Crest, a name synonymous with quality in the Indian composites and plastics market has established itself as a leading company in this sector. Right from conceptualization to execution and now, managing day to day operations of the company, the journey of this company has been noteworthy and, filled with learning experiences that may be perceived as an exciting journey in a thesis paper on organizational evolution. Whilst facing various ups and downs over the years, the company has managed to stand through the test of time and is now inching towards global excellence through its unique product range in the composites sector. Crest Composites and Plastics Private Limited was incorporated in 1989 as a trading organization with a diverse product portfolio
In 1985, Mr. Sen decided to take the plunge by switching over to a small trading firm whose owner he knew professionally. He justified this move as an idea to explore the different avenue. He then got a chance to meet an old acquaintance whom he knew from an initial stint of 3 months at a fibreglass manufacturing company. Through the mode of discussions, while looking for new opportunities, an enquiry was raised regarding the possibility of taking up their dealership in any region in India. The information given to him was that the dealer in the state of Gujarat had resigned and that there was a need to contact the manager in charge taking up the Dealership. Through his frequent visits and repeated follow ups, the Manager in charge was convinced that he was the apt person to take up the Dealership. The Manager’s contention for offering the Dealership was because of the fact that he believed that he could deliver due to his rigorous follow ups and his willingness to shift base from Mumbai to Ahmedabad in Gujarat .Subsequent to getting this Dealership, they also picked up dealership of companies manufacturing UPR, Epoxy Resins, Polymer sheets etc. all of which go to the same industry as Glass fibre reinforcement.
Though it was a successful, Mr Sen was running the Dealership business in his friends company on a retainership basis without any personal stakes in the company. The idea of setting up a separate company was born in 1989. As a result, Crest Composites and Plastics Private Limited was formed and the entire trading operations in Gujarat were taken up in the new set up.
Initially, the company was solely involved in trading activities with no manufacturing activity. Trading of Unsaturated Polyester Resin led to the realization of the fact that manufacture could also be considered as an option. This business was reserved for small scale industries with a ceiling on investments in plant and machinery. Their Principals (supplying UPR) was the only company in the organized sector having been set up before the reservation policy was introduced. The company believed that there was room for another quality manufacturer of UPR particularly for specialized and critical applications.
Crest approached Indian Institute of Management and asked them to take up a project for the viability of setting up a UPR resin plant with a focus on critical applications. A conclusive study suggested that setting up a full scale manufacturing unit was a viable proposition provided that the quality aspect was maintained and Crest would build on the image of a Quality resin manufacturer. Also, the fact that the industry was dominated by the small players, the company would not experience any competition from large players at that time.
In the process of growth, Crest emerged to be the first company in the organized sector for the manufacture of resins before the reservation policy was abolished. The first manufacturing unit in Crest was a factory set up in the Piplaj-Pirana industrial area in Ahmedabad with corporate headquarters in Narol, Ahmedabad with branch offices in Baroda and Mumbai. This was further expanded with representations in the cities of Chennai, Kolkata and Delhi. The unit at Piplaj-Pirana was a rented facility and a small reactor with a limited capacity 10 tonnes/month was set up. At this time, Crest completely exited from its trading activities to concentrate on its manufacturing operations. Stopping its trading activities resulted in Crest losing a major source of revenue in the short run but this, in turn, encouraged all members of Crest to work harder to ensure its survival.
With the change in the reservation policy subsequently, Crest emerged as one of the first companies in the Indian industry in the organized sector. Quality was one of the Unique Selling Point for the products of the company. This was particularly true for products with critical applications. This in turn was a direct contributory factor in fetching premium prices for its products. Due to the quality perception of the product, the management was also able to set up rigid payment terms to its customers. The market was such that no small scale industry was able to deliver the quality of their products consistently. It was here that Crest decided to come up with a unique range of products.
Having discontinued the trading operations, Crest was able to get rid of its dealer tag and was able to establish an Identity of its own with its own set of products. The operations at Piplaj-Pirana were halted and the entire manufacturing operations were all shifted to the Kheda unit. Starting from a limited manufacturing capacity in 2000, the Kheda unit evolved with time. With the introduction of new technology and hiring of new efficient staff, Crest managed to further improve its products and services. The company was professionally managed and it had given great importance to the Research and Development work in its premises. In the year 2007, Crest entered into a joint venture with an Italian Company Benasedo sPA which specialized in the field of Coating resins. This intended diversification step was a calculative risk and was carried out through dilution of stakes in the company. It was in the year 2011 that Crest set up another manufacturing facility of similar tonnage in Dharwad, Karnataka to cater to the needs of the south Indian customers and to focus on the manufacture of coil coating range of resins for the company. From the early operations, Crest had discontinued its operations in the Piplaj-Pirana plant and the Baroda office but, it had managed to expand rapidly with branch operations and representations in various cities of India viz. Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Delhi, Dharwad, etc.
The realization of organizational culture and value of assets: be it physical or human is one of the main contributing factors in making Crest the distinguished organization that it is today. A rapidly evolving organization, Crest is moving forward with advances in technology and time.