Friday, April 13, 2012

Bamboo Splint Making Machine for Incense Industry

Based on my interaction with one of the renowned Incense Manufacturer in Bangalore, the reason why it is difficult to use the Incense Making Machine is primarily due to irregularities in the bamboo sticks. Here is an innovation from three gentlemen that should help the industry:

Mr Paresh Panchal Contact Number: +919429389162
Mr L Ralte Contact Number: +919436197191
and Mr Usman Shekhani Contact Number: +919425593375.

For High Level Details of these machines, click here.

Fragrochem Aromas thanks National Innovation Foundation for sharing this information for the benefit of the Incense Industry. We welcome your comments and suggestions.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What Are Your Goals? Why Do You Work? What Motivates You?

These are basic questions and yet majority of the persons I interview or meet have no clear answers to these. I feel this is where the lack of motivation comes from and HR departments or the Entrepreneurs' HR hats need to inspire and motivate persons on their team. How many employers really ask the question of themselves and their companies: What is the Unique Selling Proposition for employees to work for our setup?

I would have loved to work for a company that takes deep interest in my personal goals and help me achieve these. We start our journey with our employees by filling out the following in association with our employees:

Click Here

The next stage is to chalk out a plan to achieve these goals. This is the highest motivation for any employee to join us at Fragrochem Aromas. How do you feel motivated? We would love to hear from you.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Job Description - Fragrance Chemist.


We promise:
  • A fun environment and a work culture that respects individuals and rewards work based on performance.
  • An environment where hiring persons on merit is the only way forward.
  • A win-win environment where individual goals are identified and aligned with organization goals.

You will:
Enjoy working in a start-up like setup.
Be more knowledgeable in Fragrance Chemistry than anyone else in the organization.
Work alongside Senior Perfumery and Technical Consultants:
  • to establish and execute the Quality and Procurement guidelines and processes for fragrance raw materials.
  • to work alongside perfumers and marketing and sales personnel to construct fragrances for specific market segments like Incense Sticks, Candles, Wash Products, Fine Fragrances, Deodorants, Cosmetics and many more.
  • to analyze stability of fragrances in different products.
  • to solve customer problems.
  • to make customers’ products S(m)ELL.
If you feel you are THE one, Call Chetan @ +91-9819842553 and fix up an appointment for a meeting.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Meeting Notes from In Conversation with Harsh Mariwala - Meeting 2

Meeting Date: November 26, 2010.
Time: 10:00 am to 1:00 pm

Meeting Notes:

Reflection from previous meeting:

- Finalize measurable goals for every member of the team. (two to four goals for every member).
- Review goals every quarter.
- Rewards system can be built more gradually as it gets a little complicated. Help from HR Consultant or senior HR person advised.
- Create the right image for the company especially when hiring from Universities, IITs, IIMs. Engage with key personnel at the prospective institutes from where the future staff will come from.
- Difficult to find good HR Managers. HR Consultants cost more but provide superior value.

Participative Culture:

- Always put an emphasis on creating the right culture. This is the bedrock for innovation.

- Example from Marico experience in 1990s:

Marico was considering a new factory for coconut crushing in Kerala. There were warnings of bad environment and bad union structures.

Marico took it up as a challenge. Got key personnel - the "right" people for the job. Kept the factory staff occupied. Divided the factory into four houses and encouraged activities amongst different houses to spur competitive spirit in the organization. The results were spectacular.

- Job rotation is one of the key HR policies at Marico that motivates employees to perform better.

- Innovation in HR and discontinuous ways of solving problems is the key to success of individuals and the organization alike at Marico.

- Business plan is prepared for three years. Bright minds with innovative ideas is the key to structured business planning and business plan execution.

- Business plan review plays a very important role. Healthy brainstorming leading to alternatives exploration is the key.

- Whole process of business plan preparation takes up about three months.

- Assign specific goals for task forces to resolve complex problems leads to the required focus amongst the team members.

- Marico depends on a lot of MBAs to drive growth. Organizations like IIMs are key to job positions.

- Individual Personal Development Plan (PDP) is assigned to team members. Individual goals are aligned with organizational goals. Every individual has two to four specific goals starting from the CEO to every member of staff.

- MBAs find job rotation highly motivational. Maximum time in one job role (subject to right fit) is about three years.

- Marico assigns levels to different partners - distributors, vendors, etc. Assigns gold, platinum, silver levels to different partners.

- Train subcontractors as well as partners' staff - execute six-sigma certification and trainings for different distributors and vendors. Emphasis on growth of partners leading to growth of Marico.

- Benefits of close working with vendors and distributors is the key to overall success.

- People and Innovations are the key to competitive advantage.

- Motivational videos and courage of conviction of the top management are some keys to strong leadership that lead to expand the mindset of staff.

