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Harish Cherukuri, Managing Director of Priyadarshini Spinning Mills Ltd took over his fatherís business and turned around the two-decade-old family run spinning business into a success story.
After completing his MBA from the US, Harish returned to India to join his father at Priyadarshani Spinning Mills, a cotton and synthetic blended spun yarns company in Andhra Pradesh. Starting at the bottom, Harish had learned and worked his way to the top; his first assignment was with the marketing and purchase division. Changing mindsets, getting management and employees to accept new ideas like reverse auctioning and going online was his first challenge. And today Harish Cherukuri is the Managing Director of this BSE listed company.
Q: As a second-generation entrepreneur, how easy or difficult was it for you to come in after your stint in the US?
A: Couple of things were easy but you have different set of difficulties to deal with. It takes a while for you to be accepted and be respected for what you are doing than just being the promoterís son.
Q: What is the big change that you initiated after you took over because things had been done very differently since the mindset was very different, what was the first big change that you drove and brought it out?
A: Primarily I spent more time in the marketing and the purchase divisions so that is where more changes could be influenced. For the first time we did things like reverse auctioning and going online, streamlining some of the purchase things and fixing it to certain parameters, so that you do not have to negotiate every time and doing that kind of a long-term contracts.
Q: So basically putting systems and processes in place, getting technology on board and so on?
A: Yes, and on the marketing side, we started visiting our customers a little bit more often than we used to do before.
Still a tightly knit family business that looks after the core spinning division, Harish is spun off into the garment business. Taking advantage of Indiaís manufacturing strengths, the new division went commercial two months ago. Currently the focus is on woven shirts with an eye on the export markets like the US and Europe. With production underway, Harish is looking at setting up a product development center and designing team, his next big goal is getting on board big fashion brands.
Q: When you start something new, you are obviously learning new lessons everyday. What are the big lessons that you have learned now that you have done pretty much on your own with the garment division?
A: I think the big lesson for me is to know more about the operations where it is important to know exactly how the product is made and how the costing is done because when you are sitting in front of the customer you cannot for everything call your factory and look for more information. So you need to understand the process.
Q: What is the kind of growth that you are projecting; do you have a target or timeline of what you want to achieve those targets for the garment division?
A: I think this year we are looking at about 5 crore of revenues and in five years time we are looking at about Rs 75-80 crore revenues from the garment division.
Q: But you do not want to tap into the domestic market right away or do you want to concentrate first on the export markets?
A: I find the export market more attractive and profitable though it is also more difficult to deal with it because of these stringent delivery schedules that they have along with the tougher contracts. The idea is to really make value added product more on the premium side and targeting the export market.
Q: Give us a sense of the sort of stuff that is being made and the sort of orders that you are getting?
A: We are looking at doing much higher and fashion oriented shirts like Zara or Tommy.
Q: Do you have a in house design team as well?
A: We will probably have that team in place in about six months time.
Q: Which are the markets that you are looking at since the garment business is going to be largely export driven, so are you looking at newer markets or the traditional US and European markets?
A: Our focus is on US and European markets right now.
Q: What is it like in Hyderabad because I know you have expanded your operations in Hyderabad but are there any plans of setting up manufacturing units elsewhere?
A: We would be looking outside the state as well.
Q: Within the south?
A: Preferably in the south.
Serving up 5 crore of revenues this financial year in five years, Harish is targeting Rs 75-80 crore from the garmentís division alone. He is also trying to strike break with acquisitions in the weaving and processing businesses. All this is part of his game plan to expand the primary spinning yarn dyeing and garmentís division. His ace is the relationship he shares with the employees at Priyadarshini and his love for the city of Hyderabad.
Q: What about some of the other family businesses, I understand that there is also a film division, is that something which interests you at all?
A: That is more on the personal side where the company is not involved. My father and I, both are keen on producing films. We made a few and we intend to continue with that.
Q: Are you a movie buff yourself?
A: I am, we do watch a lot of movies, I have my strong opinion on the way things are made and done.
Q: This will be in Telugu?
A: So far yes, Telugu and Tamil.
Q: So you are not looking at mainstream movies?
A: I am not rolling it out, maybe down the line but right now we are looking at Telugu and Tamil.
May 21 2013, 13:56
- in Results Boardroom
May 21 2013, 11:05
- in MARKET OUTLOOK