“Entrepreneurs are people who have a vision for somethig and a want to create” – David Karp.
MRF logo was first noticed by the entire world, when the God of cricket Sachin Tendulkar flaunted it on his bat. Many of us thought MRF to be a bat making company. MRF stands for Madras Rubber Factory, India’s leading tyre manufacturing company.
Just a year before India officially became independent, an Indian company was established. In 1946, K M Mapillai with his wife Kunjamma started a venture of toy balloons for which he personally went out to streets to sell those balloons. Later on he learnt about his future new venture of Rubber treading plan, through his cousin. It didn’t take much time for him to learn the ropes of rubber treading.
After the initial success, he spread his wings into tyre manufacturing, challenging the foreign domination of companies like Goodyear, Dunlop and Firestone.
Government of India wanted to reduce the dependency on foreign companies. It forged a way for Indian MNCs to play an active role in Indian tyre industry.
It still wasn’t easy for MRF to face the Indian giants such as Premier, Incheck and National wherein MRF was the smallest players of all. That naturally meant they will face biggest of the problems.
Its competitors blatantly started cartels, influenced pricing and production monopolies. They were united to create roadblocks in MRF’s way.
K M Mapillai’s MRF was destined to lead the industry. They faced and overcame every little adversity that came their way. Its own foreign partners bad-mouthed MRF. They pushed the burdened notion that Indians are weak in manufacturing. K M Mapillai successfully thwarted all the obstacles and kept marching forward.
K M Mapillai knew the magic of charming his customers, retaining them and growing them. He integrated his knowledge from the streets into the MRF Boardroom. He hired Alyquee Padmassee to strike a chord with the general public. MRF’s radical approach of targeting mass consumers as opposed to B2B consumers made them a household name.
From the humble beginnings of rubber treading plant MRF became India’s largest tyre producer and exporter.
MRF not only created prosperity for itself but for many patient investors who believed in MRF’s vision.
Its exponential rise in stock market seems dreamlike for both the company and its investors. It is profit making company after all, however, in its truest form it is very socialist. It believed and delivered the promise of an inclusive growth for India and it’s people.
This homegrown behemoth is an inspiration to all the Indian entreprenuers. Indian companies were not included in the list of global powerhouses earlier, however, MRF paved the way for millions of Indian entrepreneurs as a result of which Indian companies are now considered no lesser than their international counterparts.
MRF is one of the few Indian companies that has set an example to the future generations of entrepreneurs that building a global business empire is possible for any and every Indian.