“Infinite striving to be the best is man's duty; it is its own reward. Everything else is in God's hands.” - Mahatma Gandhi
To be born into an illustrious family is both a boon and a challenge. There is the privilege of birth, yet there is this need to earn ones wings, and meet and exceed the raised expectations of people. When one’s illustrious forefathers are legendary businessmen and philanthropists, men of great vision and international repute, the challenge becomes all more serious.
This is the story of Akshaypat Singhania, the scion of the 4th generation of the Singhania family. It details his challenges, his accomplishments and his direction for the future.
In true Singhania style, Mr. Akshaypat is a keen aviator and a motor racing enthusiast. He flies jets as well as helicopters. He is a national champion in motor racing and has competed on racing tracks across India, and in his words, "Speed is a way of life, and winning is its essence"
He joined the family business in 1988 right after his graduation in the commerce stream. He spent a year undergoing intensive training wherein he was exposed to the intricacies of every department of the textile business – from production to marketing and retailing.
Subsequent to his training he joined Raymond Apparel, the garment division of the group in an engagement that was to last for about two years.
Raymond during that period was predominantly as manufacturer and seller of fine worsted woolen fabrics. The brand was a market leader and it was advertised as the choice of “The Complete Man”– a highly successful brand platform that has served the company for over three decades, evoking high recall and garnering dominant market share.
In his first major contribution to the group, he was instrumental in the launch of the Park Avenue brand of menswear.
This was a “first” in many ways. It was for the first time that any organized sector company was launching a national “ready to wear” brand offering a complete solution for the male wardrobe. The Park Avenue range included shirts, trousers, suits, safaris and men’s accessories.
He is a keen aviator and a motor racing enthusiast. He flies jets and helicopters and is a national champion in motor racing across India.
Vijaypat Singhania is the Chairman Emeritus of the Raymond Group of clothing and textiles and a former Sheriff of Mumbai.
A keen aviator, Singhania holds the Guinness world record for highest altitude gained in a hot air balloon, notably accomplished at the age of 67. Singhania also holds the Guinness world record for his solo micro light flight from the UK to India in 1988. Singhania has flight experience of over 5,000 hours.
In 1994, he won the gold medal in the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale air race covering a distance of 34,000 km spanning 24 days. To mark this occasion he was conferred the rank of Hon. Air Commodore of the Indian Air Force. In 2005, we has awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Aero Club, and in 2006, he received Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award given by the Government of India.
In March 2007 he was nominated as Chairman of the Governing Council, IIM Ahmedabad.
Air Commodore Dr. Vijaypat Singhania
with Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
Ex President of India from 2002 to 2007
The son of Lala Kailashpat Singhania and the brother of Vijaypat Singhania, was in charge of JK Bombay, now known as Raymond Apparel. He pioneered ready to wear Mens apparel under the brand Double Barrel which was a huge success in India. He established the retail foray of the group and was instrumental in starting the chain of Raymond outlets both in India and abroad.
Today the retail network has over 750 stores in India and overseas with a cumulative 1.8 million square feet of selling space. He was also in charge of the shipping division of the group and a Director on the Board of Raymond. He was the founder of IARC - The Indian Automotive Racing Club and introduced motor racing to India notably the Himalayan Car Rally. He parallelly set-up the Sunitidevi Singhania Hospital, among the best hospital in North Bombay.
Additionally he was instrumental in the telecom revolution in India in early 80s and JK Telecom was the first in India to get a licence to manufacture and operate EPABXs, RAX and cellular telephony at that time.
She is the wife of the Late Shri Ajaypat Singhania and the mother of Shri Akshaypat Singhania. She hailed from a non business background but was initiated into the group’s businesses as a Whole Time Director of JK Helene Curtis, in the wake of the untimely death of Shri Ajaypat.
JK Helene Curtis is a manufacturer of men’s cosmetics and perfumes, deodrants, shampoos with popular brands such as TruTone – the market leader in men’s hair dyes. These are marketed under Park Avenue and other brand names and are available in over 200,000 outlets across the country. The company had a turnover of Rs. 5 crores when its management was taken over by Mrs. Veena Singhania. Today, under her able stewardship, the company is one of the leading Indian brands of men's toiletries and it clocks a turnover of Rs. 300 crores.
