A Visionary Leader – Arijit Basu: Steering Veedol into the Future

Arijit Basu
Arijit Basu

In the ever-evolving world of lubricants, Arijit Basu shines as a visionary leader guiding Veedol (Tide Water Oil Co. (I) Ltd.) towards a brighter future. As the company’s Managing Director, he brings a wealth of experience in sales, marketing, product management, and business development, making him a well-rounded leader at the helm of this iconic brand.

Arijit’s vision isn’t solely focused on the product itself. He understands that the lubricants industry is undergoing a significant transformation, with a growing emphasis on sustainability and technological advancements.

Arijit explains more about Tide Water Oil Co. (India) Ltd., the owner of the brand Veedol, a leading manufacturer and marketer of quality lubricants in over 65 countries worldwide. In India, it has been catering to both automotive and industrial segments since 1928.

From Sales Trainee to MD – A Thrilling Journey of a Million Milestones 

As a visionary leader in the industry, Arijit’s journey started in the late nineties as a young Chemistry graduate with a heart full of enthusiasm for learning and a mind aspiring to explore new places and people.

The world back then was surely very different, with the millennium approaching and a generation about to experience an evolution of information technology transformations. His innate ability to learn fast in a new environment and willingness to take the path uncharted helped Arijit plunge into the world of work as a “Sales Trainee” with a Swiss Multinational company in Specialty Construction Chemicals.

This urge to be open to learning kept him going. Every new challenge turned into one more new opportunity, and eventually, his interest in exploring and understanding people gave him a strong base in the several functions of general management.

The journey from a Sales Trainee to the Managing Director has been thrilling and full of life-transforming learnings and experiences. Arijit says, “My passion for learning, travelling to new places, meeting new people, exploring new cultures, and taking up new challenges have always given me the adrenaline rush to keep moving and adapting to the dynamic ecosystem.”

Championing People-Centric Innovation 

Arijit is leading Veedol’s exploration of new technologies and formulations to meet the evolving needs of modern engines and environmental concerns.

Veedol has emerged as India’s leading transformational company globally. Sharing the guiding philosophy that has propelled their success, Arijit says, “At Veedol, we have always kept people at the core of our strategy. To lead any transformation successfully, I believe it has to be a people movement rather than a management dictate. The world around us is changing fast at a scary pace, and more than ever before, the organisational leadership needs to demonstrate “empathy” as the key driver to influence the transformation required. We have a glorious past legacy to be proud of while we always strive to remain “progressive” and “relevant” in line with the times. Our guiding philosophy aligns with our Mission to provide our customers with a best-in-class experience in an innovative, sustainable and customer-centric way while striving towards maximising benefits for all our stakeholders.”

In the continuously evolving landscape, Arijit says that Veedol’s innovation roadmap in lubricants emphasizes sustainability, integrating green innovations that align with environmental stewardship. Central to their green strategy is the adoption of re-refined base oils, enhancing the lifecycle of resources while supporting the circular economy. “Our synthetic lubricants are formulated for extended drain intervals, reducing waste and promoting efficiency.”

As far as positioning is concerned, Veedol is one of the most trusted and respected brands for its “Quality” and “Value for money” solutions, both in India and overseas markets, in the field of finished lubricants for automotive and industrial applications. Arijit adds that they are also bringing more and more “digitisation” into their processes to provide excellent customer experience.

A driving force behind his company’s achievements, Arijit says his leadership style is based on

“Listen > Learn > Act > Adopt > Deliver”

To build a high-performance team, a leader needs to act with “empathy” while demanding “performance.” No one is perfect. However, a team can be! “By nurturing and nudging team members to work on “complementary” strengths, we strive to achieve “profitable growth.”

The essence of future transformation lies in innovation, disruptions, and enhancing the end-user experience. In such a scenario, striking a balance between operational efficiency and customer satisfaction is essential. Arijit, too, believes that customer preference has fast moved towards ‘convenience’ from only products and services, which would require organisations to be more ‘agile’ and ‘customer-centric’. Finally, ‘purpose over profit’ should be the key mantra.

So, in essence, we emphasize being agile and customer-centric, providing convenience, supporting trade partners, and keeping purpose over profits as the way our company strikes a balance between operational efficiency and customer satisfaction,” he adds.

Building Strategic Partnerships 

Forging strong collaborations with key players in the industry to expand Veedol’s reach and influence. To do it along with everything else, digitalization and technological advancements are crucial aspects of the modern industrial ecosystem. Arijit says that at Veedol, they understand that digitalization and technological advancements are not just trends but essential pillars supporting the modern industrial ecosystem. Their commitment to integrating these principles into the firm’s core functioning is evident in every facet of their operations, from research and innovation to production, distribution, and customer service.

Veedol is harnessing advanced technology to redefine customer service and product innovation, employing digital systems like LIMS for enhanced interaction and feedback management. Its commitment to sustainability drives the team to minimize environmental impact through renewable energy and eco-friendly formulations, constantly innovating with new components for superior engine efficiency and protection. “By embracing Industry 4.0, our smart manufacturing processes ensure quality, efficiency, and reduced emissions, supported by robotics, automation, and digital logistics,” says Arijit. Recognizing the power of collaboration, they forge partnerships with leading additive and component manufacturers and OEMs, positioning them at the forefront of technological advancements to meet the evolving needs of the automotive industry.

