Leading Disruptive Change
1. THE BIG IDEA
Although TEMA was constituted as a legal entity in 1987, its foundation was laid in 1975 when I put up Leo Engineering Works.
Right out of college, I was successful in manufacturing Sampling Bombs, Corrosion Bombs and Vapour Pressure Bombs. At the time, these products were imported from USA and I manufactured them in India by using Teflon seated valves in place of needle valves. This was highly appreciated as they turned out to be far safer and more lasting as compared to the ones imported. It resulted in import substitution for Esso Refinery (now HPCL) and Burmah Shell (now BPCL). Much later we supplied in bulk to ONGC. Although I made good money, I soon got bored and ventured into heat exchangers. I used to look at Heat Exchangers in both Esso and Burmah Shell refineries at Mahul. It was quite fascinating studying heat exchangers in dismantled condition for maintenance.
Today I believe, we’ve mastered the art of manufacturing and designing heat exchangers and are constantly experimenting with new ideas and technologies. We also have a patent for the ‘shrink ring’ threaded portion of channel barrel for Screw Plug Heat Exchangers which are used in High Pressure and High Temperature service in the Oil and Gas sector.
Our vision for 2020 is to be the largest Designer/Manufacturer of Shell and Tube Heat Exchangers in the world.
2. DISRUPTIVE BUSINESS MODEL
We’ve tailored our business model to ensure maximum tonnage under the crane hook, in order to increase the capacity of the workshops. We achieved this by catering to only shell and tube heat exchangers and not pressure vessels and columns that occupy more volume and space per ton as compared to heat exchangers.
After being an established designer/manufacturer of critical heat exchangers for Oil and Gas, we decided to spread our wings to other sectors like Power and Fertilizers. In the Power sector, we developed the most intricate Super Critical high pressure Feed-Water Heaters. In the Fertiliser industry, we then tackled the Proprietary Heat Exchangers of Licensors like KBR and Haldor Topsoe.
Currently, we design/manufacture the entire range of heat exchangers from the tiniest to the largest at three different locations.
3. OVERCOMING CHALLENGES
Initially, I didn’t go looking for challenges and that led me to complacency, the biggest enemy of growth. What saved me were my failures that led me to tackle challenges and they became my biggest motivator. If you don’t get into trouble how will you learn to come out of it? To overcome conflicts is a challenge. I remember being influenced by a prominent billboard of L&T that said, “We make the things that make India proud.” This really inspired me and a few years later TEMA was covered in a newspaper for the manufacture of the largest Helixchanger for RIL Hazira. The article included my quote, “We also make the things that make India proud.”
Before that, we entered the market dominated by L&T’s most prestigious product, the Breech Locks/ScrewPlugs. We made huge Screw Plug exchangers (I believe the largest stack ever manufactured in the world) for the CPCL refinery. We recently serviced these exchangers 12 years after their successful run in the refinery.
4. KEY MILESTONES
TEMA was the first in the country in the early 1990s to completely computerize designs and fabrication drawings of exchangers by using in-house developed software.
We were the first Indian company to design and manufacture the entire lot of heat exchangers for a FPSO project in South America.
In the Super Critical range of 660 MW power plant equipments, we were the first Indian company to manufacture High Pressure Feed Water Heaters and Surface Condensers.
In 1995, we were awarded the OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE AWARD 1995 for the best SICOM assisted unit by LALIT DOSHI MEMORIAL FOUNDATION.
In 2015, we were awarded the BEST GLOBAL SME BUSINESS EXCELLENCE AWARD 2015 by DUN & BRAD STREET and KARUR VYSYA BANK.
5. SUCCESS SECRETS
Gambling… I love to gamble but not with money. Experimenting with serious issues. Routine bores me. Getting into difficulties excites me; otherwise I usually go to sleep. I thrive on challenges and threats. When I was a young boy in school in Calcutta, my results one quarter were very poor. I scored zero both in the elementary as well as the elective Maths paper. I remember my Dad telling this to everyone – family and friends. I was humiliated by my performance and as a result in the next quarter I topped all three divisions by getting 100 in both the elementary and elective Maths. This happens only when you feel threatened. Not just empty threats.
6. WORDS OF WISDOM
Conflict! It shakes up your mind which is involved in day-to-day mundane tasks. This is essential for the mind to be active. The mind needs to stretch the same ways your body does. We don’t want our body and mind to get rigid. The problem solving, trouble shooting keeps the mind active and creative. I believe conflict is the father of creativity. How to leverage the creativity is another matter, for this we need to know, how the mind works! Can we control our mind? Yes, only by allowing it to control us. You’ll then move with your passions! Only when you surrender to your inner self, can you be passionate. It is the process not the goal that you should have in mind. You should be doing it for sheer enjoyment. Worldly success is just incidental. The more you enjoy, the longer you will enjoy and the healthier and younger you will feel. You are furthest from your passions when you feel unhealthy.
You’re with your passions only when you’re in touch with your inner self.
7. ROLE MODEL
Role models, not singular, not just one or two. I’ve learnt from everyone I’ve interacted with. Let’s not confine ourselves to just one great man. I would say a teacher too learns a lot from his students. To give you an example, when I started my first workshop at Leo Engineering works in an underdeveloped area, there were no skilled workers there. As a result, I had to teach grass cutters to do drilling of heat exchanger tube-sheets… I still remember the things I learned from them in the process.
(reproduced with permission from TIMES GROUP)