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January 3, 2013

Hero Cycles – a Name that the Nation rides upon

The Evolution Trajectory


The foundation of Hero Cycles was laid in 1944 when four brothers (Satyanand, Om Prakash, Dayanand and Ramakant Munjal) from a small town in Pakistan started a small business of bicycle spare parts. They were based in Amritsar. After the tumultuous phase of Independence, the brothers shifted to Ludhiana to start afresh. Assembly of bicycles was started in 1956. There has been no looking back since then – not only has the manufacturing capacity increased manifold, Hero Cycles have entered the Guinness Book of World Records in 1986 as the largest manufacturer, capturing about 48% of the market share. The margin over competitors have existed, and only widened, till present date. Today, they roll out more than 18,500  bicycles in a day!


The locality of the first manufacturing plant is known as Hero Nagar, named after this group. The unit is operational even today.


They have gradually diversified into various other sectors – motor cycles, chains, financial services, information technology and allied services. Two wheelers manufactured by Hero or its joint venture with Honda have made Hero (and Hero Honda) the most popular brands in India. Even today, Hero is a name synonymous with trust and quality; and known to keep their products within the affordable range of middle class Indians. Needless to say, the annual turnover of this group is on the rise and is a very impressive figure at present.


Many awards and recognitions adorn the Hero Group today, such as the Best Exporter since the last 28 years.


 Vision


The four founders carefully framed the vision for the group – “It is our mission to strive for synergy between technology, systems and human resources, to produce products and services that meet the quality, performance and price aspirations of our customers. While doing so, we maintain the highest standards of ethics and social responsibilities”.


They strived to achieve new heights in excellence, keeping in mind the benefits for all the stakeholders. Honesty is an essential ingredient in every venture of the Hero Group. These practices are followed to the last letter even today.


Innovations


Having started in the backdrop of very difficult times, Munjal brothers recognized the importance of resources and knew that none of it can be wasted. They adopted the “Just in Time (JIT)” concept of inventory management from the Japanese – procured only as much raw material as was required for the daily production. This principle has been continued even today in all manufacturing units of the Hero Group, thus optimizing the capital investment on raw materials, human resource, etc. Wastage has also been successfully minimized.


The focus area of this group has always been to increase efficiency. Each assembly worker is trained to operate two machines simultaneously to improve productivity and save time. In JIT, targets are planned on a day – to – day basis, with the deadline of a delivery in mind. Customer satisfaction have always been given prime importance, and timely deliveries are just one of the steps in this direction.


Hero Group has always invested some funds in research and development activities – the machineries are developed, fabricated and maintained by in house teams. Thus, these are customizable as per the needs.  


They have always produced bicycles, styled as per the needs of the modern customers, with a variety of alternatives – there is something for everyone, including women, children and the elderly. They invest on the look as well, making their products the most sought after in the market. They have a record of producing as many as 19 designs in a year – this endorses the Hero Group’s commitment towards innovation.


Their marketing strategies also connect with the common man, urging an individual to identify the “Hero within himself”.


Social Responsibilities


In spite of all the success, the members of Hero group have remained down to earth, maintaining a low profile in public media. Realizing their social responsibility, Hero Group runs schools, colleges, hospitals, provides medical assistance to the poor and maintains public facilities. They have actively contributed in the evolution of India on the path of becoming a developed nation.


Controversies


There have been few hiccups in this success story, but none of them are very major. There have been occasional issues in tax payments, or some terms in an unfruitful collaboration, but these controversies have hardly made any impact on the reputation of this group.


Working with the Hero Group


The mere fact that management principles of the Hero Group are taught in premiere business institutions is an indicator of how efficiently the group performs. Surveys among employees have thrown up a very interesting fact – 100% of the employees are satisfied with the senior management! Be assured, this is no miniscule achievement.


The group has footprints all over the globe at present – so one gets exposure to work cultures, best practices and experiences round the clock, worldwide. The seniors are encouraged to take the juniors into confidence and assign important tasks to them, themselves watching from a distance. They put effort to identify the key strengths of an individual after which he is put into a like-minded team to excel further.


The exposure that one gets with the Hero Group is invaluable, and this makes him invaluable in the industry. The commitment to excel, the thirst to innovate and yet be honest is inculcated into an individual. His family life is given equal importance – after all, a happy employee is a winning horse! His religious, cultural and traditional values are respected, and no one is allowed to cross certain fine boundaries during interpersonal interactions. Festivals of all religions are celebrated in small scale, but in full spirit, by all employees in offices worldwide.


At the same time, the salaries of employees, consultants and all stakeholders are maintained at par with the industry. They also look to employ the very best of the professionals, so that their experience can be capitalized upon. Sky is the limit for the career graph of a junior employee who is willing to learn and take up new challenges.  

Tags : Hero cycles, hero group, hero munjal, history, vision, controversies, working with hero group

About Anupama

A Transport Planner and Architect, Anupama has been blogging for about six years now. She has taken up professional content writing for the last two years, and can always be contacted for any assignments or queries. Her strength is original presentation of any topic.