Leadership is the key element in today’s cutthroat competitive market that makes everything perfect. When it comes to taking any strategic decision or motivating employees, the leader’s role is unparalleled. So, each organization needs a dynamic leader, who can lead from the front. Clarity in vision, honesty towards ambition, and compassion in behaviour are the qualities that help to become a transformational leader.
One such visionary leader is Mr. Umar AK Balwa, Managing Director of Sealmatic. The company is the industry leader in, designing and manufacturing mechanical seals and associated products mainly for Oil & Gas, Chemical, Petrochemical, Fertilizer, Pharmaceutical, Mining, and many other process industries.
In an interview with Tycoon Success Magazine, Mr. Umar AK Balwa shared the insider story of, his entrepreneurial journey and success. So, let’s dive into the interview!
Tell us about Sealmatic’s focus and innovations in the area of research & development and technologically advanced products?
I am pleased to state that Sealmatic has the honour and distinction of being recognized as an approved R & D manufacturing unit by the DSIR – Department Of Science & Industrial Research (Under the Ministry of Science & Technology). Our prime focus always has been to think ahead of the competition with innovative cutting-edge technology for our customers. Our products are employed in mission-critical applications in the oil & gas, refinery, petrochemical, nuclear & thermal power plant, pharmaceutical, fertilizer, chemical, and many other important industries. Innovation is a promise that we have made to our customers. We create benchmarks in terms of innovation, efficiency, reliability, and sustainability. Our products assist our customers to seal, efficiently various media in the form of liquid or gases. Irrespective of any challenging application, Sealmatic keeps the lifecycle costs low for its customers. Today, we are a global player present in 45 countries and still growing.
Tell us about the importance of the Indian market for Sealmatic? What are the opportunities in the country?
India is the most important market for Sealmatic. While 1/6th of the world’s population lives in India. The Indian industry is robust in its characteristics, matured, and advanced. We are a 3 trillion economy and the vision of our honourable prime minister is to make it a 5 trillion economy in the coming years. This creates an opportunity for the pumps /mechanical seals industry to develop products and solutions for the process industry. In addition to this, the growth of the infrastructure sector has a direct impact on the pumps / mechanical seals industry.
What is your vision for India in terms of market share, manufacturing facilities, workforce, etc?
India is one of the most important markets for any international company. As mentioned earlier that we supply our products to over 45 countries, but at heart, we are deeply committed to India, operations have been profitable, and we have been witnessing double-digit growth since our inception.
We consider ourselves to be an important player in the mechanical seal industry, we have a significant presence in the country, and we are increasing our market share in the various business segments where we compete with the international manufacturers by focusing extensively on our heritage of 35 years in this industry. Sealmatic has more than 200 employees and we work with qualified distributors and dealers with offices in all major cities across India. Our manufacturing facilities in Mumbai have enough capacity to accommodate future requirements at least for the next five years.
We will continue to strengthen our offerings through efficient sealing solutions for various applications.
Sealmatic is a global player in advanced sealing solutions in the process industry, kindly tell us about your journey into this industry so far?
We are a global player in the business of sealing technology, committed to cutting edge solutions for the critical process industry, thus improving the quality of mean time between failures. Mechanical seal is our business. We have deliveries to more than 45 countries across the globe. Since 2011, when we started our business in India, we have grown and are now represented in more than 45 countries.
Over the years, there has been a very big vacuum in the market, it was dominated by the three big boys of the mechanical seals market, we wanted to change that and prove to the industry that there can be an indigenous manufacturer who is equally competent and can supply high end sealing solutions at a competitive price.
Today we are approved by major companies such as IOCL, RIL, BPCL, HPCL, EIL, BHEL KSB, Sulzer, Ebara, and many more.
Today besides the three big boys, Sealmatic is the only company that has the distinction of supplying mechanical seals as an OEM for 660 MW supercritical thermal power plants. Today, we are well known as one of the top sealing technology companies globally.
What are the industrial applications that are likely to drive the mechanical seal industry in the Indian core sector towards sustainability and why?
The sectors most important to the growth of the Indian industry are oil & gas, power, infrastructure, iron & steel, and so on. The growth of the mechanical seal industry will come from high-end solutions for demanding applications in the API segment. We have been approved by API Q1 and are pleased to announce that we are the only Indian mechanical seal company that has this approval in place, besides ATEX, etc. The growth will come from the enormous infrastructure spent the Government of India has announced in the core sector of power, oil & gas, refinery, and so on. We see a CAGR growth of 20% for our company for the next decade.
The global industrial pumps market is estimated to be at approximately $70 billion today and is projected to reach $90 billion by 2025, what are your views on this?
Yes, this estimated growth of USD 90 Billion will come from infrastructure spending in the core sectors. It thus creates a great opportunity for any mechanical seal company, growth in the pump industry directly corresponds to a growth in the mechanical seal industry.
Barring a few companies, most of the mechanical seal companies fall in the MSME category, what in your opinion, are the major challenges that the MSMEs continue to face, despite the numerous initiatives?
The Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector is a significant stakeholder in the Prime minister’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat and building a $5 Trillion economy.
Recently we have seen growth in the MSME sector because of various initiatives taken by the Government of India and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Liquidity has been injected and interest rates are cut which has reduced the burden on MSMEs. MSMEs are the foundation of India’s economic growth and account for at least 30 percent of the country’s GDP. At the same time, they are extremely diverse, ranging from highly advanced operations to a simple entity managed by a microentrepreneur. Furthermore, the sector employs nearly 100 million people, making it the second-largest source of employment in the country after agriculture. Thus, the development of this sector is critical to India’s future. Typical of any small to mid-size business, certain challenges are faced by this sector. The major challenges that the MSMEs face and which make them vulnerable are; Lack of financial literacy, Size of the business, Absence of suitable technology, Lack of transparency, and Inadequate Collateral & Unskilled Labour.
What, in your view, can engineering companies learn from the pandemic crisis in terms of planning and preparedness?
The crisis that the world has witnessed is once in a lifetime event. Most of us had never expected to experience a crisis like this ever. It has offered us various opportunities to learn and be respectful towards the environment. The industry has learned immensely from this event. It is surprising to note that the learning was quick and people have responded to the crisis with great resilience, innovation, and bravery. While it is important to have a strong plan, it is equally essential to adapt to the changing dynamics of the environment. Employing several technology tools like webinars, online meetings, video sessions, etc., the employees stayed connected with their customers and other important stakeholders to maintain continuity thus causing the least business disruption. Overall, I would say that we all learn from every adversity and this pandemic has been no different, we all have learned a lot.
Well, one last question, where do you see Sealmatic in the next decade?
As we turn the page on Sealmatic’s next year, we enter our next decade with a clear sense of purpose – to help our customers with state-of-the-art and reliable sealing technology. Which will be more effective and efficient, while minimizing environmental impact. We have immense pride in our heritage and our history of innovative engineering. As a team we work together, supporting and challenging each other, with a passion to build a stronger legacy for the next decade. A safe, and engaged workplace, that supports innovation, high performance, and continuing personal development. We are extremely grateful to our customers for their business and trust. To our employees for their hard work and dedication. And our shareholders for their support, as we start the next decade for Sealmatic.