Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you will know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.
– Steve Jobs
The great inheritance of the celebrated legacy.
Well as Steve Jobs suggests in his invaluable words of wisdom, Dr. Smit Patel has indeed done wonders to his “great work” and can very well settle! With his dream to manufacture Phosphorus-based chemicals, the dynamic and visionary business leader, Shri Kantilal Koli established the Sandhya Group in 1984.
And the way the group has consolidated the dream of its founder and had grown from strength to strength – with its obsession for quality, consistency, and prompt delivery – had made them a force to reckon with in this industry segment and a market leader in both domestic and international markets. As a brand, Sandhya Group caters to multiple industries and its products have varied applications reaching across 45 countries to leading multinationals around the world. The 4 states of the art manufacturing plants, strategically located in Gujarat, India, have an impressive storage capacity and high-end testing equipment for product analysis – a strong product portfolio and an ever-growing distribution network ensure that the company provides quality chemicals with a fast turnaround time.
As Dr. Patel loves to say, “For us, it is all about Phosphorus!” – Sandhya Group strongly believes in value addition by forwarding integration for various agrochemicals / industrial and specialty chemicals, which has strengthened the company’s global brand presence to a huge extent.
“From the days of my childhood, I have keenly observed how my father, Shri Kantilal Koli was always driven towards the idea of becoming an entrepreneur and how he successfully established the first chemical plant under the name of ‘Sandhya Dyes and Chemicals’ in the Sarigam Industrial estate. Having witnessed my father’s determination and perseverance from a young age, the inclination towards becoming an entrepreneur became an essential part of growing up.”
This story encompasses the inspirational journey of “Sandhya Group of Companies” that was conceptualized in the year 1984 as we had mentioned, with a vision of serving Phosphorous Based Specialty Chemicals and Agrochemicals. Having an even mix of young minds along with the experienced professionals in the management team assists the entity to respond to the ever-changing market trends and demands in the agrochemicals & specialty chemical industry.
It has a strong product portfolio, strong brand presence, and a wide distribution network has helped Sandhya Group to explore the untouched domestic and international territories and increase its prominence in new markets. Apart from having four state-of-the-art manufacturing units spread across Gujarat, it has marketing offices and warehouses at strategic industrial locations that empower the company to be prompt to the customers and be a dominant player in the industry.
Headquartered in Mumbai, the journey initially commenced with four members and was very challenging, however with grit and tremendous efforts from all quarters, today Sandhya Group stands as a family of 600+ professionals. The group has amassed experience of more than two decades offering a wide range of products – phosphorous based Industrial Chemicals, Specialty Chemicals, and Agrochemicals. Over the years, a significant investment towards building quality infrastructure has ensured that lifeline moves rapidly towards becoming Sandhya Group as a manufacturing conglomerate across the country.
Today, under Dr. Smit Patel’s leadership and the highest level of business acumen, Sandhya Group of Companies over the past years has grown in strength with the different plants at different strategic locations at VAPI and Sarigam as we had mentioned – offering a multi-product range from phosphorous based Industrial Chemicals, Speciality Chemical and Agro Chemicals carrying a niche for itself by vertical integration offering cost-effective quality inputs. A team of dedicated professionals has ensured that the manufacturing facilities are regularly upgraded to meet the international accreditation for exports to regulated and unregulated markets. He created a wider distribution marketing network across pan India as well as across the globe in more than 45 countries. Dr. Smit Patel has also implemented an SAP system in the organization for the latest in office automation and security of the company.
Dr. Patel’s contribution has made the product globally acceptable which read numerous awards in the various field from Governmemnt agencies as well as from private organizations and NGOs too. Due to his financial wisdom, the company has never suffered any financial setbacks. He was the secretary of the pesticides manufacturer association of India and as a joint chairman of the export import committee in the Vapi industrial association (VIA) and Chairman of the Sarigam Industries Association (SIA). Besides this even associated with social welfare activities in Yuvakoli Patel Samaj and also in P K S Sarvajanik high school at Bhilad.
