Tex­perts: Build­ing busi­ness on val­ues

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‘Pro­fes­sion­al­ism’ is a word of­ten used to de­scribe the work­ing style of a suc­cess­ful com­pany. Yet, how many com­pa­nies, par­tic­u­larly in the tex­tile sec­tor, can claim to even un­der­stand the real mean­ing of this word, let alone prac­tice the busi­ness phi­los­o­phy in its true con­text!

ro­fes­sion­al­ism’ is a word of­ten used to de­scribe the work­ing style of a suc­cess­ful com­pany. Yet, how many com­pa­nies, par­tic­u­larly in the tex­tile sec­tor, can claim to even un­der­stand the real mean­ing of this word, let alone prac­tice the busi­ness phi­los­o­phy in its true con­text! Many times, we hear that a fam­ily busi­ness or home-grown com­pany has ap­pointed a CEO and is claim­ing that they have turned pro­fes­sional… But is that re­ally the yard­stick of mea­sur­ing pro­fes­sion­al­ism? Re­cently, Ap­parel On­line had the plea­sure of meet­ing the amaz­ing team of Mum­baibased Tex­perts – Yatish Pandey, Sharad Sang­hai, Asit Parikh and Deipak Hamir­wa­sia – who shared the man­age­ment struc­ture of the com­pany and what ‘pro­fes­sion­al­ism’ means to them…, a truly en­rich­ing ex­pe­ri­ence!

An or­gan­i­sa­tion that is laid on the ba­sic prin­ci­ples of the tra­di­tional ‘Hindu Un­di­vided Fam­ily’ sys­tem where col­lec­tive gains are big­ger than per­sonal gains, Tex­perts is an as­so­ci­a­tion of like-minded pro­fes­sion­als who align to the same vi­sions and goals. In this jour­ney to nur­ture en­trepreneurs, not pro­fes­sional em­ploy­ees, the com­pany has seen some fail­ures too…, but the suc­cess of the busi­ness model greatly out­num­bers the fail­ures.

“The core of the com­pany is that it’s a plat­form not an in­di­vid­ual-driven com­pany with a solid man­age­ment struc­ture. We all come from a pro­fes­sional back­ground and do our work in a struc­tured way with pas­sion. We still have a cul­ture to take ma­jor de­ci­sions with the en­tire team, we started it long back and we al­ways take our peo­ple into ac­count. So there are no ego is­sues, that’s why we don’t have des­ig­na­tions on our cards, but in­ter­nally we have com­plete clar­ity as to whose role is what. This struc­ture was at our core when we started, and we are still do­ing the same, as we know we grew be­cause of the col­lab­o­ra­tions,” says Yatish, one of the founder di­rec­tors of this ‘unique’ or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Trad­ing in the tex­tile value chain from yarn to fin­ished prod­uct, both within and on a global plat­form is just a part of the busi­ness of Tex­perts. “What we are try­ing to do is to look at ev­ery as­pect of the cus­tomer’s busi­ness and fa­cil­i­tate it. We try to fig­ure out what ac­tions we can take so that he can have a more sus­tain­able busi­ness. How we can con­trib­ute to his work is our main job,” avers Yatish. In pur­suit of this goal, the com­pany not only pro­vides what the cus­tomer wants, but also sug­gests ways to have a bet­ter busi­ness. “We have an in-house de­sign team that can of­fer him what he wants and also tell him other sim­i­lar al­ter­na­tives which will add value to their prod­uct. That’s where our cre­ative and proac­tive mea­sures come in,” adds Sharad.

Ev­ery ac­tion of the com­pany and its di­rec­tors stems from the 5 san­skars (val­ues) that form the foun­da­tion of Tex­perts. Each of these val­ues are a com­mit­ment by ev­ery mem­ber of the Tex­perts’ team to the or­gan­i­sa­tion and its cus­tomers. The val­ues are set out on pri­or­ity ba­sis. “We never com­pro­mise, but if two set of val­ues clash be­cause of cer­tain cir­cum­stances, then the pri­or­ity of the value is hon­oured,” shares Deipak. Also, it is these core val­ues that set this com­pany apart from other or­gan­i­sa­tions in the trad­ing busi­ness. “When any­one talks about busi­ness, they talk about prof­its and money. We four never talk about money mat­ters; we talk about busi­ness prof­its (never in­di­vid­ual prof­its). You may hear it as a phi­los­o­phy but it’s true, the core of the busi­ness is our 5 san­skars; any­one who can­not abide by it can’t be here. When peo­ple join in af­ter a time they be­come those core val­ues to an ex­tent that even if they leave, many come back be­cause they find it dif­fi­cult to work any­where else, and those who don’t come back were never meant to be here,” rea­sons Yatish.

All four ad­mit­ted that train­ing peo­ple to match the val­ues is not easy, and Yatish spends a lot of his time in or­gan­i­sa­tional de­vel­op­ment. “When we started, it was re­ally dif­fi­cult; to­day it’s not be­cause there is an en­vi­ron­ment wherein the peo­ple who don’t match will get fil­tered. In the be­gin­ning, we in­vested a lot of our time to fo­cus just on peo­ple. We have a sys­tem­atic in­duc­tion plan, an event man­age­ment team that cel­e­brates all events cre­atively. We just play and live like a fam­ily,

“The core of the com­pany is that it’s a plat­form not an in­di­vid­ual-driven com­pany with a solid man­age­ment struc­ture. We all come from a pro­fes­sional back­ground and do our work in a struc­tured way with pas­sion.”

