30 Jun 2017, 08:28 — 7 min read
The 'Make in India' initiative seeks to encourage the growth of new businesses and celebrate existing manufacturers within the nation. Nishit Sharma, Director of Nishit Thermit Alloys Private Limited, is an example of the kind of entrepreneur that the initiative wants to celebrate and support.
Nishit, who took over the business started by his father 30 years ago, manufactures welding electrodes. Today, he provides an indigenous solution for a product that is used extensively in construction. They export as well, making them a role model for companies that are looking to live up to the promise of 'Make in India'.
In conversation with GlobalLinker (GL), Nishit Sharma (NS) shares insights about his business. Watch this video for a glimpse of his entrepreneurial journey.
GL: Tell us about your business.
NS: Nishit Thermit Alloys manufacture a range of welding electrodes. Our primary range comprises of mild steel electrodes i.e the 6013 welding electrodes. We also have stainless steel welding electrodes, cast-iron welding electrodes. We have a lot of brands that fall under the mild steel category - Power, Dyna and Patton are examples. We also have a product that is of radiographic quality and that is Leeon X. We provide all the services that are necessary for any sort of work that involves welding.
We used to have a joint-family business based out of Nasik. Three brothers including my father started a manufacturing unit. At the time, we were the largest producers of welding electrodes in the country. Then there was a split in the business and my father decided to move to Nagpur. He set up shop with the help of a friend who had the necessary scientific expertise. He started this is in 1991 and it’s been almost 30 years since we’ve been manufacturing welding electrodes.
GL: What are the challenges you have faced in establishing your business?
NS: Initially when my father set up the first plant, he didn’t have any technical expertise. The first step in setting up a facility was to find someone with technical expertise and my father collaborated with a friend who the requisite know-how. We weren’t well-established in Nagpur when we came here. Since he belonged to the same business he knew dealers, but we couldn’t encroach that market because they were loyal to the company we had left behind in Nasik.
My father did a lot of marketing. He had this quality that he would never say 'no' to anyone. If someone wanted to buy a box of welding electrodes he would supply to them. Those dealers took an interest in our product and they have been with us for 25 years now. Now there are many of examples of them buying 250-300 cases, which is a huge volume.
For me, it was a big transition to join this business. I’ve always worked in big corporates and did my Masters abroad. It was very difficult settling in. It was also difficult to change the mentality of people when I came in. There was a lot of resistance to ideas that would benefit their working style and the company. They were used to the same style of working for 25 years. Convincing them took a while. Over time, new processes were established.
GL: What is the USP of your business?
NS: My father is a visionary. He’s worked really hard throughout his life. He has created a lot of goodwill in the market and that has always helped our business. He’s given a lot of importance to networking and relationships.
We wanted to expand our business to South India where we hadn't made too many inroads. He had such a good name in the welding electrode industry that it made it easier for me to approach people and convince them to buy our product. The main USP has been relationships, branding and loyalty to our customers and distributors who have been with us for a long time.
GL: What are some of the milestones of your business?
NS: The initial milestone was that we became the biggest producer for welding electrodes in Central India in the late 1990s and the early 2000s. When I joined the business, I came into a setup blessed by the hard work of my father and the goodwill generated by his name. I was responsible for increasing sales by 100 tonnes a month from the South.
GL: What role do you feel GlobalLinker plays in connecting and assisting SMEs?
NS: GlobalLinker is a fantastic platform. It is a giving a visual perception to someone interested in a particular field with their SME Inspirations feature. They’re getting into the factory and showing the manufacturing facility. They get the owners on the website and that increases the trust factor. If I am looking for a raw material and I go to a particular section, it becomes that much easier for me to source that raw material now. If someone is looking for a product I deal in, they can contact me.
GL: What is your big business dream?
NS: We’re already in line of doubling our capacity. In the next two years our capacity would have doubled from 100 to 200 tonnes. We supply to about 7 countries surrounding India. We want to expand that a lot. We want to establish more regular trade with the existing countries. The main challenge will be to provide sustainable quality. Since the market is very cost-sensitive, to get the right raw materials from the right importers is very difficult. To align all of that, and to provide a very cost-effective product with good quality will be the primary aim of the company.
GL: What is your message to aspiring entrepreneurs?
NS: There’s something very satisfying about working for yourself and having your business. Working for someone else is also a good learning experience - something that you can continue to do if you like that setup. If you’re putting twelve hours a day into your business, you know that the benefits accrued come to you. Leadership is very important. We don’t really interact with our ground-level staff on a daily basis. If you want to succeed at entrepreneurship, keeping your staff happy and motivated is very important. Also, relationships are very important. You have to be able to deal with all situations very calmly.
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Posted byGlobalLinker Staff
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