SMI Labels and Packaging Materials

Friday, July 6, 2012

His Mantra, “Think big and be innovative!”

Dhiresh Gosalia
As a young boy in school I had heard my school principal speaking about the American people. He had spent long time in the United States before returning to India to become the principal of our school. He said, the Americans when talking about their country, business or otherwise would like to hear, tell and experience words like Largest, Biggest, Tallest, Deepest, Longest, Costliest and so on. The habit was promptly adopted by the north Indian Punjabis, and with time, people across India have adopted the habit. They love it and wish to hear, tell and try hard to achieve this benchmark. Dhiresh Gosalia is one such achiever. He is the undisputed largest manufacturer of pressure sensitive adhesives (PSA) in India. His company Jesons Industries Limited commands over 70% of the market share for these products. It is a unique feat that few people aspire and achieve in their life time. Dhiresh Gosalia Managing Director of Jesons, is an approachable, realistic and straightforward individual. A dreamer and achiever packed in one. I remember once some 10 years ago when I approached him for a supply problem (He has been a star supplier for my label stock manufacturing company), his reply was clear cut and straightforward, “I have always wanted my company to be system driven and not person driven” he further added, “if there is an anomaly, I need to correct it. Else the customers need to understand the system we have”. Dhiresh has built a strong company on sheer hard work, commitment and delegation. He firmly believes in the mantra, “Think big and be innovative”.
Self Adhesive Stickers/Labels

Shashikant Gosalia, a Mumbai based trader in textile chemicals saw future in industry and manufacturing. In 1981, he setup his startup enterprise, Jesons Corporation to manufacture wood adhesive and binders. By 1985 he saw potential in the growing self adhesive label and tape market and started producing pressure sensitive adhesives (PSA’s). The initial plant consisted of two reaction vessels, one of 1 ton capacity and the second of 500 KG. The total installed production capacity was 300 tons per annum. Those days they were producing just 5 tons per month. In 1992 Shashikant saw growth in the market and decided to move his manufacturing to a bigger 3000 square feet factory in Palghar near Mumbai. Unfortunately that year he passed away due to a lung ailment, leaving the reigns of his startup venture in the hands of his son Dhiresh, who had been in the business with him for four years. Dhiresh was used to the fact that his father was the boss and handling the company but when responsibility came to rest on him due to this tragedy, he took hold of himself and indulged in the right earnest. He took stock of the situation and reviewed the ground realities prevailing at that point of time. The size of operations in his company was rather small for a huge debt of Rs. 85 lakhs. This did not deter his determination to think big. He was a dreamer, which he still is, as he self confesses. A dreamer who works hard to make his dreams a reality. He saw a whole lot of future in the PSA industry. He fondly remembers the day in 1985 when they produced and sold the “Sticker adhesive” to their first customer, Gunvantbhai of Excel inks, a trader of screen printing materials. He carried the 100kg lot in his car to deliver it. Dhiresh decided to indulge vigorously in this product segment and studied the business very intricately. He came to a decision that they were using a wrong chemistry for the PSA segment in which they wanted to excel. He immediately decided to switch over from VAM (Vinyl acetate Monomer) based chemistry to Acrylate based chemistry. It was a tough call but he took it boldly and emphatically, proving his resolve to lead the company to success.
PSA Tapes
As a young boy Dhiresh had dreamt of meeting the challenge of excelling against the multinational giants like Rohm & Haas and BASF who are world leaders in PSA’s. The task was gigantic yet the resolve was firm. He sold his Mumbai factory, home and office to raise working capital for his manufacturing. It was time to shift gears and move his business to a higher level. The process thereafter has been historical. In 1994 the second unit at Palghar was commissioned to produce Polyurethane based adhesive for flexible packaging and PSA’s. In 1996 when incentives and tax benefits were offered, they shifted to a small 2000 square feet unit in Daman. A year later the facility at Daman had swelled to be a 20,000 square feet manufacturing unit. Another year down the line in 1998, Dhiresh bought a 60,000 square feet plot opposite the existing factory at Daman and built a 45000 square feet plant creating additional capacity.  At this time Jesons collaborated with Anchor adhesive to produce Polygrip brand rubber resin based adhesives. This Polygrip part of business was later in 2010 sold along with brand to Atul Ltd.


