Mr Ashish Sanghvi
November 30, 2019
The future of the Indian infrastructure has found the much awaited messiah in the form of stainless steel, which is adding its luster to major economic fronts of the country. Structurals, in construction sector, have traditionally been devoid of the stainless magic. However, as the metal is gaining momentum, the sector holds immense possibilities for the Indian stainless steel industry. In this edition, we present to you a tete-a-tete with a man who failed in his high school, only to become India’s largest manufacturer of structural stainless steel products, Director, Raajratna Ventures Ltd., Mr Ashish Sanghvi.
How Was Your Childhood Like? How Did Your Journey Begin?
I was born and brought up in Ahmedabad (Gujarat). Back in my school days, I used to be an average student; not one of those who are extraordinarily bright. I even failed in high school. However, gradually I found my calling. In 1990, my father established a stainless steel wire manufacturing factory in Ahmedabad. Upon my visits there, I was always fascinated with the setup and wanted to learn more. This is also how I developed an inclination for having my own venture. In 1997, I joined the family business and went on to work, learn, and expand it from various aspects like production, quality, and liasoning for nearly 23 years. I also learnt the process, applications, and potential of stainless steel in our country.
In 2010, we streamlined our manufacturing process and started focusing on stainless steel pipes and tubes, specifically stainless steel squares and rectangulars. We procured the latest cage forming machines from abroad and started producing premium quality stainless steel products in 2011. During this time, we had 1 mill that produced nearly 150 tonnes of stainless steel pipes and tubes in a month. In 2019, we grew to 8 mills producing nearly 400 tonnes. Today, we are not only supplying to all major OEMs in India, but are also exporting to more than 25 countries including Europe, USA, Australia, New Zealand, and South East Asia.
What Are Some Of The Noteworthy Milestones Of Your Business?
In 2002, I took up the challenge of setting up a new stainless steel wire factory in Kandla in the Kutch District of Gujarat. In a span of just 6 years, I expanded the monthly production of the factory from 50 tonnes to 300 tonnes. In 2002, after diversifying our business from stainless steel wires to pipe and tube segment, we became one of the first pipe and tube manufacturers of stainless steel squares and rectangulars to produce for an international market. In 2018, we set foot in the structural business too and started manufacturing profiles (angles, beams, and channels). We also became the only producer in India to specialize in the production of 30 mm profiles. Then in 2019, we entered the stainless steel industrial tubes market.
During these years, we have aided the development of some challenging projects with our premium products. These include the Afghanistan Parliament (uses duplex 2205 stainless steel in its entrance dome), Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai (employs 450 tonnes of stainless steel squares and rectangular tubes), and the Hyderabad Police headquarters (uses ~300 tonnes of structural stainless steel tubes).
How Do You Define The Work Culture At Your Organization?
It is an enthusiastic and young workforce of ~400 talented people. As a practise, we never hire people from the same industry. This helps bring in a raw and fresh thought process in our Company. It is challenging, yet inspiring to work with people who are not very well-versed with stainless steel, but are motivated to bring in new ideas and discussions in order to improve the processing and manufacturing process. You’d be amazed to know that I myself am still learning a great deal about the very metal I have been selling for over 20 years.
When And How Did Your Journey With Jindal Stainless Begin? In Your Entire Gamut Of Suppliers, What Sets Jindal Stainless Apart?
In 2011, we put up our first ever purchase order with Jindal Stainless in order to produce welded stainless steel tubes. However, our relation with Jindal Stainless goes way back. Our families share a good rapport with Mr Rattan Jindal. This is why, Jindal Stainless was never a new name to us. The Company has been a key supplier and support for us since several years. It not only supported us when we made endeavours in the pipe and tube segment, but also stands as the only supplier for our Company till date. Jindal Stainless has always led the way for innovations and new production techniques. Moreover, with their consistent, best quality supply, Jindal Stainless continues to be our first priority. You’d be glad to know that today we are supplying to JSL Lifestyle Ltd. That’s an achievement in itself.
What Are Your Expectations From Your Business In The Coming Time?
Stainless steel is gearing up to enter the structural business and we are excited for this opportunity. Foot-over-bridges (FOBs) and road-over-bridges (ROBs) are fundamental to urban infrastructure across India and are facing regular deterioration due to unabated use of poor quality material. With its low-life cycle cost, better strength, and ‘green’ nature, stainless steel will play a major role in changing this scenario.
As a Company, we wish to become solution providers for big-scale projects and not just mere manufacturers of stainless steel components. The fabrication and designing of stainless steel pose immense challenge to the current business due to lack of a self-sustainable business ecosystem. However, with a positive raw material supply, improved technology, and a strengthened domestic industry, we hope that this dream will soon be a reality.