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In 1999, Jesons Industries started its operations in a 404-square-meter workshop in Palghar with an output of 25 metric tons per month. Today, the company has the capacity to produce 23,000 metric tons per month in its six advanced manufacturing units spread across the country.
“The journey has been excellent,” Chair and Managing Director Dhiresh Gosalia tells The CEO Magazine. “We have focused on growth in volumes, in revenues, in products and in chemistries.”
Jesons started its operations specifically for the textiles industries when the industry was at its peak in India. However, toward the end of the 90s, the field of textiles saw a drastic decline.
“Textiles were passing through a very bad phase,” Gosalia says. “The alternative to that was adhesives, which was the same kind of chemistry: based on a vinyl acetate monomer.”
Jesons started experimenting with different chemicals for the adhesive industry and other related sectors.
“We went on to different chemistries from vinyl acetate monomer, moved on to different applications of adhesives like pressure-sensitive adhesives for labels and packaging tapes,” Gosalia explains. “Whatever packaging tapes you see now in India – we have a big presence in that.”
From just vinyl acetate monomer, Jesons has now moved on to multiple chemical compounds like acrylates, styrene and specialty monomers.
“This was to create specialty coating emulsions for paints,” Gosalia adds. “We are leaders in that segment too. We are the supplier to almost all paint companies in India.
“That is why our tagline is ‘Touching everyone’s life’. Coating emulsion touches everybody through paint, furniture, floor, paper, leather and textiles.”
Gosalia has plans to take that even further; the company currently has six manufacturing plants, and a brownfield expansion plant which is in progress in Mundra.
“We are setting up another new facility at Saykha with an investment of about US$20 million on a 15-acre [six-hectare] site,” Gosalia says. “We are also building a new technology center. So, all our investments are aligned with our strategic objective of enhancing the share of innovative specialty products in India.”
He is quick to point out that his ambitions for expansion are not limited to India.
“We are already exporting to 50 countries, and out of that, we are leaders in five-to-six countries. We wish to extend that leadership position, particularly in the Middle East, Africa, South Asia and South–East Asia. This will put our company on a high-growth trajectory.”
This progress is not without its share of challenges, and Gosalia admits that he has to keep balancing the elements to meet these challenges. A chemist by profession, he is also a management student, and these two qualifications have helped him weather difficult situations and chase opportunities.
Among the major challenges he sees is the volatility in the price of raw materials.
“The erratic raw material price cycles make everything very turbulent,” he notes. “This creates confusion in the minds of the customers. But we believe in people’s strength; the right person in the right place to change the dynamics of the company.”
Apart from product knowledge and marketing, Gosalia believes empathy and sustainability play a key role in running a business.
“The empathy levels, understanding our people, understanding our customers, collaborating with them, understanding our suppliers – I think this gives us a lot of leverage.”
This empathy came into play, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, when Jesons opened four offices across Mumbai in just 10 days, to make sure that the offices were within easy reach of the employees.
“Anybody could travel within a maximum of five kilometers from their residence to reach the office safely,” Gosalia acknowledges.
This offered support to the manufacturing plants that remained open to make adhesives for pharmaceutical firms and to make Coviguard, an emulsion for surface protection paint.
Despite being a chemical company, Jesons has always focused on green chemistry.
“We have taken the Responsible Care certification,” Gosalia points out. “In India, we are one among approximately 20 companies to have taken this certification. We are also changing the product mix to introduce green products into our existing basket.”
Jeson’s manufacturing plants are purposefully located in six places for this reason too.
“This not only allows us to do just-in-time delivery but also allows us to supply the customers with returnable packaging materials or supply tanker loads,” Gosalia says. “This helps reduce our carbon footprint.
“We are also working on replacing petrochemical products with bio-based products. We believe sustainability is extremely important.”