- Changing coconut oil packaging from tin to plastic inspite of resistance from all quarters was the key innovation in packaging that led to phenomenal increase in profits for Marico.

- Re-invested profits in brand building and more innovation.

- Marico went public in 1996 due to problems with cash-flow.

- Faced tough competition from Hindustan Lever. The classic battle between Parachute brand and Nihar culminating in HLL selling the Nihar brand to Parachute - truly inspirational.

- Improved products, improved quality, emotional bonding in advertisements was the result of stiff competition from HLL.

- Process innovation especially in the field of IT has been phenomenal in the success of Marico over the last decade.

- Innovations led to entry into various markets - edible oils - Saffola, revive starch, Kaya skin care, acquired Mediker brand from P&G.

Keys to open culture

- Open to fail.

- Flat structure.

- Cross functional forums and task forces to solve complex problems example - SAP ERP implementation in eight months flat by choosing key employees working solely on ERP implementation - SAP recommended Marico example as a case study.

- Market research has limitations. - Once 80% of plans are ready, go in for prototyping is the mantra for entry into new markets.

- Innovations in self authorization of expenses governed by policy and audits led to efficient working environment.

Key innovations in HR.

- No muster. Employees maintain their own leave record. Highly flexible work culture and timings.


Going international. Lobbied the government to lift export of coconut oil restrictions. Lot of products for local overseas markets - South Africa, Egypt, Middle East and Africa - key drivers of success in international markets.

New Businesses follow small company culture.

Incubation cell with one or two members reporting directly to the CEO.

Remove escape buttons for every member of the team by bringing focus into every incubation member's role.

Kaya skin care is one successful example of such an idea from evaluation to implementation.

Key steps: Evaluate idea - Visit key places - small team reporting to CEO - Prototyping - Consumer insight - Training and R&D.

Key attributes of growth:

- High collaboration.
- Persistence.
- High Rigor in execution to follow up idea with execution.
- Connect and Develop model from P&G.
- Leverage innovations using networking.

Key to growth is DELEGATION and TRUST. Try to make yourself REDUNDANT.

Lead by example - Do not expect people under you to behave different from you.

Brilliant and Inspiring session overall. Time for action.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Process Improvements at Fragrochem.

Portfolio Charter - Process Improvements at Fragrochem.





0.10Initial Draft - Portfolio Charter for discussion.Chetan ThakkarOctober 26, 2010.


Fragrochem was established in 1980 by Mr. Bhupen Thakkar and Mr. Niranjan Thakkar. This is an organization that has been run in a traditional manner. After assessing the present situation at Fragrochem, we are taking steps that have never been taken in the history of Fragrochem in order to grow this business in the next five years. We have built a team comprising of the following members:

Bhupen Thakkar - Proprietor and Founder of Fragrochem.
Chetan Thakkar - Director - Customer Relations and Management Consultant.
Prakash Thakkar - Director - Finance and Accounts.
Richard Price - Chief Mentor guiding us two hours every month via Skype calls.
Narendra Rami - Sales Director.
Paresh Raghuwanshi - Relationship Manager.
Technical Consultant - yet to be named.


This document outlines the Portfolio Charter for process improvements at Fragrochem. In order to grow Fragrochem, the projects and programs mentioned in this document will be executed over the next five-years. The high-level purpose, justification, vision, and scope of this portfolio of projects and programs is outlined below. The portfolio will follow the guidelines provided by the Project Management Institute (PMI). The PMI model will be customized to the requirements of a Small and Medium Size Enterprise (SME).


We visited several customers involved in the manufacture of:
  • Wash Products - Handwash, floor cleaners, toilet liquid cleaners, soaps.
  • Room fresheners.
  • Incense sticks.
  • Cosmetics manufacturers like facial creams, lotions, and deodorants.
At every step, we require to present our fragrance samples working in the customers’ products. This requires a very analytic approach and an understanding of fragrance chemistry when our perfumes are mixed with the end-products. Presently, this knowledge is lacking at Fragrochem.

At Fragrochem, we also lack a methodology to evaluate the quality of ingredients. The tests to evaluate the quality of ingredients used will be a major factor in the selection of suppliers.

Most of the clients that we have visited so far ask us for matching specific fragrances. Presently, our main tool is the “nose” to match the fragrances. This is takes up a lot of time and also limits us to the set of one-hundred or so essential oils and aroma chemicals in our stock. We wish to reach a stage where we are able to analyze the fragrance structures with a quicker turn-around time as well as preparing a closer match to the fragrance structures in the market. This step requires an understanding of fragrance structures and analyzing fragrances using latest technological advances or utilizing scientific techniques in deciphering the existing fragrance structures.

Based on our assessment of the business situation, Fragrochem needs to embark on the projects and programs outlined in this document in order to bring us on a strong footing to solve customer problems, be more competitive and efficient in managing operations.


