Abhay Thorat: An Influencing Leader Durable as ‘Wood’

Abhay Thorat | Founder Vijay Pallet and Box Manufacturers[Pallet Manufacturers, Box Manufacturers,Pallet Manufacturers, Box Manufacturers, metal Manufacturers, industrial training, pharmaceuticals]
Abhay Thorat | Founder Vijay Pallet and Box Manufacturers

The strength of a leader is measured with his perseverance and the ability to pull through any situation. Not losing hope and moving forward in the right direction is what defines leadership. In business, attributes of a true leader comes out the best because it derives the very essence of entrepreneurship. Running a business brings out the potential to really push through all the disparities and distinguishes the identity of a leader. The entrepreneurial spirit is what makes leadership influencing and strengthens its solidarity.
With an aspiration to become an entrepreneur, Abhay Thorat – Founder of Vijay Pallet & Box Manufacturers India Pvt. Ltd. always wanted to dabble in the space of metal or metal related peripherals. But, before venturing into the business world his journey led him to a path that was enriched with learning experiences and a mixture of wise and slightly dramatic decisions.‘Curious’ by nature, his thirst for acquiring knowledge was unparalleled. Putting a curious mind at work, targeting his aspiration he conducted the sampling process with brackets of radiators sourced from Kirloskar Oil Engine Company. This proved to be thorough research which helped him in setting a concise base for his business to turn operational.
With a background in Mechanical Engineering, Abhay was all set to disrupt the industry. But after graduation, a guiding benefactor made him aware of the Indian Institute of Packaging in Andheri, Mumbai. The Institute focused on training related to industrial packaging. This intrigued him and his interest started leaning towards exploring this option of learning about the packaging procedures and technicalities related to it. The inclination towards the packaging business was nothing new to Abhay as it ran in the family. His father was a first generation entrepreneur having seasoned experience in the packaging sector.
After, careful thinking he decided to opt for the course and training provided at the institute. It was a full-time course of two years which included 1.5 years of classroom training and six months of industrial training as a practical session for learning and acquiring hands-on experience on the job. From the basics of packaging to all there is to know about it, Abhay learned everything at the institute. For industrial training, he received an opportunity to work with Hindustan Unilever Limited and learn in the huge conglomerate. He was involved in the oral care department of the company where he learned the packaging process of toothbrush and toothpaste.
A Packaged Dream
Abhay was very clear about becoming an entrepreneur. So, he started exploring the ideas and options for starting a business as soon as his training at the Hindustan Unilever was completed. After coming to Pune, he realized that there is no heat treatment plant for wood in the city. Now, the need for heat treatment for the wood is to ensure that any liquid or moisture is eliminated from the woods that are going to be utilized as raw materials. This process also makes wood fungi and insect free. It is able to stop the rapid proliferation of the insects that are residing in the freshly sourced wood from breeding and multiplying in it as the moisture makes the wood more habitable for them. Hence, the heating treatment decreases the chances of the sourced raw material going to waste or without making it to being in the final phase of production.
So all of his research led him to the conclusion that there is a dire need for a heat treatment plant for wood-based raw materials. Another set of studies related to the process of establishing the plant made him aware that the space required to build it must be within the legal parameters prescribed by the policies of the Indian government. In 2007, he started looking for a valid place meeting all the necessary criteria. Finally, after a year of scouting, Abhay found it in April 2008. In such a way, Pune’s first Commercial Wooden Heat Treatment Plant was established and made fully operational. The establishment of the plant became a huge achievement for him. That is how Vijay Pallet and Box Manufacturers Pvt. Ltd. was born.
At the initial stages of the Plant’s operations, the business was not doing well. The issue was capturing the desired market which was proving to be very difficult. The demand generation for the services was very low than expectations. For starters, the focus only remained on the clients from engineering companies. The existing client base belonging to the engineering and engineering tools segment was not enough to fuel the flame. So, Abhay decided to expand the horizons of the company and realized that pharmaceutical companies can also be considered as potential clientele.
The scaling mission now included the active persuasion of pharma companies. But, it introduced a new uphill battle for him and his team. The pharma companies required someone with proper standard operating procedures handling their orders and service providers that are thorough all the way through. To capture more market share, Abhay immediately made necessary changes and enhanced the plant’s overall operational resources to meet the pharma companies’ requirements. In-order to cater to the orders, he took the requisite steps which eventually provided him with the best results. Order fulfillment clubbed with prompt services to each and every client resulted in the increased demand. The company started generating revenues from both the segments of clientele, engineering and pharmaceuticals, contributing 50% of share each.
Striking and Surviving
The biggest challenge that the wooden industry in India is facing today is the non-standardization of norms. Standardization of size, quality, and the procedure is of utmost importance when it comes to delivering final goods to the clients. So, the structural and social integrity of the business remains atop. Abhay informs, “There is a lack of Automation in the industry.” India is growing in the export market. The packaging industry lacks manpower as one of the most important resources, and that is affecting the overall process of loading and unloading of the materials. This issue exists overseas also, the human resources pertaining to the heavy lifting are quite hard to come by and the industry is in requirement of modern solutions for this prevailing situation. “They are all on the lookout for automated solutions in the sector and that’s where pallet box packaging comes in,” describes Abhay.
As the exports in India keep increasing, the packaging and light packaging businesses will be on the rise. Abhay also educates about the role of the industrial material handling equipment have played in the packaging sector. “The material handling equipment has enabled better transportation for the final products,” he shares. Also, maintaining the quality of the packaged goods has become easier reducing the chances of physical damage while in transit. The packaging sector has seen tremendous growth since these ups and downs and now is on the path of ground-breaking revolution with the technological advancements.
When it comes to the future of the company Abhay directs, “Utilization of advanced machinery to simplify the manual input of resources and man-hours is how I portray the future of the company.”

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