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Interview With A Rubber Leader_R V Gandhi_GRP

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From building an ethical corporate organization in GRP, to serving on prestigious boards and industry bodies, public and private trusts that serve the cause of education in rubber, women empowerment, training in ethical values, water resource management, Gandhi’s immense contribution to Indian rubber industry has established him as an inspirational business leader and an iconic corporate citizen.

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Interview With A Rubber Leader_R V Gandhi_GRP

  1. 1. Know A LEADERIn 10 Questions Rubber & Tyre rubbermachineryworld.com / tyremachineryworld.com INTERVIEW WITH R.V.GANDHIManaging Director, GRP Ltd. ONE MUST DARE TO DREAM NEW On Pg 24 Leadership Insight from Around The World
  2. 2. The above verses best summarizes Rajendra V. Gandhi, MD and the chief promoter of GRP Ltd. From building an ethical corporate organization in GRP, to serving on prestigious boards and industry bodies, public and private trusts that serve the cause of education in rubber, women empowerment, training in ethical values, water resource management, Gandhi’s immense contribution to Indian rubber industry has established him as an inspirational business leader and an iconic corporate citizen. While the global reclaim industry depended on the European technology for manufacturing, Gandhi boldly decided to design, fabricate and install an entire plant and machinery for the manufacture of Reclaim Rubber, with complete indigenous components when India was largely deprived of foreign funds for imported machinery. This pioneering effort, at the start of his career as a young graduate engineer from IIT, Mumbai, ensured the beginning of a reclaim movement in India. Under Gandhi’s leadership, GRP Ltd has emerged as one of the largest manufacturer of reclaim rubber in the world, setting benchmarks for others to follow. Its an honour to know him and present you his leadership wisdom in this edition. We also have ‘Leadership Insights from Around the World in a Page’ as an additional knowledge resource for you. As always, I welcome your feedback on rubbermachineryworld@gmail.com. Best Regards Prasanth Warrier | Interviewer’s Note | “Great leaders don’t set out to be a leader. They set out to make a difference. It’s never about the role - always about the goal.” Gandhi’s immense contribution to Indian rubber industry and social causes make him an inspirational business leader and an iconic citizen. 3 rubbermachineri rubbermachineryworld +Rubbermachineryworld1 grp/home?gid=8252803 rubbermachineri Know A Leader - Rubber & Tyre Machinery World APR 2016| (Disclaimer: All the pictures and statements in this special supplement are sourced from web or shared by respective companies. All copyrights belong to actual owners. Rubber Machinery World does not independently verify them nor will vouch for their genuineness, hence will not be liable for any misrepresented data. The images are used for representation purpose only.)
  3. 3. 4 | LEADER - INTERVIEW | Know A Leader - Rubber & Tyre Machinery World | APR 2016 “The only driving force then was a desire to start a business which I can call my own creation no matter how small”
  4. 4. | LEADER - INTERVIEW | 5 PRASANTH WARRIER (PW): Hello Rajendra Gandhi. First of all thank you for accepting an interview with Rubber & Tyre Machinery World and sharing your thoughts. The decade of 70s was not a period conducive to entrepreneurs in Indian ecosystem. Yet, as a young graduate out of IIT Mumbai, you embarked on a journey that created an enterprise, people today know as GRP. So let me start with a personal question - What would you say were secrets to your success? What are the take away for the next generation of leaders in your inspiring story? RAJENDRA V. GANDHI (RVG): It is true that the decade of 70's was not a period conducive to entrepreneurs in Indian ecosystem. But after graduating from IIT Mumbai, and having spent some time in my family textile business, I had inkling to start something on my own instead of enjoying the family business legacy. At that time I came across an article which spoke how there is a good future for the recycling industry in a developing country like India. I was struck by that article and decided to pursue an opportunity in recycling. After reviewing several options, I zeroed in on rubber recycling. I must admit that I did not have any fixed roadmap to succeed in this venture when I set out. The only driving force then was a desire to start a business / industry which I can call my own creation no matter how small. It was then that I was introduced to K.M. Philip who was fondly known as the 'Father of the Indian Rubber Industry'. He encouraged me to set up a reclaim rubber plant with technical guidance from Wamanrao G Desai who was an accomplished rubber technologist with several years of experience in the reclaim rubber manufacturing. Thus Gujarat Reclaim & Rubber Products Ltd Company was set up in 1974. Philip graciously agreed to become the Chairman, while Desai was appointed the Managing Director and I was the Joint Managing Director. For me this was a journey in faith. The company was established on certain values and principles, which later turned out to be the valuable 'assets' of the company. We decided that instead of importing the machinery by bribing to get an import license through DGTD, we would design and make the entire plant based on indigenous parts and equipment. Desai had One Must Dare To Dream. Entrepreneurship is about dreaming, conceptualising. Interview With Rajendra V. Gandhi, Managing Director, GRP Ltd. Know A Leader - Rubber & Tyre Machinery World APR 2016|
