Sujit Kumar: an epitome of entrepreneurial spirit
Manufacturing industry adheres to those industries which involve in 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 a finished good 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 the western countries in the 18th-19th century. This was widely known as the industrial revolution. It began in Britain and replaced the labour-intensive textile production with mechanization and 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, metalworking industries, plastic industries, 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 defence. 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 article at low volume three years back, today we have reached the level of a recognised 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 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. Concept like “Park Annual Maintenance” which has been introduced to customers at 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 your equipment and its safety to all concerned customers. Within three years we have enhanced our product categories.
Initially to get 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 to get your customers engaged for the very first time and to make them at your side forever is the basic mantra of business, which we are trying to achieve through our out of box commitment towards customer’s concern. We have never forced our products to them rather, understanding their needs and recommending them a better selection is our priority. Customer’s satisfaction and 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 whole heartedly 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 in 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 at the verge of quitting. But one thing remained intact was my perseverance. I believe 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 stands today?
Since inception all our activities wear customers concern 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 strict quality adherence policy. We have updated our quality lab with modern testing machinery that help us achieve the optimum parameters. Well defined SOPS on shop floor, quality RM selection with valid test certificate from vendor, better packaging and logistics keep us ahead from our competitor.
- How many established connections to other businesses does your organization have? Brief us about your clientele.
We have established excellent reputation on 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 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 favourite 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 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 on a regular basis. Offering attractive perks and increment based on target achievement and highlighting 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 making more frequently than others?
Over expectation 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 were to 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 latif
- What have been your responsibilities towards the society?
We take our CSR as one of the priorities. We have been offering our products on discounted rates to NGOs and the Indian Army.
- If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, 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.