Eastern Treads Ltd (ETL), part of the Rs 8,000-million Eastern Group in the State of Kerala, the home of Indian rubber, is all set to go global. Thecompany’s move comes in the wake of booming demand for high-quality tread rubber both at home and abroad. It is also the confidence arising out of the company’s nearly two decades of successful track record in the manufacture and marketing of quality tyre treading materials like precured tread rubber, bonding gum and vulcanising solution under the brand name “Eastern Treads” that prompted ETL to plan its global strategy
Backed by Eastern, a rock solid Indian business group which took roots in Kerala, the home of Indian rubber and spices, Eastern Treads Ltd (ETL) is looking for a big leap into the global tread rubber business through a strategic foreign tie-up sooner than later
“In fact, we are in the process of identifying a reliable and strong global partner in the tread rubber segment,” Navas Meeran, the young and dynamic Chairman of Eastern Group told, Rubber Asia adding, “What we have in mind is a tie-up in respect of manufacturing as well as marketing; the idea is to emerge as a leading supplier of high-quality treads that conform to the changing preferences of the consumers across the domestic as well as global markets hopefully within the next one year.”
The nearly four decade-old Group’s flagship company, Eastern Condiments Pvt. Ltd, is today one of India’s largest dealers of spices and condiments, thanks to its foreign tie-ups, strategic rollouts and crucial acquisitions, the Chairman of the Group says.
The company was promoted jointly by late M E Meeran, his son Navas Meeran and the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation Limited (KSIDC). Late M E Meeran was a self-made businessman and his active interest in trading helped him to identify the short supply of precured tread rubber and other tyre repair materials. The result was the birth of ETL.
ISO 9001 – 2008 certified, ETL was incorporated on July 2, 1993 as a private limited company under the Companies Act, 1956 and converted into a public limited company on February 17, 1995. Subsequently, the company went for public issue in October 1995. The equity shares of the company are presently listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange, Cochin Stock Exchange and Madras Stock Exchange.
The company commenced commercial production of a host of tyre retreading material on March 1, 1995. The products are being marketed through the length and breadth of the country through its extensive dealer and branch network.
ETL’s production facility located in Oonnukal at the rubber-rich foothills of Kerala’s Western Ghats has a monthly processing capacity of 700 tonnes of tread rubber. “We have the latest technology to manufacture tyre retreading materials both in hot and cold processes in tune with our aggressive growth and future market expansion plans,” says M E Mohammed, Managing Director of ETL. It also has the capacity to produce 100 tonnes of bonding gum and 100 KL of black vulcanising solution.
The manufacturing processes are designed to provide consistent quality. “Our facility to manufacture tyre retreading materials is in tune with our growth and future market expansion plans and we are equipped to retread almost every tyre size of all vehicles including passenger cars, light and heavy commercial and tractors, as well as OTR vehicles,” adds Mohammed. The company also provides tyre retreading services for which it has a state-of-the-art retreading facility in central Kerala.
The products manufactured at Eastern Treads Ltd are known for their high quality standard, which is maintained at any given time. This consistency in quality standard is one of our major competitive edges especially in the domestic market, says Mohammed Sherif, Deputy General Manager Operations. In accordance with the changing scenario, especially the shift to radialisation, ETL has acquired the expertise to provide a wide range of radial patterns and the ability to provide the designs as per the customers’ requirement.
Precured tread (PCT) rubber: ETL has more than 225 designs of all varieties of tyres for vehicles ranging from auto rickshaw to JCBs. To cater to all types of customers, Eastern has launched low-weight and high-mileage truck PCT as per low weight product at right cost.
Conventional tread rubber: ETL produces both slab and camel black treads. Usage of high-quality insoluble sulphur in hot rubber provides more storage life.
Bonding gum (BG): ETL’s Bonding gum is suitable for precured process. The company is using imported retarders and accelerators, which give fast curing properties and storage life of six months at normal storage conditions. Eastern’s BG has a controlled mooney viscosity, so that it gives a better stre-tch and good adhesion at the time of retreading.
Black vulcanising cement (BVC): Eastern’s Black Vulcanising Solution is of a superior quality and has a definite competitive edge in the market, says Sherif. The company’s BVC has standard viscosity, so that it can be applied directly over the buffed surface without mixing any solvents. The high-quality tackifying resins give good adhesive properties and high-quality naphtha gives lower drying time at all tropical conditions.
Tyre repair patches: Eastern patches have a high reputation for durability, reliability and effectiveness in terms of performance. The company also plans to introduce tube repair patches in the near future.
“Even though tyre retreading has gained greater acceptance in the commercial segment, we have witnessed a series of challenges in business environment. The raw material prices have risen beyond expectations and supply was also detrimentally affected,” says Navas. During this tough economic environment, ETL focussed its efforts on capitalising the opportunities opened by such challenges with better operational efficiencies, which enabled ETL to survive the situation, he added.
ETL’s quality and production teams could bring in many innovations on the quality front and production system, which have resulted in significant increase in the top line and bottom line. “We are making constant efforts to identify the likely trends in consumer demand for tread in the future and launched a new “Diamond” quality tyre retread for better mileage in diverse
road conditions, which will give ETL a competitive edge in the coming years,” points out S Rajesh, General Manager, Operations.
