Mr Mukul Varma
May 30, 2019
With this edition, we bring to you the story of a man who wrote his destiny as a teenager and went on to achieve his dreams. Born with a desire to excel and a never dying grit, this man is the force behind a pioneering name in the field of stainless steel auto tube manufacturing in India. An avid learner who keeps his father’s teachings close to his heart, Managing Director, Maruichi KUMA Steel Tubes Pvt. Ltd., Mr Mukul Varma shares glimpses of his life with Stainless Post.
Take Us Back To The Beginning Of Your Journey.
I was born in Bhilai, Chattisgarh. My father was a civil engineer who retired as the Chief Surveyor of Mines at SAIL’s Bhilai Steel Plant after a service of nearly 40 years. Having looked up to him throughout my life, I developed a passion for steel. As the youngest among 6 go-getter siblings who turned out be fine professionals, I was driven by a need to excel. However, I was motivated to work in the private sector. After completing my graduation in 1980 from Jabalpur Engineering College, formerly known as Government Engineering College, Jabalpur, I got my campus placement at Steel Tubes of India Ltd. in the year 1980. After that I worked with Nagarjuna, Hyderabad, Atlas Cycles, Gurgaon and others till 2003. This drew up a 25-year experience of managing the production shop floor, to finally heading the mechanical, electrical, and production departments of steel manufacturing. It was in 2003 that my stint in KUMA Steel Tubes Pvt. Ltd. began, where I went on to become the unit head.
What, According To You, Are Some Of Your Noteworthy Milestones?
You would be glad to know that even after becoming the head of KUMA, I was motivated to study. This led me to pursue my MBA from MDI Gurgaon at the age of 48. Apart from this, one major milestone was when I was heading Atlas’ manufacturing unit at the age of 28. I even worked with an African multinational group in Kenya. Then, KUMA came my way, which is where I applied all my learning. Later, in 2009, the Japanese multinational Maruichi was associated with KUMA and that’s how Maruichi KUMA came into being. In 2005-06, KUMA’s turnover was around Rs 10 crore which scaled up to nearly Rs 400 crore in 2019.
What Is The Work Culture At Your Company Like? Tell Us About Maruichi KUMA’s Future Plans.
We are a lean private board-run company that promotes a transparent and stress-free culture. A testimony to this is the fact that in the last 10 years, we’ve had a zero attrition rate in manpower. There have been only additions of efficient and hand-picked employees to our team. We have a manufacturing unit in Manesar, Haryana and a unit in Bangalore, and warehousing and logistic centers in Pune and Chennai. We are planning to install another unit in Gujarat by next year.
Maruichi has a global presence spread across several countries like US, Mexico, Indonesia, China, India, Vietnam, etc. Given the wide customer base, we are now focusing on exports to South Africa, Philippines, Czech Republic, etc. We already are exporting to Toyota South Africa for the last four years and wish to expand our reach.
When Did You Come Across Jindal Stainless? In Your Entire Gamut Of Suppliers, What Sets Jindal Stainless Apart?
It was around 7-8 years back when I first came across Jindal Stainless. Before that, the company specialized in 300 series stainless steel grades. However, as a tube manufacturer for automobiles, we required 400 series stainless steel grades. Until then, most of our raw material was imported from Japan and Korea. Soon, Jindal Stainless started production of 400 series grades and wooed us with their indigenously manufactured world-class stainless steel. As of today, around 50-60% of our stainless steel requirement is fulfilled by Jindal Stainless, with orders amounting to 1000+ tonnes each month.
The best part about dealing with Jindal Stainless is their focused approach towards understanding the needs of customers. The company has been continuously improving. In case there are any problems, we always find a winning solution.
What Will Be Your Message To The Future Generation?
My father always said that easy things are always doable. A lot of people are busy doing them. He always told me to attempt what’s difficult, and find a solution. Imagine yourself sitting at the top of a mountain with nobody to help. That’s when one learns the importance of self-reliance. Acquire what you lack, learn, and excel.
Another advice would be to never be dull. Find that spark in you. For me, that’s travelling to new places and experiencing new food and cultures.