Chennai Radha Engineering Works (P) Ltd., (CREW) is promoted by a first generation entrepreneur who never misses an opportunity to spot the right business and prosper. The company is always on the prowl for growth.
Mr. S. Venkatesan from a remote village near Chidambaram in Tamilnadu is a creator of opportunities, who always keeps his ear to the ground. It would not be wrong to say that the silence in the remote villages of India amplifies the desire or the passion to do something extraordinary.
As you drive along the IT Corridor of Chennai, you come upon a sprawling stately building, the Corporate Office of Chennai Radha Engineering Works (P) Ltd. (CREW). On entering the building, you see people working quietly at their desks and the only sound you here is the clicking of the keyboards. As we walk through the quiet corridors, we are led into a beautifully panelled boardroom, and greeted by Mr. V R Senthilkumar, MD, Mr. V Ramu, Director & Mr. M Petchiappan, Senior GM - Commercial.
The timeline of this company and its journey till date is very inspiring and interesting, when you realize that the business has been built step by step; building on strengths and talents as they go forward day after day.
Building a business - Brick by Brick It all began in 1984, when Mr. Venkatesan on his return from foreign shores wanted to become an entrepreneur and began his venture with a single lathe machine in a small workplace and started with supply of small components as spares to power plants. The parts were of high quality but the maintenance of these parts was not done properly and hence there was always an issue with the clients. With growing business and as a part of mentoring move, Mr. V R Senthilkumar was brought into the company by Mr. Venkatesan.
Mr. Venkatesan is a firm believer of the adage that when you see an opportunity, take it up first. You can always learn how to do it, later. This is exactly what he did in 1994. A company from North India came to do a project down South and found the going tough. They approached CREW for support and that was when they participated in the first EPC project for Engineering Project India.
The first full-fledged EPC Project was carried out in 2005 for RTPP-Stage I. The first BOO project was done in 2016 at VOC Port.
There was always an issue of improper maintenance of high quality parts, which needed frequent replacement. The maiden job of operation and maintenance of coal handling plant at North Chennai Thermal Power Plant during 2002 was the opening of a new chapter in the history of the company and soon the company could mark its rightful place among its peers.
Good work speaks for itself and it carries the message far and wide. This was followed by an offer from the Vedanta Group for their Hindustan Zinc Ltd. Project with whom CREW has been working for the last 15 years. The company made its presence felt in the North by taking up the Operation and Maintenance of Paradip Port Trust, which was through open tender competing with the reputed firms.
The quality of operation & maintenance by CREW has been so good that currently they operate 30 plants in 11 states, with maintenance contracts ranging from 5-10 years to cater to an average coal handling capacity of 4,68,000 MT/ day, and support an average power generation of 26,000 MW. As a part of capacity building support, CREW has strong foot prints in the supply & erection of Wagon Loader, Stacker cum Reclaimer and other key peripherals. Apart from this, they have procured, installed and commissioned Harbour Mobile Cranes imported from Germany in leading Indian ports.
It is great to observe a range of related and trendy diversifications in CREW during these years. In addition to their core area, they do have a strong presence in the EPC segments, Manufacture & Supply of parts/components/assemblies and electrical/mechanical furnishing of coaches to Indian Railways. Besides, Software development and Bio-solution verticals are closely addressed by their group companies called Interlace India (P) Ltd. and Affigenix Bio Solutions (P) Ltd.
Every day is a learning Operating 30 plants with various clients brings in a lot of learning and one such learning was that the supply of coal to the plants was erratic and it affected the productivity of the plant. This was due to lack of proper contractors in coal mining.
Vedanta was the first to suggest that CREW should get into supply of coal. Again an opportunity was knocking loud and it did not take much to convince the CREW team that to venture into it.
The first project taken up was as a sub-contractor in Topo in CCL mines of Jharkhand. As a sub-contractor, they learnt the ropes of mining and in 2015, they bought a tipper to enter the field as a mining contractor. They faced issues with spare parts availability and hence productivity suffered.
The learning was quick. CREW realized that basing a decision to invest in a fleet basis was commercially a viable idea. They then came to Volvo for the FMX mining tippers. In a span of 4 years, they have a fleet of 42 Volvo Tippers. This is an emphatic testimony to the power and performance of a Volvo.
It’s the customer’s call Mr. M. Petchiappan, says “We operate in a highly competitive industry where efficiency, productivity and uptime are key. Cash flow and operating margins influence the ability to invest in future technologies. Assessing to invest in future technologies basis what is needed for the business is vital for staying ahead. And with Volvo Trucks, every value is ticked off.”
With Volvo Trucks, we have seen that everything begins and ends with ‘Customer Success’ and long term relationships. They get involved in our business right from the initial stages.
The leaders among them Chennai Radha Engineering Works (P) Ltd. has Mr. S. Venkatesan as its Chairman.
Mr. V R Senthilkumar, Managing Director, is responsible for establishing the diversified business segments and successfully establishing the needed value chain across the company for the past 35 years.
Mr. V R Ramu, younger brother of Mr. V R SenthilKumar is a hard core technocrat and is responsible for the Operations and Maintenance in terms of the end-to-end expertise. He has been successful in converting ideas and strategies into realities. These men lead a team of over 9500 personnel catering to over 35 clients in various segments.
By observing the complete growth of the company, we understood that it is not a regular enterprise with phased growth. It is well beyond that and it demonstrates the amazing effort of a great mentor to his team of directors who in turn have created thousands of followers in the distributed systems across all domains of the company. It is certain that beyond any strategy, emotional bonding, loyalty, integrity, dedication, people management and ownership are the core building blocks of this organization.
The difference is obvious The Volvo experience has been different, says Mr. Ramu, Director, CREW. Right from the product purchase to Driver Training, it has been a hands-on experience. The driver training and even the help provided by Volvo to source competent drivers have all made it easy to become a repeat customer. Volvo has gone a step ahead by being actively involved in site management.
Mr. Ramu said ‘I can see enormous potential in using Dynafleet’. We live in a world where we struggle to make the most of our time, find the right information and work effectively. The shift to digitalization’s has enabled us to sit back, and monitor our business operations at a single glance. Me & my team get to access our fleet and fuel information instantly, compare your drivers’ fuel scores in seconds and make important decisions on the move. He also added “as the fuel consumption can be monitored on a day-to-day basis, it has helped greatly while filing tenders, because with manual filing the actual fuel efficiency can never be measured accurately”.
“It’s not only about commercials, but the quality also matters. With Volvo we have experienced great satisfaction in terms of the product, service and support. We are very happy to work with Volvo.” MR. SENTHILKUMAR, MD. CREW