Dr. Patel believes in significant investment towards building quality infrastructure has ensured that the Group moves rapidly towards becoming a manufacturing conglomerate across the Country. And all the recognitions that came his way, makes it clear that how flawlessly he is on the right track. Dr Smit Patel was awarded the prestigious Export awards for the years 2005-2006 and2008-2009, 2012-13 by CHEMEXCIL, Government of India. And since there, he just never looked back! In 2012-14.the Rashtriya Udyog Ratna Awards by Quality Brand India; the Global Indian of the year Award. In 2013-14, Rajiv Gandhi Shiromani Awards; in 2014-15, International Gold Millennium Award; in 2015-16, the Golden Star Awards in Chemicals, and the World Quality Congress Awards. In 2016-17 – ABP News CSR leadership awards; award for the Highest Exports in Chemicals Sector; the Glory of India Awards, Dubai; Highest Exports in Chemical Sector, UK; Best Global Brand in Chemicals Sector – Hong Kong and the Best EHS and Super Achievers Chemical Sector , Mumbai; the Best Export Company for the Year; the Best Chemical Company in Gujarat , Vapi; the Best Entrepreneur Awards , Delhi. In 2017-18, it all started with the Best Export Company of the Year, Delhi – followed by Highest Export In MSMS Sector by SMS Chamber of Commerce, Mumbai, the Best HR Company for the yrs 2017 from Zee News Network, Goa; the Best Manufacturing Chemicals Company in MSME Sector, the Most Admired Entrepreneur for the Year, Delhi; the Best EHS company – National Environment Health and Safety Congress Awards; the Best Chemical Product Development Company, Mumbai; the Best Brand product of the Year 2018; Best Export of the Year 2018; the Highest Direct tax payer of the Year 2018; Best Chemicals Company of the Year 2018; Best Chemicals Company in Gujarat for the year 2018; Highest Export of the Agro for the yrs 2018; Best HR company of the yrs 2018. The Power Brands Company of the Year 2018; and the award for the Best exporter of the Year in Asian Countries. In 2019, the dream run continues under Dr Patel’s enigmatic leadership – Best Chemical Product Development Company, followed by Best Brand Product of the Year; Highest Direct tax payer of the year, Best Crop Care company of the Year; Best Agro Export of the Year award – UK, Best Chemical Company of the Gujarat, Ahmedabad; Best EHS Company of the year , Bangalore’ Best Agrochemical company of the year followed by the India SME Excellence award 2020, Mumbai…. The list just seems to be unending! But the person that Dr Patel is, all these awards and recognitions from every corner of the globe had made him all the more humble and all the sincere and hardworking – “There have been many high points in my journey as an entrepreneur and they have taught me incredible lessons. However, the low points have taught me the most important lessons that I always carry along with me. To keep up my spirits through rough patches, to never give up, to always have hope, to be patient, to stay determined, to innovate, to stand strong as a true leader, to be industrious, and to lead by example are all the values that tough times have always taught me. As far as the success stories are concerned, some of the most prominent ones have been when our company, Sandhya Group, was presented with the prestigious Export Awards for the years 2005-06, 2008-09, and 2012-13 by Chemexcil, a Government of India Export Promotion Council (as we had already stated above). These achievements have strengthened my belief in the fact that hard work always pays off and when there is a will, there is always a way.” – And we cannot help but just admire and cherish the fact that we are getting to know this man through his words and his deeds!
Amidst all these incredible laurels and glories, let us fondly look back to his upbringing and the significant roles his parents and teachers played in making him what he is today – and who could say it more emphatically than Dr. Patel himself – “I have had the best of schooling experiences in Gyandham and I strongly believe that his alma mater has been a significant contributor to my successful career. All the respected teachers of both Primary and Secondary schools are driven by their will to bring out the best in the students and assist them in academic as well as co-curricular pursuits. Sir Col. V.S. Bedekar, the esteemed Principal of the school has always mentored me and all other students of the school to be able to fulfill our cherished dreams.” And this is what he has to say about his parents and we quote him – “My parents have completely shaped my past and present and they will continue to be my greatest inspirations in the future. I believe that whatever a child does or grows up to become, is because of his or her parents who tirelessly contribute to their growth and development in the best possible manner. My father, Shri Kantilal Koli, at the age of 74 plus, continues to pave the way for Sandhya Chemicals to become a manufacturing conglomerate across the nation. The hard work of my parents and their inclination towards raising me as a responsible and realistic person has helped me to take practical decisions in life and business and to always be committed to the scope of growth.”
