This electrical engineer went from working for UPS companies to building one with a Rs 200 Cr turnover
Amitansu Satpathy’s father always told him, “Do something excellent and stand out from the rest of the crowd,” – words that were etched into his memory.
Amitansu lost his father when he was very young, but these words stayed with him. The loss of his father made Amitansu determined to stand for himself, become financially independent, and take care of his family.
But he didn’t always know he wanted to become an entrepreneur. After his bachelor’s in electrical engineering from NIT Kurukshetra, he took up a job in the UPS (uninterruptible power supply/source) industry.
“I started working for domestic and international brands. I built an understanding of the know-how, challenges, and nuances of the industry,” he says.
Through the 90s, Amitansu helped several international UPS companies set up their operations in India. This experience proved to be a turning point for him. He picked up in-depth knowledge about international alliances, product technicalities, sales, operations, and more.
“The software boom was happening around the same time, but I was not enamoured by it. Rather, I believed in the longevity of the UPS industry and wanted to start my own company,” he says.
Amitansu harboured this dream as he worked for an international UPS company that entered into a joint venture with an Indian conglomerate. One day, he heard the company was on the verge of breaking up. Employees had started feeling insecure about their jobs and had started looking for opportunities elsewhere.
This was when Amitansu, 29 at the time, decided the time was right to quit his job and start his own UPS company. He raised some funds from his friends, family, and business contacts and started Best Power Equipments (BPE) in Noida in 2000.
In an exclusive interaction with SMBStory, Amitansu explains how he led the company through many challenges and made it into a leading, Rs 200 crore manufacturer of UPS solutions and inverters.
Edited excerpts from the interview.
SMBStory [SMBS]: What were the initial days of BPE like?
Amitansu Satpathy [AS]: I started BPE with the determination to achieve big things. Initially, I started trading UPS products. But in a year-and-a-half, the company was strapped for cash. I began looking for investors and it was a struggle.
Financial constraints at the time led us to lose large projects. Our products were taking time to be accepted in the market. Larger and established UPS companies had negative perceptions towards new companies like BPE.
A sudden encounter with a friend’s brother gave us a new lease of life. He was looking to invest in some companies. He was convinced by my idea and invested around Rs 30 lakh in BPE.
SMBS: How did you go from trading to manufacturing?
AS: The fresh funds helped the company build financial acumen, build its import-export network. I also set up a manufacturing unit in Noida and began making the UPS and inverter products myself.
Today, we have three factories in Noida and Greater Noida, and have 300 employees. Our product offerings include Line Interactive UPS, Single Phase Online UPS, Three Phase Online UPS, Modular/Rack Mount UPS, String Grid-Tied PV Inverter, and Central Grid-Tied PV Inverter.
We also make Intelligent PV Combiner Box, DC Power Distribution Cabinet, Monitoring System, Energy Storage Systems (single-phase and three-phase), solar deep cycle storage battery and complete power solutions, including data centres.
SMBS: How did you diversify into different product categories and markets?
AS: BPE diversified into different product categories as per the need of the market. We started manufacturing for various industries such as banks, industrial establishments, telecom, etc. This helped in business growth.
We focussed on large quantities of business orders, and prioritised OEMs and third-party labelling. In the first 10 years, we invested in infrastructure to cater to the large needs of various customers.
BPE has also spread to different domestic and international markets. Today, we are present in Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Philippines, UAE, Kenya, Africa, and Turkey.
SMBS: What is the USP of the products?
AS: We focus on making state-of-the-art products and also offer after-sales service. In the UPS and power solutions industry, we think we have some of the best product specifications coupled with the latest technology, developed by our in-house R&D team.
This is all backed by international certifications to prove product quality for the entire range. We focus fully on product customisation and site-specific needs.
The products are sold through our network of distributors and channel partners, who receive a profit of 20 percent. We believe in large volumes and high profitability for dealers. We have more than 300 channel partners and distributors, including. Our main distributors are Ingram Micro, IRIS Computers Ltd.
SMBS: What were some key milestones in your business journey?
AS: We won various awards and accolades from industry sector events. BPE was one of the leading players that supplied UPSs for the Commonwealth Games in Delhi. We bagged largest single order from FIS Global for Deployment of UPS all across the state of Punjab for ATMs.
SMBS: Who is the target audience?
AS: Our target customers are government organisations, industrial plants, IT/ITES, BPO and services companies, banking, insurance, and finance agencies, other institutions in the corporate sector, and small and medium businesses.
We target them through enquiry-based lead generation, boosting our presence on social media and other digital marketing platforms, and more.
SMBS: How are you staying ahead of competitors?
AS: The biggest difference we see between us and others is the product support. As we are Indian manufacturers and more than two decades old in the industry, we understand the market very well. This has led us to reach the level of product localisation.
We understand the demand of each industry and based on which, we have been expanding and customising the product range. We have seen a 25 percent year-on-year growth in revenue, which gives us more confidence to expand and innovate.
SMBS: What are the future plans for the company?
AS: In the coming years, we would want to concentrate and put our energies in innovation, R&D, expansion and technology. We wish to align ourselves to 4.0 technology, which is enabling faster, more flexible and more efficient processes to produce higher-quality goods at reduced costs.
Our future objective is to be the leading manufacturer in the industry, with innovation and adapting to market changes. Regarding the product portfolio, we have recently expanded our offering to the Philippines, UAE, the Middle East, and many more markets. We are planning to expand our reach across the world by 2025.
We will also enhance our after-sales services which enable our customers to minimise business interruptions, improve system availability, enhance the manageability of power devices and optimise the cost of ownership.
(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)