Mansukhbhai Prajapati of Mitticool is a case-study of what a man with vision, mission and ignition can achieve in real life. Starting with not even humble roots, Mansukhbhai Prajapati is now the extraordinary entrepreneur, the true grass-roots innovator, the real son of the soil. Mitticool is backed by National Innovation Foundation (NIF), Gujarat Grassroots Innovations Augmentation Network (GIAN), HoneyBee Network, sristi.org. Mansukhbhai Prajapati is known to about 3 Presidents of India, if not more.
Mitticool has a huge factory in Wankaner with more than 100 workers. Mitticool products are available on Amazon, they claim that they have 50 show-rooms of their own and that they have a tie-up with Big Bazaar of Future Group.
Mansukhbhai Prajapati and Mitticool are examples of what a man with persistence and patience can achieve. A true real-life success story for millions to take inspiration and motivation from.
My wife and I visited Mitticool factory and their Wankaner show-room on 6th November 2018. We also got a chance to speak to Mansukhbhai Prajapati himself and it was very stimulating to speak to the person of his calibre and achievements. However, the first-hand experience also led to some doubts regarding the continuation of the success story of Mitticool. It seemed that Mitticool was getting bogged down by its own success and future expectations. Some issues that Mitticool can do without are listed below.
Lack of systems – production, quality control, inventory, sales. Any systems for that matter.
I will quote couple of examples. We saw a couple of women workers pouring mitti into the moulds at the factory. I asked them about the time taken to remove the moulds; I was told that it depends on the quality that they want. A perfect answer. Just that, there is no system to measure the time, it is an approximation. There is no measure of the density of the raw material – mitti being poured/used. I asked about the quality of the finished products – I was answered that it is perfect unless broken.
My wife bought products worth Rs. 1665/- from the Wankaner show-room on 6th November 2018. It is yet to be dispatched as of today, 17th November 2018. There has been a number of reasons given to us for the delay – transporters are closed for Diwali so they cannot give us the rate for courier, the person who speaks to transporters is on leave, and now the latest reason is that the person who billed us is not available. She made the bill in the article description that only she knows, so other people in the show-room are unable to decide what to pack. They are waiting for the sales-girl who made the bill to come back.
Price difference across channels
Mitticool website is selling 1 litre water bottle at Rs. 333/-, it is available on Amazon at Rs. 399/- and we bought 800 ml water bottle from the show-room at Rs. 104/-.
Mitticool website is selling simple tawa (3 piece – 10 inch) at Rs. 399/-. A single 10 inch clay tawa with a handle from Mitticool is available on Amazon at Rs. 498.81. We bought 10 inch tawa at Rs. 20/- per piece from the show-room.
Lack of sales channels and low entry barrier
Mitticool’s products are amazing. Ideally, it should be available across the country like say Prestige products. Yet, they do not seem to be coming out of the exhibition mode. Despite the claim of 50 owned show-rooms and presence in Big Bazaar, I am sceptical about this. I am yet to see Mitticool products available, leave aside freely available.
To make matters worse, there is a surfeit of me-too brands. We saw another brand in Wankaner itself with the pre-fix Mitti and having a decent show-room on the highway itself before one takes the turn inside for the Mitticool show-room. Similarly, I searched for Mitticool products on Amazon and it showed more than 5 brands for the same products. Competition is, of course, good, but not when they rip off the successful model and make their own.
Involvement of family members
Similar to Indian business houses, political parties and movie stars, Mansukhbhai Prajapati’s sons also have entered the Mitticool business. We met two of them, one had no clue whatsoever and the other seemed to have no value addition of his own. A brief discussion is surely not enough to draw inferences, but Mansukhbhai Prajapati needs to be sure of his sons’ involvement for the betterment of the business.
Lack of quality manpower
We were told that Mitticool accepts payments by Paytm. I asked whose mobile number it is linked to. I was told that it is linked to Mansukhbhai Prajapati’s number.
We saw 5 young people in the show-room, 6 unopened desktops, but nobody who can speak to customers about the products.
I have been calling them up twice daily for the last 3 days for the shipment of our order and there is nobody who can decide what’s to be done with nothing being done.
Mansukhbhai Prajapati has toiled hard and put in his blood and sweat to bring Mitticool where it is today. It is an inspiration to future generations of India of what all can be done with sheer grit and determination.
I sincerely hope that Mansukhbhai Prajapati and Mitticool continue to scale greater heights and take care of the issues that we faced first-hand dealing with them in their home-town.
For along with them, they carry the aspiration and hope of all Indians that it is not just the case of Indians Win, India Lose; but Indians Win, India Wins.