Jullian and Sandeep Jalan, Co-Founders of A-One Steel Group, began their heavy metal journey as two young, energetic, visionary and extraordinary personalities from a small town located in Haryana, India, with a background in the business of manufacturing grain, specifically rice.
While the brothers did not have a background in steel, they saw an opportunity and applied their extensive business skills to creating A-One Steel Group. “Steel is everywhere, it lasts till eternity,” Jullian says; “To build a modern world you need steel,” Sandeep adds.
Identifying a business opportunity
The brothers developed the idea when they moved to Bengaluru in Karnataka, India from Haryana in search of opportunities. They started a granite business in mid 2004 and, inspired by the accelerated number of infrastructure projects underway in Bengaluru and across South India at the time, the Jalan brothers shaped A-One specifically for that market.
“The booming IT sector was another indicator that we would see continuous demand for steel manufacturing. And that’s been borne out,” Jullian says.
“With the vision to produce advanced, quality and economically sound steel, and to contribute to the growth of the nation, we entered into steel manufacturing. The first MSME unit was established and started in the year 2009, in the state of Andhra Pradesh,” Sandeep recalls. “Neither of us had a background in steel.”
The total revenue generated in A-One Steel Group’s first financial year (2008-09) was around INR1 billion (US$1.25 million). This has grown exponentially since then to around INR34 billion (US $427.4 million) at the end of March 2022.
“Steel manufacturing is a complex, technology based industry and we believe that strong forward and backward integration is a necessity,” Sandeep explains. “Over 12 years, there has been continuous expansion and a wide range of products developed, like MS Steel Billet, Structural Steel, TMT Bar, MS Pipes, HR Coil, CR Coil, GI and GP Pipe, Sponge Iron and Power Generation.”
“We’ve crossed the ocean and currently have dealings in more than 15 countries.”
Importance of teamwork
Internally, the A-One management team has worked hard to refine the quality of people recruited and retained by the company. “We have a strong set of principles we stand by, and we expect any new starters to adhere to the same,” Jullian affirms.
“We’ve only been able to achieve so much because of our people. Whether they’re on the production team or they’re ground-level workers, they have an immense amount of faith, dedication and a strong sense of belonging.”
“We’ve only been able to achieve so much because of our people.” – Jullian Jalan
This was expressed by the team during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the team adopted the motto: “We are not living in fear, we are living in faith.”
This faith is also evident in the chosen brand name – A-One Gold – as many of A-One’s customers share the same die-hard confidence in the company’s output. “One of our greatest achievements has been the absolute customer satisfaction we’ve garnered over the years. One of our strengths is our suppliers, including logistic chains,” Jullian says.
“Their boundless belief in our products has led to the steady growth we’ve enjoyed for years.”
A greener future
It’s a similar story for A-One’s suppliers. “Raw material suppliers and logistics chains linked to us have never had an unsatisfactory experience when dealing with A-One,” Sandeep says. “They’ve always been very supportive and ready to provide us with a great amount of cooperation. They’ve played a pivotal role in our success, for which we’re extremely grateful.”
The Jalan brothers also share a vision and responsibility for the planet. “Our vision is to make steel, but in an environment-friendly atmosphere. For that, steps have been taken to reduce our carbon footprint and to use clean, green energy,” Sandeep says.
“We have planned more than 200 megawatts of green energy in a joint venture with a green energy manufacturer, and we are one of India’s largest steel manufacturing groups, using a quantum of 200 megawatts of green energy.”
The brothers have always believed in eco-friendly technologies and have developed various research and experiments in ‘Hot-Charging’ technology.
“By using this technology, the intermediate source of heat during the manufacturing process of steel is not required and the result is a reduction in fuel burning, which is environmentally friendly and helps to reduce overheads, which is economically beneficial as well,” Sandeep explains.
With the double barrels of technological innovation and stakeholder satisfaction behind it, A-One is determined to increase sales exponentially within the next 12 months. “We recently started a new greenfield project, which will expand our production capacity from 1.05 million to 1.65 million tonnes,” Jullian says.
With the company tagline Rashtra Nirman me Samarpit (Dedicated to Nation Building), Jullian and Sandeep are committed to contributing towards the development of their country. “India is a developing nation. There is a positive demand outlook, indigenous availability of raw materials and a government target to achieve steel production by 2030-31 up to 230 megatonnes with the support of internal infrastructure of the nation, directly or indirectly,” Sandeep says.
“Our vision and mission is to be part of the nation’s growth.”