“How do tea and aerospace and defense go together”, is the most asked question, event, recalls, Mr. Rishab Gupta. To this, his answer has always been “Passion”. When he returned to India after completing his scholastics in Business Marketing, he could not leave his adventurous streak that he honed when in the US. He wanted to do something different – something where his heart lay. Even when his father, the chairman of the company, quizzed him on his decision to diversify into aerospace and defense, all he had to say was, as Benjamin Franklin put it “if passion drives you, let reason hold its reins”. When he looks back, the decision to let passion drive his instincts has been the best decision that he has taken.
The aerospace and defense business has just completed ten years. This past decade has been a dream run for the company. “When it started, all I had was a dream and passion for aviation and willingness to take up the hardest challenges”, says Rishab. A visionary entrepreneur – his dream was to aim for the moon and work backwards to bring the vision safely to earth. To fulfill this, the “next big challenge” was to identify a Chief Executive who had the same kind of passion, the abilities and the capacity to realize this dream. Everything fell into place when he met Prabhat Kumar Bhagavandas, who happened to have separated from a fortune 100 technology company and was looking for his next new challenge. “It was an instant connect” says, Rishab and there was no looking back.
“The dream was put into action in 2011, and all we had was a plan and a commitment to work to this plan, no matter what. We set ourselves our “first 10-year target”. By the turn of 2021, we wanted to be a company that would be in the range of Rs 150 to 200 crores”, with a carefully crafted plan”, says Rishab. “We knew it was not going to be easy”, he continues. “We met this target with lot of grit, hard work, smart decisions, many of which were fraught with risk and also an element of luck”, he recalls. According to him, luck did not come by itself but by hard work put in the early years. He quotes Thomas Jefferson, who said, “I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it”. Rossell Techsys is no exception to this. With all the hard work, luck was bound to smile, and it came sooner than later. “We are indeed blessed to be the only Indian A&D company to have received the Boeing Supplier of the Year award twice in 5 years, the lates being for the year 2019”, he adds.
Starting off in a small no-descript building of 4000 square feet present day Rossell Techsys which was over 225,000 square feet, has been one very exhilarating and truly satisfying journey. Its customers include some of the biggest names in international aerospace and defense. “We were blessed to have such wonderful customers to support our vision and mission and for the business they give us” says Rishab.
“Our passion for A&D goes hand in hand with our concern for quality. We understand that customers are very demanding in the 21st century, and do not expect anything less than the best. For us, it is a matter of credibility first, more than revenue of profits”, he continues. The company has learnt the art of saying “Yes” as well as saying “No” in pursuit of safeguarding its credibility. “The worst thing that a company can do is just look at order books, see the numbers swell. Sooner than later, quality issues shall swell faster than the numbers that tend to thrill”, he adds.
Rossell Techsys has now embarked on its “next 10-year target”. Already, the first step has been taken. It opened its US operations in 2020, at the very height of the pandemic, continuing with its forward-looking decision making. “We are very US centric, and we felt it would be only prudent to start our global operations from the US, to be able to provide our US customers a higher level of service, a much tighter relationship and much higher value”. The company aims to dig in deeper and go up the value chain by offering more services than it does today. “By the end of the next 10 years, the dream is to be a company with a global footprint and a revenue of over Rs 2000 crores”, he adds. The company shall be looking very aggressively at various options at its disposal, organic as well as inorganic. Some of its expansion areas are in acquiring intellectual property, Engineering Services, Non-Destructive Testing labs, Research and Development, Robotics and Automation. These will happen, says Rishab, “but at the right time and the right place”. In addition to these plans, a lot of partnerships and possible joint ventures too are being looked at, but “we are being cautious and would like to work with people who have a similar mindset”, he continues. “We still have a long way to go but the standards we follow are as high as the best”, he adds. The company is also seeking to expand in the geographies of Europe and Middle East (EMEA) and Australasia.
Apart from its business objectives, the company continues to keep its feet very much on the ground and it’s conscious of its social responsibilities. It has a “go-green” drive in place to conserve the environment, opportunity creation for the socially vulnerable enhancing the employability of the workforce in India and determined to invest in the “Skill India” initiative of the government, health, safety and security of every stakeholder in times such as pandemic. It also contributes to various NGO’s who perform yeoman service to the socially unprotected, including contributing to better education, better healthcare, and better sanitation needs.
“My approach to the future of our business is very clear about the vision of the company such that all fears become irrelevant, and my team can discover that there are no limits to the possible”, Rishab adds, in closing.