  5. 5. 6 | LEADER - INTERVIEW | the adequate experience and it was my choice to have faith in his experience and expertise. Philip's advice was very reassuring. So, initial years were spent in designing equipment necessary for manufacture of reclaiming rubber, preparing plant layouts, etc. We were able to purchase locally a second hand imported cracker mill for initial size reduction of waste tyres. I realised the importance of patience and perseverance during this period. We were able to convince the financial institutes to give us loan on the basis of self -designed and fabricated plant and machinery. This indeed provided us lot of encouragement and confidence. But my family was more cautious and offered a limited capital for the venture. It meant that for the remaining capital I had to look for other sources. We decided to set up our plant in Ankleshwar, Gujarat which was then declared as a backward district and various financial incentives were available for entrepreneurs setting up a unit there. After mustering some capital from relatives and friends, I decided to make a public issue to raise the balance capital. Unfortunately, the period from 1975-77 was a time of emergency declared by Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. The capital market was indeed very depressed just as the economy then. For a paltry sum of Rs 15 lakhs that I needed from public issue, I had to spend more than two years to get this amount underwritten by various institutions. This delay resulted in cost escalation and we were trapped in liquidity crisis. During this time I lost my father. I was scared and at times frustrated. But I believed that if one's intentions are honourable, one will receive support. KM Philip, inspite of his stature and respect, decided to fully stand by me. With the public issue in 1978 we were able to invest rest of the capital and as a result we were able to commission the first line at Ankleshwar in around Oct 1978 with our indigenously designed and self-fabricated machinery. Obviously there were plenty of teething troubles in the equipment, resulting in frequent stoppage of plant. It took us about 4 years to resolve all technical issues. In the process, we paid heavy price in terms of further cost escalation. We were fighting against heavy odds. It needed lot of patience, perseverance, and faith to continue. In KM Philip I found a great motivator and supporter. While dealing with the debugging of equipment, I also learnt the need to establish good practices in corporate governance. I realised the importance of giving respect to my colleagues at all levels. I realised those working with me as a valuable human asset. “I was scared and at times frustrated. But I believed that if one’s intentions are honorable one will receive support” Know A Leader - Rubber & Tyre Machinery World APR 2016|
  6. 6. 10 | LEADER - INTERVIEW | In this journey of over 40 years with GRP and in the rubber industry, here are few take away as I reflect back. • One must dare to dream. Entrepreneurship is about dreaming, conceptualising. • One must have healthy reservoir of patience and perseverance. • One has to have long term focus. • It is important to have right values and healthy precedents to be introduced in the very beginning of a start-up enterprise. • Taking risk is an integral part of entrepreneurship. I can broadly divide my role in 3 parts; a) In Business as an entrepreneur, b) In Industry as a member of different rubber bodies, and c) In social area, as an active citizen. In Business: When I decided to enter the reclaim rubber industry, I was aware that there were few established players then. So I cannot call myself a pioneer then. As I began to grapple with the routine issues faced by any new enterprise, I realised soon that I need to do things differently, to carve out a niche. The idea of designing and self- fabricating all equipment for manufacture of “It is important to have right values and healthy precedents to be introduced in the very beginning of a start-up enterprise.” PW: You have donned quite a few hats in your career – a rubber reclaim pioneer, visionary entrepreneur, representative of various bodies, advisor, mentor, educationist, championing causes of woman empowerment and employment amongst other corporate and personal initiatives. Which is the position that you enjoyed the most? It is true that I have donned manyRVG: hats in my career. Of course, all hats were not donned at the same time, but at different times. Know A Leader - Rubber & Tyre Machinery World APR 2016|
