consumers like the daily wage workers who use coconut oil for cooking like to buy in smaller quantities. They have to shell out 28% extra for an absolutely essential item like edible oil despite their inability to afford. Government is essentially heavily taxing those poor consumers while it should have done it otherwise.

This anomaly presents a great opportunity to unorganized coconut oil manufacturers to avoid taxes and sell cheap gaining a clear 23% (combined tax) price advantage over branded organized players. The consumers at this segment are extremely price conscious and are willing to switch brands for price difference. How can brands compete with them?

A more sensible way is to classify based on whether they follow the food standards i.e. Prevention of Food Adulteration Act (PFA) and have an Edible Oil Packing (EOP) License. Those brands that follow PFA guidelines and have EOP license should be considered as essential and hence less tax.

News Item about the same issue – Marico to move court on coconut oil excise notice, Dabur May Follow Suit.

By |April 18th, 2010|1 Comment