The manufacturing industry adheres to those industries which involve the manufacturing and processing of items and revel in either creation of new commodities or in value addition. The manufacturing industry accounts for a notable share of the industrial sector in developed countries.
The final products can either serve as finished goods for sale to customers or as intermediate goods used in the production process.
Manufacturing industries came into being with the phenomenon of technological and socio-economic transformations in Western countries in the 18th and 19th century.
This was widely known as the Industrial Revolution. It began in Britain and replaced labour-intensive textile production with mechanization and the use of fuels.
Manufacturing industries are the principal wealth-producing sectors of an economy. These industries use diverse technologies and methods widely known as manufacturing process management.
Manufacturing industries are widely categorized into engineering industries, construction industries, electronics industries, chemical industries, energy industries, textile industries, food and beverage industries, metal working industries, plastic industries, and transport and telecommunication industries.
Manufacturing industries are crucial for an economy as they employ a huge share of the labour force and produce materials required by sectors of strategic importance such as national infrastructure and defense.
However, not all manufacturing industries are beneficial to the nation as some of them produce negative externalities with colossal social costs. The cost of letting such industries flourish may even surpass the benefits created by them.
Our editorial team had a conversation with Sujit Kumar, the CEO of Saturn Fibre, about his organization, his professional journey, and life in general. Here are the edited excerpts.
Can you tell us the chronicles of your successes, challenges, and major responsibilities?
I think it started from manufacturing FRP decorative articles at a low volume three years back, today, we have reached the level of a recognized brand of playground equipment manufacturer and supplier from eastern India. We have built a team where things are not dependent on any individual.
Department-wise job classification, role allocation, and understanding of bottleneck in the system is the priority. We are growing at least 25% to 30% every year, and the goals are very clear to all members down to the shop floor.
A concept like "Park Annual Maintenance" which has been introduced to customers at a very reasonable price at the time of booking their first order with us, is a win-win situation for either side.
We have introduced a booklet for understanding our equipment and its safety to all concerned customers. Within three years, we have enhanced our product categories.
Initially, getting the acceptance from local customers was a bigger challenge. With our better cost, quality, and commitment, gradually, we were able to convince them to do business with us.
I think getting your customers engaged for the very first time and making them at your side forever is the basic mantra of business, which we are trying to achieve through our box commitment to customers' concerns.
We have never forced our products to them rather, understanding their needs and recommending them a better selection is our priority. Customer satisfaction and the safety parameters of our equipment are our prime responsibilities. We take feedback at regular intervals to optimize our product design and material.
The 'inception story' of your organization. How did the idea come about?
Started my entrepreneurship journey about 3 years back after quitting a well-paid overseas job. I found no major challenges in continuing the same routine and doing the same job every day.
Decided to take a risk wholeheartedly against the decision of my well-wishers and relatives. With an idea to do something different from what I was doing for the past 13 years of my life, started with a partnership firm which didn't last long and just collapsed within a year.
Being in the depth of emotional turbulence I witnessed more mistakes in decision-making and was literally on the verge of quitting. But one thing that remained intact was my perseverance. I believed in myself, and that belief drives me to continuously work as a team leader today.
How efficient is your organization from an operational standpoint? Where does it stand today?
Since inception, all our activities have had customers' concerns as the topmost priority. We boast of our superior product quality which we take as a pillar for a start-up company like us.
There were instances where we executed deals at a loss, but that too was executed under a strict quality adherence policy. We have updated our quality lab with modern testing machinery that helps us achieve the optimum parameters.
Well-defined SOPS on the shop floor, quality RM selection with valid test certificates from vendors, and better packaging and logistics keep us ahead of our competitors.
How many established connections to other businesses does your organisation have? Brief us about your clientele.
We have established an excellent reputation for product quality and services which helped us to link with some of the big clients in business. Some highly reputed institutions have become our dedicated clients like units of DAV, Xavier's, DPS, etc.
We have contributed substantially under the Swatch Bharat Abhiyan. We are into park development at many municipal corporations under the AMRUT park scheme. We are also supplying materials to some proposed Smart city projects. We have contributed to the Open Defecation Free India initiative through the supply of FRP toilets.
What didn't you get a chance to include on your résumé?
How old were you when you had your first paying job?
What is your favorite quote?
"It always seems impossible until it is done"
Throughout your journey, who inspired you?
How would you describe yourself in one word?
What are you most proud of?
Being from a middle-class family with a modest background
Which one thing do you wish you'd done differently?
I would have started my company much earlier, at least 5 years before the date of inception
How do you keep your employee keen and motivated?
I do personally call and counsel them regularly. Offering attractive perks and increments based on target achievement and highlighting the achievement of individuals by nominating "employee of the month".
What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?
Prompt decision making
What is one mistake you witness leaders are making more frequently than others?
Expectations from an employee
What are a few resources you would recommend to someone looking to gain insight into becoming a better leader?
Reading success stories
What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader?
Staying updated with the industry norms, new developments, and competitors.
Is every day the same in the life of a business leader?
Yes, but the challenges may differ
If I say to a bunch of people who know you, 'Give me three adjectives that describe you the best,' what would I hear?
Ambitious, daring, and late.
What have been your responsibilities towards society?
We take our CSR as one of our priorities. We have been offering our products at discounted rates to NGOs and the Indian Army.
If you had one piece of advice for someone just starting, what would it be?
Do your homework with product and demography, check your backup finances to sustain your business, and have patience for at least 5 years.