– Yatish Pandey

“It’s like we grad­u­ally choose our cus­tomers and sup­pli­ers, and we take a lot of time choos­ing the right ones be­cause it’s very dif­fi­cult to find such peo­ple and they are not wrong but just dif­fer­ent from us.”

– Asit Parikh

we have cre­ated a level of one­ness in the com­pany. It’s a way of our life and do­ing busi­ness,” shares Yatish. Strate­gi­cally, the pol­icy is straight­for­ward, but ex­e­cut­ing the same is a con­tin­u­ous work in progress. “We still have not got every­one act­ing so in­ten­sively. In the case of peo­ple who are adding value to the or­gan­i­sa­tion we in­spire them, and show them how it’s done,” adds Asit.

The 5 val­ues and their im­pli­ca­tion… in the words of the team

These val­ues are our core…! Any­one who is go­ing to be a part of the core team has to live and breathe this phi­los­o­phy.

Play­ing for win-win – When we say ‘win-win’, the fo­cus is that you (cus­tomer) should win and then our win is a by-prod­uct. Our win is not a win if we are not fo­cus­ing on cus­tomer; this is very easy as a phi­los­o­phy but hard to prac­tice, we’re just lucky to have such peo­ple in our team who un­der­stand the im­por­tance and nu­ances of the con­cept.

We say what we do and we do what we say – We do fail; we’ve failed many times but the mo­ment it hap­pens we take the re­spon­si­bil­ity and own­er­ship. We put our heart and soul to achieve our com­mit­ments, if we don’t achieve it, we try again. We en­cour­age ini­tia­tives and abil­i­ties – That means, we be­lieve we can only grow when we have peo­ple around us who take own­er­ship. Every­one has their prob­lems, but we all are in it to­gether and we en­cour­age peo­ple to make the mis­takes but con­tinue to take ini­tia­tives. This way one feels like the owner… As we say: ‘Tex­perts is a plat­form for any­one to come and be an en­tre­pre­neur’. We don’t call peo­ple ‘em­ploy­ees’, we call them vir­tual own­ers.

Pas­sion for ac­com­plish­ment

– We are pas­sion­ate about our ac­com­plish­ments and that is again not our prof­its, if you ask de­tails of our bal­ance sheet, none of us would be able to give you ex­act fig­ure of any year. It may not be great, from a strate­gic point of view but we know where we are and we cel­e­brate our ac­com­plish­ments. This is what re­ally keeps us go­ing.

Adding value through knowl­edge and in­no­va­tion – We are com­pletely into adding knowl­edge and in­no­va­tion to the work, the process and the way we do things. And that’s the dif­fer­ence we have achieved from be­ing a ser­vice provider to our ex­ist­ing model. What we have done in the past two-three years is go­ing to pay us in fu­ture, it has al­ready earned us re­spect in the in­dus­try and our bot­tom lines have im­proved. When the com­pany shifted its core from ser­vice com­pany to prod­uct com­pany, adding value through knowl­edge and in­no­va­tion be­came the top pri­or­ity. These val­ues are also guid­ing prin­ci­ples when choos­ing cus­tomers and part­ners. “Ini­tially, we look at what is the strength of the per­son and then we start ob­serv­ing the per­son, to see if their core val­ues match to that of ours. If not, the re­la­tion is just for the as­sign­ment or the time-pe­riod but we are clear that it’s not for a long-term. There is a dat­ing pe­riod be­fore the col­lab­o­ra­tion… It’s like we grad­u­ally choose our cus­tomers and sup­pli­ers, and we take a lot of time choos­ing the right ones be­cause it’s very dif­fi­cult to find such peo­ple and they are not wrong but just dif­fer­ent from us,” rea­sons Asit. Though the team is proud of its val­ues, they feel that their ef­forts are still very nascent com­pared to many global com­pa­nies that have set bench­marks in ‘val­ue­based busi­ness’ very high. “Many com­pa­nies are far ahead of us in their value sys­tem. When we read about them or know them bet­ter, we re­alise that they are far more evolved than us. So, there is a bench­mark that we are fol­low­ing as we are stand­ing with com­pa­nies that have their own value sys­tem which might be dif­fer­ent but as strong. And when we work with such com­pa­nies, we are as­sured that they will re­spect our val­ues,” signs off Yatish.

“We have an in-house de­sign team that can of­fer cus­tomers what they want and also tell them other sim­i­lar al­ter­na­tives which will add value to their prod­uct. That’s where our cre­ative and proac­tive mea­sures come in.”

– Sharad Sang­hai

“We never com­pro­mise, but if two set of val­ues clash be­cause of cer­tain cir­cum­stances, than the pri­or­ity of the value is hon­oured.”

– Deipak Hamir­wa­sia

Team Tex­perts – The Di­rec­tors rub shoul­ders with their en­trepreneurs

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