Chandra Mohan – The Story of a Ice Candy Seller Becoming the MD of Arun Ice Creams

Operation Flood launched in India in the year 1970 gave way to organizations like Amul—the taste of India, Nandini Milk—Milk that is Pure, Aavin Milk—Even Better Than Gold. While Amul is well-known brand across Nation, Nandini Milk federation from the state of Karnataka and Aavin milk federation from the state of Tamil Nadu also have a big market share in the Dairy industry. One common factor about all these three federations is all of them Govt. run machinery. But we also have private players in the market who are giving stiff competition to these federations. One such prominent player is Hatsun Agro Product Ltd, from Chennai and its founder Mr Chandra Mohan, who has crossed various hurdles in building his empire of Dairy Products that sells 1 million litres of milk every day and has its flagship product Arun Icecreams which has earned reputation even in abroad countries.

PC: thehindu.com

Early Days

Chandra Mohan was born in a place called Thiruthangal in Virudhanagar district of Tamil Nadu. Born in a family struggling to meet the ends, he had to face a lot of hardships. Unable to manage the family needs, his family sold their property for Rs. 13000. Chandra Mohan got an opportunity to start a business with this Rs.13000, and he floated a company called RG Chandramohan & Co in the year 1970. The same company was restructured as Hatsun Agro Products Ltd. in the year 1986. But his career as an Entrepreneur can be divided into two phases 1) Pre-Royapuram Days and 2) Post-Royapuram Days. It was the pre-Royapuram days that gave him 360-degree exposure to the hardship of life and him along with three pillars of his company — Pandian, Rajendran, and Paramasivan started manufacturing ice creams from a rented 250 sq. ft. Place and sold it in pushcarts across the city of Chennai. Chandra Mohan today can immediately give information about different areas of Chennai in his fingertips because he has sold ice creams in every nook and corner of Chennai on his pushcart. He never paints a rosy picture about his venture as if his dream was to become an entrepreneur instead he agrees that for earning livelihood he had to do something and ice cream selling became his profession. His first ten years of the journey was full of struggle with the majority of ice cream manufacturers operating from cottage industries, and he had to compete with 40,000 odd players in the market. But he was ready to plunge into the organized sector and capitalized on his initial success to give an organized/structured form to his business. In the first year, he made a turnover of Rs. 1,50,000 and during the 1990s the turnover reached Rs.3 Cr.

The Post-Royapuram Days

He was not contented with just Ice Cream Business, as he made a name in Ice Cream business his rapport with farmers providing him with the dairy products had grown stronger, approximately around 4 Lakh farmers supply him with raw dairy products. He started looking at new horizons by venturing into agro products and dairy products through Hatsun Agro products ltd. Thus along with his flagship product called Arun Icecreams other products like Arokya Milk and Gomatha Milk products became his trademark ones.

Today the company operates from a 3 million sq. ft workspace with 8000 employees. His company has maintained its brand image in ice cream sector by launching Ibaco ice creams a few years back and also has retained the traditional/old-fashioned ice cream parlours with cosy room set up, plastic chairs and round tables with a freezer operated by one person to cater to the customers.

Operational Details

Hatsun agro Ltd. collects dairy products from nearly 4 Lakh farmers spread across 10,500 villages in South India. Payments to the farmers are done in a systematic and transparent way through bank transfers. The company has nearly 10,150 collection centres, 98 chilling centres and nearly 400 bulk coolers with 2,400 distribution centres.  Approximately 27 Lakh litres of milk is collected daily, and one-third of the market share is in the state of Tamil Nadu. The processing of milk takes place in 10 different locations with regular tests for quality assurance.

While its flagship product Arun ice cream is a branded name in south India with over 1000 exclusive parlours in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. Arun Ice cream comes in nearly 70 flavours, and colour magic is one flavour that is considered to be a trendsetter in Ice cream arena. Most importantly Hatsun has set up a 3000 litres per day ice cream plant in Seychelles in the year 2008 and also come up with a plant in Fiji in the year 2009 and has set up one more plant in Brunei. As aforementioned, Arokya and Gomatha are two milk products of Hatsun Agro that caters to the needs of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Goa. The company has dairy units located in Kancheepuram, Salem, and Chennai in Tamil Nadu and Belgaum in the state of Karnataka.

Views on Controversy Surrounding Adulterated Milk in Private Sector

Chandra Mohan categorically rules out the recent comments made by Tamil Nadu minister for Dairy Development affairs as baseless and unfortunate that all private milk producers serve adulterated milk. Speaking about his own company, He stresses to the point that they send Refrigerator built trucks to all villages for procuring milk so that milk is not contaminated. He also points to the fact that Arokya Milk is tested in National Dairy Research Institute at Karnal and it gets exported to countries like Singapore and Canada.

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