‘Failure lead to success, don’t get disappointed’. This has been the life mantra of R K Agarwal, an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur (IIT-K), and promoter of Netplast, which has earned a place in the highly quality conscious global market for making moulded polyurethane foam seats for luxury cars, trucks, buses and noise, vibration and heat insulation (NVH) parts.
Set up in the small and medium enterprises (SME) sector, Netplast is the first company in Uttar Pradesh (UP) and even in the country to get the global quality system certificate for manufacturing quality moulded poly urethane seats, Agarwal says.
Situated in Kanpur’s Panki industrial area, the organisation has five units, which will now be shifted to a single industrial campus near Gajner Link Road to facilitate coordinated business activities, says Agarwal, the company’s promoter.
He studied engineering in material sciences at the IIT-K. After graduating in 1973, he got a good job with TELCO in Pune. But he left it after three years with the intention to join business.
“Entering into business was a big challenge to me as my family had no business background. My father was in service and he preferred that I should also remain in service. But kudos to my mother as supported my idea of taking up the business. She extended financial help to me from her savings. She also assured me to provide fiscal assistance even by selling her ornaments. Her support encouraged me and I plunged into the ocean of uncertainty and started an electronics unit in partnership with a friend in the UPTRON estate. The unit was started in an industrial shed which was given to us on rupees five hundred monthly rent”, he said.
The unit manufactured electronics goods required in research laboratories of engineering colleges.
After suffering heavy losses for two years, he switched to the plastic industry in 1983, the first in the state and the third in the country to do so, he says. The two other such industrial units were in Maharashtra, he adds.
He started manufacturing high quality moulded poly urethane foam seats and got good supply orders from automobile giants like LML, Tata Motors and others.
He has been supplying seats to the Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) and several other transport corporations.
He was awarded Global Quality System Certificate (Automobile TS 16949) for manufacturing the seats and plastic components conforming to international quality standards. As of today, he is the largest exporter of seats foam and plastic parts to European and other countries, he says. Annual audit assessment is done to ascertain if the manufactured goods conformed to the global standards.
“We have a staff of about 375 employees and the machines are high tech with micro processors to ensure quality production,” Agarwal said.
He received the President’s Award for entrepreneurship in 2000. He was honoured with the UP government’s Export Award in 2012 and in 2014.
Besides being a successful businessman, Agarwal is associated with several charitable organizations and NGOs engaged in helping the weaker sections of the society. Besides, he is the founder member of the global organization “The Indus Entrepreneur” (TiE) constituted by the successful businessmen in Silicon Valley (USA) and now it has 67 chapters in 16 countries. He was also the past president of TiE.
“The object of TiE is to promote entrepreneurship among the youths by mentoring , educating and supporting them in setting up their respective units,” Agarwal said.
Agarwal says commitment to quality is the secret of his success.“I have never compromised with quality in the manufacturing process and remained vigilant in adopting latest production techniques for ensuring higher quality products,” he says.
“My son Arpit Agarwal an Engineer and MBA has also joined my business for the past six years and now we prefer to expand the existing business with our own resources without obtaining loans from the bank,” he said.
“Though the state could change its image of being backward in industrial sector due to encouragement by the government to industry and particularly MSMEs, yet lot of improvement in the basic infrastructure like power and roads was required to boost up the industrial scenario of the state,” said Agarwal.