The quest for the perfect chip led PepsiCo to enter into a partnership with BASIX, a company that provides financial services to the poor. While the former would gain a quality crop of potatoes, the latter would help the farmers with loans. But was this relationship so rosy? Professors Gita Bajaj and Neelu Bhullar of the Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurgaon, are co-authors of this award-winning case.
After a routine meeting with local farmers on March 15, 2007, when Mihir Sahana, Area Manager for BASIX in Jharkhand, India, returned to his office he found an email from Shishir Ranjan, Manager Agriculture/Business Development Services (Ag/BDS), reminding him of the PepsiCo-BASIX Partnership project-performance review presentation that was planned for the following week. The presentation was to be made to Samiran Das, Operations Director, PepsiCo Inc., and S Ramachandran, Senior Vice-President, Bhartiya Samruddhi Finance Ltd.(BASIX Group Co.). However, before that, Sahana and Ranjan had to brainstorm to explain the mediocre second-year results of the PepsiCo-BASIX partnership. The road ahead needed to be charted, given that the project was precariously positioned – the first year had been a runaway success, but the second year results required loopholes that needed to be addressed.