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KARAM: An Indigenous Brand Redefining the Quality Benchmarks in Occupational Health & Safety Market

KARAM: An Indigenous Brand Redefining the Quality Benchmarks in Occupational Health & Safety Market

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Hemant Sapra, Co-Founder & President,Rajesh Nigam, Co-Founder & President

Hemant Sapra, Co-Founder & President

Rajesh Nigam, Co-Founder & President

Let’s wind back to the epilogue of the 20th century. The year 1999 saw Germany taking immense pride in front of the entire world by hosting the biggest International Trade Fair for Occupational Health & Safety (OHS). But against the run of traditions and monopoly, the show stealer was hardly a year old Indian company – KARAM, which manifested an appreciable range of occupational safety products. Despite this, the dominant Caucasian manufacturers satirized the new sensation from India, asking: ‘how long an Indian brand can survive the battle?’ The co-founders of KARAM, Rajesh Nigam & Hemant Sapra, confronted the question smiling, but with an added spark in their eyes to succeed and make a mark in the industry. The rest of the anecdote is an inspiring history!

With millions of human lives at stake, the existence of any brand in this niche industry is determined by the trust it imbues within the user’s heart. Being well acquainted with this intrinsic fact, KARAM chanted the mantra of focus, quality & customer delight, and over the years became synonymous with trust in both international and domestic markets. Today, after two decades & several revolutions transforming the segment, this indigenous brand is one of the leading & most trusted OHS product manufacturers in the world – proudly from India. Commenced its operations humbly in 1998 by manufacturing Industrial Safety Belts from a small-rented property in Lucknow, wherein Rajesh took care of the operations with merely five employees on-board, while Hemant marketed & sold the products, KARAM today is home to a more than 3000 people strong skilled workforce. Furthermore, it has diversified into providing head-to-toe protection gear, expanded its footprint PAN India,and exports to over 80 countries worldwide with an elite index of OEM customers.

"KARAM chanted the mantra of focus, quality & customer delight, and over the years became synonymous with trust in both internationaland domestic markets"

The times have changed. With the introduction of ISO 45001 standards, the global OHS market currently reposes at an interesting juncture – ready to revitalize yet another time. Interestingly, even the sub-continent has been gaining momentum in the recent years owing to the governmental interventions. It’s no wonder KARAM stays right on top of this new age dynamics, both domestically and internationally. “The recent governmental initiatives manifest a great omen. As market-influencers, we promote strict practices & regulatory adherence among employers & employees through our quality products, and perceive this shift in gears as an opportunity to take the industry to the next level. Towards this cause, we have also established an occupational safety training institution, KARAM Training and Consultancy based out of Noida,” asserts Hemant.

The Zeniths of Quality & Customer Delight
It’s an undeniable fact that for a brand to sustain and grow over such a prolonged period of time in this niche segment, it takes meeting an impeccable level of product quality
that can engender a genuine confidence deep down in the hearts of customers about their safety. By inspiring its employees to think the qualityway and instilling an uncompromised approach in their minds to go beyond the customer needs to ensure customer delight, KARAM has been exemplary over the years in the way it has earned the trust and loyalty from its customers.

"We innovate not merely with respect to the customer needs & delights, but also in terms of cost reduction and improvisation in production"

“We constantly strive to compliment the quality driven approach; for instance, more than 70 percent of our products are subject to Six Sigma methodologies in addition to backward integration. While on the other hand, powered by a dedicated quality lab, we time and again set new benchmark for ourselves by adhering to certifications & compliances that do the talking in newer markets and geographies we explore,” adjoins Rajesh. Starting from just an IS:3521:1989 certification in 1998 to adhering to the OHS standards of Europe, America, Singapore, and Australia, besides Indian standards, KARAM's history proves the same. It currently also boasts of accreditations such as ISO 9001:2015, PPE Directive 89/686/EEC, EC Type-Examination Certificate, and BSI Certification, This in fact collectively solves one of the major challenges in the international market – acceptance of an Indian brand.

