GKB OPHTHALMICS LTD WINS TOWER RUN 2019
Our company GKB Ophthalmics Ltd. at Tivim Industrial Estate, Mapusa,Goa won the second place at Goa Tower Run 2019 held in Panjim recently. The first place place was bagged by our group company GKB Vision Pvt. Ltd from Pilerne Industrial Estate in the same event. The sixth edition of this race up and down the staircases of five seven storeyed buildings totally 840 steps up and 840 steps down at Panjim’s business hub, Patto Plaza with 25 teams from Corporates and 15 students and individual teams were in the fray in this unique urban sport that is accessible to anybody who is fit to climb the stairs.
- MasterMind Award 2010
Mastermind Award for the year 2010.
After the huge success of MASTERMIND 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009, it is now time to give away the Mastermind Award for the year 2010.
This year has been a successful year in achieving the goal of receiving maximum number of ideas out of which substantial number of ideas has been successfully implemented.
New ideas from all the employees brings about a rapid change in the process by way of operation, saving of time, money, effort or just bring about a positive change in the organization.
The participation from all the Engineers and Section In-charges in giving the ideas was well appreciated by the Management. Needless to mention the excellent job performed by the Mastermind Committee in short listing the various ideas received and putting them into trial and finally one idea was found to be good and time tested.
We are happy to announce that the winner of the Mastermind Award 2010 is Mr. Vilas Shirodkar from our unit-2.
He gets a cash prize of Rs.10,000/- and a Mastermind Certificate.
Besides the annual Mastermind Award, the Management has also constituted monthly ideas scheme. It is a great change in the positive direction which encourages everyone to participate and try to be a winner. Such monthly awards gives a boost and motivation were employees and engineers working in the organisation can participate.
Extract from the news magazine "Business India, October 4th 2009"
GKB Ophthalmics aims to become a global Multi-purpose ophthalmic outsourcing company
Krishna Gopal Gupta, chairman and CEO of the Rs120 crore GKB Ophthalmics Ltd, has an ambitious vision. His future blueprints are to make his company the first Indian ophthalmic multinational- an Indian company which will outsource products to global ophthalmic companies and laboratories. To achieve this, GKB Ophthalmics is on a major expansion drive. The company has entered into a joint venture (JV) with the Rs.919.3 crore Spanish ophthalmic company, Indo.
The Rs.2 crore %0:50 JV will see GKB Ophthalmics marketing INDO’s range of ophthalmic equipment in India. By doing so, Indo will gain a foothold in the Asian markets, while GKB will get the latest technical know-how. Later, Indo will increase its product range to be manufactured by GKB, which may include frames and lenses.
Says Antinio Olivella Cunhill, CEO, Indo, “The purpose of the JV is to manufacture quality multi-purpose ophthalmic products. As the product range increases, so will the investment. Indo is strong in equipment, and GKB in lens. This synergy will see GKB’s sales increase by 10 per cent.”
The JV company, Indo-Prime Visual Technologies Private Ltd, will be executed in three phases. Phase I envisages the import and distribution of INDO’s equipment and scanners. Phase II will ensure that GKB assembles and manufactures INDO’s ophthalmic equipment in India. In Phase III, GKB will become the main manufacturing hub for INDO’s product range, which will be outsourced from India and sold in Asia and Europe.
Costing anywhere between Rs.12.5 lakh and Rs.23 lacs, such optical equipment will be aimed at medium and up market opticians. The sophistication of the equipment enables opticians to change the shape of the lens according to consumers’ demand, or according to the shape of any particular frame. Moreover, the lens can be fitted into the frame in as fast as 15 minutes. Due to the sophisticated equipment and ease of operation, GKB has set a target of 10 machines a year; and with the market growing by 50-60 per cent annually, the company expects to double its sales by 2011-12.
“GKB’s portfolio was lacking in optical equipment. This was needed as we want to provide value and better service for world-class products with the help of MNCS like Indi,” says Gupta.