“ETL’s biggest resource and asset are its employees who work as a single team towards the objectives of the company with dedication and sincerity,” says Navas adding, “for aligning their career ambitions with our growth, ETL has taken various HR initiatives which help to strengthen their capacities and skills in the existing areas and also to equip them with adequate professional and technical knowledge and experiences.” With this diverse and highly skilled team of professionals, ETL has full confidence to venture into new markets and continue its efforts to give better value to its customers. ETL gives direct/indirect employment for 500 people. “For achieving its great strides, ETL owes a lot to the co-operation and support of its dedicated dealers across the country; says Navas.
Providing after-sale services and technological assistance to the customers by committed professionals and experts is yet another pro-active initiative of the company. “Winning the trust of the customer through commitment to quality and right price for all our products is our motto,” points out Navas.
Awards and achievements
Eastern Treads Ltd has ISO 9001: 2008 certification from AQA International and is accredited by ANAB. The company has achieved other quality certifications and accreditations to its credit which include FACT MKK Nair Memorial Productivity Award for excellent performance in productivity in tyre retreading materials.
“The company conducts programmes such as TQM (Total Quality Management) for the workmen and technicians to enhance their pride in being an employee of the company and also to create team synergy,” says Sebastian M S, Director. The company expects an exponential growth in the coming years because of this TEI (Total Employee
Involvement) programme, he adds.
According to him, the long-term prospects of the company which is dependant on its ability to meet the customer aspirations and needs, seem to be bright. As a prelude to preparing the company to emerge as a global player, its business plan for the fiscal 2012-15 has been realigned. This is with a view to help the company continue its passionate journey towards ensuring customer delight, loyalty and quality on a par with world standards, he says. “We have already commenced exploring export markets like Middle East, Europe and Canada,” Navas adds.
“To be among the best in industry, ETL has geared up with a good team of professionals who are confident of meeting the challenges of the likely outcomes of GST, IFRS convergence, Direct Tax code etc” says M S Ranganathan, the veteran Director (Finance & Accounts) of the Group.
l To be the preferred provider of products and services of outstanding value, satisfying the basic needs of the mass market through the adoption of globally acceptable standards and continuous innovation.
l To be the preferred employer in the industries we are in, by providing a challenging work environment and adding value to our people through exposure and shared learning.
l To be the preferred business partner of all our stakeholders, by
providing them with exemplary benefits and shared growth.
The company is always keen on maintaining quality and productivity. Hence
the products are tested at each stage to ensure the quality. The high level of quality standards are ensured with the help of the most modern equipment and research facilities available at ETL. ETL’s dedicated team of skilled rubber technologists has contributed more than 225 patterns of pre-cured tread designs suitable for Indian road and economic conditions.
“Our R&D team conducts extensive field trials with our specialised pre-cured and conventional treads for high range terrains, quarries, agricultural activities, and for vehicle tyres ranging from auto rickshaw tyres to JCB tyres and places with high temperature variations,” says Sherif. ETL has also indigenously developed a variety of compounds for precured and conventional rubbers.
Says Navas: “We are committed to understanding the customer requirements and developing the products accordingly. Our products are meant, and expected to perform, under different and extreme road conditions, from village roads to newly constructed national highways, from extreme cold to hot and wet conditions prevailing in different geographical parts of the country.”
“Tyre retreading becomes a key to ‘whole life tyre costs’ and companies offering the best quality and price will win through. We are committed to put constant endeavour to ensure continuous improvement in quality, durability and reliability with minimum economy,” Navas adds with absolute confidence in the global plans of ETL.
M E Mohammed
M E Mohammed, Civil Engineer by profession, joined the company in 1997 after pursuing a long and successful career in Kerala State Housing Board as Executive Engineer. He was appointed as Managing Director of the Company from August 2005.
M S Ranganathan,
M S Ranganathan, B.Com, CAIIB, having 33 years experience in banking sector joined Eastern in 2001 and presently the Director (Finance & Accounts) of the Eastern Group of companies. He was a guest faculty for nearly 2 years in Chinmaya handling capital market financial management .He has conducted a number of training sessions for bank officials of various public sector banks and various professional institutions.
M S Sebastian
M S Sebastian, B.Sc, B.Tech joined the Board of Directors of the Company in 2003. Being a polymer technologist, he has more than 25 years of service in rubber field in various capacities. A recipient of Excellence Award for the best application of Japanese Technology in India, he has developed and implemented TQM practices in Eastern Group.
General Manager Operations
Rajesh S, AICWAI, MBA, is a seasoned professional with over 16 years of rich and varied managerial experience in heading business operations, encompassing Finance and Accounting, Strategic Planning, Production, TQM, Commercial, Training, Regulatory Affairs, Human Resource Management, Administration, Profit & Loss responsibility across diverse industry verticals with leading companies.
Deputy General Manager Operations
Mohammed Sherif K A, a graduate and Diploma holder in Financial Management, with 19 years experience in Eastern is playing a key role in achieving the mission of the company by focusing on improvement of all operational parameters.