Taking The Legacy Forward
‘Follow your passion, and also focus on building businesses that solve real world problems and not just create valuations’
Photo Credit : Ritesh Sharma
Ujjwal Munjal is the Managing Director of Rockman Industries, a leading auto-components company in India, and the founder of Hero Electronix, Hero Group’s venture into the technology space. He leads a team of over 7,000 employees at both the businesses.
Munjal joined Rockman in 2003, when it was already a respected 43-year-old Indian company. He immersed himself in understanding the complexities and the nitty-gritty of operating an automotive components business. His formative years were spent on the shop-floor, learning the ropes from people closest to the machines.
Rockman had been established to substitute the import of critical and the then technologically advanced bicycle components. “The idea was to support India to become self-reliant in manufacturing,” says Munjal. He has continued to work along the same lines and has brought in various technologies, products and processes to promote manufacturing in India. Additionally, Munjal’s vision was to bring Rockman at par with the best global companies. Munjal’s initiatives spurred growth and pushed Rockman’s revenues from Rs 57 crore in 2004 to over Rs 2,400 crore in 2018, a CAGR of 30 per cent.
Munjal believes in working today for the future and is already preparing his businesses for technology shifts and disruptions. Over the years, he encouraged and adopted technologies that promote manufacturing and capability development in the country.
It was his curiosity and search for the next wave of growth that led him to establish Hero Electronix in 2015. At Hero Electronix, he is building a global technology enterprise and investing in the next generation technologies like IoT, AI, embedded systems all around connected devices.
A technology buff, Munjal believes in adopting and absorbing the new technology. “In India, there is an opportunity to build a scaled technology business. Hero Electronix has already witnessed rapid growth through partnerships in sectors like IoT, semiconductor engineering and embedded systems,” says Munjal.
Munjal’s early years at Rockman have left a lasting impression and it reflects in the way he runs companies. His time spent on the shop-floor taught him the importance of building strong relationships to ensure a trusting work culture. He has always used this learning in all his new ventures as well, where he tries and builds relationships with the team on-ground on a personal basis to better understand and support the businesses.
Social impact and giving back to the society were lessons Munjal learnt early on in life by seeing the elders in his family, especially his grandfather Brijmohan Lall Munjal and his brothers. Over the years, they built various schools, colleges, hospitals and ran rural development initiatives. Currently under Munjal’s leadership, the companies run three skill development centres, have adopted 20 villages, 11 rural schools and are also supporting the country’s open defecation-free drive.
Munjal is delighted to be selected as one of the BW 40 under 40 leaders. “My professional journey has just begun and I have has a long way to go,” says Munjal. He believes that he has been fortunate to have gotten the opportunity to lead Rockman and establish Hero Electronix over the last few years.
Munjal is of the firm opinion that what has been achieved in these two companies is due to the hard work of the teams around him, and the good fortune of being born in India in this golden age. “Our generation has a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to build this great nation,” says Munjal. His advice to the next generation is to think big and to focus on the long term. “The world, and India around us, is evolving. I encourage the young generation to follow their passion, and also focus on building businesses that solve real world problems and not just create valuations,” says Munjal.