Knowingly or unknowingly, culture changes do have a huge impact on businesses. Aforetime, family businesses were practiced by the majority of the family, but with time the number has gradually decreased. The few family businesses which survived are now flourishing. One such success story is of Suresh Kumar & Co (Impex) Pvt. Ltd., led by Mr. Suresh Asrani. In the case of the family business, there is a personal emotion involved which helps in going beyond what is expected. Exceeding these beliefs, Mr. Suresh is heading the company with the support of his talented sons—Mr. Nikhil S. Asrani & Mr. Aseem S. Asrani. Currently, this is the 4thgeneration involved in the business operations.
In 1983, with decade-old operations, Suresh Kumar & Co began exporting to over 25 countries, initially started as an exporter of Rice & Indian Mushrooms to Europe & the USA. The time flew and the company grew stronger with immense experience, in the early 1990s, it started importing food products. After two long decades, the company is the leading importer of processed food products in India and is representing over 27 Top international food brands as their exclusive agents for the Indian sub-continent region.
Suresh and his team strive to be a reliable and competitive supplier in India, providing a comprehensive range of Foodstuff, associated products, and services. Presently, the company is constantly working with the mission of getting the best international brands of food products in India.
To understand better about the family business and the journey of the company, our team of Business APAC had an interesting conversation with Mr. Suresh Asrani. Below is a quick snippet.
What motivated you to join the family business?
I was born into a traditional business family. My childhood experiences revolved around the business which motivated me to join the family business. Also, I was inclined towards international trade. It would be more apt to say that the industry chose me.
How did you further upscale the already successful company?
From an export business of agriculture products, it gave me exposure to foreign travel. I used to carry the exotic food products back to India, and always wondered if we could buy them from India as well. There was some availability, but the genuineness was always a concern. What started as a small experiment, turned out to be a complete business. We are happy that today we represent over 27 Top International brands from countries like the USA, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, The United Kingdom, Singapore, etc.
Was it easy to shift from your comfort zone of the retail business to trading with international brands?
Prior, the business was majorly exporting agricultural products. In 1997, we diversified into imports. In the initial days, our business was majorly in five-star hotels and limited restaurants in metro cities. Gradually, we moved to restaurants in Tier 1 & II Cities, and also started to experiment with international cuisine. A big shift was in the retail business, which today contributes to over 60% of the company revenue. We were the first company to officially launch top international brands in India.
Would you like to share any notable highlights from your journey that you’re proud of?
In 2015, we launched our Private label brand “Abbie’s”. Now, the company operates 5 offices in India and has active business interests in UAE. We were awarded Company of The Year by CEO Magazine and our brand Abbie’s was awarded the Emerging Brand of the year award recently.
How will you describe Suresh Kumar & Co.’s USP as?
We, as an organization, always strive for Excellence. As an ISO 9001:2008 & ISO 22000:2005 Certified company, we have vowed to stick to our Quality Policy. To enhance customer satisfaction, we source our products from internationally renowned suppliers, with a well-known brand with the highest quality standards all efforts are made to continually improve the effectiveness of the quality management system. All our products are from reputed companies from around the world and come with our personal assurance of quality.
How have you and your team adapted to the changes put forth by COVID-19?
Personally, I feel that this pandemic will become a way of life, at least in the foreseeable future. We all are pushed towards online-based marketing, this has been observed all over the world. Observing the current situation, we have ramped up our online presence and today are the largest direct sellers of gourmet foods in India on online channels. This ensures our customers get their essential food products in the safest way possible. Just recently, we have launched the “Nutrition Plus” range of Neutraceuticals products which offer products to boost immunity.
Another aspect which needs urgent attention is the safety of our employees. Being in the distribution line, WFH is not practical. We routinely sanitize all our premises and social distancing is also followed. Alongside, we follow all possible precautions to ensure the safety of our team members.
Are there any upcoming business products/services we should be aware of?
We are working to consolidate our position on online platforms. We are also in process of launching our own eCommerce portal and app. Additionally, there are talks going on with some reputable global brands for their entry in India.
How do you seek motivation? What is your motivational mantra?
Maintaining a healthy routine keeps me motivated. I am an early riser and spend 2 hours every morning working out in my home gym and practicing yoga. Also, spending time with my grandkids keeps me in a positive frame of mind. I like biographies and am currently reading “The Everything Store” based on Jeff Bezos/Amazon.
What will you advise the aspiring entrepreneurs?
The current business scenario is very motivating, I see several entrepreneurs are entering the market with new business ideas. I would always advise youngsters that the business is not a sprint but a marathon. Someone who’s running next to you may not be your equal. Who knows on which lap is he running and which lap are you on. Have patience and give it your 100%.
Read full issue: The Business APAC’s Top 10 CEOs of 2020