Passion for Innovation is Prime Importance
Legacy speaks a great deal for humans. But to continue the legacy with ones all heart is one’s choice and determination. The inborn drive to dedicate his life to the inherited prestige and devotion to the industry and it’s people was certainly experienced by Mr. Chirag Bakshi, Business and Solution Development head, Hindustan Automation. An extremely proud son and a technocrat at heart decided to take up the challenge of living up to the credibility that his father brought through Hindustan Automation, cherish and nurture the heritage that he willfully accepted.
In a conversation with Machine Maker, he talks about the successful journey of Hindustan Automation and his strife to take it to greater heights.
Could you tell us about your association with Hindustan Automation?
I completed my Btech in Mechanical engineering from DY Patil, Pune in 2002 post which I got firsthand experience by working with my father for 5 years. My first big break was working with Kuehne Nagel which is a German company. I worked there as Pan India Vertical Head for Oil and Gas for 5 years and rejoined my family business in 2012.
During my tenure at Kuehne Nagel, I got the opportunity to travel overseas and interact with global heads of reputed organizations which was a great exposure for me. I got an experience on corporate work culture and networking which helped me to groom myself as a professional. The added advantage was the exposure to global manufacturing processes, which slowly got implemented in HA.
How would you trace the growth of Hindustan Automation since its inception?
My father started Hindustan Automation with a space area of 500 square meters in Chinchwad gaon. It was later shifted to the current base at Thergaon where we have four manufacturing units with an area of 5000 square meters and now we are in the process of procuring a land of 15000 square meters for our further operations. We recently bought a plan in Chakan.
Our manpower has grown to be of 40 people in strength today and we plan to increase our strength soon. Our product offerings which started from a single product, VBF has now expanded be more than 50 different products that are well customized to meet the specific requirement of the customers.
Apart from Indian market, Hindustan automation exports its products overseas mainly to the Middle Eastern countries, Saudi and Dubai being the major markets.
What drove Colonel Bakshi to establish Hindustan Automation post his service to Indian Army?
My father, Col. Ram Swarup Bakshi after his retirement, founded Hindustan Automation in 1998. He acquired his bachelors degree in electrical engineering from CME, Dapoli and a PG from MCME, Secunderabad. He has always remained an engineer at heart along with being a dedicated Army person. He joined Indian Army’s core engineering group in 1972 as Captain, and served the country until 1996 where he retired as Colonel at Southern Command. During his service period in army he was part of 4 wars, and battalion head of Srinlanka Operation IPKF. He was involved in all strategical and technical decisions of this operation based in Colombo. He was also the hardcore member of Technical Expertise who executed a joint operation with Russia, where Indian Government procured a lot of defence equipments. For his services he was awarded Ati Visishta Seva Medal and a lot of other recognitions.
Soon after his retirement he joined Sortimet as Plant Head in Pune and worked there for two years. While his course at Sortiment, he discovered that the customers had vivid demands and their needs could be fulfilled in a better way. With a vision to give ‘service’ a whole new meaning, he decided to address the grievances of the customers, providing them a satisfactory service, he established Hindustan automation at the age of 58. Later the Indian Government awarded Udyog Ratan Award and Rajiv Gandhi Excellence Award for his entrepreneur and industrial efforts.
The Legacy that your father has bestowed upon you, how challenging and encouraging is it for you?
I am the youngest in the family. My elder brother, who has also served the Indian Army, now works as the Plant Head at Thermax. So the legacy has continuously been galvanized by our family. I started my career at Kuehne Nagel where I encountered with a slew of opportunities to have a successful career but I was really driven by my father’s vision and dream to expand Hindustan Automation and serve the industry in the best of the ways.
To live up to the standards that my father had set was extremely challenging but inspiring as well. His values and ideologies are the impetus that one would look for to prosper in his life. This legacy is the drive and a matter of pride for me. Certainly it is not easy to maintain the hard work my father left back for me. The day before his demise he called a production meeting and imparted his guidance, made important decisions, that kind of a stalwart soul he was. That very commitment is the basic drive that runs Hindustan Automation. I highly admire my father’s principles and so have adopted it in my practice. Even after his demise his desk still remains where it was, the attachment is the nudge we all will always need to take Hindustan automation to another level. I feel it is my duty to take Hindustan Automation to the pinnacle of success, the dream that my father has always had for all of us at Hindustan Automation.
Could you tell us about the range of products Hindustan Automation offers and the sectors it caters to?
Hindustan Automation started with offering VBF 20 years ago and today it offers more than 50 innovative products to the customers. We have customized solutions to suit our customer’s needs. Major new products that we have included are all types of flat belt conveyors, inclined conveyors, spiral conveyor, dockleveller, truck loader, scissor lifts, hydraulic equipments, VRC – good lifts, Robotic equipments and SPMs. Robotic equipments and hydraulics lifts are our latest innovations, which got excellent response and reviews from our customers.
We believe that our passion for innovation is of prime importance and that is what has kept encouraging us to innovate and expand. Apart from Indian manufacturers, China is a major competitor but we have taken the challenge head and are trying to develop products as import substitute Making in India, and invested a large amount of funds there which is turning out be quite successful. We are working with a lot of Tier 1 manufacturers in India and giving them solutions for material handling and assembly automation. Our solutions are helping our customers to reduce cost and improve the quality and productivity.
We are leaders in Material Handling Equipments, Automation solutions for warehousing, assembly plants and OEMs, catering to all verticals – automobile, pharma, high-tech (high engineering), food processing, bearing industries and warehousing.
We export equipments like Automation vertical reciprocal conveyor lifts (goods lifts and vibratory bowl feeders for customized applications to Middle Eastern regions like Saudi and Dubai. We are expecting to expand our export to African countries as well.
What are your further growth plans, where do you see Hindustan Automations to be by the year 2020?
We are planning to expand our global imprint which is now in Middle East which will expand to African Countries. We are also looking for collaborations with overseas players who are looking to expand in India including productions as well as sales. We are working on Pan India and have a strong customer base in North and South Indian markets. Being in the West we have the geographical advantage, and by 2020 we will be covering the Eastern market which is a hub of traditional manufacturers. We look forward to inducting more skilled engineers, upgrade our manufacturing facilities, and move more towards customer oriented solutions.