Sitting in his Ghaziabad office, is a man who sees each day full of new lessons in life. A quarter of the century is too short to bask in the glory of achievements, as he is still raring to go miles. MachineMaker joined in a riveting conversation with Mr. Ashwin Dhingra, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of MACHT Technologies Private Limited.
MACHT Technologies is a leading Engineering solutions provider to Indian Automotive and Precision Manufacturing industry in design and manufacture of Special Purpose Machines, Automation Systems, Modular Units like Spindles and Slides etc. and Precision Machined Parts in small to medium batch quantities (for exports)
In 2019, the organization is completing 25 years of its remarkable service to the Indian machine tools and automotive industry, in particular. On this occasion, the elegant technocrat took time to look down his own journey so far and his vision for the organization.
Born to a middle class Indian family with core values, Mr. Ashwin Dhingra inherited his passion for engineering from his father Mr. R N Dhingra. He graduated with B.E. with Distinction, in Mechanical Engineering from University of Mysore.
He joined Yamaha Motorcycles India Limited as a production engineer in the year 1988. The experience moulded his expertise for automotive industry. In 1990 he joined EMAG Maschinenfabrik in Germany. His stint in Germany honed his technical skills as he got to work with some of world class machine tools builders in the process.
MACHT Technologies happened in the year 1994, as much by his own zest as it was by the exemplary step of his father Mr. R. N. Dhingra, who was then at a leading position with an Auto Component Manufacturing company of world repute.
He says, “It was a lifelong dream of my father to start his own company. Both of us were from service background and both had undergone training at world reputed companies in Germany, during our respective careers. Armed with just our Knowledge and Dreams, we founded this company in 1994 to give cost effective engineering solutions to the Precision Manufacturing Industry”.
Taking small strides upfront, the organization today is one of the reputed names in its field. “Initially we invested in Indian machines of global repute and began this journey as a tool room in 1994. It was almost four years before we were in a position to form a team, train them to understand & deliver the Quality required by the Industry. Today we design all types Special Purpose Machines and are also exporting components and assemblies to Europe”, he says.
Research and Development is integral to MACHT’s core competence. “We have done research in our organization for many modular units. We invest a lot of time and money in developing new Modular Units for machines, which are nothing but Building Blocks of Machine Tools. Recently we have started giving solutions in Rotary Transfer Machines using our own Modular Units”, he says.
“Rotary Transfer concept is not new, it is widely used in the Western World for Products which have very high volumes. The import cost for such machines in India is so high that it isn’t feasible for an Indian Customer. We at MACHT have developed the Modular Units indigenously, which are required for such machines. These Indigenous Units bring down the cost of such high-end solutions to more affordable levels”
Talking about the challenges that MACHT Technologies faced, Mr. Dhingra presents picture which is the common story for many other small/ mid-sized manufacturer in the country. “Shortage of skilled labour and lack of finance are the two major issues for a small company”, he points out. “We have our own skilled team today but it took a long time to build one”, he adds.
“Secondly, the availability of finance is also a big challenge. Especially, lack of funding for companies, which can actually shine, is a major challenge. Collateral for availing loans becomes an issue for the small but potential companies as well.”
“It’s a ‘Who came first, chicken or egg?’ story”, he remarks.
Under his aegis, MACHT Technologies follows a direct marketing strategy. “For exports we have our own set of regular clients who have been giving orders over the years, however we are constantly looking to add new Customers and Products for export through various channels. We have exported Special Spindles to Germany in this financial year itself”, he says.
“For Machine Tools Division, though most of the marketing is through word of mouth, we come in contact with new Customers through Exhibitions. We first get an inquiry based on which we give solutions to the Customer, which invariably includes a Concept Drawing on paper and then we get an order. This is a lengthy process which needs to be followed to develop Special Purpose Machines. Understanding the customers’ requirement is the most important aspect of our business”, he adds.
He highlights a drawback of the industry in this regard as well. “As part of our solutions we have to sometimes do the entire engineering for the requirement prior to getting the order itself and it may so happen that the Customer might not even place the order on us”
On being asked about the young workforce, he utters, “I see a lack of skill &commitment in young workforce these days, especially for a manufacturing company. A company ropes in a young employee and invests money, time, in training him or her and as soon as some other company offers more money the employee grabs the next offer, nullifying our investment in the process”, he says.
“I owe my training and technical know-how to a company in Germany where I was a trainee but even then I put long hours of work, just so I could learn more. I was committed to the Company that trained me, sometimes more than their own employees. That mindset and learning nature is lacking these days.”
“I would not say money should not be a factor, but I would say money should not be the only deciding factor. Commitment should also be given priority for individual career growth.”
However being a positive person that he is, Mr. Dhingra ardently makes effort to maintain a work atmosphere in his organization where employees feel engaged with the organization and its growth.
“So, in our organization what we follow is an atmosphere of entrepreneurship and ensure a work culture where every employee feels part of a new project with a sense of ownership. As an employer, I believe in encouraging them to unleash their own potential. I provide them with general direction for what we are targeting and how they can best perform to achieve those goals. We have a system based working culture. My father was instrumental behind infusing those core values to our company.”
Currently, along with managing the overall operations of the company, he also brings in valuable inputs to the designing team and guides the team to develop Special Purpose Machines, Linear Gantry Robots as well as various Modular Units such as Self Feed Machining Units for Machine Tool Building.
His organization which employs around 40 people is based out of Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. Recently a New Assembly Hall has been added to the plant on the occasion 25th Anniversary so that they can build more complex machines like Multi Axles 8 to 12 Station Rotary Machines & Automation Solutions in the years to come.
Mr. Dhingra also harbors plans to open offices in strategic locations across India, in major hubs, to support small manufacturing companies.
Mr. Dhingra, who inspires many with his leadership and never say die attitude, owes it to his father. “For me, my father will always be my role model. He was the Founder Chairman of the company and showed me the way forward. When we started my father was over sixty. At such an age when normally people retire from their working life, he took a striking step of starting a new venture. He not only had conviction in his own capabilities but also belief in me to take it forward, which I find a remarkable show of persons inner strength.”
“Even today, when I send an introductory letter for the company, I mention “My father and I” as a tribute to him.
As always, Mr. Dhingra is away from complacency as he sees the milestone of completing 25 years for MACHT Technologies as just the beginning for himself and his team and thus he motivates them.
“Our plan is to offer innovative solutions to all developing industries to help them create more success stories in the “Make In India”, which I firmly believe in. We also want to offer our Modular Units to the small Machine Tool Builders as a Cost Effective alternative to the Imported Modular Units they have to use”, he calmly declares.