We envision Fragrochem to understand the details of fragrance chemistry with products across the pH scale ranging from strong acid cleaners on one side of the scale to the strong bleaches on the other side of the pH scale. Our understanding of fragrance chemistry will help us to ensure the high-quality of raw materials and choice of suppliers on merit. We will undertake projects to understand fragrance structures of the most popular fragrances and analyze the structures of these fragrances in order to create unique smells for our target markets.

Strategic fit:

We will strategically target high-margin segments of fine fragrances, Deodorants, handkerchief perfumes (Attarwalas), and Masala Agarbatti exporters initially. As we build our understanding of the fragrance chemistry and raw-material testing and get a good grip of the supply-chain, we will then target the low-price segments of the Indian market. Low-price Indian market segments will require us to cut-costs and stay lean and mean in our operations without compromising on quality.Our lean and mean strategy will naturally transcend into high-margins for our exports segment. We intend to start planning our entry into the exports market by April 2012.


We expect specific outcomes from these projects which will put us on course to continuous improvement. These outcomes are summarized below:

- Ability to analyze competitor’s products in a time-efficient and cost-effective manner (Estimated Time frame: Methodology by December 31, 2010.)
- Ability to analyze raw materials for quality efficiently and cost-effectively (Estimated Time frame: Guidelines by January 2011).
- Ability to understand fragrance chemistry - the effect of chemistry on different end products on various sections of the pH scale.
- Reduce cost of production for popular fragrances by 35% by April 2011 as a result of a combination of factors: Utlizing synthetic raw materials instead of pure essential oils, analyzing raw materials for quality and grading supplier’s raw materials based on quality,
- Ability to prepare formulations for same smells across different product ranges. for e.g. Same lime fragrance when used with products across the pH scale would smell different. Challenge will be to create the same smell across different product ranges.
- Entry in various market segments.
- Favorable ratings from Customers.
- More value for money in procuring raw materials.

Our understanding of fragrance chemistry will lead to reducing the raw-materials used for different product ranges. This will lead to more efficient formulations and hence lay the foundation for minimum cost for products in every category.


This document provides a high-level overview of the individual projects and programs. Scope of every individual project and program will be carried out separately.

Benefit Strategy:

Key benefits expected from this portfolio of projects and programs are summarized as follows:
  • Build and document an understanding of fragrance chemistry. Specifically,
    • We will be able to analyze existing fragrance structures to match or better the competitors’ products.
    • We will be able to classify the various raw materials (aroma chemicals and essential oils) into different functional groups.
    • We will map the different functional groups and document how they influence the different end-products across the pH scale.
    • We will develop and document procedures to test raw materials - aroma chemicals and essential oils.
    • We will setup a laboratory to test different fragrances with end products before presenting to the customers.

Assumptions and Constraints:

  • Projects and Programs will be prioritized in accordance with organization goals.
  • Any change to the plans will require it to be approved by a Change Control Board.
  • The Change Control Board will be a fairly informal setup comprising of the key stakeholders, e.g. a four-member committee comprising the Chairman Mr. Bhupen Thakkar, CXO - Chetan Thakkar, Chief Mentor - Mr. Richard Price and the Technical Consultant identified for this purpose.
  • Some projects like Microencapsulated Liposomes for woven fabrics will be taken up if we get some participation in funding from end-customers.

As is the case with most small and medium enterprises, budget is a constraint. This makes prioritizing the projects very important.

Risks and Issues:

Lack of qualified employees.
Lack of infrastructure facilities like laboratory, advanced machinery.

Time scale:

Times mentioned in this document are for reference purposes. Actual times will be agreed upon and decided after consultation with the team.

Stakeholder considerations:
Some of the most important stakeholders to be considered through out the different projects and programs are:
  • Environment.
  • Customers.
  • End Customers using different products.
  • Employees and Consultants of Fragrochem.
  • Government agencies and Regulatory agencies.
Program Governance:

Projects and Programs will be initially led by Chetan Thakkar. As we move forward, the plan is to hire additional project managers to manage individual projects as well as programs. Focus will always be on hiring specialists who deliver valuable services.

Initial high-level road map:

90% of our time in manufacturing is involved in matching fragrances. We want to speed this process by adding cost-effective but efficient techniques to match product fragrances. The high-level goal of this project is to arrive at a methodology for matching fragrances. A fast-track method of matching fragrances as well as a not-so-fast but more cost-effective method of testing utilizing Gas Chromatography - Mass Spectrometry like techniques.

The first project we will take up will be to reduce the turn-around time from the customer’s request to match fragrances to our delivery of samples. This is crucial in the sales process and is a high-priority project.

