Ramesh Agarwal – Leads Way for Mentoring Enterprising Start-ups

Insight Success
Sunday June 5

How have the last three decades been for you? How would you describe the last 30 years as an entrepreneur?
Smiles and Pauses. Where do I begin from? Let me commence by saying that I would not trade my entrepreneurial journey with anything. Whether it is the last 30 years of carving out Agarwal Packers & Movers or my learning’s with the Indian Air force as one thing has led to another.  – The Indian Air force taught me discipline, patriotism, comradely, team management, empathy which became my building blocks to run a successful business.
I treated each failure, as a higher rung for business growth.   I learnt to leave my baggage of unnecessary ego behind & accept each feedback as an opportunity to improve my company & myself. Talking about feedback, in those days (in our business we got more negative feedback) it is now in the recent times that the ‘happy’ customers share positive feedback. Unlike our western counterparts, my dear countrymen are more critical about things going haywire, but thanks to the young guns of my country the scenario is changing. I am into a services oriented business which means ‘Customer is the King’ & I reworked upon my company’s working dynamics around the fact that “Happy & satisfied customers” build companies. Till date I stand by the statement.  The challenge is that out of my team building experience that almost 15% of employees have different perceptions about “Customer Delight” so we need to have processes in place to have uniformity in nurturing a band of happy customers.
As a matter of fact, at Agarwal Packers and Movers ltd.,  every customer grievance is mapped with the company’s concerned personnel who is expected to do  a post-mortem of the situation and come up with a solution so that the issue is resolved there & then & is not  repeated in future. All our redressal initiatives have now become the Industry best practices. In doing all this over the years our company today has become ‘highly’ process driven. Our “Tell me how” booklets, available on the company’s Intranet are a regular source of guidance for our employees. I wouldn’t restrain myself from saying that these booklets are as handy & credible as any Google Search for our employees. I made a reference to ‘Google Search’ so that our youngsters can easily relate to it. Smiles.
Surface Logistics industry that we are part off is not an easy industry neither it is glamorous (to be discussed in the larger media), however it is the backbone of our country’s economy. Today we have 103 offices across the country and we reach out to over 6000 destinations in the country. We have recently opened our first overseas office in Singapore.
My last 30 years have been amazing and I am confident the journey ahead would be even better. Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of the journey. for Agarwal Movers Group.
*Agarwal Movers Group is among the leaders in the packing and moving industry. What would you attribute the success to?
We take pleasure in asserting for our household customers that we do not carry goods but we carry emotions.” Emphasising with our end customer’s emotive sojourn our team gives their 200 % to make it a pleasant and a ‘Zero Damage’ move for them.
For our commercial clients I see ourselves as critical ecosystem partner (not vendors) as the clients lay their 100% trust on us once their goods are loaded in our cubes. The commercial brand depends on us not only for timely delivery but also Zero Damage, Zero Loss.
I can say this with pride; we deliver to our customers’ demands – as we are genetically  ‘obsessed’ for customer delight. To meet the delight I have a team which is always innovating and introducing products and processes at all times (He chimes in – How about you doing a different Q&A on our processes we have implemented). We have also achieved something unheard of in the Indian Surface Logistics industry with Trucking Cube. Through our innovation in Trucking Cube – we assure the client Zero Transhipment, Zero Damage, hence your food items stays fresh and intact till delivered.
*In hindsight when you look back what are the things you think you could have done better?
Smiles – yes Agarwal Movers Group is a leader in the packing and moving industry which is a more challenging disposition to maintain what I am trying to say that despite seeing success we are not sitting comfortably the relentless drive for customer delight and seeking different ways of achieving the same still leaves us breathless. We are a 600 crore company but I think like I did 30 years back not allowing complacency to set in us.
When I look back I do feel getting a mentor/ guide from the same business would have been helpful, having said this, our industry is a new industry and we may be among the pioneers. While I was growing the business, access to capital was not as easy as it has been in the last decade. If we had access to capital we may have reached our current journey way earlier.
*What are your views on today’s startup scenario?
Being an entrepreneur seems like a modern day fad to me. B schools have a course in entrepreneurship – which to me is all ‘theory’. Entrepreneurship is not understood till the individual jumps into it and experiments with it. There is commonly available data that 9 out of 10 ventures fail – to me this is not lack of ideas – all ideas are great. It is due to lack of being consistent, investing the time in customer, understanding the customer & making sales. – I might be missing something, but see the young crop after building proof of concept goes for an angel round funding, build the product/ service more – goes for Series A/ Series B and so on – in most of the time the start-up team is building technology or processes by not speaking to the customer. The product sells because the customer desires and the venture should be surrounded by its customers – working to comprehend them and provide the solution/ requirement they are seeking.
I also feel the India media can be overwhelming – they are watching ventures like hawks, one mistake and it is blown out of proportion, then the emerging brand’s team has to interact with the media clarification – where as they should be investing in communicating directly with the customer. Access to technology is giving us that capability.
*What would be your advice to the startups – existing and those about to be built?
Think customers, think sales, think ways of improving customer interactions and think more sales. I would also make a request to the start-ups seeing success to keep aside some part of its revenue to give back to the society – this should be an essential part of their larger plan.
*You shared with us that you will like to mentor / guide entrepreneurs – what are your expectations from your mentee?
Having grown a business from nothing to where we stand today, I do think I have an in-depth knowledge of experiences to share with those keen to listen and learn. The mentee needs to come with an open mind & of course they should be open to challenge my thoughts & views. The mentee should also not be in a tearing hurry to see success or compare themselves with where I am today – in fact they should ask me about how I started 30 years back – except  for technology (which is  huge boon) ways of doing business is the same and will remain so for decades to come.

Related Posts