According to Gupta, India is gaining global reputation as a world-class manufacturing base. Global ophthalmic companies, with manufacturing costs running as high as 40 per cent, are increasingly looking at GKB Ophthalmics to outsource their products. Realising that it has this potential, GKB is gradually progressing from a 100 per cent export-oriented unit (EOU) to a global multi-purpose ophthalmic outsourcing company.
Two factors are responsible for this. One, GKB Ophthalmics’ two EOUS in Goa and nine laboratories of Prime Lenses (subsidiary of GKB Ophthalmics) manufacture progressive lens (bi-focals with invisible lines), hi-index lens, multicoated lens of international standards, which are exported all across the world. Tow, GKB’s strength is its technical expertise gained from various tie-ups with leading ophthalmic players. It has an agreement with Kodak for distribution of high premium lens in India, as well as a licence from the US-based Corning Inc to manufacture Corning’s photo-chromatic lens, Sun-sensor Plus. And the tie-up with Indo will ensure that the latest cutting drills and edgers are available in India.
All these factors give GKB the confidence and edge to meet the demand from ophthalmic laboratories worldwide, which is growing at an annual rate of 20 per cent. With a 40 per cent market share in India’s Rs1,000 crore ophthalmics market, GKB Ophthalmics’ future plan is to make Goa the base for outsourcing its products for ophthalmic companies and laboratories in the US, Africa, Europe and Asia.
Says Prakash Joshi, Director, Prime Ophthalmics Products Pvt Ltd, “Today, demand for unique and special types of lens is on the rise. Requests have come in for jewels to be embedded in the lens, or even the edges of the lens to be carved in a special way. This is where international know-how and technology from India will play an important role in boosting exports".
Manufacturing five brands-Kodak, Promax, Taral, Proviz and I-Viz-at its Goa EOUs, GKB today exports lenses to over 40 countries. The two EOUS have a daily capacity of 15,000 lenses, which are sold in Europe, Middle East, the US and sub-Saharan countries. As part of its expansion plans, the company has set its sights on Australia and South Africa. To boost exports, it is setting up its own distribution network in Europe and the Middle East. The company has already set up three overseas subsidiaries – GKB GmbH, Germany, GKB Sharjah FZE and GKB USA, in Nw Jersey.
To meet the demand of global companies which are shifting the manufacturing of high-end premium lens- with prices ranging from Rs.50,000 to Rs.1 lakh – GKB has increased the production of such lenses by 50 per cent to export 30,000 high-end premium lenses every month.
Global demand for plastic lens is increasing at 25 per cent, but the two EOUS at Goa manufacture only glass lens. To target the plastic lens market, GKB is investing Rs.8 crores in a 900 sq ft factory, which will have highly precise moulds for plastic lens.
Growing global demand.
The company is also investing Rs. 5 crore in capacity expansion to meet the global demand for prescription lenses. One German company has entered into an agreement with GKB to supply 1,000 prescription lenses a day. The prescriptions are e-mailed to Goa, lenses are manufacture locally and couriered back tow days later.
Says Gupta, “In short, we are trying to become an ophthalmic BPO. We gained that experience while manufacturing Kodak lenses to be sent to Africa and now we want to expand in a big way.”
Started by K.G. Gupta in 1960 with a capital of Rs35,000, GKB Ophthalmics’ first big break came in 1975 with an export order for Iran. For GKB, exports have always been its forte with 33 per cent being exported to the Middle East, Europe, the US, Far East and Africa. In 2008-09, the company exported lenses worth Rs80 crores, compared to Rs60 crore in 2007-08. Domestic sales have also risen from Rs24 crore in 2007-08 to Rs26 crore in 2008-09.
Admits J. Cuncolienkar, Professor of Ophthalmology, Goa Medical College, “With literacy rates on the rise, there is an increased awareness of eye-care products, combined with the need for stylish eyewear.”
With GKB witnessing good growth, Vikram and Gaurav Gupta, the two sons, are slowly taking over the reins of the company. Vikram, the eldest son, will look after the new JV with Indo, while Gaurav will concentrate on exports. But K.G. Gupta will be a content man when his personal creation, ‘Taral’ – fluid, in Sanskrit – a progressive lens, will be used by everyone across the globe.
