Anand Pande joined Sacmi as a sales engineer in 1998 when the company had only a liaison office. As its representative in India, he soon discovered that one of the biggest strengths of his new employer was the fact that it listened to its employees. That was why, when Anand suggested setting up a warehouse and a unit that could service machines it sold in the country, the suggestion was accepted and soon implemented.
“By 2002 we already had our first warehouse in Mumbai where we started stocking spare parts for the machines that we were selling,” Anand says. From then on there was no looking back for him. “The spare parts started selling. We added technicians who could go there and give them services immediately. I really liked that my ideas were taken up by the company instantaneously.”
From working in a small office with two employees, Anand has come a long way along with Sacmi India. The company now covers three locations in India alone with more than 150 employees. There were of course, hiccups along the way; for instance, clients were not pleased with the additional taxes when they first bought the spares from the Indian warehouse; however, that was immediately countered by the advantage of paying in local currency thereby reducing exchange risk and administrative hassles to handle imports.
In those days, small business units in Morbi, Gujarat, viewed Sacmi as a multinational company with products that were unaffordable. Anand tackled all these issues with a personal touch. “We started meeting them on a regular basis, not only for business but also extended our presence to be a part of their family functions and gatherings so that they felt we were one among them,” Anand explains. Building a strong rapport with tile producers in Morbi helped to strengthen both parties. Today, Morbi is a hub of tile manufacturers and caters to most of the world’s ceramic requirements.
“I always believed that India had huge potential, and I was always working in this direction with our counterparts.”
Sacmi India started looking beyond ceramics and ventured into food and beverage, sanitaryware, closures and packaging with its latest project being chocolates. Anand is excited about these opportunities. “I always believed that India had huge potential, and I was always working in this direction with our counterparts.”
When Sacmi India started its very own manufacturing unit in Sanand, Gujarat, it was a beginning of a new era in the ceramic world. The company soon started manufacturing the entire spray dryer and then added parts for other main machines in India as the demand for such products increased. Anand is proud of the quality it can offer. “We are able to give the same standard that they get from our Italy and China offices,” he states.
As the face of Sacmi in India, Anand reflects the brand’s ethos and listens to his clients as well as employees. He listened to his clients when they said that machines such as spray dryers must be customised for Indian conditions. “We did a lot of work to innovate this machine to suit Indian conditions,” he admits.
Anand believes firmly in connecting with employees too. “For me, success is defined by the retention rate of your employees. If an employee is emotionally connected to the organisation, they always strive to do better and tend to stay longer.”
“For me, success is defined by the retention rate of your employees.”
What makes Sacmi India different from other manufacturers? The human touch, according to Anand. “We are not only here to sell our machines. We are producers of machines, but we always guide our customers,” he explains. The sales team makes it a point to customise its offering to the profile of the client. “There is always an immediate connection because they understand that we are not sitting there just trying to sell them anything.”
The human aspect of Sacmi India’s business does not stop here. The suppliers and vendors of the company are also an integral part of the family. This was best proved during the COVID-19 crisis when the company worked along with its vendors to restart production after the lockdown, as well as to take care of the collective health of workers. “We fought collectively, and then we were able to come out of this situation.”
With this commitment to employee and customer connections, Anand has ensured that, just as when he first came on board, Sacmi is still listening – and therefore evolving.