Genesis Of “Desh ka No.1 E-Rickshaw”

What do you do if all you can think about is just owning a Rs.5000 crore business? What if the dream pesters you all day long even as the friends and family members laugh at you? No doubt it is a distant dream made even more so by your humble beginnings but that doesn’t stop it from badgering you. Well, Mr. Naveen Kumar Vats – the founder of Aditya Sai Industries would tell you to start your own business immediately, however small it is, and to not rest till you live your dream.

Big things often have small beginnings
In 2010, Naveen started with a small company with just three press machines (Ludhiana made) financed by a loan from Muthoot Finance. The loan in itself was a tough task as many banks were hesitant to finance the venture. They even struggled to purchase welding set to start their initial production of “spare wheel carrier” for Ace to a TATA supplier.
Their first job work consisting of re-sticking of engine mount brought them just Rs. 9000. Even as the business grew they were able to achieve the revenues of Rs. 54 Lacs in just six months. To aid the growing business Naveen travelled to Delhi to replace the 100-ton press with a new 300-ton press. It is during this journey where the idea of manufacturing a robust E-rickshaw struck his mind when he saw a driver facing problems from the E-rickshaw he was driving and learnt of the small lifecycle of the product. This idea turned to resolution when they got the order for the Chassis business from M/s. Lohiya Motors.

The Big break
Till now Naveen was indulging in his business part-time while working with a company, but a fight with his superior influenced him to get involved in his business full-time and so he started out to find the parts required to build their first E-rickshaw.
The first assembly was done outside of factory to ensure the secrecy of the project. It is said that nothing worth having comes easy and same is the case with Suprio-A1, the company’s robust and durable e-rickshaw. It took 7 long days of toiling and hard work for the vehicle to take the road and a complete month before the rickshaw was fully ready. The problems didn’t stop here. Their first customer “Ramu” had to be assured that the company will be of assistance in solving all their problems without any charge.
In spite of several problems they were able to manufacture 7 rickshaws in first 3 months and a total of 242 Suprio-A1 in the year of 2015.

The Road to success is not full of roses
Naveen faced his share of problems on his journey of creating the country’s No.1 E-rickshaw. The first major hurdle he faced was the lack of a clear government policy on the registration of E-rickshaw. The lack of finance was also a major hurdle and it caused various difficulties initially.
The next obstacle was the lack of micro-finance options for the e-rickshaw owners. To overcome it, the company started providing loans with zero percent interest but still security for the loans remains a concern. Another issue was the complications of managing a growing business as even while the structure is evolving, the conflicts between staff increased. This was further elevated by the growing concerns about the capability and the experience of Naveen’s wife who was leading the operation.
But a persistent soul will find his way as showcased by Naveen even as he overcame these problems.

Making a Difference
The company impacts more than 500 happy families associated with it including the operators, staff and the customers. The objective was to overcome the problems inherent in the E-rickshaw such as the small life cycle of 6 months, battery problems and the degradation in the strength of the body. Through the use of innovative changes in the chassis and integrating the body with the chassis to enhance the strength of the entire structure, Suprio-A1 is the winner in the rough roads of Nepal and rural India.
The ‘Zero compromise on quality’ attitude has resulted in satisfied customers who happily say “Suprio-A1 E-rickshaw nahi truck hai sirji”. All these has led to revenue growth from 1.5 crores to nearly 4 crores in 2015-16. The company is planning to expand to 3 more states within the next three months. They are also planning to launch a new model named “Tikki”.

Profit is the last word for successful business
When we asked Naveen as to what advice he would give the budding entrepreneurs he repeated the words of our professor Safal Batra. He told that the profit should be the last word for any successful business. Further, he told that persistence and patience are of utmost importance en route any successful journey. He also recommended continuous innovations and encouraging the staff and operators to innovate as well.
Finally, he cautions against underestimating the power of optimism and suggests keeping positive people around to remain optimistic even in the face of failures.

The article is being shared by Aditya Sai Industries, a venture of Naveen Vats  IIM Kashipur EPGP Student