8 Dec 2017, 12:03 — 9 min read
The entrepreneurial streak is something that is ingrained in some people. For Ranjeet Singh Gulati, the streak was so strong that he always knew he would start something on his own despite the fact he was going places as an engineer. He started Cutting EDGE in Bengaluru in 1994, and as proprietor, has taken the company to a position where it sets the standard in the industry for products used in microwaving and cooking.
In due course, his son Kirpa Singh Gulati joined the business as the man in charge of corporate development and brought fresh ideas and a familiarity to technology with him. He aims to carry his parents legacy forward and create a truly household brand on the international stage. They have built themselves a good foundation - the company meets and exceeds international standards as per feedback from clients.
In conversation with GlobalLinker (GL),Ranjeet Singh Gulati (RG) and Kirpa Singh Gulati (KG) share the journey of their company. Watch this video for more:
GL: Tell us about your business
RG: I started this company in 1994. I am an engineer by profession. I worked for Larsen & Toubro and moved on to Telco and did marketing for them in Delhi. Then I started of on my own. We started this company with only two products - a film foil paper dispenser and microwave plate covers.
Microwave was a very new product in 1994. We were in the U.K and we picked up a microwave. We wanted to make it useful for the Indian requirement of cooking. We started very passionately to think about what more could we get out of the microwave for the Indian customer. It was in this spirit that the world’s first microwave idli stand was made. My wife and I came up with the design. What takes 30-40 minutes in a conventional idli maker takes 3-4 minutes in a microwave. You save a huge amount of time and idlis come out very nice and fluffy. A lot of time is saved for the person cooking.
I have always had 'entrepreneurship' in me. Even after I resigned and came to Bengaluru, my boss saw a good future for me in Telco and wanted me to move back. I needed something that would give me the freedom to do things differently.
GL: What is the USP of your business?
RG: Cutting EDGE became the frontrunner of microwave cooking in India. When we went to Samsung with our first few products like the idli maker, the MD actually laughed at me and said it wouldn’t work. We offered to go to Samsung HQ and cook food for all them in the microwave with our products. We did that in 1995 and they all loved it, and the Samsung MD offered to send our products to South Korea to see if they would meet the requirements of the company. When I went to them after 3 weeks, they said these products meet the best standards according to Samsung.
Today we cater to about 70% of the corporate market. They give our utensils as a startup kit to start using the microwave.
KG: One of the main USPs about our business is that we are very passionate about what we do. All our products are made and packaged with care. From distribution to sale to servicing of the customer’s requirements, answering questions, getting feedback, making them comfortable to the feedback is something we always do. We look at the 360 degree ecosystem around the product.
GL: What are the challenges you have faced in establishing your business?
RG: When we started business we started from a very meagre background. The drawing room of the house. Everybody worked. We concentrated on developing new products. New kinds of products that didn’t exist before, so we had nothing to copy. We had the challenge of innovating, getting moulds done, and then packing and then supplying.
We wanted to make sure the quality was high - and we could supply to big brands like Bajaj, BHP, LG, Samsung that we were supplying for.
We realised somewhere along the way that we would make the very best that could be made. Four, five years ago, we decided we would proudly write ‘Made in India’ on every product that we mad e. This was much before the Make in India initiative.
I don't use the word ‘I’, it’s only ‘we’. Everyone has ownership and an equal right to chip in with ideas and have their say on our team. I have felt that many times what I like is not what would sell. When we develop a new product, the team considers and all small ideas are considered carefully. Whatever we decide is considered our decision.
KG: When I joined the my dad had a very set philosophy. He believes the Japanese attitude and style for working is best. He thought that I should work with all aspects of the business before moving forward. This was early on when I decided to join the business. I worked with workers, supervisors. Only afterwards did my father have confidence that I could take up the reins of the business.
GL: What are some of the milestones of your business?
KG: Some of our most notable achievements are that we are not just meeting the standards of the company. We define the standards. We’ve taken a big step in working with some of the most established players in the country - from Naaptol to Home Shop 18 to Whirlpool. We’ve created a lot of new alliances. We feel a lot of pride with some of these clients.
One of our clients is from the Middle East and he had said to us that they don’t usually work with Indian and Chinese companies because of concerns over quality. I asked him to meet us anyway and give us a short meeting assuring him that we might change his opinion. At the end of that meeting, after showing our products and explaining the value additions functionally and aesthetically, I felt great pride. They said they would expect such quality from a vendor in Japan and we were on unchartered ground for an Indian company.
We want to make sure that plastic does not come across as cheap and flimsy. Working to get rid of that perception, and cater to the masses, we came up with a lot of designs that revolutionise how plastic is used in this segment. We are creating a product that people are proud to own, proud to display in front of guests and proud to use.
GL: Do you believe that the ‘ease of doing business’ in Bengaluru has improved?
RG: I love Bengaluru. I think it is the best city in the country. It has a huge potential. It is a city where there are people from different fields and walks of life. It’s a good mix of culture and societies.
GL: What role do you feel GlobalLinker plays in connecting & assisting SMEs?
RG: GlobalLinker helps us get connected with fellow SMEs. Networking helps all stakeholders and helps businesses go to the next level.
GL: What is your big business dream?
RG: Fortunately my son decided to join the business. With the generation, new technology and thoughts are filtering in. Today, I am proud to say we have developed some patented products for the first time in the world. We are already making products for Flipkart. We are in advanced talks in Amazon to make goods for their brand. We are working with Panasonic, Bajaj, BPL. We are also keeping an eye on Walmart and other big players. We should be working with them shortly.
KG: I want to take what has been given to me and take it to the next, global level. My dream is to compete with giants like Tupperware and Rubbermade. Our quality is there. I want to overcome the shortfalls and create a truly household brand name.
GL: What is your message to aspiring entrepreneurs?
RG: Dream big, don’t dream small. Work hard, and though it may take time, you will succeed.
When you deal with multiple brands and corporates your reputation is key. Never let anyone down or take advantage of them for personal gain. That is not good in the long run.
Network with SMEs mentioned in this article by clicking on the 'Invite' button on their profile. Ranjit Singh Gulati, Kirpa Singh Gulati
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Posted byGlobalLinker Staff
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