My father was an ambitious young engineer when he started Shalimar Rubber & Plastic Industries in 1986. As was I, when I joined him in the company in 2009, with a degree in Information Technology.
Today, Shalimar Rubber has a staff of knowledgeable and dedicated professionals, backed by sophisticated technical facilities and global supply chain infrastructure. Together, we design and manufacture precision and custom-moulded rubber and plastic engineering components, with a reputation for quality and service. Our key market is OEM customers in Australia, North America and Europe. Exports account for 80% of our business, with 20% domestic sales.
As engineers, my father and I are both problem solvers. We believe that facing challenges and adapting to the new is the best way to succeed amid tough times and ensure business continuity.
For example, I’ve focused on using automation to increase our production capacity over the past decade. And, of course, the past two years have brought unprecedented challenges.
Like many manufacturing businesses, we faced major procurement bottlenecks following the outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic. As sourcing raw materials from China became impossible, we shifted procurement to India, with good results. Another key learning for us is the necessity to maintain a stock of raw materials to avoid disruption and ensure business continuity in a crisis.
Online sales are our new growth channel
In the midst of the pandemic, I joined the Walmart Vriddhi program with a goal to explore how we could further diversify the business for improved resilience.
Through Vriddhi, I’ve learnt a lot about different aspects of modern business, including digital sales and developing products for consumer markets. As a result, we are expanding our existing portfolio to include consumer goods and targeting online sales as our main growth channel.
A key challenge for us is that our products are mostly custom manufactured. We need to offer standard products to gain a share of the domestic consumer market. We have opened a new manufacturing plant in Kundli, Haryana, to produce consumer goods like rubber couplings, rubber fenders, plastic filters and plastic engineering components. And we have registered on the Flipkart e-commerce marketplace.
We’ve come a long way in a short time. We started with limited knowledge about the e-tail business, and it was a steep learning curve. But with the support of Vriddhi, I’m now confident that we can use online sales to increase our footprint in the domestic market and become a more diversified and resilient business.