Kandui Industries Private Limited: Always in Pursuit of Excellence

Ashwin Agarwal | Managing Director | Kandui Industries Pvt. Ltd.
Ashwin Agarwal | Managing Director | Kandui Industries Pvt. Ltd.

With a vision to become the most trusted and preferred solution/material provider for its customers in the plastics and textile sector, there is a company that strives to achieve excellence by creating the most innovative and cost-effective masterbatches. This company is none other than Kandui Industries Private Limited. Under the leadership of Ashwin Agarwal, Managing Director of the company, its team believes in expanding values and undertaking global challenges to provide future-ready solutions to the industry.

Let’s see what he has to say about the dynamics of Kandui Industries in the given below excerpts of his interview with Insights Success:

Kindly brief us about your company, its history, and journey since inception.

I joined the family business of manufacturing woven sacks in 2004. Very soon, I realized that with a good part of the family already actively involved, it would be best for me to be on my own. This sowed the seed for the birth of Kandui. Being a Chemical Engineer by profession, I was intrigued by masterbatches and was kind of familiar with it as well since it was used by the woven sacks sector. Eager to learn more, I started evaluating this market and interacted with several industry experts. Things worked well and then came a defining moment – 19th Nov 2006, a day that will always remain very important for me; it’s the day I set out to start my own company with a capital of INR 1 crore with which I set up Kandui Industries.

Between then and today, it has been a journey of sorts – phases of motivation, success coupled with financial challenges! New plants, expansions, new product categories, certifications and accolades, technology revamps and more, dotted this journey. From very humble beginnings, today our manufacturing capacity of 45,000 MTPA is spread over 2,00,000 sq. ft., across 2 facilities.

I must mention here that when I look back on our corporate journey, I tremendously value our learnings on the way; these learnings, I think, have played a crucial role in our success this far.

What quality-assurance standards does your company abide by to inspire trust of its clients?

Our effort has always been to make quality a default specification. To achieve this, we knew only technology would just not be sufficient. We thus first got our processes compliant to the quality management systems of ISO 9001 by TÜV SÜD. We obviously invested in the best-in-class technologies so that the customers were confident of its produce. Lastly, but most importantly, we invested in the right people and their training. With this combination, we were confident about implementing the highest level of quality, ensuring quality by design and thus quality control as a merely confirmatory step in our manufacturing process.

I must admit here that our customers also motivated us to deliver products to match challenging specifications. To give an example here, with our supply to the demanding polyester industry, we learnt a lot about importance of quality of products as well as batch to batch consistency. Today, quality is an integral part of our thinking process. Another example that is testimony to our quality consciousness is the supply of hygiene products such as breathable compounds (used for manufacturing baby diapers and sanitary napkins) that clearly reflects this ability.

What, according to you, are your company’s USPs that make you stand out in the plastic production sector?

Across operations, there are a few that could be mentioned here that contribute to our ‘stand-out positioning’ thus providing us a competitive edge that translates into higher customer acceptance.

Locationally, based near Nhava Sheva and ICD Tumb, we have a distinct advantage of a considerably reduced logistic costs. Situated in Daman, our electricity costs are lowest in the country.

We are, perhaps, uniquely positioned due to our investment in the globally renowned machines from Coperion/Farrell/KraussMaffei Berstorff/Steer Machinery. This clearly indicates corporate belief on one hand and on the other, it is one of the parameters that enhance customer confidence in the products delivered.

For me, people really drive this business. Human capital is a big USP, that is my conviction. It would be most appropriate to highlight here that, without exception, each of my business divisions is headed by a person who has been with the company since the inception of the division. So today we come with a lot of experience and can address any customer issues with aplomb!

An in-house DSIR certified research facility enables us to innovate and offer value-added solutions to help our customers’ business. Furthermore, being a part of BIS helps us contribute to the development of standards for the country, while providing us with an insight into upcoming business requirements so that we can be better aligned to service our customers.

We have smartly optimised our manufacturing across two facilities – one dedicated for regular products, while the other dedicated for value-added products. Such a split, while providing the company to drive profits and efficiencies in both businesses, it indirectly helps customers get the best optimised pricing across product categories.

How has the featured person – CEO/Founder/Director helped to enhance the company’s outreach? What noteworthy contributions has the person made in favour of your company?

‘Qualified excellence’ in an approach that the corporate believes in. I think my Chemical Engineering Degree from ICT (erstwhile UDCT) holds me in good stead to navigate the company to overcome challenges and encash opportunities. My personal belief of people-driven policies, the spirit of team and vision of excellence have been key drivers to achieve of the success we have; the journey from an INR 1 crore investment to a turnover of INR 218+ crore. Well identified investment in technologies and micro-monitoring of customer complaints have made us one of the fastest growing companies in our league.

As a company, we have received the ET Award for ‘The Best Brand’ for plastics and polymers, 4 years in a row, from 2018 to 2021.

What challenges has your team faced in the earlier days of the company? What struggles is the team going through now?

For me, challenges are learnings. We did learn in our earlier days, we do so today, and we will continue the same in future as well. In our early days, being unknown, we did face severe resistance from the marketplace coupled with an unprecedented aggression from competition. All we did was continue to believe in ourselves, our products, processes, and approach. Credibility building was our aim and business a derivate of the same. The first 12 months were really challenging. I am glad that today we are a respected brand.

For now, making an impact in the European and American markets is what we are consciously working on; and building a global reputation to make MNCs an important part of our customer profile.

The global coronavirus outbreak has tested people, industries, governments, and supply chains all over the world. How exactly did the pandemic affect your company’s operations and finances?

COIVD-19 has made the world sit up and take cognisance of how to work in such unprecedented conditions. It challenged us too. Our textiles business was down 40%. During the Apr-Jun 2020 quarter, we were operating at a mere 30% capacity. The finances got severely stretched. As the markets opened gradually, we gained significantly as all the trust and relationships built over the years came to the fore and we did exceedingly well in the plastics business during the last 6 months of the fiscal year and, infact, clocked an overall growth of 8% in revenue over the previous fiscal year; inspite of a poor first quarter and a subdued textile related business.

How is your exports business poised?

We are doing well. Exports are growing at a healthy 20% YOY and there is much more scope. The levels of quality that we currently provide, is more than just acceptable to the stringent global markets as well. Our experience and capabilities are well documented and proven. What we need to work on is our penetration of the markets. This aspect we are constantly working on. Investing in global exhibitions is our conscious spend.

What are the next milestones you plan to achieve in plastic production and export?

Milestones to me are very dynamic. It sets you alert to sense opportunities. At the current point, my next milestone is for the turnover to cross the INR 400 crore mark by 2026; this is primarily to be driven by expansions in the current business.

From a diversification perspective, we have entered a JV with Okeanos™, creator of a new category of degradable packaging which aims to replace single-use plastic with a stone-based alternative. This technology can replace more than half of the petrochemical derived plastic through source-reduction, which reduces plastic at the point of product manufacture, not after use by the consumer. In addition, the carbon footprint of the packaging can also be reduced by over 60%.

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