Given the rapid urbanization happening at the moment in India, the plywood and laminates market is experiencing great demand and growth in recent times. As per a recent study, the Indian plywood & laminates market which stood at $4.79 billion in 2019 is projected to be worth $7.32 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 4.83 percent during the forecast period. As a result, one can witness a large number of companies foraying into the industry, thus in turn giving an opportunity for leaders from the field to portray their business acumen and drive their organization toward being a step ahead of the competition.
One such leader from the plywood & laminates industry who is well-known in the market for his exceptional leadership and managerial skills is Vishal Dokania (Director, Durian Laminates). Having completed his ICSE from St. Paul’s School, Darjeeling, Vishal moved to the US to pursue his higher schooling, post which he got his B.Sc. in Computer Engineering from the University of Maryland. Later, he worked with a US-based multinational healthcare IT company for three years and then went on to pursue his MBA in Entrepreneurship from the University of Missouri. Additionally, he also holds several diplomas, including one in Family Business from IIT Ahmedabad.
With over 18 years of experience, Vishal has successfully molded himself as a seasoned laminate industry leader today and possesses profound technical and business expertise. He is very well-versed with all the intricacies involved in the laminate business and has, over the years, forged many relationships with both companies and individuals across the globe, including dealers, distributors, architects, and suppliers.
“While I lacked direct industry experience from my education, I firmly believe that my combination of Engineering and MBA degrees provided me with an advantage in managing a business, where technical & business acumens command equal importance. Furthermore, my most significant life experience was inculcating openness towards diversity.
Living in a boarding school followed by a foreign country has helped me get sensitized to diversity, making it easier to communicate and empathize with people from different backgrounds and walks of life. This has been the most critical lesson of my academic journey, equipping me to expand and strengthen our business”, says Vishal Dokania, Director, Durian Laminates.
Product Engineering & Design play a vital role in decorative laminates and leveraging economies of scale can enhance the impact of optimization in this fiercely competitive industry. Thus, Vishal spent the initial eight years of his stint with the laminate industry focusing on product engineering, which has now become the cornerstone of Durian Laminates' entire production team. One of his first projects there was to commission an ERP system, for which Vishal leveraged his Computer Engineering knowledge and experience working with IT giants. This proved to be a game-changer for the company, as the deployed ERP enhanced the efficiency and transparency of the entire process, thus paving way for Duran’s success in the upcoming days.
Over the years, Vishal has honed his leadership skills and is known as the epitome of how a leader must lead his team and organization from the front. Leading by example, being empathetic towards his employees, quickly addressing any issues, and making the team feel belonged are some of the key traits that Vishal imbibes that have led be the successful leader he is today. Additionally, he prioritizes merit over hierarchy and encourages unconventional thinking throughout his organization, thus stimulating a sense of collective empowerment that results in better productivity and efficiency.
A successful business leader must possess a precise & compelling vision for their organization that is forward-thinking & instills inspiration in their employees and customers alike
“A successful business leader must possess a precise and compelling vision for their organization that is forward-thinking and instills inspiration in their employees and customers alike. In addition, effective communication of this vision to their team and stakeholders is crucial. Ultimately, to bring this vision to fruition, they must undertake strategic planning, execution, and continual improvement, and must possess the ability to adapt & adjust to shifting circumstances and capitalize on new opportunities. My vision is to provide long-lasting, top-quality products to home and office owners at economical prices while simultaneously increasing our market share in the industry through an inclusive, efficient, and effective approach to business growth”, Vishal further explains.
Vishal believes it is of paramount importance to stay updated with the latest trends and happenings in the industry. Thus, he is an avid reader of various trade publications and even attends many trade fairs and industry-related events. However, Vishal feels it is from the distributors, sales teams, and dealers that one can gather the most insightful information about the industry. Thus, he always keeps their knowledge and feedback in high regard when it comes to the success of his organization.
“My advice to young entrepreneurs would be to focus on solving a problem, stay flexible, build a strong team, take calculated risks, learn from your mistakes, and most importantly, be persistent. These are some of the must-have qualities of a successful business leader”, concludes Vishal.