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For a young Maddy Gupta, making the move to go from a small Indian town outside Delhi to a university in Melbourne was both a bold and exciting prospect. The thrill of that major life milestone was tempered only by the fact that he had to leave his family behind.
“Manhari is always keeping abreast of advanced technologies happening across the world.”
So when he decided to permanently settle in Australia, one of the first things he did was to bring his parents over to join his growing family made up of his wife, Pooja, and two children of their own.
Now, as CEO of Manhari Metals, he has instilled those family values into the company he founded.
Freshly graduated from Monash University, Maddy was on the search for business opportunities and started recycling clothes for second-hand clothing store Savers. But it wasn’t until a few years later that he discovered bins for collecting metals for recycling.
“From bins, it expanded into actual recycling and setting up plants, and today we have become a major player in the industry in Victoria,” he tells The CEO Magazine.
“A lot of work is going on to build the team to improve customer services and trust.”
He founded the company in 2007, and now it has more than 120 employees with three sites across almost five hectares in the Victorian suburbs of Tottenham, Horsham and Ararat.
“The headquarters and the major site today is Tottenham, which is equipped to process 180,000 metric tons of in-feed materials – covering automotive vehicles, white goods, all scrap materials,” he explains.
Meanwhile, Horsham and Ararat process scrap materials, construction demolition products and most of the scrap from agriculture and regional waste.
Maddy credits Manhari’s growth in large part to its focus on developing and maintaining long-term relationships with its customer base.
“Recycling is very much a London Metal Exchange [LME] prices business, and an effective supply chain is very crucial for survival itself,” he says. “Manhari promises to provide the best prices and customer service in the industry in Victoria.”
Keeping costs under control is a huge task, which is why Manhari’s ownership of the complete supply chain – from pickup bins to sensor sorters and transportation – is a distinct advantage.
“The key to this is tight operational control on all sites and activities,” Maddy explains. “No supply chain can be effective without technologically proven equipment of proper capability and capacity. Manhari is always keeping abreast of advanced technologies happening across the world and looking at procurement of them to ensure better and more efficient operations.”
The business has now reached an impressive figure of US$101 million in revenue, which Maddy himself describes as “no mean feat”.
“Running a tight ship means maintaining cost control, thus maintaining continual annual profitability despite global trade winds and market control by LME prices,” he says. “Manhari’s greatest achievement has been maintaining almost 90 percent exports of its outputs annually across so many years.”
The implementation of an integrated management system to oversee quality across all of its sites is another great achievement, one which Maddy is confident will build customer confidence further.
“A lot of work is going on to build the team to improve customer services and trust,” he says.
With these successes under his belt, Maddy is now chasing fresh goals.
“We are now focusing on the future,” he says. “The strategy is to stay in the same industry over the next 5–10 years, but then to grow from being a metals recycling business to a circular economy business. As a group, we see it as our responsibility to help Victoria meets its requirements for circular economy models, and so we are looking to set up multiple new plants.”
“Success comes from hard work and learning from failures.”
Manhari is also gaining greater recognition as a brand thanks to a number of sports sponsorship deals in cricket, the Australian Football League and horse racing, as well as providing development assistance to local teams. Most recently, Manhari partnered with Cricket Victoria to sponsor the Victorian Women’s cricket team.
“Manhari is on a continuous search to support communities and provide opportunities for local talent to emerge,” Maddy says, referring once again to the family values upon which the company is founded.
After all, growing the business has been a family affair, with Maddy and his wife working side-by-side to build the business from scratch.
“Success comes from hard work and learning from failures,” Maddy says. “This has been the motto that Manhari has followed.”