Coming from an Industrialist family of Maharashtra, Tushar Shelke has an entrepreneurial spirit deeply embedded in his genes. His Great Grandfather was the first Indian to develop an Indigenous Coal Gas plant and designed the famous Vishwas Oil Engine back in the 20th century. While pursuing his Bachelor’s Degree in Business at MIT, Pune; he started working with the popular Italian luxury bike-maker, Benelli. Today, he has an awe-inspiring sales figure of 400+ superbikes, especially in smaller towns. His persistence and dedication in serving society made him create “Krushi-Chang Harvesters” with Thailand-based Chang Tractors which has revolutionized the sugar industry with affordable and modern technologies.
Tushar sat down to chat with Storiyaan about his journey, motivation, and much more.
Questions and answers
What was it about superbikes that fascinated you in the first place and what impact did it have on you to choose to work with Benelli while pursuing your degree?
My fascination with superbikes started from a very young age when I saw my father’s interest and passion for them. It was this passion that made me observe and welcome the steady increase in the demand for supercars and bikes that India has seen in the last 12 years. In the year 2017, Benelli had just launched in India with value for money superbikes and I decided to read about their rich history in racing and that got me interested in working with them.
Selling superbikes in a small town was a challenge but you sold over 400 superbikes since 2017. What were some of the lessons that you took back from this experience that shall remain with you in the later phases of your career?
Although it was challenging, my team and I came up with a perfect plan where we first established the brand by conducting various activities spread over a year. Our main focus was on providing after-sales services where we ensured that every customer’s purpose was fulfilled to his utmost satisfaction. I learned that customer satisfaction and personalized focus on each of their demands is the most important aspect of sales.
What drew your attention to the agricultural sector in the first place and what do you believe has been the biggest drawback in the sector, especially when it came to sugarcane and how do you believe the infusion of technology can improve it?
We manufacture spares and tools for the Sugar mills and cater to more than 300 + sugar factories in India and abroad. Although, India is the largest producer of sugarcane in the world; not much has been done about the several challenges faced by the sugarcane farmers like high cost of production, short crushing season, low yield of sugarcane, old and obsolete machinery, etc that made me wish to help ease the challenges to whatever extent I can. We saw a Thai company become the pioneer in mini sugarcane harvester and manufacturing with infusing technology and manufacturing experience. We got inspired by their example and wished to experiment and bring results.
The aim of “Krushi Chang” is to create a sustainable future and value through technology for the farmers. What are some of the immediate measures that were taken to attain this goal?
Our immediate goal was to bring awareness and education about our product to the farmers. We started working on the ground and conducting live demos, showcasing our harvesting work and affordability and easy maintenance. In the coming years, we will focus on a larger audience and improve our product and services.
What were some of the policies that you had to resort to to cut off expenses and reduce losses during the pandemic while keeping employee interests into account?
The pandemic forced us to take drastic loss-reduction measures, currently, all our marketing activities and promotion are on hold but we are taking action to take care of our employees and helping them in these trying times. We also plan to implement morale-boosting measures like promotion and appreciation.
Can you provide us with a peek into any new project that you are working on and how does it aim to revolutionize aspects of society?
We are working on introducing new products and technologies for our brand “Krushi Chang” and also looking forward to establishing a new company for providing accurate after-sales services in the automobile industry. Hopefully, we will be able to roll out our products in the coming few months if the pandemic situation gets better.