Innovation, Drive and Power Women – The success story of OrelBuy


The prevailing COVID-19 pandemic re-defined how people sourced basic needs with little or no physical contact to minimize the risk of infection and as a part of this effort , innovative conglomerate, Orel Corporation embarked on a new global portfolio brand titled ‘Empowering Humanity’ that encompassed easy-to-use applications to enable easy access to daily essentials and requirements needed by the community .


This led to a team of four self-empowered women at Orel to make inroads into launching the futuristic brand OrelBuy – a premier online store offering a safe, quick and easy way of purchasing everyday items from home with delivery offered to the doorstep. 


Heshani Wijewardena,Manager Merchandising, Iroshini Kumarage, Process Engineer, Priyanka Perera, the Head of I4 Business Units and Wijayanthi Karunakaran, Assistant Manager Administration-Digital Commerce, collaborated to enhance and extend the services of the brand, which  since its launch, has expanded its partnership with a variety of merchants and is continuously adding new products to its online store. Moreover, payments are completely cashless via OrelPay, the payment partner for OrelBuy that   offers the simple swipe of a QR code option. 


Given the remote work status and challenges around manufacturing in such an environment, conceptualizing and developing this application wasn’t an easy task. “Although there was a pandemic in force, we still operated in an extremely dynamic environment where we had to embrace rapid changes and incorporate improvements in real time ,that was essential to support our journey to make the brand a success,” explained Iroshini. She said even though these changes proved challenging , the team’s determination and positive attitude led to the brand being enthusiastically embraced by the general public. 


Wijayanthi agrees, adding she “believes that special personality traits like energy, drive and being naturally empathetic made it easier for us women to embrace change and continue to thrive in a demanding industry like ours.”


Explaining the specific manufacturing role played by the team in ensuring the business viability and success of OrelBuy, Heshani said it was a case of continuously following up with importers and local suppliers on orders and incorporating the shortest and safest ways to obtain raw material and finished goods in Sri Lanka due to sourcing restrictions. “Securing the right suppliers for OrelBuy was extremely challenging during the pandemic as we couldn’t predict anything because the supply chain landscape kept changing frequently and we always worked with a backup plan” she said. 


 These included a digital platform that was created within a short span of time, to ensure managing continuous end-to-end functions that included handling the stored products in a warehouse,  managing the physical stores, the packing operation for online orders, and   ensuring timely delivery of goods to customers within the stipulated deadlines. 


The power team believes that despite the challenges in managing the day-to-day operation remotely and ensuring the smooth functionality of OrelBuy, it’s the company’s inclusive and open culture that keeps all teams motivated. “There’s freedom of expression and everyone’s ideas and feedback is considered. That’s key when you’re in the business of innovation,” adds Priyanka. 


“We believe that building and fostering a diversity and inclusion strategy that is truly lived in our organization is a catalyst for success and a foundation for innovation which in turn will translate to long-term business benefits for OREL and we will continue to drive and align diversity and inclusion efforts across the entire organization at all points  affirmed Mr.Chaminda De Silva, General Manager, Business Development, OREL Corporation.