Veedol is not just participating in the technovative future; we are actively shaping it,” adds Arijit. Our dedication to digitalization and technological advancements ensures that we remain at the cutting edge of the Lubricants industry, delivering products and services that not only meet today’s needs but pave the way for a more efficient, sustainable, and innovative tomorrow.”

It is no wonder that Veedol has achieved tremendous success. Arijit highlights one of their transformative projects: the implementation of the SAP S4 HANA project. “It will transform many of our processes to be aligned with the requirements of present times, including digital integration, banking automation, and business analytics.”

Additionally, they are continuously working on CSR activities in areas like skill development, rural community development and education, showcasing their commitment to social excellence.

Empowering the Team 

Cultivating a culture of innovation and excellence within Veedol and fostering a team environment that thrives on continuous improvement is very important for Arijit. “After all, the workforce is the cornerstone of every successful organizationAt Veedol, we believe that our employees play a pivotal role in contributing towards the organization’s success.” Therefore, an organisational culture that fosters the growth and empowerment of the employees is of utmost importance.

Following are some of the key measures adopted for the same:

~Continuous Learning Opportunities: Offering various training programs, workshops, seminars, and online courses to employees to continuously enhance their skills and knowledge base. This includes training programs related to both technical skills and soft skills.

~Career Path Boosters through Internal Movements (IJP): Providing opportunities to existing employees to take up higher responsibilities through assessments.

~Structured Performance Feedback: Creating accountability through an objective setting at the beginning of the financial year and providing employee feedback through structured assessment.

~Work-Life Balance: Recognizing the importance of work-life balance and offering flexible work arrangements, such as “work from home”/flexi timing, to help employees manage their personal and professional commitments effectively.

~Engagement at Work: Fostering the culture of togetherness at work by celebrating organisational milestones and festivities and arranging annual family events. Awareness programs on mental health, lifestyle management, financial awareness, etc., are some initiatives to make employees feel more engaged at work.

Outwitting Obstacles

Challenges are inevitable. It is how one encounters them that makes them leaders. Arijit shares an instance where his team’s resilience and ingenuity triumphed over adversity. “The entire Veedol community–our employees, vendors, business partners and customers–stood together shoulder to shoulder during the COVID-19 crisis and helped each other to come out with flying colours.” Veedol was the first in the industry to open all its plants and start manufacturing as soon as the small window of lockdowns opened. “These proactive and agile efforts were highly appreciated and reciprocated by our valued customers,” informs Arijit. We also learnt from these disruptive times, resetting our approach to the need of the hour – to provide ‘convenience’ to our customers and ‘support’ to our trade partners.”

He adds, “Looking back, I must say that as a team, we managed the turmoil with much less friction and negative impact on our people, partners, customers, and results.”

The Contingency Plan

Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic was the biggest challenge humanity faced. It reshaped industries globally. Arijit recalls that as the pandemic set in, they took the strictest care, putting together operating protocols to ensure the safety and health of our people, especially those engaging in ‘wartime’ planning and execution to service customers against heavy odds. Revenue growth post-pandemic is back on a good momentum.

For more details, you can refer to their annual reports, which are available at https://www.veedolindia.com/sites/default/files/assets/pdf/Tide-Water-annual-report_2023_upload.pdf.

Furthermore, Arijit adds that as a future contingency, they are investing in digitisation, supply chain robustness, and people upskilling. “We can’t predict the future in an ever-dynamic environment, however, we are quite confident that we will be ready to face any future challenges and capitalise on new opportunities to be on the path of a profitable growth journey,” he ensures.

A Leader’s Pragmatism

Businesses are a way for the Indian industry to accelerate its economic potential and capacity. In his advice to other budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the startup space, Arijit says: Aspiring entrepreneurs looking to dive into the startup space have a unique opportunity to catalyze India’s economic growth. “My advice centres on embracing innovation, understanding your market deeply, and being resilient.”

Innovation isn’t just about offering something new; it’s about solving real problems in effective and scalable ways. Ground your venture thoroughly, understanding your target market’s needs, preferences, and behaviours. This insight is invaluable and will guide your product development, marketing strategies, and customer service excellence.

Resilience is the most crucial trait for an entrepreneur. The path of innovation is fraught with challenges and setbacks. Embrace them as learning opportunities and remain steadfast in your vision. Collaborate, seek mentorship, and be open to pivoting your strategy when necessary. Remember, the most successful startups are those that contribute value to their communities and economies. Your venture has the potential not just to succeed financially but to make a significant impact on India’s economic landscape.

Shaping Veedol’s Future Vistas

Looking to the future, Arijit says their vision is to become a trusted mobility solution partner for their customers.

As a strategy, we will keep introducing more new products in line with the application requirements in the Industrial and Automotive sectors. We intend to provide more customised solutions, including services to our customers.”

Veedol invests much time in developing and strengthening/upskilling, which it will continue to do for all its relevant value chain stakeholders and trade partners. Moreover, Veedol has launched a premium and value-added range of industrial penetrants and degreasers with the world-famous USA-based brand B’laster in India. “It will change the shape of solution-oriented and value-added product offerings and make the life for our industrial customers much easier with a lot of time and cost savings for such difficult applications,” concludes Arijit Basu, who is more than just a Managing Director. He’s a visionary leader shaping the future of Veedol.

Explore his strategies and insights, propelling this trusted brand forward by contacting him at arijit.basu@veedol.com.

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