From Zero to Success28/11/19
Fuelled by focus, dedication and self-belief. In conversation with Mr. M Bhaskaran, entrepreneur, quarry owner and a self-made man. Owner of Balamurugan Blue Metals shows us what it takes to build a business from the scratch. There is a narrative of a man who kept his nose to the ground and worked on short term goals step by step to unleash the bigger picture.
At a young age of 60, Mr. Bhaskaran gives the youth of today a run for their money, with his sheer passion, dynamism and zest for life. “When I started, I told myself that I would limit the business expansion and take one step at a time. Today when I look at where we are and all the opportunities, I do not see any limitations. If we continue to get the same support from partners like Volvo, I think we can become the largest blue metal distributor in India.”
Your circumstances define you. In a remote village of Erumapatti in Namakkal district, there was a family of labourers who worked at construction sites. Mr. Bhaskaran was just a toddler, when his parents used to take him with them to work and he grew up playing on these sites. With no formal education, the adolescent Bhaskaran took up odd jobs. He worked in construction sites and as an assistant in a truck workshop. His entrepreneurial skills were discovered at an early age, when he ran his own restaurant. With his hard work he managed to save a handsome amount of Rs. 12,000/- and in 1995 that Mr. Bhaskaran started Balamurugan Blue Metals with a single crusher. In the year 2000 he brought in automation and expanded the business. Every few years there was a segmented growth and in 2012 he set up another Metso Crusher.
Looking for that perfect match.
With the Metso Crusher the targeted productivity of the quarry could not be tapped to its full potential. They were supported by some mass market Tippers. The turnaround time by the tippers was slow, leading to a short fall in production. It was then that he met the Volvo team him who briefed him about the Volvo tippers. Speaking of the first sales experience, he is so thrilled and says, “The Volvo Sales Staff is the best, they are the true assets of the company. From the time I decided to buy the Volvo, I didn’t have to know anything. They took care of everything for me from finance, to registration and other paper work; they gave me their 100% support. They have delivered more than what is expected from them”.
Delivering to the fullest. Mr. Bhaskaran states some amazing statistics when it comes to productivity. With 7 conventional trucks in operation his productivity was only at 66% in a day from the crusher’s full potential. With three Volvo Tippers, the output of the crushers went up drastically, delivering optimum productivity. He acknowledges and realized the fact that the turnaround time of a Volvo Tipper is much faster than the others and it has helped him get the maximum from his quarry.
Complete peace of mind. He has been in the industry for 4 decades and he is very vocal when it comes to the Volvo maintenance. “In all my working life, I have not seen a tipper like this; smooth and easy running and with no maintenance problems.” Mr. Bhaskaran himself works for 20 hours a day, 7 days a week. He is hands-on when it comes to his quarry, and spends a major part of the day in the thick of the action. He is assisted by his consultant Mr. Raja Annamalai who has been guiding and assisting Mr. Bhaskaran for the last 20 years. He is happy to have found a partner in Volvo who can match his passion to deliver.
Drivers are happier than the owner.
One of the main reasons for Mr. Bhaskaran to purchase Volvo is because of the driver safety & comfort. Mr. Bhaskaran ensures that his employees get a great level of safety & comfort, influencing the drivers to finish the day with less stress and be associated with Balamurugan Blue Metals for a longer tenure.
Speaking of driver comfort, he says, “When I bought the Volvo, it was the first-of-its kind in my area. People were overwhelmed with such a big vehicle. The drivers were trained by Volvo and they were driving an automatic tipper for the first time. The sheer ease of driving and the air-conditioned cabin was a blessing for them in the extreme heat.” Now they are happy to drive and at times refuse to even get off the truck. They are not tired at the end of the day and are really happy to be driving a Volvo. Mr. Bhaskaran has a fleet of 7 tippers in a span of a year and plans to add more in the near future. He feels that investing in a high performing advanced tipper is better than cutting corners and investing in many not so high performing ones. The return on investment will be faster and higher. This is what experience has taught him as he built his business single handedly from zero to a multi crore one. Volvo is proud to partner with Balamurugan Blue Metals and support them through the journey ahead.
An act of enthusiasm Mrs. Karpagam, Mr. Bhaskaran’s wife is not hands-on in the business, but does join him at site regularly. Looking back, on the day they received delivery of the second batch of Volvo Trucks, she mentions that she was curious to understand the hype around Volvo Trucks that the drivers had told her. She got on to the truck and took it for a short drive. “Other than the height of climbing into a heavy-duty truck, there is no difference between the luxury cars I drive and the Volvo Trucks.” She also adds “Fuel consumption for the Volvo Truck is 7 to 8 percent lower than the other trucks operating at the site.”
Building the Brand
As a key link between the customer and the brand, the sales person forms relationships with customers based on attentiveness and trust. “Our customers are looking for specialized advice and expect a high level of professionalism from us,” says Shriram Vellaichamy. He has been selling the heavy duty range of tippers for the past 4 years. “There are many customers in the heavy duty segment and are much sought after. So it’s crucial to build trust with them if we want to be consulted when they renew their fleets.” he says. His goal is to be consulted on 100 percent of renewal cases in his sector. In reaching his goal, he has an advantage: The strength of the Volvo Trucks brand, which with its Swedish origin is recognized as a mark of quality. “But this is not enough. The advisory role of the salesperson is key, both at the technical level in order to recommend the right vehicle for the task and in terms of ensuring service, maintenance, extension of warranties and financing,” says Shriram Vellaichamy. That is the positioning that helps win deals.