Shekhar Movva: A Persistent Leader Overcoming Challenges To Set New Benchmarks | CEOInsights Vendor
Shekhar Movva:  A Persistent Leader Overcoming Challenges To Set New Benchmarks

Shekhar Movva: A Persistent Leader Overcoming Challenges To Set New Benchmarks

  Shekhar Movva ,    Founder

Shekhar Movva


People who excel in the world of business and entrepreneurship possess an array of personality characteristics. The ability to think outside the box a willingness to learn new skills, open-mindedness, and an eye for detail are all vital for the business. However, there is one quality that is absolutely necessary for commercial success, and that is ‘perseverance’. Shekhar Movva is an entrepreneur who has demonstrated this to be true.

Shekhar is the President of Synergies, the country's first world-class manufacturer of 4-wheeler aluminium alloy wheels. Synergies produces high-quality alloy wheels that not only meet but exceed global quality requirements using cutting-edge technology. Synergies is one of the few Indian auto component exporters with TS 16949, ISO 14001, Ford Q1, TUV, and JWL VIA certifications.

Shekhar Movva is an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, North western University, an MS from Michigan State University, a life member of PI TAU SIGMA, a Mechanical Engineering Honor Society, a life member of MENSA, the high IQ Society, a recipient of GITAM’s Masters Fellowship Award, and past Vice President of CII, Visakhapatnam.

What inspired you to venture into the manufacturing industry?
I spent many years working in Detroit and Tokyo and have always been captivated by automobiles technology, and manufacturing. A socialist by nature, I believed that if I stayed in America, I would do well for myself but if I returned to India, I would be able to do more for many more and that was my primary motivation for returning.

Having engaged with several auto component firms as part of my job, I was convinced that India had the potential to be a serious player in the global market. In 1995 or 1996, the world was completely different and the world’s fundamental understanding of India then was that India is a place of snake charmers andelephants, so it was a challenging task.

Furthermore, OEM-grade alloy wheels are exceedingly challenging to manufacture. The performance demands are extraordinary; both in terms of functionality, and extreme aesthetics. The product must endure extraordinary dynamic loads and stresses, and yet must look extremely good. There isn't a single automobile product or component that must meet the same structural and aesthetic demands.

An alloy wheel is like a piece of jewellery. It radically enhances the beauty of your vehicle and allows you to make a statement. Consequently, people spend as much as $4000 per vehicle on alloy wheels. Individuals consider it a precious piece of jewellery. And they expect it to be flawless and operate flawlessly under any type of road conditions.

Further, building a world-class plant in India, the first one to introduce this product to India, the first alloy wheel factory, first one to deploy new casting technology, deploying sophisticated imported equipment, systems, and processes to meet ‘global standards’ from day one, was both an opportunity and a challenge. Eventually, this challenge, the passion for cars, for alloy wheels, plus the logical phenomenal opportunity that India presented were key to my decision. I was
convinced that India is a suitable location for manufacturing aluminium wheels due to its abundance of aluminium, engineering expertise, and talented workforce. Twenty years hence, this has been reaffirmed.

You possess over 25+ years of experience in the manufacturing industry, how has your path to success been, and what is your success mantra?
To succeed, one must have passion and excitement about the business. And, therefore, willing to take the knocks, and yet rise again and again. The business has its cycles and goes through ups and downs, but my success mantra is twofold. First, my team and I are always listening to the customer, trying to understand what he's thinking, what are his challenges, and how can we improve our product to help him solve his problems, not just for today, but for the future as well. The second mantra is Quality. We are always cognizant that a defective product from us could endanger the life of a human being. We have never compromised on quality, no matter what. These, I believe, are my success mantras, and meeting these requires a great deal of back-end work; you need processes, skilled people, and a committed team.