Besides his parents and teachers, Dr. Patel values the contribution of two more persons in his life as truly life-changing – “My wife, Mrs. Jinal Patel, has always stood beside me like a pillar of support. Being an entrepreneur and having innumerable responsibilities on me to keep the company thriving, it was always difficult for me to spare enough time for the family front. However, my wife never let me feel so. She has always managed every aspect of the family and our home in the best possible ways. Without her contribution, I would not have been able to work to my fullest potential. Despite my frequent travels and my busy schedules, my wife kept the home front strong and supported. They say, “Behind every successful man there is a woman” and I truly believe in this saying. I would also like to mention the name of my brother, Mr. Snehal Patel, who is the person taking care of all the technological needs of our chemical plant and the projects we are involved in. Without his expertise and his innovative strategies, we would not have been able to reach the digital milestones that we are currently equipped with. He holds a Master of Science degree from the University of California and he brings along the entire experience that is required to set up and maintain the technical aspects of our company.” Besides these quintessential pillars of his life, there have been friends too who stood by him all the time and offered every kind of unconditional, selfless help – to motivate him and all of them had made him what he is today. So Dr. Patel thinks it was a huge blessing to have such friends all the time around him.
The ongoing pandemic had undoubtedly wreaked havoc across every aspect of our lives and had indeed most brutally impacted every form of business all across the world. While many small and medium companies and business entities ceases to exist because of the pandemic, many big companies went through a sea change in their approach to their businesses. Quite naturally it comes to our mind how Dr. Patel managed to keep things guarded amidst such a holocaust like a disaster – How he is seeing pandemic? – What impact has it had on your business? – What are his plans to adapt and change for the “new normal” world now as far as your industry is concerned? – After what he has to say, and the confidence, self-belief and the amount of sincerity and hard work that goes into such a reply – is just beyond anything that one can ever integrate and imagine of! – “There is no denying the fact that the pandemic has been a tough phase for all industries but what it has taught me and my company is the lesson that keeping ourselves future-proof is the way to move ahead in life and business. I have always believed in staying ahead of time and implementing futuristic strategies. Our organization is integrated with SAP system which has helped us to have complete automation in our office. Apart from the basic technological implementation, we are also equipped with technical expertise in the form of our human resources who ensure that the business keeps thriving, despite all kinds of challenges. The new normal was difficult to adapt to but once we developed our techniques and applied our practical knowledge of things to the new norms, nothing could hold us back.” And he is also quick to add the role that internet played in this resilient fight that the group put up against the pandemic – “The internet is our biggest support system in this pandemic situation. When everything had closed down physically, we were able to reach out to all our clients through online meetings and discussions. Since our business is product-oriented, having access to advanced technological developments helped us to stay connected with the world even when it had almost come to a standstill. Doing business took on a new meaning and with virtual interactions, things became even more interesting and lucrative. We could network with more people from far-off places and increase the reach of our business. All in all, it has been a blessing in disguise for us.”
Dr Smit Patel as a disruptive entrepreneur had taken Sandhya Group to new heights running. His work experience and educational background boast strong analytics, business research, and leadership skills. The depth of his business acumen and leadership qualities can be summed as his Leadership and business development – the way he had been able to take Sandhya Group to new heights; his belief in Team Building to hire and retain the best resources available; his impeccable communication skills – the way he translates his vision and align it to the organization vision and his deep understanding of technology and platform where analytics and technical solution are deployed. Besides handling the responsibilities of all the group companies – Sandhya Organic Chemicals Pvt Ltd; Sandhya Dyes and Chemicals Pvt Ltd; Sandhya Industrial Chemicals Export Pvt Ltd; Sandhya Agro Chemicals Pvt Ltd; S M Chemicals Vapi Pvt Ltd; Sandhya International and Sandhya Industrial Engineers – Dr. Patel is also associated as Trustee and mentor with Shri P K S Sarvajanik High School, Phansa ( Bhilad); YuvaKoli Patel Samaj; as Secretay to Pesticides Manufacturer Association of India ( PMFAI); Joint Director for an export-import committee of Vapi Industrial Association ( VIA); Director for Export import committee of Sarigam Industrial Association ( SIA); as one of the Agro Board Committee members of Bombay Chambers of Commerce – along with managing the work of Sandhya Charitable Trust; Sandhya Multi Speciality Clinic; Sandhya Foundation – something which is very close to his heart. Giving back to society is a priority as well as a responsibility for the business houses and Sandhya Group is committed to playing a matured role in this regard. As he has quite unequivocally confirmed the everlasting impact of the iconic JRD Tata on him, Dr. Patel is actively associated with Social and Welfare activities, the development of rural and backward classes of people, physically handicapped people, and helping all needy ones.
