AHMEDABAD: Get ready to carry one more plastic card in your wallet. And be sure, this card will not attract unsolicited calls from pushy salesmen. Last week, the Amul Dairy kick-started trials for milk card on its newly-installed milk vending machine at its headquarters in Anand.
Earlier in December 2007, ET had reported co-operative giant’s plans to install Any Time Milk (ATM) machines. Apart from Gujarat, Amul brand of liquid milk is available in Delhi, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Kolkata and Madhya Pradesh among other states.
Amul Dairy has already installed one machine at its headquarters in Anand and is witnessing encouraging footfalls. “We are receiving good response from the consumers but need to make the machine more user-friendly. Instead of mere cash, now we are experimenting special cards on the lines of debit cards. The card will have to be recharged periodically to use ATM,” said a senior official with Amul Dairy.
The dairy has plans to install ATMs in major centres in the days to come. The official said that Amul is eyeing major cities and spots like railway stations and bus stands where the floating population is huge.
“The ATMs would also be placed in remote areas where we are yet to have strong distribution network. We may also tie up with organised retailers to get space in their outfits. ATMs would prove beneficial for the dual income households who spend most of their daytime at work and find it difficult to buy milk at odd hours,” said the official.
The cards may also be used for loyalty programmes since the competition in the major milk markets is heating up. “Largely, the organised dairy players are competing with the unorganised players. But lately, the organised players have started competing with each other and the cards will have much bigger role for us to play in days to come,” said the official.
It may be recalled here that milk consumers of Ahmedabad and Mumbai were offered a range of freebies by the dairy industry when both Amul Dairy and National Dairy Development Board’s Mother Dairy locked horns.
Mother Dairy Delhi has already deployed milk vending machines in Delhi market while Amul Dairy is now likely to follow the suit. However, Amul Dairy will install modern technology that can accept currency and card and eject pouch instead of coin that delivers loose milk. Amul Dairy would claim better hygiene factor at its vending machines. Amul Dairy is already capitalising on freshness of its products over its competitors who are selling milk made from powder.