THE TURNAROUND SPECIALIST
Looking at the current scenario, transitions have become an inevitable aspect. And it’s not just the pandemic, changes are driven by a lot of things like market dynamics, customer demands, innovative practices, etc. To thrive in this environment, businesses can’t just continue with a status quoist approach; they need to undergo periodic transformations to stay in the game. While the general focus resides on the process, we need to understand the key driver of change in any organisation.
CEOs are the harbingers of transformation and evolution. But how do they achieve transformational change? Their roles are influenced by the scope, urgency, and shortcomings of the organisation, as well as the nature of transformation the situation demands.
India is home to a good number of ingenious leaders and their efforts and approaches are widely acknowledged in the fraternity. Ajoy Mundkur is a well-known name in the pantheon. He is the genius behind the transformational growth of Nexon Paints, a well-known manufacturer and marketeer of decorative paints in India. His leadership in retrieving Nexon Paints from the abyss and transforming it into one of India’s fastest growing decorative paint companies, qualifies him for inclusion in our upcoming edition. “25 Most Valuable CEO’s in India 2021”.
INCEPTION AND THE TRANSFORMATION
In 1987, Mr Khataram Choudhury started a business in paint retailing through a store in Jubilee Hills in the city of Hyderabad. And within a short period, his store became one of the highest selling stores of ICI paints in the city. Excited by the growth, he entered paint manufacturing and distribution in the year 2008, laying the inception of Saicoat Paints. For the next 4-5 years, the Company showed promising growth, but then due to limitations in terms of technology, management and the lack of a system and process-oriented framework it faced challenging scenarios and there came a time in around 2015-16 when the company’s very survival was at stake.
This is when the Company’s board understood the need for transformation and the need to give the company a professional outlook. In September 2016, they brought in Mr Ajoy Mundkur, a seasoned leader with an extensive background in Sales & Marketing and with prior experience in a Paint MNC. Post his induction into the company, Ajoy took various steps in order to affect the turnaround.
The product brand name and company name were changed from Saicoat Paints to the more appealing and marketing friendly Nexon Paints. A New packaging and brand identity was introduced, the brand was appropriately positioned, New Loyalty programs targeting both the dealer and painter were introduced. His advent also on-boarded trained professionals to head various departments and Nexon became an environment of empowerment.
Nexon has a product portfolio which caters to all 3 segments within the Decorative Paints ambit namely, Water based, Solvent based and Putty & Textures. The Water based portfolio includes Emulsions (both Interior & Exterior), Primers, Distemper and Speciality Emulsions, while the Solvent based portfolio includes Thinners, Metal Primers, KPF, Premium Enamels, and Wood finishes.
All of Nexon Paint’s Interior Emulsions (Premium, Mid-Tier and Economy) are infused with a fragrance so your room has a pleasant smell at all times.
Care for the Environment is another top priority at Nexon Paints. They have obtained the prestigious Green Pro certification (which is a guarantee that the product is environment friendly throughout its life cycle) for all their Emulsions and Wall Putty.
“Our guiding mantra is to ensure that our customers get great value for money”, asserts the CEO.
Alongside customer satisfaction, Nexon has devised a number of engagement programs to drive the interests of dealers and painters.
The dealer engagement program is a loyalty initiative, where dealers can earn benefits depending on their volume and value of purchases. Nexon Paints is currently present only in the Southern Region of India, but still has a strong base of 2000 active dealers in its fold, including 200 “Privilege Dealers” who are entitled to special benefits. On the other hand, for the painters, Nexon has leveraged technology and created the Dhanvarsha app. Painters can download the app and earn points based on the usage of products which in turn translates to rewards which is tracked and monitored through the app. Nexon is connected with over 4000 painters through the app.
A TECHNOLOGICAL TURNAROUND
Nexon has a state-of-the-art production plant in Pashamylaram on the outskirts of Hyderabad where it manufactures its entire range of products. The plant is stacked with advanced equipment and efficient manpower to give every idea the attention it deserves. The confluence of technology and human efforts significantly boosts productivity, and a well-defined maintenance SOP ensure that there are no technical breakdowns and time lags. The tech-empowered model helps benchmark competitive products, identify areas of improvement and synthesize a cost-effective way to deliver the same with better value additions.
WHAT DRIVES THEIR TRANSFORMATION?
At the heart of its business, is the R&D department, which drives its wheels of change. It has a dedicated R&D Lab and with multiple teams working constantly on product and process innovation and enhancement. The products pass through rigorous quality parameters and tests before reaching the end customer. By changing the marketing focus from low value-low margin products to high value-high margin products, the Company has made a significant improvement in its overall profitability.
A CULTURE OF CONSTANT IMPROVEMENT
A company can’t scale new heights if not for an empowered team and work culture. Therefore, Nexon asserts its work culture as one of its key drivers of success. It has an employee-centric ecosystem and this is one of the significant transformations made by Ajoy. Its team consists of qualified professionals who strengthen core functions, like QC, Finance, Sales & Marketing, Factory operations and Supply Chain. The Company Management maintains an open-door policy, where employee concerns if any are given due attention and addressed.
Parallelly, it pays avid attention to their performance. Annual planning and periodic review meetings are conducted to monitor the growth and progress and Individual and Team KRAs are set and measured. Good performances are commemorated and rewarded accordingly.
A GROWTH TO CELEBRATE
Nexon’s business revolves around sustainable relationships through the value chain, care for the environment, a professional outlook and its value for money proposition. With the use of technology and its innovative loyalty programmes the company has built a strong network of painters and dealers. The value-added features in its products ensure better customer satisfaction vis a vis competition and customers keep coming back for more.
The Company’s growth statistics speaks for itself! From a turnover of Rs. 24 Cr in 2015-16 the company’s revenues have grown to Rs. 67 Cr in 2020-21 which represents a CAGR of 23% over the 5-year period. Its debtor days have come down from 90 to 50 during the same period. Ajoy’s outstanding leadership helped the Company win the “Rising Star of the Paints Industry” which was awarded by IPCA in 2019.
In 2021, The Economic Times featured Nexon Paints in “India’s Growth Champions 2021”, naming it as one of India’s fastest growing companies.
TOWARDS A BRIGHTER TOMORROW
Sitting upon 5 years of spectacular success, Nexon aims to achieve a 500 Cr. turnover by 2026-27. This will be achieved through a mix of both organic growth and acquisitions.
A THOUGHTFULL TOKEN TO ASPIRING LEADERS
“Dream big, focus on planning and strategy, hire talented people and empower them, work hard. And always believe – Nothing is Impossible.” Ajoy Mundkur, CEO and Executive Director Nexon Paints
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