Globally, there is a growing respect for the quality of Indian product

Founded in 1996, Ami Polymer Pvt. Ltd. is a leading manufacturer of biopharmaceuticals grade elastomer tubings, reinforced hoses, gaskets as well as extrude, moulded components  – supplying to industries as varied as pharmaceutical, biotech, food processing, plastics, and medical industries, among others. In an interview with Cosmedic India, Alpesh Gandhi, Managing Director, Ami Polymer, throws light on a wide range of matters that have defined the company’s growth including its emphasis on obtaining the best of global quality certifications, and the impact of the government policies. The interview extracts:

Please brief us about Ami Polymer’s spread of operations.

Our head office is in Mira Road, off Mumbai; and our manufacturing site is at Silvassa, Gujarat. We have branch offices in Mumbai, Goa, Indore, Roorkee, Baddi, Sikkim, Baroda, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Vishakhapatnam, Bengaluru and Chennai. We also have an office in New York, USA; and a direct presence in Bangladesh, Germany, Iran, Switzerland, Dubai, Slovenia, and Spain. Currently, our employee strength is more than 275.

Which industries do you target with your products?

Our products are specially made to suit the pharmaceutical, biotech, food processing, plastics, and medical industries, though we also cater to a number of other sectors, such as steel, engineering, aerospace, textile, solar and steel.

How have the policies of the present government impacted your business?

We have seen a huge growth thanks to the pro-business policies of the Narendra Modi government, especially in the exports segment . That’s because the government has taken plenty of initiatives to promote exports.

The Skill India scheme has also benefitted us immensely. We generally undertake campus recruitment from the ITIs (Indian Technical Institutes). Previously, we rarely used to get good technically skilled people from these institutes, but today there is an abundance of job aspirants who are appropriately skilled. This is a result of close association between the institutes and the industry. The government has been proactive in supporting the formation of committees, comprising representatives of both the industry and the institutes, for developing course curricula. These committees fine-tune courseware according to the needs of the industry, and this is what helps organizations like us recruit people with the right skills.

How has the Goods and Services Tax (GST) affected your business?

It’s a great relief for those having pan-India operations to treat all regions across India as a single market, and not having to pay taxes separately for different regions. It’s a boon for those doing legitimate business, as transactions have become easier. GST has not only emboldened those who are doing legitimate business, but has also helped increase their number, because only those coming under the GST bracket, are entitled to get credit for business transactions. Manipulations have come down drastically.

How do you manage to cope with the ever-changing and demanding customer expectations?

Since we are increasing our focus on the export market, we are trying to win customers who will go only for world-class products. So we keep enhancing the quality of our products, and this is possible by upgrading our manufacturing equipment consistently with the latest technology enhancements happening globally.

The other way to ensure the quality that customer demands, is to obtain the best of global quality certifications, which we have been managing quite successfully and consistently. Our certifications include DMF #26201 (Drug Master File) for manufacturing silicon tubes and hoses accredited by USFDA; Clean Room of Class 10000 Certified Facility; NSF-51 Certification on platinum cured silicone resin; TUV Nord Certified ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015, OHSAS 18001:2007; and TOXICON Lab (USA) based E&L Study, USP Class 87, ISO 10993 biocompatibility studies on products.

In the recent past, there have been cases where Indian companies had got into trouble over certification issues denting the image of our country abroad. How does the world look at the quality of the products leaving Indian shores?

The world today looks at India in a very positive way. There is a growing respect for Indian products in the USA and the other parts of the world. Indian companies have worked hard to earn this respect. For instance, India has the highest number of US FDA-compliant plants today.

What are your expectations from the Indian market, at a time when a series of elections, including the Lok Sabha elections are round the corner?

It all depends on the policies of the government, like the GST, which have been a boon to those doing legitimate business. We hope such pro-business policies will continue, and we will get consistently motivated.

What was your revenue for the last financial year, and how much growth do you expect this year?

In the last financial year, we achieved a ₹ 36-crore revenue, and we are targeting to achieve a revenue of  ₹ 155 crore by the year 2022.

What’s your share of business from the exports and domestic markets?

Presently, exports account for only about 15 percent of our business, and we hope to increase this percentage to about 50 percent within the next five years.

Focusing on exports, what are the key demand drivers for your products?

Our product and plant certifications. In the export market, buyers are much more stringent with quality parameters of the product they intend to buy.

Which new regions are you eyeing in the export market?

While we look forward to consolidating our position in the markets that we are already present, we are looking at new regions like East Asia, Russia, and China.

Won’t language be a barrier in the East Asian countries? Also, what’s your modus operandi for starting off your business in new regions?

Language barriers are taken care of by English translators. In newer regions, we generally start by appointing local agencies who help us choose local channel partners after which our personnel starts making visits to the region. If the progress is good in a particular region, then we set up our offices and employ staff for these offices.

How big is the role of IT systems in your business operations?

One of the major reasons for our growth is that we have been using the best of IT solutions, and keep upgrading them. Since long, we have been using Microsoft Dynamics NAV ERP solution for operations, and SAP for Customer Relationship Management (CRM), The processes are getting faster, hassle-free.

How much do you focus on R&D for product quality enhancements?

We have a full-fledged R&D team that indulge in a lot of reverse engineering and develop applications after understanding customer requirements and demands perfectly, before developing the product. The R&D team has also been instrumental in developing a number of import substitutes. This way, we save on import duties; are able to do customization faster, and remain cost-competitive. Our emphasis on R&D also ensures that we don’t have to keep inventories for long, and our products are always of international standards.