The Singhania’s hail from a small, arid village called Singhana in Jhunjhunu district of Rajasthan. The family were traditional bankers running a "sahukari" operation. The industrial side of the family business essentially began with the induction of Lala Kamlapat Singhania into the family business.
His foremost venture in this direction was the setting up of the J.K. Cotton Spinning & Weaving Mills Co. Ltd. – an Indian mill that produced yarn and cloth that could compete with the best from Manchester! The quality of the mill cloth, as well as its being a “Swadeshi” product ensured heavy demand for it in the markets across India.
Between 1921 and 1934 , he went on a spree setting new businesses and factories. These institutions became the foundation of the J.K Organisation as we know it today.
The Kamla Tower, which today exists as a nerve centre of the J.K. Organisation, was built in 1934. Lala Kamlapat inaugurated the Kamla Tower on 1st April, 1935.
Lala Kamlapat Singhania’s energies were not merely focused on his business. He was aware that creating an association of businessmen was the only way they could address common issues and problems, and in furtherance of this belief, he was instrumental in the setting up of the Chamber of Commerce in U.P.
While the foundations of the flourishing business were laid by Lala Kamlapat, it was Lala Padampat and his two younger brothers who expanded and built an imposing edifice on it. Lala Padampat was later knighted by the British Monarch in 1943, and since then he was called “Sir Saheb”!
After his father’s demise, Sir Padampat stayed at the helm of affairs at Kanpur, while his younger brothers Shri Laxmipat and Shri Kailashpat went to Kolkata and Mumbai respectively to expand the business and explore new opportunities. The entrepreneurial vision and foresight of Sir Padampat and his brothers resulted in the phenomenal expansion of the J.K Organization.
The group diversified into aluminum products, industrial chemicals, jute, plastic, paints, sugar, oil & soap, nylon, paper, rayon, polyester, acrylic, woollens, electronics, cement, steel belted radial tyres, cosmetics and several other product categories besides, banking, insurance and shipping businesses.
In the 70s J.K. Organisation was ranked amongst the top four industrial houses of the country, both in terms of assets and turnover.
The Economic Times 22 - 28 May, 1998 Raymond Ltd has bucked the downtrend with some smart restructuring. Will the Singhania group flagship step up the momentum in future ? Read More
For over 80 years, Raymond is counted as one of the world's premier manufacturers of worsted suiting fabric in fine grade wool, in the same league as the fines
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A state-of-the-art denim garmenting facility.
A facility set-up for the manufacture of formal shirts.
A leading player in the Engineering Files & Tools segment and the largest producer of steel files in the world.
A leading manufacturer of engineering and automotive components.
A leading player in the grooming, accessories and toiletries category.
The manufacturers and marketers of denim fabrics.
Manufactures high value cotton shirting.
The manufacturers and marketers of KamaSutra condoms and surgical gloves.
Our Joint venture with MOB Outillage SA, manufacturing files and rasps for international markets.
A leading supplier of components and sub assemblies for the automotive global market.
Headquartered in Mumbai the company offers jets, helicopters and yachts on charter.
In retrospect, the challenge was much larger than merely launching an apparel brand. The success of the brand required a paradigm change for the company as well as for the consumer. At the consumer level, there was no perception that what the tailor delivered was “low quality” simply because there was no standard available for them to compare with.
Secondly, given the wide disparity in the physical attributes of men – in the north and the south, the company had the challenging task of creating an “ Indianised ” standard size for garments. The next challenge was maintaining quality standards, given the fact that since there was no formal training available for tailors, and most of the available talent came from the same pool.
Formal quality control metrics had to be devised and the workers had to undergo training and comply with these standards on a daily basis. This naturally meant that bulk of the production was carried out in-house. Akshaypat met these challenges with typical aplomb and managed to make the brand an early success.
