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Interview with Anurag Agarwal

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Anurag Agarwal is a man who started his life from very humble beginnings, runs an Rs. 375 crore business, treats his employees like they are his own family, believes in nature, trust, and building relationships ahead of generating revenues.

He credits his success not to himself but to others. His father imbibed in him the value of ethics and his mentors who guided him to be a professional and his colleagues too who have been with him in this journey for a long time.


Anurag Agarwal, Managing Director, Natural Remedies, his journey his challenges, choices, and the building of Natural Remedies from scratch. We all have heard of this ancient saying, “A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step”. It applies to me too though I can also say it was literally the case for me.

My Grandfather had started this business in the 1950s and I was sent to then Bangalore (now Bengaluru) to build the family business of herbal products. Those days, south India was quite different than as you see it today. It was a new and exciting beginning for me that I had embraced when I was asked to move to Bangalore to build a business in South India. Later, western India was added to my portfolio after seeing my success in South India.

The business that was started by my grandfather saw many twists in the 1990s. There was a family split in the business in 1996 and my father was handed over the southern part of the business as his share. Undeterred, we started the human health export division and renamed it Natural Remedies in 1998. It was the start of a new journey.

It was a challenging time for us. Though we had a sizeable number of years of experience under our belt, we were left with limited resources and a shortage of funds. By God’s grace and tremendous support from our business mentors, we managed to push through those tough times.

 

Natural Remedies was built brick by brick


Natural Remedies was built slowly over time. Our core values, vision, and mission stood us through good times and bad times. Emphasis on treating employees like family was an integral part of our business growth. If our employees are happy, our business will grow was evident. We grew from Rs. 20 crores to Rs. 375 crores in flat 18 years.

We have evolved over the past 20 plus years. We brought in professionals who shared similar thoughts that were in sync with ours. They aligned themselves to our way of working. By giving our heads of departments a free hand to shape the destiny of the company, we created departments and capable teams who maintained professionalism and ensured we did ethical businesses. We also encouraged and supported our employees to reskill and evolve as we believe it is important for everyone to grow.

My experiences have taught me about the power of focus. The 80:20 Pareto principles helped me to focus on the things which matter the most, supported by a very able and committed team. We all constantly evolve and support each other in embarking on new activities to expand and grow the business.


As the CEO & MD of Natural Remedies, I don’t multiple roles. I have to be a leader, a visionary, a decision-maker, a manager, and also manage my family. “If we take care of people’s aspirations, trust will continue to grow among the teams resulting in robust business performance. Over here, we demonstrate trust leadership on every occasion therefore, people are happy to stay with us and contribute to mutual growth,’

 

CUSTOMER FIRST…

Though this is said by every company in the world, we at Natural Remedies follow it differently. For us, all our products are derived after understanding the customer’s needs and requirements. At Natural Remedies, right from the procurement of plants and herbs to maintaining quality, safety and consistency, our products talk.

Unlike other manufacturing processes, there are high degrees of challenges that we undergo as we deal in the photogenic space. We have built our expertise around overcoming these challenges thus, creating a strong customer base and product development using scientific validations.

AND HAPPY EMPLOYEES TOO

When we had restarted our lives with Natural Remedies, my father told me, take care of your employees and they will take care of your business. One of the key aspects for our growth was this policy that we followed. Our employees are our most cherished resource. Like how a farmer loves his produce, we love our employees. We treat them with the utmost respect and our work culture reflects what our Vision, Mission, and Values are.

We take efforts to imbibe the Vision, Values & competencies when an employee joins us. Understanding these professionals come from different backgrounds, we make it a point that people understand our culture and get comfortable in imbibing the same, understanding how it supports their life journey. There are Personal Transformation groups that help assist our 500 plus employees in learning, understanding, and practicing the company’s values and competencies while performing daily work.

“We develop and nurture our employee’s talent via NRPL Talent Development Program. This program consists of identifying, nurturing, developing, and sustaining talent across all the levels and business units. Some of our initiatives under the people development area are the High- flyers program, Emerging leaders club, Coaching, and Mentoring,”

Following these winning strategies, allows NRPL to have an open-door culture where transparency is a given. Every employee has unrestricted access to their respective line managers, cross-functional managers, HR, and to me in case of any concern or query.

 

“We encourage all employees to share ideas, concerns, and feedback related to their job roles and professional life,”

 

IT IS REWARDING FOR EMPLOYEES ALSO


Our employees are rewarded and recognized at every step of their career with us. At NRPL, fun-filled activities, innovation, work-life balance for our employees, long-term incentives, performance-based incentive, the concept of GEM (Going the extra mile), and pilot projects ensure there is a healthy cross-functional collaboration at every level. Employees from various functions are encouraged to come out with collaborative execution ideas for the pre-defined business goals and areas defined in the individual/team goal sheets that are in turn aligned to Annual Operating Goals.

All employees are encouraged to come up with GEM projects which are in line with well-defined key goals of the organization, that may have revenue, cost, quality, timeline, or process impact on the business. These projects could be in line with AOP (Annual Operating Plan)& the Long-term strategic plan.


Thank You

Anurag Agarwal


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