Mr Dhirendra W Oke
January 29, 2024
Established in 1985 with a team of approximately 60 individuals, MOJJ Engineering Systems Limited has witnessed immense growth in the last three decades and is projected to reach INR 850 crores this year. Based out of Pune, MOJJ has an in-house infrastructure for designing plants and equipment tailored to the unique requirements of customers. With a dedicated R&D facility, the company boasts of over 1000 installations globally. Don’t miss this captivating interview between the Managing Director & Whole Time Director of MOJJ, Mr D W Oke and Supriya Sundriyal, Corporate Communications, Jindal Stainless.
Could you please tell us about yourself?
I was born in Pune in a joint family. I have a brother and four sisters. My father was a teacher in the corporation high schools. My mother was a housewife, but she was working in cooperation also. I was in a Marathi medium school in Pune, Nutan Marathi Vidyalaya. I graduated in engineering from the College of Engineering, Pune. Later on, I did M.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai. In 1978, I passed out from IIT in Design Engineering. After passing out from college, I worked for four years in Mac Neill and Magor Ltd in Mumbai for the initial two years of my career. Then, I joined Vulcan Laval, which is now known as Alfa Laval.
In 1985, I left that company and started MOJJ, which was earlier mainly in engineering space with respect to dryers and later on evaporators. In 2002, we started making distillation equipment, that is, distilleries for ethanol. Before that, we were making dryers and evaporators for various markets in the world and in India. We have about 1200 to 1500 plants in drying and evaporation, spanning about 30 countries all over the world. These plants are made up of different grades of stainless steel. Earlier, we had a single plant. Now we have five manufacturing facilities to make these equipment. We have roughly about 400 people working with us. We have grown over the years. In fact, this year, our business will touch about INR 850 crores.
What are the challenges that your industry faces?
See, mainly it is a capital equipment goods manufacturing company, subject to the inherent fluctuations in the capital equipment segment. However, we have strategically diversified into four key verticals. This approach ensures resilience; if one vertical faces challenges, the other three—comprising dryers, evaporators, zero liquid discharge plants, and incineration plants—sustain the company. Additionally, we are engaged in the production of ethanol plants and have extended our expertise to distillation for various chemicals beyond ethanol. This diversified portfolio allows us to navigate downturns in specific areas, maintaining overall stability and performance. We have a flexible business model. We have worked in all these areas for the past 40 years. So, we have a huge amount of operating data, which is very rare. Also, we have combined probably hundreds of years of experience built in the company
How do you overcome these challenges?
The first aspect involves capital equipment goods, where upfront payments are received along with some advances, albeit requiring bank guarantees. These equipment are custom-designed for specific customers, necessitating careful consideration due to potential fluctuations. Managing the highs and lows is crucial, and our commitment extends to ensuring the functionality of the equipment. In situations where there are no precedents or existing equipment, we conduct pilot tests. If challenges arise, we iterate and modify until the full-size equipment is operational, ensuring success even in the absence of established benchmarks.
Any any particular project that you remember and are proud of?
Yeah, our first project – first distillery which we made in 2002 is a project that I am very proud of. There were merely two-three companies in India which were making distilleries at that time. What we intended to do was to give something very special. So we introduced fermentation where we were getting nearly 20/30% more alcohol in fermented wash. Then we had evaporators, which was very new at that time, nobody thought that it will be successful. And it was the first distillery which became successful, and which was completely different from what was being offered that time. And back then, we had probably 60 people in total.
When and how did your journey with Jindal stainless begin in your opinion what set JSL apart from your other suppliers?
Our association with Jindal Stainless begin in 1985 only when we began Mojj. We started with stainless steel. We have very few equipment made in carbon steel, all our equipment are made in stainless steel.
Any message that you have for the upcoming engineers and R&D experts in your field?
To keep on experimenting and devising new equipment, new process and fight till they become successful.