The successful launch of the Park Avenue brand and the entry of the company into the ready to wear segment was a game changer in many ways. It increased the company’s margins and changed its business paradigm as it represented a vertical integration. Before the launch of the Park Avenue brand 100% of the company’s revenues came from the sale of fabric.
The success of the brand increased the percentage of revenue generation from the value added garment segment year on year. At the end of his engagement in the executive capacity, Mr. Akshaypat Singhania left behind a brand that was strong and vibrant, and one that had high recall and market share. Today, fabric sales at the retail shops account for 45% of the total revenue, whereas 55% of the revenue is generated from garment sales.
After his successful stint in the Group’s apparel business, Akshaypat Singhania was appointed as the Director of JK Files and Tools. India's leading manufacturer and exporter of hack saw files and twist drill bits commanding a 55% market share Indonesia. As there was nothing remotely common between apparel and engineering, he had the unenviable task learning his ropes, even as his performance was being carefully monitored.
Akshaypat soon understood the challenging nature of this assignment. The manufacturing process was largely manual, with labour amounting to a significant component of costs. The company had a robust export market, but it was under threat from Chinese products that enjoyed a natural wage and material cost advantage. So optimization of cost was an imperative for growth. Akshaypat Singhania kept a close watch on costs by analyzing the process, and outsourcing parts of it to ancillary units; while overseeing the quality of output. This led to reduction of costs as well an increase in productivity.
The twin efforts at reducing the labour component and increasing productivity paid off and the company was able to dramatically expand its market. Akshaypat went on to launch a Do It yourself tool kit to address the home user segment. This was an emerging market and the company had the first mover advantage. As supply requirements increased, he set up the company’s 4th manufacturing unit in Pithampur, delivering twin benefits of lower labour costs and proximity to the source of its main raw materials. The company consistently won awards as the Best Exporter.
During his engagement with JK Files & Tools, Mr. Akshaypat Singhania improved the company’s domestic market share to nearly 90%, and the global market share of the company increased to 35%. This was a remarkable growth within a short span of three years. Mr. Akshaypat Singhania left behind a company that was on a robust growth trajectory.
After proving his credentials in the Apparel and the Engineering companies, Akshaypat Singhania had earned the reputation of being an excellent “change manager.” He had the rare combination of the right ideas along with the ability to implement them in a manner that delivered results. Naturally, this next assignment was even more challenging. Akshaypat Singhania was appointed as the Whole Time Director of Raymond Group.
At the beginning of this engagement, the cement unit had a production capacity of 0.4 million tonnes and a host of handicaps. The plant had locational challenges as it was 50 kms from the nearest civilization. So, every small requirement had to be planned for and procured well in advance. The process was cumbersome and all material needed to be shipped to and from the location.
Attracting managerial personnel to work in this location was extremely challenging as the environment was difficult and the living conditions were far from normal. The area also faced extreme temperatures with the mercury touching 50 °C in summer.
The plant also suffered from erratic and inadequate supply of electricity, a key input for the manufacture of cement. Establishing normalcy in operations was the first challenge, and it had to necessarily precede growth initiatives.
By the year 2000, when Akshaypat Singhania moved on to another assignment within the group, he had been instrumental in increasing the production capacity of the company from 0.4 million tons to 2.25 million tons.- a growth of over 5 times! In the year 2000, Akshaypat Singhania was instrumental in divesting the cement business at a considerable profit to the MNC Lafarge as part of the Group's restructuring plan.
To address the people challenge, Akshaypat commissioned and built a state of the art township within the 4000 acre plant complex. The complex was capable of housing 600- 800 families with amenities such as a Club House, a swimming pool, badminton courts, and a full sized cricket ground etc. To counter the challenge of transport and connectivity, the company built 40 kms of railway sidings to connect the plant to the nearest rail head. The company was amongst the first in the country to invest in the Own Your Won Wagons scheme as per the Indian Railways. In this the company had the first mover advantage and it no longer had to depend on government allocation of wagons, a process that was at best uncertain.
The company also installed a 15 MW captive power plant to ensure access to reliable power. This in itself was a big challenge as the company had no experience whatsoever in either erecting or running a power generation set up.