As Gupta says, “Everything is here in Goa-international knowledge for lens, equipment and world-class R&D. We just want to make global quality lens for all strata of society and ophthalmic equipment for companies across the globe with the magic words: ‘Made in India”
With 40 per cent market share in India’s Rs1,000 crore ophthalmics market, GKB Ophthalmics’ future plan is to make Goa the base for outsourcing its products for ophthalmic companies and laboratories in the US, Africa, Europe and Asia.
Mansion Of Glass - The GKB Story
Their story was almost half-over by the time they reached Goa. But this also means that the GKB group has spent over half its lifetime in this unlikely, small State, and without any regrets for it. Recently, on turning golden, this prominent opthalmic player took time off to reminisce and tell its story. Chairman and CEO of the Goa-headquartered Rs.120 crore GKB Ophthalmics Limited, Krishna Gopal Gupta penned his memoirs on the events leading up to the landmark. Not surprisingly, Goa plays a significant role in his story.
GKB works out of Tivim (Carasvaddo) and the Pilerne industrial estates. In Goa, hardly a place where one would like to create ophthalmic lenses, the firm is probably more visible for its retail showrooms. But, from its base in the State, it has built up a market that spans the globe.
Today, it can claim to do business with over a hundred countries worldwide. It has a subsidiary company in Sharjah UAE, and another in New Jersey, US. Recently it launched a joint-venture with prominent global players Indo Internacional of Spain. Not just that, the Gupta brothers that were behind the GKB story, have now ventured into their own ways. This means they’re making a bigger splash nationwide, competing with each other in a way, and shaping the Indian ophthalmic market too. Two of the four – K.G. and M.K. Gupta – retain their strong links with Goa.
But their roots go back to a small venture they started, literally in the backyard of their home in Agra. It was only in 1983 that their first plant in Goa – GKB Ophthalmics Limited – got going full steam with its production. Uttar Pradesh chief minister of the 1980s Narayan Dutt Tiwari “was not happy when I told him at the award function that we had started our 100% export-oriented unit (EOU) in Goa and not in UP,” Gupta narrates. But there was reason for shifting base to Goa.
GKB – which was a partnership founded in 1960, named Gopal Krishna & Brothers – was scouting around for a place for its second unit. One of the brothers, Mahendra Kumar Gupta, came on a recce to Goa in mid-1981. He spent a couple of weeks looking around, visiting various government offices and agencies to understand the procedures here.
Recalls K.G. Gupta in his memoirs: “It was not an easy task and required a lot of determination and will power to go through the process and set things up. Communication between Agra and Goa was still quite difficult in those times. Subscriber trunk dialing for long-distance phone calls to Agra was only available in Panjim and getting a long-distance call through was itself an uphill task.” Even holding consultations was not easy, the two places separated by some 1365 kilometres.
So, at a fixed time each evening, the brother visiting Goa would head for the offices of chartered accountant A.N. Naik of Borkar & Mazumdar on Atmaram Borkar Road at Panjim. From there, he would dial Agra, and report about the developments of the day in Goa.
There were both challenges and advantages in Goa. For instance, distances were then tough to negotiate even in tiny Goa, unless you had your own vehicle. First, it meant travel by bus, though the local unique two-wheeler motorcycle taxis also played a role for them then. Opting for the Tivim-Carasvaddo industrial estate, the Gupta brother who encountered Goa was “all praise for the support he was getting from the locals, and particularly from the government agencies. It was quite a contrast from the attitude that we were accustomed to in North India.” K.G. Gupta recalls that various government officers had “quite a positive attitude and welcomed us as entrepreneurs.”
Another important aspect was geography. In Goa, it helped to have proximity between all Central government offices. “Here, the industry office, import and export office, passport office, Reserve Bank of India, Company Law Board and Excise and customs were all clustered together within a range of two kilometers or so from one another in Panjim,” he points out.