“The business ethics of JRD Tata have heavily influenced my approach towards entrepreneurship. The fact that business can also be conducted ethically and profit-making can be a noble cause when attained honestly and distributed among those who are needy, has largely contributed to my ideas and philosophy of business. As per JRD Tata’s social concern, I believe that an organization can be profitable even if does not compromise on ethics and values. I also follow his practices of trying to reach out to the social and environmental implications of a business. This is precisely why our company, Sandhya Group, invests 10-11% of its yearly revenues in CSR activities, which include conservation of water and energy, blood donation and eye camps, women empowerment through employment, encouragement of sports, and outdoor games among the youth, etc. Sandhya Group is also a zero-discharge company, with ISO 9001 and 14001 certifications as well as OHSAS 18001 certification.”
With a focus on education and women empowerment, over the time it has numerous activities and programs covered under CSR initiatives like organizing blood Donation Camps, Construction to avoid major accidents and loss of life; Building Computer labs in Govt schools; Free Eye Camp; Distributing Artificial Leg for handicapped; Distribution of Bicycle to the needy, distribution of education Scholarships; Free Distribution of Books and Computers to Govt School children; Heath marathon for all ages. As the Group website proudly confirms – “We believe in giving back to society to make it a better place – one small endeavor at a time. As a part of our CSR activities, we try and contribute our ideas and efforts towards various critical areas such as Education, Environment, Entrepreneurship, Women’s Empowerment, Infrastructure and Sponsorship. At Sandhya Group, our respect for human rights, makes us value our employees, and acknowledge their efforts towards work as well. We consistently invest in modern technologies and solutions for sustainable energy flow and economic growth. Sandhya Group has supported innumerable social and community initiatives in Valsad District, Gujarat India. Our prime focus is to provide financial assistance to schools for construction and renovation, hold Eye camps for health awareness, donate computers to help keep students abreast with the latest technologies, and offer a scholarship to poor students, ensuring education for as many as we can support. Our clinic, Sandhya Clinic is dedicated to spreading awareness and treating Diabetes. The first of its kind clinic dedicated to a single cause houses state-of-the-art machinery for the patients. A clinical dietician and a nutritionist help the patients reclaim their health through professional guidance and nurturing care. A brisk walk marathon is also organized by us (with enough time dedicated to training as well) for relatives of the patients who would like to participate and show solidarity to the patient as well as help create awareness in their circles. We also promote sports among the youth – cricket being our favorite has been promoted by us for over 30 years through various championships, matches, and other activities.”
The Indian Chemical industry has been the mainstay in contributing to the GDP of the country along with being a major employment source. The knowledge-rich and capital-intensive chemical industry play a key role in driving India’s agricultural and industrial development and with the latest reforms, initiatives, and increased investments, this growth is phenomenal. As per experts, this is the most viable time for the industries to thrive and expand as the Indian economy is growing at a massive speed. Following the current trajectory, India promises to be a strong contender to control the world market in the coming times.
As one of the premier Industrial states, Gujarat is a well-known hub of the Indian Chemical industry, contributing to over 50% of its production. Termed India’s ‘Petro Capital’, it has been the leading state in terms of attracting investment for the industry. It contributes significantly to the country’s Petrochemicals production (62 %), chemicals production (51 %), and pharmaceuticals production (35 %). Its business-friendly policies have made it the first choice for investors.
