A Quarterly Newsletter from UAE and Oman

VOL 22 ISSUE 4 October 2019

Interview

Mr. Ashok OdhraniMr. Ashok Odhrani
Founded by Ashok Odhrani in 1973, Supertech Group (“Supertech”) has built an enviable reputation for the delivery of premier oil and gas control solutions in the UAE, Middle East and Indian sub-continent.

Supertech Group is one of the leading business houses in the Middle East for the supply of industrial products & services in the field of oil & gas, petro-chemical, food & beverage, power generation, primary steel, automotive, marine & shipping and general industries. Today, Supertech Group is headquartered in Jebel Ali Free Zone in Dubai with strategically located branches in Dubai/ Northern Emirates, Abu Dhabi, Qatar and India.

Supertech’s broad and comprehensive portfolio focuses in the fields of process instrumentation, valves and actuation, pneumatics, filtration solutions, fluid connectors and seals, hydraulics, industrial tools and equipment, as well as chemicals and adhesives. The company started with serving the oil and gas businesses and has successfully diversified its activities into the complementary markets of power generation, ship repair, aluminium smelting, automotive and manufacturing industries and is also a recognized systems integrator and solution provider.

Q. It has been more than half a century since you came to the UAE. Talk us through your journey from British India Steam Navigation to Supertech.
A. Having landed in Dubai by British India Steam Navigation’s ship – Dumra in November 1967, I started my career with a job in an automotive spare parts & accessories company. By 1973 it gave me enough experience and market knowledge to have the confidence to start my own business. After understanding the nature of spares market which was based on the ever-changing models of vehicles, I decided to choose “evergreen products”. There began the journey which over the years evolved into what is the Supertech Group today.

Q. You came into the country at a time when Indian businesses were just finding their feet. How did you create your niche in a competitive market?
A. Our market segment was Energy, Automotive, Marine and General Industries. With hard work and customer satisfaction as our driving motto, Supertech partnered with world renowned brands and steadily developed a name for itself. Business climate was good due to Arab embargo of oil on Europe during Israel occupation.

Q. What are the key differentiators of Supertech from its competitors?
A. Other than being established when the industry itself was in its infancy, we have managed to secure customer trust and build an excellent customer base.

Our clients are active in the upstream and downstream oil and gas industries. We ensure that every product is of the highest quality, delivered to the best standards with the greatest level of service. By gaining client satisfaction and appreciation, we have become the preferred single source for their needs. These have proved to be our key differentiators.

Q. How important have your personnel (staff and management) been in your consistently upward journey?
A. The Group adheres to the philosophy that quality comes from within. Our 250+ strong workforce numbering more than 250 are well-trained and dedicated to this cause. Supertech views its employees as its best asset and the staff has competent industry qualifications to ensure the continuity of workmanship.

Q. How does the group combat the fierce competition in this industry from local and particularly Western players?
A. Besides priding ourselves on the wide and specialised range of products we offer our customers, the organization also provides a high level of proficiency in after-sales services through a dedicated technical support team and a premier customer service team.

Having started with essential emphasis on serving Oil & Gas businesses, the company has successfully added many more activities which deal with the complementary markets of power generation, primary metal, food & beverage, construction and manufacturing industries.

Over the years, we have built considerable local expertise while always adhering to global standards. We also maintain a strong focus on building our in-countryvalue to the customer and the economy at large. The entire Supertech Group is ISO-9001:2015 certified and additionally SunPowerGen is certified for ISO-14001:2015 and ISO-45001:2018.

With constant focus on client satisfaction and appreciation, we remain the single source for all our customers’ needs. These core strengths have always helped us stay ahead of the competition in this industry.

Q. What challenges has the Group and the man behind the Group faced, and how have they coped with them?
A. Understanding the nature of the market and its everchanging needs has been a constant challenge to us. Building a capable, well-trained and constantly motivated work force is something we have always focused upon. Today, our biggest challenge is to maintain our credibility in the tough economic conditions in respect of cash flow management.

Q. How do the current economic challenges and the World Expo 2020 mesh with the Group’s longterm objectives?
A. We are very optimistic for the future of the Middle East and proud of the on-going efforts for the preparations of Dubai Expo 2020. Such mega events give a great thrust towards enhancing industrial and infrastructural activities and as a Group well entrenched in the Middle East market, we look forward to every such impetus to the economy which will also help us grow our business in the years ahead.

Q. Having had a successful and long journey, what is your driving passion now? What do you look forward to as a business leader and as a person over the next years?
A. Besides guiding Supertech business, I have two driving passions. First among them is leading our CSR activities.

I am the Chairman of Smt. Mohinidevi Lekhraj Odhrani Charitable Trust and Managing trustee of Monilek Hospital & Research Centre, a 100 bed multi-specialty charitable hospital that the larger family runs back home in Jaipur, India. It specializes in kidney transplant operations and helps a lot of underprivileged patients. In India, we support S V Public School Sports Complex, Diya Foundation which works for the welfare of under privileged children and Ekal Vidyalaya which is a movement to run one teacher school in remote rural and tribal villages. We also support the Swachh Bharat Kosh, the Temple in Abu Dhabi, Gurudwara in Dubai and The Indian High School. I am also an active member of The Hindu Cremation Ground in Dubai.

My other passion is mentoring. I have mentored many employees over the years and it shows in their dedication to the company. Additionally, the most notable ones I’ve mentored are my two sons, Deepak and Jitendra. Both have started their careers at the frontlines and are now working shoulder to shoulder with me in the Group. Deepak is managing the distribution and technology value addition for Supertech while Jitendra heads the Engineering Division – SunPowerGen.

Did you know…??

Salary

It comes from the Latin word salarium, which also means “salary” and has the root sal, or “salt.” In ancient Rome, it specifically meant the amount of money allotted to a Roman soldier to buy salt, which was an expensive but essential commodity.

Pecuniary

The Romans measured a man’s worth by the number of animals he kept on his farm. They adapted the Latin word for a farm animal, “pecu” to refer to an individual man’s wealth. But as people acquired new ways to measure wealth such as money and land, the Roman word evolved into “pecunia” which referred to money. From this came the adjective “pecuniary” pertaining to or consisting of money.