But moving over operations from Agra to Goa was no cake-walk for the then struggling entrepreneurs. Manpower was to be divided between the two locations. An infusion of more finance was needed. Modernisation was a challenge, more so for a company that prides itself on keeping quality high.
There were other unseen enemies too. Even while it was taking up the Goa 100% EOU (export-oriented unit, which could not sell its product in the local market), there was turmoil in the Gulf. Iran and Iraq were at war.(Iraq was once a dominant market for GKB, and KG Gupta’s narration of his struggles to get an early toehold in the Gulf market can be an inspiration for anyone who thinks life can be hard.)
You might end up feeling that the GKB story is some kind of an unreal, Bollywood blockbuster. There were so many challenges, problems and impossibilities on the way. But somehow things did work out, not without persistence. From the Middle-East, its markets grew to reach Africa, the Far East, and finally ultra-competitive Europe and North America. From his base at Goa, K.G. Gupta took on the job of selling a better vision to distant parts of the globe. Registered in December 1981, the Goa plant’s challenge was to find global customers and new markets. Gupta’s story suggests that the Goa factory played a crucial role in their venturing into the European market.
Goa peppers his memories that go back five decades. Its plant here went into production on May 1, 1983, but only after German engineers came to set up the plant here.
Passing outside the gates of the Tivim industrial estate, on the road which connects Mapusa with Bicholim and beyond, one might not have suspected that the work from here was reaching customers in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain or Kuwait.
Overseas customers visited Goa; but at times matching production with markets turned out to be a battle for orders. With pride, GKB maintains that quality has all along been its mantra – even if this meant making a special trip to Iran to sort out fears over quality, or scouting around in Europe for the right machinery that would give this growing group the advantage.
GKB says getting access to finance wasn’t an issue in here. As Gupta narrates: “The Economic Development Corporation of Goa – the state finance corporation and industrial development institution in GKB’s second home–had financed our project. Now called EDC Limited, the institution was already extremely happy and fully satisfied with our record. They were in fact coaxing us to take additional loans from them. We finalised our expansion plan and submitted it to the EDC. It was promptly sanctioned.”
Finally, K.G. Gupta too shifted base to Goa. From here, he kept travelling overseas to secure orders for Goa and Agra.
Having a 100% export-oriented unit meant finding more business in distant places, like Cyprus. Incidentally, GKB Ophthalmics is one of the first five 100% EOUs set up in India. Many later wanted permissions to sell in the domestic market. Later, the government allowed 25% of production to be locally sold, after paying import duties. But since the duty on finished ophthalmic lenses was as high as 95%, GKB found this facility “quite meaningless”.
KG Gupta says, “We had no option but to continue with our exports. We had a flood of orders in 1984 and 1985; but still, fear always lurked as to what would happen if the orders stopped. How would our new establishment at Goa survive?”
But, like a good story, this one too continues to have a fairly happy ending. Their lenses got rated high, and reputations spread. Occasionally hiccups like orders getting blocked in the pipeline, led to layoffs and labour dispute. But by 1987 and 1988, lost ground was recovered; GKB Goa turned the corner and was making profits again. By the end of 1990, the developed countries had become GKB’s main markets. They were reporting repeat orders from England, Germany, France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus and Australia. “The Middle East continued to be our strong market with our main customer base coming from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Dubai, Bahrain, Jordan and Kenya,” says Gupta, telling an unusual story of how a one-time small firm made its dent.
Reading between the lines, it becomes clear that Goa played a role in shaping the vision that many across the globe today rely on. In more ways than one.
GKB’s retail optical shops had their staff trained here. An entire plant from Europe – packed in 32 full-sized containers – was relocated to Pilerne. Staff from Goa helped build operations in Europe and elsewhere. Lenses made here reached the world.
But all cannot be hunky-dory in an enterprise, and these aspects too emerge in the story told as the group turns golden. Beyond the specifics of a successful enterprise, the story that emerges here is that determination, persistence and a commitment to quality are the crucial ingredients that could work wonders in just about any business. Starting tiny is no handicap.