Behind every excelling business, there are exceptional minds indulged in its progress, ensuring that the organization’s vision and mission are accomplished. With what comes off as business prospects, from building the market presence of products to driving growth and expansion in competitive markets, all the aspects of a flourishing business are salvaged by the league of ingenious leaders.
Sandeep Sethi is among the exemplary leaders who possess solid entrepreneurial insight in driving global business growth by planning and executing strategic commercial and distribution plans and creating international channel expansion plans for development.
Sandeep Sethi is known for managing multiple functions with proven success in establishing annual product line revenue and gross margin plans, meeting revenue & gross margin objectives, and managing product life cycles to achieve organizational country objectives. He holds a significant track record of success in turning around emerging markets, including India & Africa, with a distinguished record of growth in the International Channels across Southeast Asia & Africa.
CIOLook had the privilege to interview Sandeep, in which he disclosed his dynamic principles for a prosperous business.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Brief our audience about your journey as a business leader until your current position at Interactive Printer Solutions (IPS). What challenges have you had to overcome to reach where you are today?
I had a very humble beginning at IPS when I joined as a Customer Service Manager in 1999. I had little experience backing me up, but I had a huge passion and a “never say die” attitude to grow. Over the years, I managed several roles, from Marketing Head to Sales Director to Global Channel Director, before I became the Managing Director & Partner in IPS business in 2019.
With the arising competition in the industry, there was an increased emphasis on providing Value add to the products & services, increased customization along with high-quality immaculate prints. Not just designs but the brands wanted quick turnarounds leading to increased cost of fulfillment.
We wanted to be a company that is the most effective in the industry, so I believe streamlining workflows, managing every changing consumable environment with the latest technologies, working on increasing productivity, and enhancing customer experience were some of the challenges that we faced in our early stages.
Today challenges heading the division are different and is more got to do with inspiring & developing the team, leading change & stay ahead of the curve.
Tell us something more about IPS and its mission and vision.
IPS is a 40+-year-old company & one of the top leading consumables manufacturers in the region. Our headquarters is based in Jebel Ali Free Zone in Dubai, UAE, and we have been serving the Middle East & African market for over 40 years now.
We’re a customer-centric company, and going above and beyond for them is our spirit. Our mission is to strive hard to ensure that we provide our consumers with high-quality products that are sustainable & give them the bang for their buck. Becoming environmentally friendly and sustainable is inextricably linked with our efforts to safeguard the future of our company & the planet itself.
The core vision here at IPS is to invest in the latest technologies and become a SINGLE SOURCE SOLUTION provider to our customers for all their consumable needs. We want to be the ONE-STOP SOLUTION provider in the industry.
Enlighten us on how you have impacted the sales and marketing niche through your expertise in the market.
As mentioned earlier, we have been working day-in-day-out with industry leaders and professionals with decades of experience and investing in research and technologies at the right time. This helps us keep the complete Sales & Marketing team updated with what’s happening in the industry and where our customers are going to invest their money in the future. Our approach of being where our customers are creates a sense of security with the customers, and with our offices in 10 countries, we always stay close to our customer’s needs. This has helped us become one of the biggest suppliers across the Middle East, Africa & Southeast Asia region.
Our customers appreciate that we serve them “Just in Time” in their countries and provide local support, stocking, billing, etc. Also, since we have feet on the ground, hence our subject experts can guide the customers better on the latest technology & cost-saving initiatives related to their products and services.
Describe in detail the values and the work culture that drives your organization.
Businesses with an organizational culture tend to be more successful than less structured companies because they have systems in place that promote employee performance, productivity, and engagement. I believe Employee engagement & opportunities for advancement with transparent communication is a key to our values in IPS. To quote Doug Conant, “To win the marketplace, you must first win in the workplace.”
We prioritize the well-being of employees, offer support at all levels within the organization, and have policies in place that encourage respect, trust, empathy, and support.
Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in almost every sector. How are you leveraging technological advancements to make your solutions resourceful?
New technology adoption is at the heart & soul of IPS’ long-term strategy and planning. We leverage technologies such as CRM platforms, project management tools, and collaborative communication applications to improve customer engagement, innovation, operation processes & decision-making.
IPS keeps updating itself with Sales forecasting tools & SDC upgradation to optimize its business processes.
We invest our money into research on how we can improve the existing technology to make us more environmentally friendly & achieve more efficient manufacturing techniques with less wastage & more efficient stock management and ordering systems.
What change would you like to bring to the sales and marketing sector if given a chance?
In the sales and marketing sector, I would like to take an approach that combines online & offline interaction between the company & clients or partners. In the digital economy, digital interaction alone is not sufficient. In fact, in an increasingly online world, offline touch represents a strong differentiation. By integrating this, sales and marketing will be even more successful in the long run.
Also, we are looking at geographical expansions to enhance our Sales & marketing presence.
What, according to you, could be the next significant change in the print consumables industry? How are IPS preparing to be a part of that change?
Look, it’s an ever-evolving industry, and with the recent global challenges, the industry trends & dynamics are even changing faster. I believe Digital print & Commercial printing, along with Imaging supplies, will keep growing steadily in this region, but 3D printing will penetrate different sectors.
Another area we are looking to invest in is our Labels & Packaging, as there is tremendous growth due to E-Commerce & Increase in online sales. From a production standpoint, the goal is to achieve better speed to market and invest in making lightweight, recyclable packaging and paper products to accommodate this increasing demand.
IPS is continuously investing in research and technology, and business tools to help us analyze the market trends and optimize the results of our production. Our recent add-up to the manufacturing is state-of-the-art equipment from Italy for inline printing and slitting, which will be operational from Dec 2022 and will enhance our capabilities.
Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run, and what are your future goals for IPS?
As a managing director and partner at IPS, I envision myself as someone who will drive global business growth by planning and executing strategic commercial and distribution plans, creating international channel expansion plans for the development and implementation of international sales growth, fulfilling global business requirements, and client needs with full P&L accountability to achieve desired business objectives.
I believe in setting realistic business goals that give our business a sense of direction and keep our team accountable. Our goal is to increase the total income of the company by 10% over the next two years. Reduce production expenses by 5% over the next three years and just Increase overall brand awareness.
What advice would you like to give to aspiring budding entrepreneurs?
Believe in yourself first, and never hesitate to take calculative risks. A lot of talented young generation out there never try because of fear of failing. You could ask any influential leader in any field if they ever succeeded in the first go. Failing is part of learning & Attitude is the key again.
Secondly, having a clear vision and a solid business plan is paramount. Road testing your ideas can help you understand the market needs and will also help you understand your competitors as well.
Lastly, it is always an upside to have some good mentors & have a balanced approach.