Creating a Culture of Empowerment

In this edition, we bring to you another tale from the floors of one of our clients – La-Gajjar Machineries Private Limited (Varuna Pumps), leading pump manufacturers of India. Mr. Dilip Thakkar – VP (Business Head) for Varuna Pumps shared his views on the challenges and opportunities in pump industry and how progressive organizations from the pump manufacturing sector have been working towards continual improvement and organizational transformation. Below is an excerpt from the interview.

Faber Infinite (FI): We have a subscriber base of around 20,000+ readers across 8 countries, our readers would want to know more about Varuna Pumps – a global manufacturer of submersible pumps and open well motors?

Mr. Dilip Thakkar (DT): Varuna pumps was established in the year 1935 and it is around 85 years old company. Before we began with water pump manufacturing, we were into manufacturing of centrifugal pumps coupled with the diesel engine. In the year 1992, we were the first organization in the pump industry to create India’s first oil-filled submersible pumps, where oil is used as a coolant instead of water. Post which, we also introduced water filled submersible pump sets which are more robust in comparison with oil-based. Although water pumps are more robust, oil-filled submersible pumps are well accepted in few of the states.

Varuna pumps has been a first mover in the industry for many products. We work towards developing and launching new products that are acceptable in the market. We take into consideration the benefits these products will deliver to the target segments. Our products are designed considering the water levels and voltage levels across the different regions in India. For instance, in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Orissa, and some parts of Gujarat the oil – filled pumps are predominantly accepted as there are voltages issues; so that even with low voltage, the pumps can work easily.

FI: Every industry has its own challenges. What are peculiar challenges unique to your industry?

DT: If I talk about the natural challenges, natural challenges like rains are a big challenge as far as this industry is concerned. Irrigation needs huge water and it cannot be fulfilled through only pumps so natural water through rains are very important. So if the rains are scarce, farmers are not able to get desired crops, this impacts their buying powers and it result into low demand of pumps. Less rains also have adverse impact on the groundwater level and in turn its impact on the demand of pumps. If the rains continues for longer period even after monsoon season, it impact adversely on crops and that too have adverse impact on the demand of pumps. So, the quantum of rain has a sizeable impact on the pump industry. We emphasize on the rainwater harvesting as water is very precious and availability of water is reducing year on year as per survey / study by private and government reports. Suggested model is to create more and more lakes for rainwater harvesting and use of saved water in rest of the period.

Another challenge in pump industry is the competition from the unorganised segment. The unorganized sector makes for 55-60% of this industry.

FI: Progressive teams of Varuna are charting their own success path and setting trends for others to follow. What is the core philosophy that differentiates your organization from others?

DT: Basically, we have three philosophies, where the first one is – Believe in your people. In people, it includes all the stakeholders in the Varuna pump ecosystem. It includes employees, vendors, dealers, distributors, advisors, etc. This philosophy is very close to us because we believe our people are the ones, who represent us in the market. Our people stand first for us. We believe in empowering them. Products plays very vital role for consistency of business but people who design, manufacture and market the same plays very vital role in any organization.

Our second philosophy is to provide solution as a product and ensure customer satisfaction through robust product as per customer expectation / need and ensure real time service to customer.

Our third philosophy is – Maintaining healthy relationships with all the stakeholders. We believe that you need to maintain a healthy relationship with all your stakeholders because in this industry maintaining the relationship is very important and the returns are always positive.

FI: We would love to understand more about the transformation journey at Varuna Pumps.

DT: So, if I have to talk about the transformation journey of Varuna pumps, then in the year 1999 the company was having the turnover of around INR 100 Million whereas today we will be closing at around INR 4.25 Billion (INR 4250 Million). And like every other organization, we also faced a difficult period in the years 2003-04, 2009-10 and in 2013-14. In these years, the challenges were the same external factors that we spoke about. This journey of Varuna pumps from INR 10 Crore to INR 425 Crore has been possible because we have worked on giving structure to the processes and the system. We have always considered a third party or advisor’s view. Their advice has always been very helpful.  Even the top management at Varuna is open for suggestions from expert advisors as we consider that third-eye always helps!

Another aspect of transformation at Varuna is that we have invested a lot in our employees so that the empowerment is in place along with the responsibility and accountability. We never interfere wherever the involvement is not required as far as the hierarchy is considered. This gives ownership to our people. This also makes people to stay long with the organization and contribute to the growth.

The third aspect of transformation is getting new products to the market on time as per the market needs. We have a strong R&D team, which continuously works on new product development.

FI: We appreciate that under your able leadership the organization has shown great results in the continual improvement journey. We would love to know your views on Faber Infinite’s role in the growth numbers?

DT: As I have already mentioned, we admire and cherish working with advisors who have experience of working with diverse industries. In this case, Team Faber Infinite has highly contributed to the growth of our organization. If I were to specifically tell you about the approach of Faber Infinite team, it really feels like a family to us. Because we believe sustenance is more important than the initiative.  The sustenance of a good and a healthy relationship is very difficult, but I must appreciate the way team Faber Infinite has stayed connected with us. If I were to talk about staying connected, then it must be 8 out of 10 times, that Jalay and team have made efforts to connect with us regularly and support us in whatever ways possible. It might be staying abreast about industry news, pump industry news or other details that would help us grow. This is what I believe is maintaining good synergies between Varuna Pumps and Faber Infinite. Faber Infinite Consulting has helped us sharpen the skillset of our employees so that they become an asset to us. Team Faber has been a great consulting partner and has helped us achieve phenomenal results.

We sincerely thank Mr. Dilip Thakkar and team Varuna Pumps for being a part of iFaber – the official newsletter of Faber Infinite and sharing their valuable insights.

Compiled by Faber Priyal & Faber Mayuri

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