Other two projects in the order of priority are:
  1. Classify different raw materials into different functional groups and develop a know-how to classify any aroma chemical or essential oil into various functional groups. (Need Guidance from Technical Experts, books).
  2. Build an understanding of how each functional group of aroma chemicals reacts with different products on the pH scale.
These three projects will set the stage for a lot of other projects to follow. We’re looking to complete these projects by March 2011.

Projects to be executed:
  1. Methods to analyze the various products in the market with a view to match the fragrances as well as to study the fragrances.
  2. Classify different raw materials into different functional groups and develop a know-how to classify any aroma chemical or essential oil into various functional groups. (Need Guidance from Technical Experts, books).
  3. Project to create a quality policy and framework for the organization. Develop and document guidelines to test the quality of essential oils and aroma chemicals in a cost-effective manner.
  4. Build an understanding of how each functional group of aroma chemicals reacts with different products on the pH scale.
    1. List various product categories and understand at what pH scale (or range of pH scale) does each product belong. Some of these products are:
      • Floor cleaners.
      • Toilet Liquid cleaners (TLC).
      • Hand wash soaps.
      • Soap bars.
      • Detergents.
      • Shampoos.
      • Conditioners.
      • Incense sticks or Agarbattis.
      • Facial creams.
      • Moisturisers.
      • Lotions.
      • Talcum pow ders.
      • Kumkum.
      • Lip-sticks.
      • Deodorants.
      • Scented supari and chewing tobacco.
      • Fine Fragrances.
      • Hand sanitizers.
      • Room/ air fresheners.
      • Insecticides and Insect repellents and many more.
    1. Categorize different product markets into segments and prioritize them based on margins, importance from strategy, cash-flow, revenues and other factors.
    2. Based on the list of priorities, build an understand of the fragrance chemistry for different functional groups.
  1. Cut costs for different products in order to make them competitive in the Indian market.
    1. Evaluate suppliers versus manufacturing/ growing raw materials.
    2. Evaluate and decide on the use of natural essential oils versus newer synthetic chemicals.
  1. Understand the RIFM and IFRA guidelines and implement them into the exports operations for Fragrochem. Decide strategy for exports market into developed nations as well as developing nations.
  2. Evaluate use of Information Technology for different aspects of the business - Sales and Marketing (Social Media Marketing, Use of modules, etc.), Payroll and Human Resources, Manufacturing (storing of fragrance formulations), website development, Analysis (Gas Chromatography / Mass Spectrometry, etc.)
  3. Project to Evaluate and implement of automated machinery for manufacturing, analysis and design phases of operations.
  4. Project to understand microencapsulated scent liposomes in woven fabrics.
  5. Laying guidelines for team selection, maintaining secrecy and confidentiality of formulations and important aspects of business.
  6. Project to lay the foundation for invention and patenting of aroma chemicals with unique smell.
  7. Program to launch a fine-fragrance value brand for the Indian market.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Meeting Notes from In Conversation with Harsh Mariwala

Notes from In Conversation with Mr. Harsh Mariwala session at Marico Office on October 5, 2010.

- Value proposition from professional consultants.
- Choose talented consultants.
- Start small to analyze chemistry.
- Build rapport between the team and the consultant.
- Healthy brainstorming.
- Execution of plans is the key.
- Alignment very crucial in execution.
- Analyze quality of talent needed.
- Clarity about profile of candidates is very important.
- Analyze what is critical to succeed for the organization.
- Involve the team in the analysis.
- Marico worked with Accenture to save 10-15 crores per year.
- Organization is very cost focussed.
- Manage stakeholder expectations.
- Address issues. Do not delay things.
- FAMILY BUSINESS issues. Code of conducts, etc.
- Write random thoughts and give to the team to brainstorm.
- Get feedback.
- Brainstorm and finalize on value document.
- Involving people improves commitment.
- Participative planning helps.
- Top-down communication is the key.
- 3 Ps - People -> Products -> Profits.
- Open House.
- Open Culture.
- Challenge when new person comes in.
- Reinforce processes.
- Odd persons leave.
- Empower managers at a very young age.
- Competitors offer International postings. - Counter move by more empowerment.
- Give time to find jobs if the person has to move out.
- Treatment with a human touch if the person has to be asked to leave.
- No person should be left on the road.
- What is good for business? is always the first question that takes priority.
- All ex-employees are your ambassadors. Benefits in the long run.
- Some people left and came back.
- Robust Goals review process.
- Each person writes the goals.
- Score on the goals.


- Track competition.
- Establish rapport and relationships.
- Can be leveraged later.
- Sow seeds to help key persons whom you are attracting.

- Reference checks.
- Multiple interviews.
- Detailed reference checks - personal meetings with references help.

Next session - 26th November 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
- Crafting an employee - value proposition. Very important to have clear and concise goals at every step. Communication with all stakeholders is very important. Importance of working chemistry with different personalities.