How this trio built a consulting firm with a presence in six countries, from Ahmedabad
One of the biggest challenges organisations face is transformations. Aakash Borse, Vishal Kulkarni and Jalay Pandya were part of a UN capability building and competitiveness development assignment in Kenya. The trio were working on productivity improvement projects at a food and beverage manufacturing organisation. While on the project, they went a little further to support the organisation with strategy, and built a suitable approach to deploy these strategies for top line growth.
They found that the benefits of such engagements were not limiting to East African fraternity but can add value to all lives, irrespective of geography and industry. This led to the creation of Faber Infinite, which conducts management consultation and training focussed on organisational transformation.
The primary objective of Faber Infinite is to create value by assisting client organisations in becoming more effective, efficient and flexible.
Helping organisations grow
“We don’t follow a ‘cookie cutter’ model. Our novel methodology of tailor-made implementation approach for each organisation helps clients to achieve sustained benefits and customer delight through continual improvement,” says 35-year old Vishal.
Vishal says that on an average ‘prospect to client’ is close to a nine-month-long journey. While the trio were working on the concept from early 2012, Faber Infinite was incorporated in January 2013.
Prior to Faber Infinite the three founders were working in the domains of supporting organisations to improve and grow in terms of their topline and bottom-line. Vishal and Aakarsh were providing their consulting services to clients spread across the globe (private and public sector as well, including the likes of United Nations, African Union etc.). Jalay was working with the United Nations as UNDP professional to build competitiveness in the East African region.
Looking across sectors
Faber Infinite aims at helping clients improve upon revenue, growth, profitability and competitiveness. The first assignment by Faber Infinite was to offer improved patient care to hospitals. “We offered it without charging any professional fees with our compliments to serve humanity - at one of the leading trust hospitals in Maharashtra,” says Vishal.
The hospital operational improvement assignment was well-received and had extra ordinary results. Vishal says that they were able to bring about 30 percent reduction in average time spent at the OPD and inventory carrying cost was reduced by 40 percent. All these benefits shall improve patient care and savings will lead to more service in less cost.
However, consulting and training aren’t new to the market. There are several players in the space. There are firms like Cartesian that work on marketing analytics. Cartesian works with businesses across industries to help them improve their decision sciences for their marketing efforts.
The world of consulting
There is Chlorophyll, an end-to-end consultancy organisation started by Yashesh Sethia, Kiran Khalap and Anaggh Desai, well-known names in the Indian brand landscape. There is also Barefoot, a brand consultancy firms for startups. It provides consultation services at very affordable prices, which works out cheaper than hiring an in-house team or a big agency.
Also there is iCubes, a marketing solutions provider that helps brands and companies acquire and retain customers through web, mobile, email, videos, rich media and so on. However, Faber Infinite says that they not only equip their clients with state-of-the-art management practices on strategic and operational levels but also support them to sustainably implement these practices for long-term gain.
According to ASSOCHAM, the growth of the consulting industry had touched close to $5.7 billion by the end of 2015. A report by Careerizma said that several corporations do not mind paying between $200 and 500 for an hour of consultation services. The report also went on to suggest that the consulting market booms even during times of recession and depression.
Top consultancy firms like Deloitte, McKinsey, Ernst & Young have aggressively ventured into the space of brand and digital consultancy. “We take a stand for our clients and promise nothing less than 20 times return on the investment. It is our strong belief to under-commit and over-perform,” says Vishal. He adds that while countries are focussing on competitiveness, with campaigns like Make in India in the country, and Vision 2030 in Kenya – there is a severe need for coaching, catalyst and change agents to support the growing enterprises, which are the engine for growth for any country.
However, working as a consultant has its own challenges, Vishal says that consultants are looked upon as panacea for all issues. There have been cases when the core team has been cash-short but it has never let any of the team salaries or supplier payments get delayed.
Today, Faber Infinite is a 20-member team working across India, Africa and Middle East. In financial year 2014-15 the team had a turnover of Rs1 crore. It is looking to double this in the coming year. They claim to be growing at 100 percent year on year.
The startup intends to scale up the venture at a fast pace, which includes expanding presence in Central and West Africa, and exploring Southeast Asia.
“We look to add two new countries to our reach every financial year. In the next years, our technology offerings should contribute substantially and in the core consulting offerings we foresee 10 times growth, considering the robust pipeline of inquiries and leads,” adds Vishal.