Friday, June 24, 2011

When some business partnerships spell success




In recent weeks and months, while doing stories for a couple of trade magazines and meeting the heads of companies, I have been struck by the seriousness and sincerity most of them bring to the workplace. I have also met a few who’ve gone out of their way to be extremely helpful. Indeed, one senior executive from a company called Esko Graphics in Bangalore readily gave me several leads despite some of them probably being competition.

If I noticed the high standards of quality in organisations such as Autoprint and Fortec in Coimbatore, comparable almost with the remarkable W&R Etikettan facility I visited in the Netherlands, I was also quite surprised to see the kind of passion smaller entrepreneurs bring to their work. In a way, it’s like the turning of the clock – years ago, I had done the rounds of dealers of FMCG products such as Prestige and Kohinoor and Durex while editing a journal for the group I worked for.

A few weeks ago, I found myself in the heart of north Chennai, invited to a Ricoh do. Star Xeroxs (yes, that’s how the owner spells it) on NSC Bose Road had purchased a Ricoh machine in January, business had picked up and now the Ricoh heads had chosen the office to launch what they called a Pro-partners programme, which is basically offering the customer business development assistance and on-site service support, and helping the customer grow his business.

For the proprietor, A. Srinivasan, it was a special moment. He was enthusiastic and said he was ready to order another Ricoh machine. In today’s world of business, no matter what you do, it pays to tie up with majors in the field. It makes expansion possible, and if you work hard, you can become a successful businessman in a short time. Srinivasan is an example. The purchase of the sophisticated Ricoh Pro C720 seems to have paid rich dividends. And for somebody like him, just on the fringes of tasting big-time success, it was no mean achievement to have had the Ricoh heads visiting and launching a new India initiative from his premises.

However, when Tetsuya Takano, managing director and CEO, Ricoh India Ltd, and Ben B.W. Chong, senior manager, Product & Solution Marketing, Ricoh, Singapore, arrived with Avijit Mukherjee, business head, Production Printing Business Group, Ricoh India, it was business as usual at Star Xeroxs, with customers crowding around most of the space. The visitors and yours truly were led to a small room where the Ricoh machine was and here the formal ceremonies began.

Joining in later was Srinivasan’s daughter who I noticed was an active member of the business. Perhaps she plans to join the business some time, if she has not already. With the Ricoh partnership going well, the future looks bright for the Srinivasan family. This is essentially what success stories are all about, I guess. But of course you need the stroke of luck and the enterprise as well.

Pictures show Takano congratulating Srinivasan, and a smiling Chong; the Ricoh bosses cutting the chocolate cake along with Srinivasan and daughter; and Takano distributing goodies to an employee.

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