Focus On the Solution Is the Key Mantra for This Entrepreneur
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Raman Narula, Founder and MD, Formula Group, India’s leading integrated mobility conglomerate with a global outreach, was a globe trotter since birth. His father being a professional at British Airways for 26 years, Narula grew up travelling across the globe.
As destiny charted its path, after an early 20’s experience as an entrepreneur in the corporate travel world, he took up job with the popular French Resort company - Club Med, a 1.5 billion dollar company. This gave him a deeper insight into how big firms are run and managed after rubbing shoulders with managers from across Europe, US & Asia.
Narula left Club Med in 1997 to re-initiate his career as an entrepreneur in the corporate travel management business in Delhi and made a mark in the Japan Market as he managed to adapt himself to their much alien culture with great ease.
Entrepreneurship is all about solving problems
When India opened its economy to inbound investments and liberalised laws for doing business in India, a Japanese client reached out to him with his problem.
“He shared the inability in settling their Japanese executives in India due to the vast culture and infrastructure gap. Also there were hardly any legally compliant companies in India who could manage expats in a process driven and empathetic manner,” recounted Narula.
This led him to conceptualise the idea of creating Formula Group which would offer integrated service verticals under one roof to support expats mobility into our country. “My Japanese client loved the idea and came on board as a strategic angel funder and client. That’s how Formula group was born on 21st Jan 2004 and my journey as an entrepreneur took shape,” he shared.
Today, Formula group provides comprehensive client-oriented services in mobility management, relocation, immigration, fleet management, travel, cultural training, corporate housing, furniture rental, as well as global mobility through ten in-house integrated mobility verticals.
Adding tech-innovation to people and process driven operations
The HR Mobility sector is more driven by the human touch and empathy as it is a service which is best delivered by trained and empathetic people who can follow a standardised process for ensuring high quality service experience.
What Formula added to this quotient of people and process was technology which they developed indigenously to manage and align their people with the set processes across India when delivering services.
“We introduced our own ERP environment called Formula Track in which all our consultants and executives log in and initiate services to clients and generate daily reports and information in standardised formats for our clients,” shared Narula.
The group is in the midst of creating an online UI in the near future for prospective clients to be able to access and procure the services online including housing and fleet across the globe.
Highs and lows of the journey
Every Journey has its highs and lows and so did Narula’s. He was blessed to have a team with strong leadership and mid management who took ownership and had commitment. However, the regulatory issues especially in the fleet industry hit him hard.
As the government took impromptu decisions to ban diesel cars and introduce speed governors overnight on commercial cars, banning their registrations otherwise, the company witnessed slowdown and could not meet its deliverables to some clients.
Narula’s long term vision and patience was the key in managing the lows whereby he managed to reset the customers’ expectations and found the way around the challenges. “To focus on the solution is the key mantra of Formula Group,” emphasized the Statistics graduate from Delhi University.
According to Nerula, post GST implementation, all relocation suppliers will need to first get fully compliant if they wish to do business in the corporate segment. “With the economy becoming more and more transparent and organised thanks to GST & Aadhar cards, the relocation industry too will have no choice but to get organised. This will also create a level playing ground for companies of all sizes,” predicted the astute business leader.
Indian Relocation industry to cater to executive mobility service demands globally
Indian relocation industry is extremely unorganised with too many players. What helped Formula Group become a leader is its Pan India presence offering consistent quality of services across India. “Operating strictly under a legally compliant environment has also helped us create credibility in this largely unorganised industry,” notified Narula.
The India Relocation Industry is directly connected with the Indian Economy and its holistic development. With more and more people coming into India to work or seek an opportunity, we see many Indian companies going global and see a larger outbound movement of Indians to other countries to work and execute projects across the globe. According to Narula the relocation industry will have to adapt to this evolution and be able to cater to the executive mobility service demands not just in India but across the globe also.
Being technology driven by providing online user interface to clients as technology continues to become an integral part of everyone’s life, is what he said will be the way forward for the sector.