Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Luxor Group: D.K.Jain

One can lose sight but should not lose vision’ is the success mantra of DK Jain, chairman and president of Luxor Group. Jain is a man who believes in equality and actions spell the belief when you learn that he has given his drivers Santro cars for personal use.

But you realise the sensitisation started pretty early. He was all of 12 when he started going to his father’s tiny stationery shop called Friends Pen Store in Sadar Bazar area of old Delhi. While he sat at the 80 sq ft. shop, he managed to take time out for his studies. It’s this drive in him that probably made him write his success story.

After completing BA degree from Dyal Singh College and with a mere Rs 5,000, he began manufacturing his own pens in 1961. “I started with a staff of four people including me. We manufactured 1,000 fountain pens a day. “

Each pen cost 14 paisa. They made a profit of Rs 25 everyday. But as time went by, the profits increased. As a result, two years later, Jain set up a factory in 1963 in Gurgaon on the outskirts of Delhi with 70 people.

And the rest, like they say, is history. Today Luxor group is not just about pens. It is also into hospitality, real estate, broadband technology, IPTV, and fibre optics. From a profit of Rs 25 a day from selling pens, Jain has led a business that has a turnover of Rs 1,000 crore today out of which the writing instruments business constitutes more than Rs 300 crore.

But Jain’s love for the writing instruments still remains special. “I think it is a noble business because it involves writing and giving people a product with which they can express their views. This sector has grown along with the population growth, so I selected this core business. Today people’s aspirations have changed, as have the purchasing power and tastes. Now, pens are not only used as a utilitarian accessory but also as a luxurious accessory.”

Though his business has grown manifold and Jain has grown older, he doesn’t believe in hanging up his boots, just yet. Jain still works 12 hours a day, which he says, not only keeps him busy but also healthy. Jain’s day starts as early as 5.30 am. At around 6, he goes to Lodhi Garden with his friends to perform yoga followed by meditation.

After coming back, he goes through the newspapers, has breakfast and goes to his office by 9.30 am. Lunch break at 1 followed by a little rest, and he is out on official meetings. It’s usually by 8.30 in the evening that he winds up his work and heads back home for dinner with his family. And no, he doesn’t think work once at home.

Jain is very passionate about music. He enjoys old songs of KL Saigal and Mohammad Rafi. In fact, whenever he is on a flight, he plugs in his iPod and listens to his favourite numbers.

Another passion that he has nurtured since he was a schoolboy is sports. In fact, he played badminton till he was about 60. Now his passion for sports is limited to watching the games he loves. Be it hockey, football (Ronaldo is his favourite) or cricket, each sport has a special place in Jain’s life. And if it’s Ronaldo in football, his favourites in cricket include Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly and Ishaant Sharma. No wonder, he managed to take out time for watching the Twenty20 series, not missing even a single match.

Besides nurturing his hobbies, Jain also manages to find time for his family. “Children have grown up and are mostly busy with their friends. So, sometimes I go for a movie or coffee with my wife Usha. I am also very attached to my grandchildren Aisha and Aryushi (daughter Payal’s children) and like to spend time with them.

Despite having set up the kind of empire he owns, Jain gave his children (three daughters and one son) the freedom of exploring their own interests and choosing their careers. “Four of my children have different career interests. Payal runs Arushi Arts, Priya is a fashion designer, also looks after Qutub hotels, Pooja is the executive director of Writing Instruments and Pankaj looks after other businesses like real estate, fibre optics, etc of the group. “All of them are around, so it’s like a big army. I gave them separate businesses so that they don’t fight. They regularly review each other too,” Jain explains with a smile.

That said, work still remains a very integral part of Jain’s life. And if there is something that really satisfies him, it’s the thought of being well accepted by his consumers. Luxor Group, he tells you, has tie-ups with global leaders like Waterman, Parker and Papermate, in the writing instruments industry, which helps them, bring in state-of-the-art technology and brands to India.

The writing instruments category of Luxor has two major entities—Luxor Writing Instruments Pvt Ltd (LWIPL) and Luxor International Pvt Ltd (LIPL). LWIPL is the leading manufacturer of writing instruments in India for over three decades with over 220 million pens produced every year. Luxor, Pilot and Parker are leading brands with more than 20% market share in the writing instruments business.

On the other hand, LIPL is the export unit of the Luxor Group. It exports to over 75 countries around the world including USA, Canada, Europe, Middle East, Australia, to name a few. The company plans to increase the number of its export destinations to over 100 in two years.

In fact, when you think Parker, one of the things that comes to your mind is Amitabh Bachchan, its brand ambassador, who enhanced the pen’s appeal to a wider audience. It was something very important for a market like India, feels Jain. “In India, where pens are available for Rs 5 or Rs 10, it wasn’t easy to sell something that costs Rs 100 and above. There was a need for someone to speak about the pen’s quality and technology.” Jain goes on to say that Amitabh Bachchan is also fond of Parker and Waterman pens and you can find over 300 pens on his table. “When I talked to him about my interest in signing him as the brand ambassador of our products, he accepted it instantly. What he has put across in the past few years has helped us to build Parker brand,” he says.

What is interesting to note is the kind of precision and research that goes into something as small as a pen. The company has a small research and development departments in all factories, which are controlled by a bigger R&D facility at its head office.

Jain is also upbeat about the group’s expansion. “We have started Signature stores called ‘Lifetime Intelligence Gifting Stores.’ There are around 12 such stores and our target is to have 100 in the next two/three years. We are also looking into new areas like investment banking, IT, infrastructure and telecom. We are always exploring opportunities. We are also planning to acquire companies in the near future. My daughter Pooja has opened two schools because the principal was facing financial problems and we have taken 70% share in the school in Delhi. Now, we are also planning to expand into the area of education,” he says.

And Jain is happy he selected a business, which is a “small segment business.” He explains, “We are going to have more acquisitions in the future to ensure that our product is well spread in the international market.”

And given Jain’s passion for work, it’s not a surprise to see the kind of attention he pays to people who work for his company. Because for him, the biggest motivation is having good and cooperative people working for him.

“I like people around me and always encourage their suggestions.” He believes that leadership is very essential to run a company and it starts from the top. “If people at the top are hard working and value participatory leadership of the people, then it can contribute a lot to the company’s growth,” he opines.

In fact, not just people who work for him but also others in the society really matter to Jain. This is the thought that made him to start Luxor Foundation, in 1994, a charitable trust engaged in educating the underprivileged. “I run Luxor Foundation with the idea that if God has blessed me with money and power, then I should help these people as much as possible,” Jain says.

Jain is also the recipient of many honours. He was awarded the Distinguished Entrepreneurship Award-2005 (PHDCCI Awards for Excellence) by former President of India APJ Abdul Kalam, and the Lifetime Achievement Award by HT Power Jobs in 2004. He has also been conferred with Samman Patra by the Union finance ministry as one of the highest taxpayers in individual category.

Fact File

* Luxor Group has a turover of Rs 1,000 crore.

* The company is all set to start its SEZ–Luxor Fibre City Pvt Ltd in the next three months.

* The group is also in the hospitality, fibre optics, real estate and retail business.

* Luxor International Pvt Ltd (LIPL) exports pens to over 75 countries and expects to reach out to 100 in two years.

* Luxor Group has tie-ups with many global leaders in writing instruments. These include Waterman, Parker and Papermate.

Source: Financial Express

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