How a business conglomerate is redefining entrepreneurship?

In an exclusive conversation with Dr. Rajendra Kumar Joshi, Founder, Rajendra And Ursula Joshi Group sheds light on the growth plans of the organization.
Dr. Rajendra Kumar Joshi

Tell us about RS India, its inception and journey so far.

RUJ & SRM Mechanics Pvt. Ltd. (RS-India) is a joint venture between the Indian organization Rajendra Ursula Joshi Group and Swiss based firm SRM AG. Incorporated on 10th of June, 2016 under the Companies Act, 2013, RS India was established with the objective of manufacturing and assembling of high precision parts, metal anodizing, painting, heat treatmentand other high quality products. Rajendra Ursula Joshi Group has been founded by Dr. Rajendra Kumar Joshi and Mrs. Ursula Joshi.

Since the manufacturing sector holds the key position in the Indian economy, there is a minor glitch where, high dependence on imports for precision parts has been seen amongst Indian manufactures. Noting this, the founders realized the gap and saw it as an opportunity to fulfill the needs of these Indian manufacturers by establishing a Swiss Precision Assembly Unit within the country in the state of Rajasthan. The group introduced RS-India with an initial investment of Rs. 300 Cr.

RS India is the brain child of Dr. Rajendra Kumar Joshian 85-year-old Swiss based India Citizen and a social entrepreneur with a cause. He believes that India is the largest economy and has a huge talent pool which can make India a world leader in the skills segment and the manufacturing sector. Over the years the founders Dr. Rajendra Kumar Joshi and Mrs. Ursula Joshi have travelled the world and have always been inspired by the Swiss and European countries,their skilled workforce and their pattern of skilling their youth which has made them world leaders today. The countries believe and implement the unique model of ‘Dual Skill Development’. The ‘Dual Skill Development’ system focuses on training individuals through both practical and theoretical study which is a part of the curriculum for every young citizen in Switzerland. It is this Dual System of Skill Development that makes the young minds take up any challenges and be industry ready making them more productive and efficient and ready leaders when they enter any industry/ sector.

RS-India will gain expertise which is being imparted by SRM AG through its 30 years of experience in ‘Precision Manufacturing’. SRMAG plans to bring the broad spectrum of various production techniques with a capability of producing all mechanical components in-house, from prototypes to large scale productions.

RS India since 2016 has grown leaps and bounds. Its production facility in Jaipur, offers manufacturing solutions to the sectors like Automotive, Polymechanical, Machine Automation, Aerospace and many more, where high precision parts plays a crucial role for the end products. RS India offers a wide range of services under one roof assuring Swiss quality and precision. The organization caters to producing small to mid-size dimensions and quantities, pre-assembled and tested components etc. The plant promises to generate employment for over 250 workers and promises a 5600 Metric tonnes of production.

RS-India has achieved 20% of its targeted production of 5600 MT till date.

RS-India follows Swiss Standards in every process asmost of theiremployees from India are trainedin Switzerland with its partner SRM AG to gain hands-on experience.RS-India will be soon obtaining ISO 9001 and 13485 (medical services) certification along with ISO 14001 (Environmental Aspects) and OHSAS 18001 (Health and Safety) certifications.

What are the different fields RUJ Group works in? Elaborate.

A visionary and Philanthropist, Dr. Rajendra Joshi and his wife Mrs. Ursula Joshi, founded the Rajendra and Ursula Joshi Group in the year 2016, with the aim to skill the Indian youth and introduce the ‘Apprentice system of education’. The ‘Apprentice system of education’ is a model highly accepted, practiced and appreciated in European countries. The focus of this model is more on practical training than theoretical training.  Dr. Joshi along with his wife Mrs. Ursula Joshi has strived to set up the entire infrastructure that focuses on skilling the youth and making them more capable and employable in jobs that fit them best. Dr. Joshi is of the belief that, only skilled and efficient workforce with their expertise can produce quality products and a nation that grows in global competition.

A social entrepreneur who has been a scientist, researcher, has travelled the world over and has realized that the nation’s growth relies on three aspects, to contribute towards nation’s growth by presenting a model ecosystem of skilling-employment-growth, a progressive system of education, employment and meaningful contribution towards country’s economy.  

