Ask President and CEO of AGI Glaspac Rajesh Khosla what has helped him become the leader he is today, and you might be surprised to learn that he doesn’t put it down to his time spent in offices. “I have travelled to more than 70 countries in my lifetime,” he tells The CEO Magazine. “With that, you get a very rich exposure to different cultures and different situations.”
Indeed, he believes this diverse array of experiences has given him a well-rounded perspective and helped inform how he views the world of business. In particular, he cites visiting China on a regular basis as an incredibly valuable learning tool. “I’ve seen all the interiors, I’ve seen the industries, how they work, their ecosystems,” he explains.
“I’m trying to take this company to an international level. We started our exports to North American countries, and we have a plan to build up a manufacturing unit out of India. And by working in places like China, I know how to handle the different cultural parts.”
Diversification, imagination and commitment
As one of the leading container glass manufacturers in India, AGI has been creating high quality glass packaging for food, pharmaceuticals, soft drinks and alcohol since 1972. Rajesh joined the team four years ago, bringing with him three decades of extensive experience in manufacturing, predominantly in the steel industry.
“I came from a very diversified area – touching all aspects of the business from trade barriers, political licensing and creating new opportunities to bringing in new customers and arranging the finances – so I brought a lot of learnings from other segments to the role,” he explains.
“Since I’ve been working here I have seen the rising of this company. Our profits have gone up drastically, our top line has gone up drastically, and our relationship with the customer has become very strong.”
We created an energetic infrastructure where people love to work. They love to imagine things, they love to innovate, they love to discuss possibilities.
Rajesh puts that down to “opening up his people”, something he is very proud to have helped facilitate. “We created an energetic infrastructure where people love to work,” he smiles. “They love to imagine things, they love to innovate, they love to discuss possibilities. Making them feel proud of where they work is the crux of operational excellency.”
From there, he tackled the next challenge: the customers. “We went to them, built up a relationship, talked to them, showed our honesty, showed our commitment. And what we have done is integrated ourselves with our customers,” he says.
“They know our five-year plan, they know what we’re going to do. There was clear communication. There was transparency. And when you are honest, committed and addressing the pain points, obviously the customer is not going to go anywhere.”
Sustainability and innovation
An ongoing focus for AGI is its approach to sustainability, something the company places enormous importance on. “The commitment is in the blood of the people,” Rajesh enthuses.
“It’s not a separate activity. It’s part of everything we do. This is something that all customers are looking at, and whether they’re suppliers or supply chain partners, everyone we work with is committed to environmental issues.
“We’ve even gone to customers’ and suppliers’ head offices in Western countries, like Switzerland and the UK, to show them exactly what we are doing, which created a real level of confidence and clarity about how we’re sustainable.”
Part of that evolution has been due to AGI’s prioritisation of innovation and utilisation of technology. “We want to take things to the next level and so we have electronics, digitalisations, algorithms and machine learnings being added into the systems,” he says.
It’s not a separate activity. It’s part of everything we do. This is something that all customers are looking at, and whether they’re suppliers or supply chain partners, everyone we work with is committed to environmental issues.
“We are the only company in our category in the world that is using multiple fuels. We have research and development centres within our company.
“Every day, new challenges are coming to the business and every day, new opportunities are opening up. So the most important thing is to create an atmosphere where new opportunities are being identified by the organisation and by the people.”
As to the next chapter, Rajesh sees even more exciting possibilities for AGI once its new plant for cosmetic and perfumery glass is finalised, adding that, “in the next three-to-five years, we are smelling a lot of inorganic opportunities in the market” – pun absolutely intended.