  7. 7. | LEADER - INTERVIEW | reclaim rubber offered many challenges and opportunities to learn. I enjoyed interacting with different vendors and trying to understand where they can be vulnerable or what their real strengths are. It was an interesting experience to trust my vendors and machinery suppliers with our drawings and proprietary information. While few betrayed that trust most others turned out to be trust-worthy. Even today we have a dilemma. If we develop a concept or an idea and we would like to engage a machine supplier to test our idea on his machine, we need to share our objective and to seek the vendor's input how best to tweak his machine for our objective. At that point the vendor is keener to know what our real objective is, so that they can offer their machines to others for a similar objective. While the vendor want to sell multiple machines based on our idea where as we are keen that he sells his machine without sharing with others what our objective is. In such a situation there exists a trust deficit. In trade bodies: I was fortunate to be part of the AIRIA Managing Committee, initially as a representative of the Indian Reclaim Rubber Manufacturers' Association and in later years as a special invitee. I witnessed in earlier years how K.M. Philip, and other senior members of the rubber fraternity were grappling with the issues confronting the Indian rubber industry. I recognised that most members were not equally committed to serve the rubber industry selflessly. Often there is a dilemma whether the trade body should adopt a protectionist attitude to support their members' interest or to develop a larger picture for the potential growth of the entire industry. Either you choose to grab the larger piece of a cake or to think of carving out a larger cake itself and thereby to increase your size. I wish when members come on a trade body, they develop a foresight to see the larger picture and potential. I also hope that more and more members use such a platform to broaden their vision and serve selflessly instead of using such platform for personal gains and indulging in petty politics. I believe the Indian Rubber Industry can attain much greater heights if its trade representatives adopt a bolder and wider vision. In Social areas: In our upbringing we have been taught that we must learn to 'pay-back' to society in whatever way we can. So from a young age, I have tried to be an active citizen by participating and joining social community activities. “While the vendor want to sell multiple machines based on our idea where as we are keen that he sells his machine without sharing with others what our objective is. In such a situation there exists a trust deficit.” Know A Leader - Rubber & Tyre Machinery World APR 2016| 11
  8. 8. | LEADER - INTERVIEW | “K.M. Philip, inspite of his stature and respect, decided to fully stand by me... I found a great motivator and supporter (in him).” Rajendra V. Gandhi with Kandathil M. Philip. K.M. Philip, fondly known as the ‘Father Of Indian Rubber Industry’, is also the Chairman (Emeritus) of GRP Ltd. Know A Leader - Rubber & Tyre Machinery World APR 2016| 12
  9. 9. | LEADER - INTERVIEW | PW: What have been the significant changes you observed in the rubber industry in the last 4 decades? What were the drivers for this change? When I decided to set up theRVG: Reclaim Rubber factory in 1974, Indian economy was a socialist / control economy. For procuring any raw material or for making any product you needed a DGTD quota or DGTD Registration/an industrial license. These quotas and license were made available on very selective basis. As a result few enjoyed monopolies and prospered because of artificial scarcity created by such quotas and licenses. There were few exceptional tyre companies who could genuinely claim to be home grown during that period. However with the advent of liberalization in early 90s, the shape of the rubber industry had changed dramatically. With the markets opening up and with growing consumer demand there was rapid expansions in the production capacities of all rubber goods manufacturers. In the 70's and 80's, the Indian rubber industry was very inward focused and prospering or surviving on the domestic market only. But since 90's those companies which started expanding their markets beyond boundaries began to see lot more opportunities. Of course entering export market meant intense competition and quality improvement. I believe there are several shining examples of Indian rubber manufacturing companies who have established niche for their products in the global markets because of their high quality and competitive process. I am proud of the fact that my company GRP Ltd. is one such company. “I believe there are several shining examples of Indian rubber manufacturing companies.” Image from Web: Schematic Layout Of Tyre Recycling Machinery Know A Leader - Rubber & Tyre Machinery World APR 2016| 14