With the people, transport and power situation under control, Akshaypat focused his attention on de bottle necking and right sizing the plant. He rationalized the use of the available infrastructure and increased capacity with select brown field expansion. He also initiated the use of fly ash and slag from power and steel plants in the manufacturing process. This proved economical as well as eco friendly as it resulted in the safe usage of an otherwise hazardous by product.
Akshaypat Singhania also acquired mining rights for a new green field plant in Karnataka which had reserves of 350 million tons of high quality limestone- a key ingredient in the manufacture of cement. The company marketed its cement under two brands MultiGuard and DuraGuard, a ploy that enabled it to move to a higher price point. It consistently won the Highest Exporter of Cement Award and the Most Energy Efficient Producer of Cement in India Award.
During the period of restructuring, Raymond divested its interests in cement, steel and the synthetics business and refocused on building scale and volumes in the fabric and the garment business. Once again, the change management skills of Akshaypat was called for, and he given the challenging task to turnaround the Denim division. At the beginning of Akshaypat’s involvement, the division produced 10 million meters of denim and was in financial ill health.
Sir Padampat had served as the right hand of Lala Kamlapat. He joined the family business at 10, an age when other boys were still playing and fooling around.
In denim fabric, its raw material, cotton accounts for nearly 65% of the cost.
Hence managing the procurement price of cotton was critical. Akshaypat's first focus was to streamline the purchase process of cotton and pare down the price, while keeping a tight vigil on the quality of material.
He formed a dedicated team of cotton buyers who kept vigil on the price and availability while ensured the procurement of good quality cotton at a competitive price.
After ensuring the steady supply of quality cotton at competitive prices,Akshaypat Singhania turned his focus on de bottlenecking the operations and increasing capacity as well as productivity. He also undertook brown field expansion to augment capacity.
Akshaypat was also instrumental in forging a tie up with world renowned textile designer – Jill Lawrence to provide design inputs in keeping with the world’s latest fashion trends.
He leveraged the newly acquired design competencies and began supplying denim to world famous brand such as Guess, Zara, Mango, Wrangler, Gap etc.
By the time he completed his stint at Raymond Denim, the capacity and output of the Denim unit had increased to 40 million meters, and it emerged as a successful, profitable business, contributing to the Group turnover and bottom line.
During his stint at Raymond Cement, Akshaypat Singhania was involved in the setting up of the CSR initiative of the group - The JK Trust Gram Vikas Yojana, a project that is dear to heart of Chairman Emeritus Dr. Vijaypat Singhania. The mission of the J.K. Trust Gram Vikas Yojana is to significantly improve the quality of life in India's rural areas through a "Cattle Breed Improvement Programme", (CIPB) so as to achieve the following goals.
1. Reducing Infant Mortality and Malnutrition by increasing the availability of surplus milk in poor rural households.
2. Creating Employment by training local educated unemployed youth in cattle hygiene practices as well as in the technique of artificial insemination and engaging them in the trust activities.
3. Alleviating Poverty by enhancing cattle breed, and improving milk production.
Over the years, the trust has set up 7234 integrated live stock centers, and it delivers veterinary services across 7000 villages. Since 1997, it has been instrumental in creating 2.28 lac genetically altered high milk yielding cattle and buffalos, and it has treated 42.5 lac cattle. Shri Akshay Pat Singhania has been actively involved in running of the Trust and in expanding its activities. In his own words "There is nothing as exciting and challenging as positively transforming the lives and future of people with our intervention. Working with the JK Trust Gram Vikas Yojana, brought to life the words and deeds of our founder.
"I believe that industry, apart from serving the society by creating wealth, should also promote and take active part in the mental, physical and social uplift of man and the society at large. --- Lala Kamlapat Singhania.
For me it completed the circle of life-the creation of wealth and its proper utilization for the benefit of all"
We have 3378 integrated Live Stock Development Centers in 107 districts in Chattisgadh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Haryana & Punjab and future expansion of 6000 Integrated Live Stock Development centers.
Services provided 365 days of the year round-the-clock.