RUJ Group has diversified businesses as under:

  • RUJ & SRM Mechanics Pvt. Ltd. (RS-India) for manufacturing precision & assembly, for the sectors like Pharma, Aerospace, Machine Automation, Healthcare, Automotive, Photo Technology etc. in JV with a Swiss company SRM AG.
  • Bhartiya Skill Development University (BSDU) is the first unique skill development university in India with a vision to create Global excellence in skill development sector by creating opportunities, space and scope for the development of talents of Indian youth and by making them global fit.
  • RUJ Woodcraft Pvt. Ltd. is into designing, manufacturing and providing the best of the customized furniture to the Indian marketplace.
  • RUFIL – Rajendra and Ursula Joshi Food Industries Limited (RUFIL) is a dairy plant which is producing a vast product portfolio made out of milk, though initially dairy products like toned and doubled toned milk, curd etc. are being produced.
  • RUJ Elecon – This company is a B2B project-based service providers who deploys electrical projects in India
  • RUJ Hospital will be providing world class medical facilities in Jaipur
  • RUJ Skill Schools will be providing basic skills to school drop-outs and generating employability for them.

What is the brand’s vision and philosophy? How are you planning to achieve it?

Dr. Joshi says that, “Any growth strategy is incomplete without a people plan.”Driving growth by making people capable and productive by offering them jobs that fit and suit their ability is the most important objective of Rajendra and Ursula Joshi Group (RUJ). The Group with BSDU and RS India is committed to nurturing leaders of tomorrow by teaching and by hand-picking the most promising from its existing talent pool and coaching them to create a succession roadmap.  His mantra towards philosophy that RUJ Group follows is “Skilling people, Skilling India is the key to building a strong nation.”

The literacy rate in India shows that youth literacy rate for ages 15-24 was 95.2% in 2015 whereas adult literacy rate was 80.1% in 2018.  There was a time when education was considered paramount for building a triumphant career but in today’s times contrarily empirical education has become cardinal as industrial produce are competing on global stage; hence, skill development is required to achieve individual’s career goals with ultimate goal of national economic sustainability and growth. Indian academic curriculum needs to be revolutionized to create job-ready graduates.  This forced Dr. Joshi to think about skilling youth right after the student finishes his basic education.

RUJ Group has invested about 500 Cr. in Bhartiya Skill Development University and about 300 Cr. in RS India with an aim to support employability, challenges, opportunities, gaps, demand, supply of the workforce and their development through vocational training and apprenticeship programs along with being a quality supplier for precision parts at global platform. 

Dr. Joshi and Mrs. Joshi have over the years always thought of bringing a positive societal change which was not only possible through charity but by showcasing a self-sustainable module which can educate-cater-empower society in best possible way.

Dr. Joshi and Mrs. Ursula Joshi have recently introduced RUJ Skill School with an aim to help those who have unfortunately missed out on proper education which includes school dropouts, children or youth with learning disabilities or youths who had to leave school due to any reason.  RUJ Skill School intends to rescue those children from streets and skill them to suit their future choice of trades like farming, brick layering, woodwork, plumbing, electricians, barber, tailor, etc.

What persuaded or inspired you to work for skill development of youth in India?

Dr. Joshi in his later years in Switzerland wanted to contribute back to his motherland and would always be astounded by the Swiss systems of skilling the talent pool which differentiates them from other countries. He has observed that while Swiss, German and Austrian economies took very little recovery time after being hit by the massive World War II economic crisis, Dr. Joshi studied and realized that it was the trained workforce and ultimately their education system which was responsible for this short recovery time.  This workforce is not of merely managers but interestingly those skilled managers who are skilled in the trade so well that they acquired maximum productivity out of machines.

According to report published by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) in 2018, there are around 31 million unemployed Indians seeking jobs. Problems of unskilled youth, lack of jobs, reluctance of industries to accept poorly skilled person including engineers are the rising problems that today’s generation is facing.  Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) in its annual report of 2016-17 said that less than five per cent of the total workforce in India has undergone formal skill training.

Dr. Joshi upon returning to India realised that the country had a tremendous pool of talent, which needed education with a moto of making the youth skillful and employable. Dr. Rajendra Joshi maintains that according to India Labour Report 2012, around 12.8 million people would join the labor market annually, whereas the current capacity of the skill development in India is 3.1 million. According to a recent report, he adds, an estimated incremental HR requirement for skill development in the period 2012 to 2022 for India is 12.03 crore.There is a skill gap among Indian youth population. Dr Joshi opines that India can learn from European system of ‘apprenticeship education’ to leapfrog growth.This inspired Dr. Joshi to work for skill development of youth in India.  

Following this, Dr.Joshi introduced the concept of the first skill-based University under the name Bhartiya Skill Development University (BSDU) Jaipur. BSDUaddressesthe aspects of creating employability and capability by offering ‘Apprentice system of education’ and training students for customized work processes in industries.  Students trained at BSDU are offered immense practical knowledge alongwith theoretical knowledge where, one student is trained on one machine and is offered knowledge right from designing, maintenance to creating work orders. Every student is offered job roles that expose them to the industry environment where they are trained for 6 months per semester of a 3year curriculum that comprises of 6 semesters in total, thus making them ready leader or ready managers.