  10. 10. | LEADER - INTERVIEW | Consequently, when our Company in early 90s decided to enter export market we realized, we had to re-educate technical people in the compounding division of our customers to see the benefit of Reclaim Rubber as a technically sound ingredient / raw material rather than cheap inexpensive filler. It took a lot of time and efforts to build trust with our customers. After 2005, with the Chinese economy galloping at more than 10% annually, there was a concern worldwide about possible shortage of Natural and Synthetic Rubber. The prices of Natural and Synthetic Rubber along with crude oil price began to rise rapidly. In addition, with the adverse effect of global warming, several Governments became conscious about sustainability and environmental degradation. “By late 70's barring one or two Reclaim Rubber producers almost all manufacturers ceased to exist in USA / Europe. As a result, Almost one generation of rubber technologists did not have the knowledge of use of reclaim rubber in compounding.” PW: Reclaim Rubber is widely used in manufacturing of automobile tyres and tubes as well as many other rubber products. How do you ensure that industry acknowledges the 'sustainability & environment friendly' aspect of Reclaim Rubber and consciously increase its usage in their products; especially when there are favourable price fluctuations for them in NR and SR? In the aftermath of the World War II,RVG: Reclaim Rubber emerged as a significant player in countries like USA to offer the third source of rubber hydro carbon after Natural Rubber and Synthetic Rubber. But with advent of cheap crude oil prices in the 50's and 60's, and huge production of Synthetic Rubber saw demise of Reclaim Rubber Industry in the western world. By late 70's barring one or two Reclaim Rubber producers almost all manufacturers ceased to exist in USA / Europe. As a result, almost one generation of rubber technologists did not have the knowledge of use/advantages of reclaim rubber in compounding. Image from Web: Tyre Recycling Plant Know A Leader - Rubber & Tyre Machinery World APR 2016| 18
  11. 11. | LEADER - INTERVIEW | GRP since then has been highlighting the role of Reclaim Rubber from the point of view of sustainability and as a environmental friendly raw material. We have succeeded to some extent in this endeavour. In recent times, however with the crash in the commodity prices as well as in the prices of Natural and Synthetic Rubber, there are fewer incentives for using more Reclaim Rubber despite of it being more environment friendly raw material. End-of-Life Tyres (ELT) are anPW: important source of recycled rubber around the world. This is also a key input for Pyrolysis Units that focus of CB and Oil Recovery. In the wake of this competition, how do you foresee rubber reclaim industry shaping up in the next 5-10 years? It is true that pyrolysis has enteredRVG: in India in a big way. Many small scale entrepreneur saw in it an opportunity to make quick money by sale of oil recovered from this process. The risky operation associated with pyrolysis caused few fatal accidents in several states compelling the state authorities to clamp down on such unsafe units. Further with the crash in the crude oil prices and consequent lower prices of fuel oil, pyrolysis does not appear to be as lucrative. In the western world, a number of start-ups are engaged in producing carbon black and oil recovery through pyrolysis but most of these plants are highly capital intensive and so far we are not aware of any commercial viable plant in operation. In India the fortune of pyrolysis units in the coming years will be decided by: a) The operations margin available “With the crash in the crude oil prices and consequent lower prices of fuel oil, pyrolysis does not appear to be as lucrative.” Image from Web: Pyrolysis Plant Know A Leader - Rubber & Tyre Machinery World APR 2016| 19
  12. 12. | LEADER - INTERVIEW | depending upon the Government monitored price and furnace oil. It is believed that most of the sale of pyrolysis oil takes place on grey market. b) How effectively state pollution control boards are able to monitor the unsafe working condition in such units? As an industry leader, what arePW: your expectations from machinery manufacturers/suppliers to propel the growth of rubber reclaim? I believe machinery manufacturersRVG: can play a significant role in the growth of Reclaim Rubber Industry in India. There is a need for designing of 'right' size reduction machines such as shredders, crackers and grinders which can effectively handle steel belted radial tires. In the coming years there can be good opportunity in this area. There is also need for machinery suppliers to offer cost effective material conveying system (MHS) which can substantially bring down labour cost. There is also opportunity to offer innovative packaging solution to Reclaim Rubber industry. Continued on Page 27 R.V.Gandhi receiving the prestigious KMP Gold Award on Jan 21, 2013 for his outstanding contributions to Indian Rubber Industry. Know A Leader - Rubber & Tyre Machinery World | APR 2016 20
