Pearl Group– Perfection in Diversity
The Business Overview
With an initial focus on cargo handling for import/export cargo, Mr Jamshaid Ashraf laid the foundation of the Pearl Group in the year 1991. And with time, the company diversified itself into multiple verticals; and the business expanded geographically as well. Initially, Pearl Group started operating from Mumbai that now has expanded to Pune, Mundra, Bangalore, the UAE, Malaysia, and Singapore, and also has agencies in 14 other countries.
With time, the verticals have been stretched further to NVOCC/Freight Forwarding, complete Tech-Enabled Security Solutions, Warehouse Management, Security, Staffing Solutions, and Facility Management Services. From the time of inception, the company strongly focused on providing the best to its clients which certainly sets it apart from most of its competitors.
A Boss Says “Go”, a Leader Says “Let’s go”
Following in their father’s footsteps, Shariq Ashraf and Shayan Ashraf are leading the organization as Directors. When asked Shariq, he stated that good leadership isn’t about directing people to follow one’s instructions but it is about values and ethics that you imbibe in your team for them to follow. To him, leadership is about giving freedom and responsibilities to the employees to help them grow.
He gives the credit to his global upbringing which helped him learn from some of the best across industries. He studied at the University of Oxford and later joined the BCG (The Boston Consulting Group) in Australia that gave him an enormous opportunity to work closely with and to learn from some of the sharpest people across the globe. He believes it is through the ethic of hard work, of focusing on important goals and ignoring distractions, of being fair to others, of respecting and earning the trust of your employees and clients that form the base for success as a leader.
Work-Life Balance during the Crisis
The outbreak of Covid-19 has turned the lives upside down for many but strong are those who found opportunities in times of crisis like these. Pearl Group did the same. With the exodus of employees back to their respective states, the team went on aggressive recruitment locally and provided training sessions to local recruits to expedite the process. As a result, now the Pearl Group has a much stronger supply of workers than they did before COVID, and are functionally in a better place than pre-COVID times.
Aligning the Vision and the Mission
At the Pearl Group, it is of utmost priority to see that all the employees are in sync with the vision that drives the company and is aligned with it. Operationally, translating this vision and mission into executable actions, and then building those actions and deliverables as part of the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) of the team members is what helps drive the high-level vision into real, tactical, executable strategies at the ground level.
R&D- A success story of any Company
Without an eye for detail for R&D, it is strenuous to sustain an edge in business. Pearl Group continues to invest in Research and Development throughout all the verticals for finding and testing the best materials and suppliers to guarantee secure transit over belligerent waters or creating security system solutions that are bespoke to cater to the specific requirements of the clients. Pearl Group has strived hard and invested in abundance to stay parallel to the technical advancements.
They built and implemented an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software that has been customized for their cargo handling business. Likewise, for the NVOCC/Freight Forwarding business, they have a customized ERP in place for the clients to trace the containers with their cargo and get real-time inventory availability across the globe. For security services, they set up cutting edge technology, from ANPRS (Automatic Number Plate Recognition Systems) for vehicular access control, to vehicle tracking GPS systems, FRS (Facial Recognition Systems) for access control as well as for alerts, RFID based patrolling systems, and many more such technologies.
Work Culture and Team Management
Sound work environment culture adjusts representative practices and company policies with the general objectives of the organization, while likewise considering the prosperity of people. The management at the organization is firm about a few attributes that their employees must follow; proactivity, responsibility vs accountability, and honesty. Shariq says he wants his employees to take ownership of their roles and not just be accountable but also be responsible for what they do.
He believes in creating an environment that sets his employees free to deliver the KPIs. At the same point, the Director expects complete honesty from the employees wherein they share their failures, in asking for help when required, so larger teams can collaborate to help increase effectiveness and efficiency. Mr. Ashraf believes it is imperative to develop supportive surroundings and that every failure should be considered as an opportunity to learn something.
Corporate Social Responsibility- Highest Utilization of the Force of Life
“Every generation needs a reformer, if you don’t have one, be one.” For Shariq, it is principal for any organization to give back to society. A strong CSR program is an open door for organizations to exhibit their great corporate citizenship and shield the organization from outsized danger by taking a gander at the entire social and ecological circle that encompasses the organization.
Pearl Group has engaged itself with multiple CSR activities. The group is providing computers for education to economically weaker sections by liaising with an NGO in Mumbai and is also engaged in developing vocational skills training for women in Bihar through a program called “Hunar”, that enables them to earn their livelihood and attain independence. Shayan spearheads the group’s efforts in working with NGOs that prevent cruelty towards animals, and help abandoned animals find loving and caring homes.
A business strategy can be utilized as an instrument to distinguish where you are at the moment and in which direction you wish your business to develop. A strategy will likewise guarantee that you meet certain key targets and oversee business needs. In the last few years, Pearl Group has diversified into various other verticals and looks forward to achieving deeper market penetration in those sectors. Shariq assumes that in the next 5 years, the organization will evolve into consolidation and will strengthen its presence in the market.
Words of Wisdom for the Readers
“Whatever you do, don’t chase the money – chase your passions, the money will follow. Be keen and eager to explore various opportunities early in life, you never know what opportunities life will throw your way. And whatever life does throw your way, take it positively, as an opportunity. We cannot control or choose every event that happens to us, but we can control and choose our reactions to them. As they say, it’s the sails and not the gales that decide the direction of the ship. And lastly, never be afraid of making mistakes – if you try, you might fail, but if you don’t try, you will definitely fail!”