Jesons Daman Factory
Dhiresh’s resolve to think big, lead him to plan manufacturing globally at locations outside India. In 2003 he setup a 120,000 square feet factory in China and in 2004 a 60,000 square feet unit in Nepal to produce PSA’s and Paint emulsions. Unfortunately both these units had to be closed. The China unit was sold off in 2011 as it was not sustainable due to language problems and difficult work culture. The Nepal unit had to be closed in 2009 due to Maoist terrorist problems. Two of their security guards were shot dead. However now, the process for restarting the Nepal unit has been initiated. Production is expected to commence soon. In 2008, Jesons moved northwards in India and setup and additional manufacturing capacity at a 100,000 square feet facility in Roorkee to produce PSA, Paint emulsion, Construction chemicals and Leather chemicals. This year in 2012, Jesons has taken a very futuristic step by setting up a 5000 square feet state of art technology centre at Navi Mumbai, with an over Rupees 3.00 Crore investment in testing instruments. The centre is headed by a senior scientist specializing in polymer chemistry. With an overwhelming 70% marketshare in the self adhesive label and tape market, Dhiresh is confident there is scope for more. He, in his stride has taken on, on established players in the trade like Pidilite and Jubilant and has left them far behind in the number game, when we talk of PSA’s. He however laments that the pressure sensitive adhesive products industry lacks visionaries and companies who can take on multinational competitors like Avery and Raflatac. He feels, if he has succeeded in presence of world leaders like Rohm & Haas and BASF, others can also do it. All it needs is the ability to think big and innovate. Labels and tapes is a highly fragmented segment of the industry. It took 15 years for our coaters to achieve a speed of 50 meters per minute, there may be hardly one unit coating at 100 meters per minute. Big investment in state of art coating equipment is needed, he reiterates the need is to think big and innovate! Money is available for those who Endeavour.

Dhiresh is an avid reader and finds books as ideal motivators while his parents have been the teachers, the teachers who are the influence on every person’s persona. Being the only son, he joined his father’s business after graduating from Jai Hind College Mumbai. His only sister is married to a gold medalist eye surgeon now settled in Mumbai. Extremely interesting; In between his busy schedule and intense involvement in business, he found time to complete a three year executive Management programm from Harvard Business School!
Jesons Parel Office
His company Jesons Industries Limited is headquartered in an impressive 6500 square feet 9th floor corporate office in prestigious Peninsula Towers in Lower Parel, Mumbai. Jesons’ manufacturing emanates out of a total working space of over 1,85,000 square feet. 250 employees work tirelessly to produce 60000 tons per annum out of the installed capacity of 86000 tons per annum. It really is an achievement considering the initial installed capacity of 300 tons per annum. More or less close to what the capacity that was per year is now per day! PSA’s are 55-60% of their business with sales in 23 countries. Sale in last year was Rupees 450 Crores and is targeted at 550 Crores in the current financial year. 5 years hence Dhiresh feels they will be over Rs.1200 Crores. While talking about these figures he still remembers his first big break in the PSA industry when he sold a fifty thousand Rupees consignment to Hindustan Adhesives Limited, considered the most important PSA user at that time. It was a morale booster. The most difficult time came not long ago when in 2008, the Indian Rupee started to depreciate continuously. Raw material prices were falling and customers were expecting and getting lower prices. The buying was expensive while sales were being made at lower prices. First time in his life, Dhiresh made a massive loss! Jesons was not able to service their loans. Firm resolve, power to think and hard work is what it is all about, Dhiresh drove-in, the highest profit for Jesons in the year that followed.

Madhavi, Dhiresh’s wife is a masters in philosophy. Intelligent, smart, business woman and yet a home maker! She has been supporting Dhiresh by being at his side throughout. In the last two decades that I have known them I have seen Madhavi coming to office each morning after sending children to school and returning home in the afternoons to be with them. She has provided the perfect support. Her influence on this business is evident, just look around in the Jesons corporate office and you will see women manning all the important desks! Dhiresh has to agree women deliver! Honestly, even I believe. After seeing Jesons’ progress, I confirm, YES they do. Dhiresh and Madhavi have two wonderful daughters, Jhelum and Raveena. Jhelum has completed her BBA from London and followed it up with Masters in Theater production also from London. She is now in Mumbai and from earlier in June 2012 (Last month) she has started to work in Jesons. The reigns in her hand appear to be not far away. Raveena is still studying for graduation at Jaihind College, Mumbai.
In three years Dhiresh plans to completely professionalise the company, step down as CEO and hand over charge to a professional CEO. He will perhaps have more time for himself and his hobbies that include reading, walking and playing tennis. He is not sure what he will do after handing over charge of Jesons. He will still be working and that is sure.  “It could be a foray into entertainment, another venture or a completely different enterprise.” However still the mantra will remain, “Think big and innovate”.
Written by Harveer Sahni, Managing Director, Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi-110008 1st July, 2012.