ERODE: Where does the road to success lead? If it may be said that it leads to the District Supply and Marketing Society (DSMS) office at 6, Cutchery Road, Erode, it will not be off the mark. Under the brand name `Bhavani', DSMS has been selling self-help groups' products to a great success. The floor mats and tablemats, towels, pillows, mattresses, bedspreads, footwear and `tops' are in great demand. Among the products, bed sheets and bedspreads top the sales; the two bringing average monthly revenue between Rs. 15,000 and Rs. 17,000. Even doormats sell around Rs. 10,000 a month. Saleswoman Subbulakshmi says Bhavani's advantages are the increasing demand for products and their competitive pricing. "Our products are cheaper by about 35 per cent," she adds.
The Project Officer of the District Rural Development Agency, R. Rajashree, says the DSMS is able to sell quality products at a cheaper price because the supply-chain is pretty short. "SHGs sell products directly to DSMS, which helps us (the DRDA), the groups in terms of better profit margins, and the customers who gets a good price." But such a good business has been going on only in the past couple of years.
The annual sales in 2003-04 and 2004-05, which were Rs. 29,765 and Rs. 33,953 respectively, today stands at Rs. 6,20,107. Ms. Rajashree attributes the increased sales to three reasons: strategic location of the shop, good display of products and prompt payment to groups.
The shop's presence on Cutchery Road, close to the town's main market is an advantage. Shoppers proceeding to the main market drop in quite often, resulting in increased sales. Saleswoman Ms. Subbulakshmi says the footfall is between 50 and 60 a day. As for the display of goods, the Project Officer says they have put up glass windows and displayed their products with good lighting to ensure better visibility.
And, regarding payment, she adds earlier the groups, after supplying their products, had to wait for about a month. This has now been reduced, and at present, the DSMS sends payment within a week, ensuring continuous supply of goods. Given the roaring success, the DSMS has increased its floor space. Collector T. Udayachandran is likely to inaugurate the new portion of the shop shortly.