The School has been ranked India’s No. 5, Maharashtra’s No. 2 and Mumbai’s No. 2 Day Co-Ed School in the Education World India School Rankings 2014 for its efforts towards holistic approach to education, based on a survey conducted by C-fore for Education World.
We have been ranked as no. 1 in the country in Co-curricular activity and Leadership and Management. We have been positioned in the top league in all other parameters such as academic reputation, teacher welfare and development, faculty competence, co-curricular activities, life-skills education and conflict mgmt, infrastructure provision and parental involvement.
The Raymond rehabilitation Center was born out of a vision to help young men with stars in their eyes but very little money in their pockets to realize their dream of building a better tomorrow for themselves, their families and the community at large. The man who conjured that vision, Dr. Vijaypat Singhania, Chairman Emeritus of Raymond Ltd. he set up a trades school to provide vocational training in the form of specialized, highly intensive, industry oriented courses.
Thus RRC was born, nurtured as it was with the benevolence of Raymond Ltd. And unflinching dedication of its staff, it has grown from 40 students in 4 courses to700 students in courses as diverse as plumbing, electrical, air-conditioning and refrigeration and motor-mechanics. In this process, we have transformed the lives of over 700 youngsters and their families and have inspired countless others to follow in their footsteps.
Mrs. Ujjwala Singhania with Mr. Narendra Modi Hon. Prime Minister of India
Subsequently, Akshaypat Singhania promotor of the Raymond Group and Director of the JK Organisation is leading the group’s next generation initiatives in the services arena. According to him, the services sector will experience sustained double digit growth in the future. He is presently pursuing the group’s objectives in setting up business ventures in high growth industries such as media and entertainment, food and beverages, real estate, information technology, travel & tourism and Renewable Energy to name a few.
For the Group this will be a beach head, and the vanguard for the enterprises to come in the future
A century and a quarter after the founding of the JK group in the dusty lanes of Kanpur, the Group is powering forward, anticipating emerging industries and trends, and investing in the future.
The flight goes on... Powered by the wings of ambition.
The Group’s Western region business forays was headed by Lala Kailashpat Singhania. In 1944, he bought over the business interests of the famous David Sasson family. This business included some parcels of land in Thane and Mumbai as well as a woollen mill called Raymond Woollen Mills. Under his able stewardship, Raymond embarked upon a gradual phase of technological upgradation and modernization; producing woollen fabrics of a far superior quality.
Under Mr. Gopalakrishna Singhania, the nephew of Mr. Kailashpat Singhania, the mill became a world-class factory and the Raymond brand became synonymous with fine quality woolen fabrics.
When Dr. Vijaypat Singhania, the present Chairman Emeritus took over the reins of the company in 1980, he injected fresh vigour into Raymond, transforming it into a modern, industrial conglomerate. He was ably assisted in this task by his younger brother Shri Ajaypat Singhania.
Mr. Gautam Hari Singhania, the son of Shri Vijaypat Singhania is the present Chairman and Managing Director. He and his cousin Shri Akshaypat Singhania ( son of Shri Ajaypat Singhania) have been instrumental in the growth and diversification of the group’s business activities and transforming its textile business into one of the largest horizontally and vertically integrated manufacturers of worsted suiting. The company’s operations span the distance from the sheep’s back to the man’s back!
Today, the JK Organisation is a multi faceted business conglomerate and a US$5 Billion enterprise.
Raymond Ltd. is among the largest integrated manufacturers of worsted fabrics in the world. Raymonds has a 33 million meter production capacity in wool and wool blended fabrics and it commands a 60% plus market share in worsted suiting in India.
It is perhaps the only company in the world to have a diverse product range of nearly 20,000 designs and colours of suiting fabric to suit every age, occasion and style. Raymonds suitings are exported to over 50 countries including USA, Canada, Europe, Japan and the Middle East.
Raymond Apparel, a 100% subsidiary of Raymond Ltd., and it has in its folio some of the most highly respected apparel brands in India - Raymond premium Apparel, Manzoni, Park Avenue, Parx, and Notting Hill.
“I believe that industry, apart from serving the society by creating wealth, should also promote and take active part in the mental, physical and social uplift of man and society at large” - Akshaypat Singhania