These are test times – for the players, administrators and the other stakeholders connected to the world of sport. The viewers have been reduced to the television audience, but they get entertainment from the sports world. The challenges that manufacturers of sporting goods faced were enormous.
When the lockdown was first announced in March 2020, the world of sports manufacturers had collapsed. The industry has faced a variety of issues, with tackling duplicate products in their brand names being the main one. However, the coronavirus-induced lockdown meant the company had to be temporarily closed, which affected revenue, which in turn made life difficult for workers.
Rakesh Mahajan from BDM and Paras Anand from SG accepted the challenge and made sure the workers did not fall victim to the harsh circumstances. “The first priority, of course, was to keep our workers’ spirits high,” Mahajan said. For Paras, the focus was on keeping the workers’ mood “positive”. Obviously it wasn’t easy, but they didn’t give up.
“We continued our production (despite the pandemic last year) because we had orders from overseas – especially from Great Britain and Canada. I remember post-Diwali sales picking up again when retail sales picked up. It was a boost. But all of that collapsed in April. It’s kind of crippling because the summer holidays were the best time for us, ”says Paras Anand from SG. – Special arrangement
Mahajan recalled, “Revenues went down and manufacturing was a big success because the requirements decreased. It was an unprecedented situation for us. The lockdown was a harrowing experience. But we stuck to it by following the instructions of the authorities. We had 50 percent employees working with all applicable health and safety protocols – social distancing and proper disinfection. I would only call the staff three days a week because the requirements had dwindled, but I didn’t compromise on the workers’ salaries. “
For Paras it was: “Stay positive. We had no idea what this pandemic was or how long it was going to last. In all honesty, it was impossible to understand the gravity of the situation. We have stopped all operations and we have planned better days when the pandemic would be over. We had to dig into our reserves and give our employees salaries. “
It had never happened before. There were no sports. Coaching camps had been canceled. Hundreds of academies had closed. “It was so daunting. I had never known such a challenge in my career. The business pressure was enormous. Sales fell because there was no physical activity anywhere. Would you believe that almost 2000 academies in Noida and Gurgaon had to close? The children were most affected because they were forced to stay inside, ”said Mahajan.
“Business was under pressure,” said Paras. “We continued our production because we had orders from overseas – especially from Great Britain and Canada. I remember post-Diwali sales picking up again when retail sales picked up. It was a boost. But all of that collapsed in April. It’s kind of crippling because the summer vacation was the best time for us. “
Timber cut and ready for bat making at BDM. – Special arrangement
Summer holidays offer these manufacturers the best platform. “There are times when we struggle to meet the requirements because there are thousands of academies that train young people. Coaches want the best equipment because equipment playing is important, ”Mahajan emphasizes.
Without wanting to sound pompous, Mahajan shared some lesser-known aspects of his work. “I hate to tell you this, but we are very proud to share this information. Despite the decline in sales, BDM has not stopped sponsoring more than 3000 children in all age groups. We’re still giving each of these talented players a £ 50,000 full kit. It’s our contribution to the game. Aside from the Skill category, we’ve also sponsored female cricketers. We will continue to do so. “
The biggest obstacle for these sports manufacturers was meeting the requirements.
“The challenge starts with sourcing and preserving the raw material,” says Paras. “We have to get the job done within a timeframe for sourcing, manufacturing, and preserving. We also have to fulfill the sponsorship duties. We have approximately 100 junior players, 65 top-class cricketers and 30 international players. Shefali Varma is the latest to endorse our products. Some academies had just restarted, but this lockdown has caused havoc. When we source raw materials, we have to finish the product within a certain time. We have to store the products if they cannot reach the market. It costs and sometimes losses when they rot. “
Mahajan emphasized: “The government wants to support the employees. You talk about start-ups, but I want laws that protect us. It’s difficult to keep track of duplicate products being sold on our behalf. We often go to sports stores to check the stuff and bring it to the police’s attention, but it doesn’t help because there are no laws to punish the scammers. There are big companies that have been doing this for years, but we have been helpless. “
The end product at BDM. – Special arrangement
Regarding losses, Mahajan said, “We have promoted this new concept of working from home. We allow workers to make balls, gloves and pads from home. Bats only have to be manufactured in the factory based on the specifications and can only be manufactured on the machines. Unfortunately, some of the workers also let us down by giving duplicate things. “
Mahajan and Paras believe that they play a constructive role in the development of the game by constantly meeting the demands of the players and also taking care of those who make the play equipment. Mahajan shares: “There are many raw materials that are wasted. It takes three months to prepare a worker to learn the intricacies of ball making. £ 1 worth of materials is also wasted, but it’s part of the job. “
The world of sport is waiting for the pandemic to end for normalcy to return to the field of play. These are difficult times for Mahajan and Paras, but it is thanks to them that they keep their co-workers in a positive mood.