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Last updated: 27 Jun, 2017  

gaurav-aggarwal-lasonsTHMB.jpg 'Close contact with customers key to good customer services'

gaurav-aggarwal-lasons.jpg
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Saurabh Gupta | 27 Jun, 2017
The Director of Lasons India Pvt Ltd., Gaurav Aggarwal has said that there is no substitute to personal relations with clients. A 30 minutes one-on-one meeting can never be substituted by hours of video or phone conference calls. "When you sit and talk, you make good conversation. We maintain very close contact with our customers, which is key in our effort to provide good customer service," Gaurav Aggarwal told SME Times in an interview.

He also feels that social media and networking sites are the best marketing tool nowadays. He said, "In the recent times we also see social media and networking sites changing the way we reach out to the customers and consumers. Its instant, inexpensive and has the ability to penetrate various markets at the same time. I am excited about this tool now available to us all and we are getting very active in this space as well."

Excerpts of the interview ...

Please tell something about your group - Lasons India Pvt. Ltd.
Gaurav Aggarwal: Lasons India Pvt Ltd. was founded in the year 1979 by Mr Pravin Aggarwal an IIT graduate with a masters from University of Houston.

We are a leading manufacturer of Vitamin B3 & speciality chemicals & intermediates from India. Our products are exported to more than 80 countries worldwide. USA and Europe are our main markets followed by South American and South east Asia, CIS countries & Middle East.

Our products are used in the Pharmaceutical, Nutraceutical, Food, Feed and electroplating chemicals industries.

This year in the next coming weeks we will move from being a B2B company to also being a B2C. We will launch our own Dietary supplement/ Nutraceutical brand under the name of “One Life” which will be exclusively marketed within India by Lasons India Pvt. Ltd. We plan to launch with our initial range of products like:

Omega 3, Multi Vitamin for Men & Women etc. The initial products will be focused on Nutrition followed wellness products.

Lasons India is also one of the largest importers of acid in India. Most of the imports are for self consumption in our manufacturing process.

Besides the pharmaceutical space the family also has interests in real estate, IT & sports entertainment.

You are responsible for all export/import planning, banking and other administrative functions. Please share your company's growth in global trade in last two decades.
Gaurav Aggarwal: Since 1998 the company has grown many folds. Back in the late 90's early 2000's our export sales were non existent and we were the smallest manufacturers in India for our product range. In the past 15+ years we have expanded our market presence in more 80 countries. Lasons's customers are leading names in each of the industries they belong to. Some of them include Pfizer, Sun Pharma, Cipla etc. amongst others. In the past 5 years we built new facilities broadening our product portfolio to the specialty chemicals segment which includes products that were largely being imported from China. This is not only reduced the dependency of our fellow Indian companies on the Chinese but has also given the Indian users a good lead supplier for their requirements.

Today you are exporting over 90 percent of your company's total production. What strategy had you followed to get such a remarkable figure?
Gaurav Aggarwal: Basics are best to follow for growth specially in the global market. Each country presents a new challenge and they are all very different from each other. Product quality, good and timely customer service with a short response time and regular upgradation of our facilities and knowledge have been our key strengths. We try to be available to all our customers globally for any questions or complaints they may have as much as possible directly and through our worldwide network of partners. Most of our customers are end users of our products. We maintain very close contact with them which is key in our effort to provide good customer service.

In your views, what is the best marketing tool nowadays?
Gaurav Aggarwal: There is no substitute to personal relations with your clients. A 30 minute meeting one on one can never be substituted by hours of video or phone conference calls. When you sit and talk you make good conversation. Never say never and always be open to listen and accommodate the customers requirements. In the recent times we also see social media and networking sites changing the way we reach out to the customers and consumers. Its instant, inexpensive and has the ability to penetrate various markets at the same time. I am excited about this tool now available to us all and we are getting very active in this space as well.

How you see the impact of Goods and Service Tax (GST) on your business?
Gaurav Aggarwal: I believe we should have implemented GST long ago, that being said we welcome it now. There will certainly be difficulties we will all face but this is a uniformed tax pan India and will be good for us all in the long run. Lets wait and watch how it is implemented. Overall I believe it will be good for everyone and our business and industry as well.

Do you agree that the exporters will face the liquidity issue after the implementation of GST as the refund mechanism would require payment of GST first and its refund subsequently? If yes, any suggestion.
Gaurav Aggarwal: The Goods and services tax is a uniform indirect tax levied on all goods and services produced in the country and all goods and services imported from abroad. GST will be a single uniform indirect tax which will treat India as one market. It will replace all Central and state indirect taxes like CENVAT, excise, customs, VAT, state excise, etc. The GST will enable a benefit to the economy from a fall in product prices, a single price of a product across the country, lower working capital for companies and a more simplified tax system.

You have a strong presence in major markets across the world. How you see the improvement in global demand after recession?
Gaurav Aggarwal: Our industry is Human and animal nutrition. Recession plays a role of course because people globally cut back on many products they don't have to get. Fortified food and meat included. This does effect us. That being said the demand is fairly stable and we hope to continue to see a stable growth in the consumptions of our products.

From a strict B2B market, you are moving to a B2C vertical and planning to launch a new product line soon. Would you like to share some details here?
Gaurav Aggarwal: Being a Vitamin manufacturer for more than 35 years, the launch of our own B2C line of nutritional & wellness products is a natural vertical for us. We looked in to this in the late 90's and early 2000's however the Indian market was not ready for these products. The western world has been a good market and consumer of the neutraceutical products for a long time now. In the past few years the Indian consumer has become very well aware of the needs and benefits of supplements and health products. The consumer is more health conscious and wants to try to live a healthier life. Our product range is catering exactly to this market segment. Given the experience we have in this industry, we have done extensive keeping the needs of the Indian consumer in mind and will introduce new products for the consumer. One Life will be available one life on our own e-commerce website as well as offline across the country in lifestyle stores. We hope to have an offline presence in every major city by the end of 2017.

What are your other future plans?
Gaurav Aggarwal: Future plans for Lasons include setting up manufacturing facilities for downstream products of our existing product line. Value addition is key to ensure long term sustainability. We will also include many more products focused on the various requirements of the consumer under our B2C brand 'One Life'.
 
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