My success mantra is that I'm always listening to the customer, trying to understand what he's thinking and what he wants, not just today, but in the future too"

Define Synergies Castings as an organization. What makes the company unique from the other competitors?
To achieve our current level of success, we at Synergies have had to overcome more than our fair share of challenges along the way. A classic tale of perseverance, we were born without a silver spoon; we had no financial muscle or support from a larger parent; and when we started, we were hit by the Asian crisis of 1997-98. We epitomized Murphy's Law, and everything that could go wrong knocked us off our feet!! Several times. We survived though, owing to some good fortune, a lot of hard work, a passion for our profession, and a strong dedication to excellence. Since then, we have been able to stabilize a rocky ship and are now confident of our ability to sail forward at a faster pace.

We were the first to introduce this high-tech product to India in 1996, probably ahead of time, and so we had to endure the challenges of ‘first mover disadvantage’. Educating the market about the product, proving its merits, and convincing the Indian customer was an immense challenge. Today, it is extremely fulfilling that Alloy wheels are now a defacto standard, with almost all brands and models adopting alloy wheels; from a Maruti Alto to a Mercedes.

It's no secret that Synergies is one of the world's best alloy wheel manufacturers, supplying alloy wheels to General Motors, Chrysler, Ford in the United States and Europe, as well as Toyota, Mahindra & Mahindra, Tata Motors, and Fiat, and having received many quality and performance awards. Well before the ‘Atmanirbhar’ thrust, as early as 2001, Synergies was exporting this most technically challenging and sophisticated component to the world, to some of the world’s marquee vehicles like the Hummer H2, the Cadillac Escalade, Mondeo, Chrysler LE300, amongst others. A milestone achievement for a small company based in Visakhapatnam, India.

Even though India has frequently been regarded and relegated to an inexpensive sourcing location, Synergies has always prided itself in pushing the boundaries
technology, engineering, manufacturing, and delivery to be amongst the highest average realisation earners in the world, a testament to the company's strategy and VISION of becoming a manufacturer of premium high-end alloy wheels. The Company with a current capacity of 2.5 million wheels hopes to be a 4.5-million-wheel player within 5 years.

Could you elaborate on the latest technologies adopted by the company in developing efficient manufacturing processes?
The heart of our business is ‘casting’. We have adopted, adapted, and improvised standard low-pressure casting to an extremely refined process to make a ‘perfect’ porosity free / defect free casting. We conduct a lot of cutting-edge research in that area, and we have blended knowledge and practice on the factory floor. Casting, machining, polishing, painting, chrome plating each of these processes is constantly being innovated and improved.

We have active research + development projects to refine every single aspect of our manufacturing process driving both incremental improvements, as well as creative/innovative quantum steps. We have also implemented various digitization protocols in our manufacturing process; automation, digital monitoring, and control, and industry 4.0 protocols all ensure we remain competitive in the future.

Tell us about your leadership approach, and the guidelines or methodologies you follow to lead your team?
It's difficult to pin down exactly what a person's style is. When it comes to leadership in general, I believe that a good leader should be like an eagle; be able to soar high and see the big picture; at the same time swoop down to catch the minutest of earthworms. Personally, I believe I do this effectively, and as a result, I am closer to the problem when ever any solution is needed. Similarly, I do not lose sight of the over all picture.

I have a personal belief in people; there fore, I strive to find individuals who are capable, committed, and have the right attitude, and then allow them to develop and grow. I allow them to be creative, and independent, but fiercely determined to achieve the objectives and tough but fair to their team. Commitments must be taken seriously, and promises must be kept.

As a leader, what would your advice be to entrepreneurs who are starting anew in this domain?
Entrepreneurship is a marathon, and individuals need to be prepared for it. To reap the benefits of their hard work, individuals must be prepared to put in a lot of time and effort over many years and decades. As a result, they need to be passionate about their product, as it is something they will spend a majority of their lives working on.

And the automobile component sector isn't something you can start today and sell for a billion dollars the next day. This is not the type of industry that operates in that manner. It's a field where you steadily develop and progress, so be ready to appreciate the ride since it's going to be a lengthy one. Secondly, no matter what you accomplish, you cannot succeed without the support of a strong, committed, and passionate team. Teamwork is the most crucial factor. Lastly, even if your product is outstanding in today's market, you must be willing to experiment and be innovative in your search for ways to reduce costs while simultaneously introducing new features and benefits to your customers. People who wish to pursue a venture in automobile components should keep these in mind.

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