The student recruited from BSDU has an edge over the other candidates as he has gained immense knowledge on machines and the processes. Dr. Joshi believes that the future of Indian education should include substantial apprenticeship/internship as part of curriculum and should integrate education with the industry. BSDU’s Swiss Dual system is a boon for Skill Development as it emphasizes on offering a curriculum that is flexible and not stringent like that in the traditional education system. 

The prime moto of establishing Skill University was to incorporate and replicate Swiss Precision in all processes and across all lines of businesses of RUJ Group. Dr. Joshi has tried implementing through a model of different businesses along with Skill University through appointing a team of Swiss experts and Indian trainers in the University. Swiss Precision is a unique proposition in the story of Skill Development in India.

Tell us about Bhartiya Skill Development University. How is it different from other such institutes?

BSDU emphasizes on the dual training system where the focus is majorly on practical experience and exposure, this is the sole reason why students are offered a very flexible curriculum and are not bound to complete a programme if recruited by the industry. Students are offered multiple entry and exit points to maintain flexibility and enhance their skills at any point in time of their respective careers.  Programmes are designed in a unique way where one-student-one-machinery environment is created to provide a workstation like experience. The students are trained under the watchful eyes of the experienced, knowledgeable Swiss and Indian trainers. BSDU has many industry collaborations and some of them have set up their own workshops to help students in getting trained according to their own work modules.

One of the major USP of Bhartiya Skill Development University apart from world class infrastructure, fully equipped machining labs and the best of trainers is the organized approach towards skill development in nation.  The President of Bhartiya Skill Development University, Dr. (Brig.) Surjit Singh Pabla is also the president of Association of Indian Skill Universities.  AISU holds regular meetings to formulate guidelines and standards regarding the structure of a Skills University given that it deals with multiple sectors, trades and job roles.

BSDU offers industry integration module where students earn and learn with more than 50 MoUs signed with different industries. To pursue a career path, a student who has interest in a particular trade can go on to do a PhD degree from the university.

Tell us about your marketing strategies. What percentage of your overall revenue goes into marketing and promotions?

As the organization has recently begun its operations and has introduced new lines of businesses, we would say, we are at a nascent stage and would try to explore more avenues as they come up. We would like to introduce many aspects of marketing in RUFIL i.e the Rajendra and Ursula Joshi Food Industry Pvt Ltd which will be manufacturing Dairy products such as milk, Chaas, Dahi etc. RUFIL will soon be extending its product lines into yogurt and many more dairy products. We have recently conducted the foundation stone laying ceremony of Rajendra &Ursula Joshi Hospitals Pvt. Ltd which will be a super multispecialty hospital and will begin its operations in two years from now. Rajendra and Ursula Joshi Group will soon be introducing other companies such as RUJ Elecon and RUJ Woodcraft.

What are your plans for expansion?

RUJ Group of companies has invested over Rs. 2000 crore to upskill the Indian talent. Apart from Bhartiya Skill Development University (BSDU), Jaipur, this multi-dimensional organizationwill be coming up with a hospital under the name Rajendra &Ursula Joshi Hospitals Pvt. Ltd. This super multi speciality hospital will have 150 beds with specialties in cardiac, gastroenterology, urology, nephrology, endocrinology and cardiac rehabilitation care.

Rajendra and Ursula Joshi Food Industries Pvt. Ltd (RUFIL) which was established in 2014 with an objective to manufacture quality food products. The company has set up a state-of-the-art dairy processing facility with an investment of Rs 40 crore in this processing plant and procurement infrastructure and plans to invest additional Rs 10 crore for expansion by 2019. Rajendra and Ursula Joshi Group will also be launching Woodcraft Pvt Ltd. which is into delivering customized furniture in best quality and short production time. The furniture will be pre-assembled in the workshop and instalment time will be very short and tidy. The group has also begun operations of RUJ Elecona company which will undertake turnkey electrical projects.

In terms of expansion in various other cities, RS India will be gauging opportunities with companies from India to receive customized work orders. RS-India would further like to work alongwith the suppliers in India to improvise the logistics chain and reduce the logistic lag experienced while sourcing raw materials and reducing the damage caused during transit. The company is looking at a possibility to increase its client base in India by offering precision parts and components while catering to the requirements of companies in India who requireprecision parts with no compromise on quality.

Dr. Rajendra Kumar Joshi