Breathing Innovation
While quality lays a strong foundation to stand tall and explore the international markets, it’s the constant innovations and customer-centric portfolio expansion that make KARAM win the crowd. With its state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities located at Lucknow and Sitarganj that encrust over a total area of whopping 43acres (23 & 20 acres respectively) and incorporate a 50+ engineers strong R&D unit, KARAM offers a comprehensive range of products that protect users from head-to-toe. Lucknow and Sitarganj factories indeed solely supply to the international (OEMs) & domestic markets respectively. The products however range from safety helmets to eyewear, ear protection gear, gloves, and protective work-wear & shoes; not to mention the core competency products like Fall Protection Equipment. Be it about climbing a tower, a windmill or any other demanding task across the industries that involves working at heights, India’s first CE certified Fall Protection Products have you covered.

“We innovate not merely with respect to the customer needs & delights, but also in terms of cost reduction and improvisation in production. In the process, we focus on adopting latest technologies, which include the recently integrated Artificial Intelligence (through tech-partnerships) which aids in predicting Indian & international market trends. Innovation is what we live by,” adjoins Rajesh.

En Route to the Future
KARAM continues to innovate, and is all set to launch a new line of products in the Respiratory Equipment segment within the next few months. On the production side of the business, the company flexes its innovative muscles to go beyond the ERP solutions to automate the entire manufacturing units and thus move into a more robotic in-house. En route to the future, with uniquely tailored marketing strategies for domestic and international markets, KARAM today indulges in both organic and inorganic growth strategies to move to the next level. The director board is extremely busy with the permutations & combinations of mergers and acquisitions, while the co-founder duo still have that smile they had two decades ago, empowering the
entire workforce to face challenges.

Key Management:
Rajesh Nigam, Co-Founder & President
Rajesh is an IITian (B.Tech in Metallurgical Engineering) whose technical expertise has been the rationale behind KARAM’s core competency of manufacturing complex technical products with intact quality. He gives life to KARAM’s operations.

Hemant Sapra, Co-Founder & President
A Sales & Marketing wizard, Hemant is a visionary leader whose dedicated approach towards excellence combined with his keen focus on going beyond the customer needs to ensure customer delight has paid off for KARAM in big time.

KARAM in Spotlight:
•India’s leading Personal Protective Equipment Manufacturing enterprise, and one of the top ten Fall Protection manufacturing companies in the World

•Having 100 dealers & distributors across all 30 states of India, it exports to over 80 countries worldwide with an elite index of OEM customers

•Adherence to the high degree OHS standards of Europe, America, Singapore, and Australia, besides Indian standards

•State-of-the-art manufacturing facilities located at Lucknow & Sitarganj that encrust over a total area of whopping 43 acres

•Having a 50 Engineers strong R&D division

•Offering a comprehensive range of products that protect users from head-to-toe

•India’s first CE certified Fall Protection Products


Training & Consultancy (KTC): Based out of Noida, it specializes in competency building in the areas of safe Work-at-Height, Confined Space working & Rescue in India & SAARC countries. KTC is accredited to various respected international training bodies including TRARAsia, Global Wind Organization, and Gravity Training.

Quick Facts:
Year of Establishment:
1998

Offices:
Noida (Headquarter), 13 regional offices & 10branchoffices across India & representative offices across the globe, including in the U.S., Europe, Australia, South America & Africa

Offerings:
•Head Protection
•Protective Eyewear
•Face Shields
•Hearing Protection
•Fall Protection
•Hand Protection
•Protective Workwear
•Safety Shoes
•Load Arresters
•Safety Net


Timeline:
•1998–Starts from a small-rented property in Lucknow
•2000–Manufacturing facility in Lucknow with the workforce crossing the 100 mark
•2005–New facility in Sitarganj, Uttarakhand while the workforce crosses the 350 mark
•2010–Launches an entire range of Fall Protection Equipment conforming to American Standards, opening its gateway to the biggest safety markets in the world. With the launch of its full-fledged R&D unit, the total workforce is now 1200
•2015–Expansion in facilities and portfolio. Workforce crosses the 2000 mark
•2018–Felicitated with the prestigious‘UP Brand Leadership Award’ on 18th September. Workforce is now 3000+