Innovation Opens the Path to a PLC

Mumbai-based Mosil Lubricants produces industrial lubricants for customers that include well-known German firms. Rupali Mavani is part of the Mosil management team. Participation in the Manager Training Programme has helped her get closer to her dream of one day transforming the family business into public limited company.

Rupali Mavani is standing in Mosil’s Mumbai production hall talking to two workers decked out in dark green protective clothing, mint-coloured plastic gloves, hairnets and – since the coronavirus pandemic began - face masks. They are filling large metal canisters with brake lubricant for a new customer into shiny, moss-green 180-kilogram canisters emblazoned with the bright yellow Mosil Lubricants logo with its stylized oil drop.

"We supply these lubricants to Knorr-Bremse AG in Pune," Mavani reveals, where they are used in the production of anti-lock braking systems. The Munich-based company is the world market leader for braking systems, especially for rail and commercial vehicles. Another German customer manufactures braking systems for commercial vehicles at its site in India. Both collaborations resulted from the Manager Training Programme, which Mavani completed, as did her husband Samvar Mavani a few years earlier.

The 49-year-old engineer is an executive at Mosil Lubricants Pvt Ltd. Founded by her husband’s family in 1971, today the company employs 80 people and produces 250 types of industrial lubricants as oils, greases and sprays. Applications range from agriculture, the paper and textile industries and keeping vehicles, equipment and machinery running. "Wherever you see a machine in India, we are there," Rupali Mavani says with a sense of pride.

Modernising the company 
Mavani had a vision when she joined Mosil ten years ago of streamlining the company and brining modern management techniques on board. The Manager Training Program has helped her move her plans forward. "My husband and I learned a lot in Germany and have implemented a lot of changes since then," she says.

These have included building a new research and development laboratory, an office area, and a warehouse. All this was realized in 2020 in just four months in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. "It doesn't help to bury your head in the sand; you have to tackle things," the enthusiastic entrepreneur says. Now that the warehouse and production areas are separate, workers have enough space to comply with distancing guidelines.

Innovation as a countermeasure
"I always try to find innovative solutions," human resource manager Mavani says. This trait served her well during the coronavirus pandemic. Many processes have been digitized, and training for employees is conducted online. When looking for new talent, Mavani now relies on online recruiting using conferencing tools. The digital infrastructure has been developed to allow employees to work from home when possible. "I recently hired an employee who will work entirely from home," Mavani says.

The coronavirus pandemic has driven the modernization of the company, as two awards given to Mosil last year by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) attest: one for excellent employee management during COVID-19’s tenure, and the other for the best technology and solutions provider.

But there have also been some setbacks. "Unfortunately, we were unable to retain quite a few employees in the beginning, especially young mothers," says Mavani, who has two daughters of her own. "There was no childcare, kindergartens and schools were closed and production was one thing we couldn’t move into a home office," Mavani recalls. And mothers were the ones who had to stay home with the children.

Strength through restructuring 
The situation has since improved. The women have started organising, some have returned, and new, young talent has been recruited. Sales have grown. Mosil is "running like clockwork" thanks to the changes, Rupani explains with a wink. Losses due to the pandemic were minimised though company management, innovations, and new customers, and sales in 2020 were as high as the two million euros turnover earned in 2019.

Mavani's ultimate dream is to transform the firm into a public limited company, and all the signs point to her success. coronavirus stress test allowed Mosil to demonstrate how well positioned it is. And HR manager Mavani does not have to worry about new, young talent for management, as her13-year-old daughter plans to become CEO one day. "She certainly has what it takes," Mavani says, laughing.

Photos: © Mosil Lubricants Pvt Ltd