  13. 13. Disclaimer:Thisimagefromwebisonlyfor representativepurposeandnotoftheadvertiser. BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY A US $20 million company in India proposes to set up a modern rubber conveyor belt (Synthetic fabric and Steel cord reinforced rubber conveyor belts) manufacturing plant in India for Mining and Industrial sectors. This company is desirous to enter into a strategic agreement with a renowned brand (technology partnership/equity stake). Genuinely interested companies from Japan, Korea, Australia, USA, UK, France, Canada, Germany, Chile, Brazil, South Africa, Poland etc may email in confidence to rubbermachineryworld@gmail.com for further communication. Dated:06April2016|Rubber&TyreMachineryWorld TECHNOLOGY PARTNERS FOR CONVEYOR BELT MANUFACTURING IN INDIA
  14. 14. | ONE PAGE LEADERSHIP INSIGHT | Know A Leader - Rubber & Tyre Machinery World APR 2016| ONE PAGE LEADERSHIP INSIGHT FROM AROUND THE WORLD 24
  15. 15. Know A Leader - Rubber & Tyre Machinery World APR 2016| | ONE PAGE LEADERSHIP INSIGHT | Source: HARVARD BUSINESS PUBLISHING. Image From Web. 25
  16. 16. | LEADER - INTERVIEW | What new ideas and opportunitiesPW: are energizing the reclaim industry globally? How much of these are facilitated by developments or improvements in machinery? Unlike India, globally rubberRVG: recycling is seen as an activity to get rid-off the stock pile of end-of-life tyres. Incentives are available to entrepreneurs by way of tipping fees if they have any process which can get rid-off such stock pile up. Therefore globally machinery suppliers are producing size reduction equipment of different types to produce ground rubber from end-of-life tyres. Such ground rubbers are available in different particle sizes for a variety of low cost consumer application. It will be interesting to see how machinery manufacturers globally can design machines which can while consuming less power produce micron size rubber powder. Developing size reduction equipment which is power efficient and capable of giving micronized powder offers tremendous opportunity. Manufacturers find it difficult to carryPW: hand-in-hand ‘superior-technology’ and ‘low-cost’ expectations in machinery? As a pioneer in customizing equipment in-house to suit your technological processes, what are your views to this dilemma? In my opinion there is a trust deficitRVG: between machinery manufacturer and user of such machines like us. Since Reclaim Rubber has to be produced from variety of end-of-life waste rubber products, innovative reclaimer like GRP looks for flexibility in the process and their machines to deal with such variety of waste. The machinery manufacturers particularly in India are not prepared to do any R&D to modify their equipment or to build certain flexibilities in it so that these machines can handle variety of waste. If those rubber machinery manufacturers show their intent of investing upfront in R&D and also show their intent to be trustworthy partners then I am sure customers across different sectors of the rubber industry could mutually benefit on the basis of such cooperation. Image from Web: Tyre Recycling Plant Know A Leader - Rubber & Tyre Machinery World APR 2016| ContinuedfromPage20 27
  17. 17. | LEADER - INTERVIEW | What do you envision for GRP inPW: the next 10 years? What challenges do you foresee to achieve this vision? As I take a back seat and allow theRVG: younger generation at GRP under the able-leadership of Harsh Gandhi, Executive Director to provide direction and future momentum to GRP, I have great confidence in the future of GRP. With the aid of Information Technology (IT) and multi dimensional skills available with the younger team, GRP is preparing itself to carve out not only niche products for the existing customers but also looking at products in the adjacent sectors. I am confident that in the coming 10 years GRP will continue to maintain its leadership status both in India and globally as it grows from strength to strength. “As I take a back seat and allow the younger generation at GRP under the able-leadership of Harsh Gandhi, to provide direction and future momentum to GRP, I have great confidence in the future of GRP.” Harsh Gandhi (Executive Director) with R.V.Gandhi (Managing Director) Know A Leader - Rubber & Tyre Machinery World APR 2016| 29
  18. 18. KELACHANDRA MACHINES (MFRS. OF RUBBER INDUSTRIAL MACHINERY) Chingavanam - 686 531, Kottayam, Kerala. India. Phone Off: +91- 481-2430325. Fax: +91- 481-2430596 e-mail: km1912@gmail.com
  19. 19. | LEADER - INTERVIEW | RMW PW: Great! And one last question. What advice on ‘machinery selection’ would you give to buyers in rubber and tyre industry? I advice buyers to partnerRVG: with machinery suppliers, who are trust-worthy and respect the confidentiality of information you share with them. If you are discussing specific customized machinery, a trust-worthy supplier should always display ethics by protecting your business interests and idea even when he has the urge to increase his profits through additional sales of your custom machine to other buyers. The machinery manufacturer should also invest in R&D and have the foresight to modify their equipment or to build certain flexibilities in it so that these machines can handle all your process requirements effectively. R.V.Gandhi 31
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