Based on such a conducive and business-friendly environment, the Sandhya Group overall – with products like Industrial Chemicals, Antioxidant’s phosphates, Phosphate Esters, Agrochemicals, Defoamers – is now a leading phosphorus based chemical manufacturer, with expertise in large scale production of specialty chemicals and agrochemicals. It has almost a 4 decades-long strong business association with a large number of multinationals in India and abroad. Exports contribute to 40% of total turnover. Just as we mentioned before, an ISO 9001, ISO 14001 certified and under progress for OHSAS 18001 certification – it is a zero-discharge company and has always prioritized unconditional earnest focus on environment and safety. Overall, these years, Sandhya Group has made a measurable impact as a passionate advocate for all the products under its flagship. Having a state of art manufacturing plant with a large storage capacity it has matured over the years in terms of quality and quantity and the manufacturing of Phosphorous Trichloride (PCl3). Following the system-oriented process and embracing industry-best practices in its operation has allowed the Group to be the preferred choice for its client all cross globe. It uses sophisticated testing equipment for analysis, complaint handling mechanism, CAPA, and a team of R&D to develop new products as per customer’s requirement. Meeting with the Regulatory Compliance as per customer needs is a mandatory process that has always been implemented in Sandhya Group.
The advent of technology and innovation has brought a sea-change and being a part of the tech drive is a necessity, rather than just an option for today’s business. As industries are in a constant state of change, the chemical industry is one of the top industries that are prone to changes and mergers. Many companies are thinking about how to quickly integrate acquisitions to release promised synergies and onboard new revenue sources, and how reduce complexity? Streamline workflows across the entire global value chain; how to resist commoditization by embedding themselves more intimately within customers’ innovation and operations cycles; how to rapidly enter, differentiate, and win in new markets.
The new-age technologies are bridging the gaps and are providing innovative solutions that are helping the chemical industry to be progressive. The digitalization of the business has already made a huge impact and yet carries the potential to simplify countless hurdles. Specifically, the Internet is itself the biggest boon to the industry as it enables professionals to reach out for the best. ERP solutions like SAP have been the most favored application for the chemical industry as they optimize and collate data from every unit and maintain only in a repository reducing the manual effort to a great extent. Aligning to the old school of principles, the Sandhya group has taken the hard road to success. It has always adhered to key elements that have resulted in prosperity and success in the business. Embracing values like superior performance, integrity, entrepreneurship, respect, customer orientation, and co-working, the entity is expanding its horizon at a rapid pace.
Although tirelessly working for the continuous growth and expansion of the Group and as the Group gets bigger and bigger with his aggressive and successful business policies – he is also equally contemplative about the safe bad secure future of the business – the legacy that he wants to leave with the next generations. When asked “How the next generation will respond to this business? What are your plans for them?” – He has his thoughts cut out – “The future of our country is Agrochemical business. This is the field in which we are planning to expand and grow our reach. Our second generation is being raised in an environment that is helping them to understand the nuances of the ethical business from an early age. Their skills are sharpened to know the technicalities of running a full-fledged business and helping it grow further. We are preparing them in a way that will instill the values of leadership from a young age so that they can take over these expansion plans at the earliest.” And what role does government plays in his plans and actions for the present as well as for the future – “I believe that the government should focus mainly on Make in India plans and promotions so that local businesses thrive and expand in the country. Import of Chinese products should be discouraged and products that are made in India should be fully encouraged. This will also enhance the economy of the country and will reshape the business landscape as well. When more Indian businesses will be promoted, a greater percentage of the youth population will be inclined towards starting new ventures or carrying forward the legacies of their family.”
And we would like to end this incredible tour de force of Dr. Patel’s life and the business empire he has built with his words only – and these words will not only shape up future entrepreneurs and business leaders but will make them better and fitter human beings: “I firmly believe in the saying, “Health is wealth”, which is why despite hectic schedules our entire family dedicates some part of the day to mental and physical fitness. Reading books helps me to focus better on my work and it also keeps me updated about business developments across the globe. Our mental health is extremely important for our well-being. In these times when stress and lifestyle disorders are creeping upon us, we should take utmost care of our mind and body by meditating, walking or jogging, stretching, and doing lightweight exercises. The goal is not to achieve a perfect body but to maintain fitness that can help us stay agile and take up all possible challenges, whenever they come our way.”
This shows the determination of this great man and his way of ensuring an enduring legacy in the Chemical Industry in our country.