Giving a cutting edge

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Alok Ranjan Varma, General Manager of Assarain Concrete Products & Trading, created razor sharp competitive advantages for his company to differentiate itself in a highly crowded market.

They say excellence is not a skill but an attitude. It holds true in Alok Varma’s case whose 24-year long career in the construction industry has been studded with relentless pursuit of excellence and unflinching commitment to perfection. Fourteen years with India’s Cement leader Associated Cement Companies (ACC), and 10 years with Assarain Concrete Products & Trading (ACP), one of Oman’s largest concrete manufacturers, helped him get acquainted with a wide range of areas of the industry. It has equipped him with effective management skills and enabled him run businesses in specialised and highly competitive markets.

Wherever he worked, the focus has largely been on business expansion, continuous improvement, aligning people, processes and technology. And driving businesses by creating a higher pull on product movement through brand development, close customer networking and forming partnerships with many key business decision makers.

Ever since he became part of the Assarain family, Varma has concentrated on raising the bar of excellence, increasing brand value and creating a committed team by leading people into participative company building. “I have always tried to create razor sharp competitive advantages for us to differentiate our company in the crowded market,” says Varma.

“Over the last 10 years that I have been heading ACP, we have expanded year-on-year to meet the growing demand of our products. We have created another great, technologically advanced manufacturing hub in Sohar, known as Modern Concrete Products (MCP) to cater for the entire Al Batinah region, Buraimi, Yanqul, Khasab etc. and this facility is fully backed by our competent and progressive professionals with excellent service levels.”

In the recent years, ACP and MCP have made quantum leaps in terms of growth, product range expansion and overall development by providing many other smart constructional products under one roof, and emerging to be the preferred supplier of all industry leaders, government organisations, contracting companies and retail customers. Varma explains, “We are quite buoyant towards future outlook as under the wise guidance and leadership of His Majesty, we see a lot of initiatives taken by the government towards infrastructure development. Hence, ACP and MCP are well poised to become the natural choice of many consultants and contracting companies to contribute towards building these projects with their quality products.”

Leading from front
The main thrust of Varma’s management principles has been to create productive teams with good inter-departmental weave. “I firmly believe that the paternal management style or ‘I-know-more-than-you’ style does not find much ground in today’s world,” he avers. “During my entire career, I have always believed in leading from front and leading by example. People who lead should certainly be knowledgeable, diligent, razor sharp, analytical and yet decisive.” Varma considers himself as a “people’s man” which has always given him an edge to create strong and sustainable partnerships, both outside and within the organisation.

During his leisure time, Varma prefers to relax in a serene place reading books on management or watching intellectual discussions or debates on television. His favourite books include Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull and Jack Welch’s Straight From the Gut. He also likes action movies or thrillers. Safehouse, P2, Wrecked and Iron Lady are some of his favourites, while Turkey, Malaysia, Namibia, New York and London are some of his most enjoyable travel destinations.


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