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R K Marble: Creating Beauty that Endures

R K MarbleRK Marble, a leading processor and producer of exquisite marble, has come a long way since its inception in 1989 at Kishangarh, Rajasthan. According to the Guinness Book of World Records and Limca Book of World Records, it is the largest producer of marble in the world, producing 2 million tonnes of marble every year (equivalent to 80,000 sq. m. of processed marble every day). No wonder it has received numerous awards. The R K Marble Group is surely one of the great success stories of modern times. Recently, the STI team interviewed Mr. Vineet Patni and Mr. Vikas Patni, the scions of the prosperous Patni family, to understand the factors behind the phenomenal rise of the R K Marble group.

RK Marble has quarries not only in India, but also in Vietnam and Turkey. These quarries have enabled it to offer a wide range of marble: Its quarries in India produce world-class marble such as Morwad White, Wonder Beige and Ocean Black Phyllite Stone; the quarry in Vietnam produces the finest quality of Flawless White and Cat’s Eye marble; and the quarries in Turkey produce Crema De Novo, a type of fine Turkish marble, and Elmali Beige, which resembles Italian Botticino. Backed by its consistent ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certifications, the R K Marble group currently offers the largest range of Indian and imported marble and exports its products to around 40 countries.

Technology and Innovation

R K Marble owes its spectacular success to its constant emphasis on superior technology and innovation.“Our exponential growth spurts are a result of the investments we have been making in technology in the mining, processing and finishing of marble. We started with just one gang saw, in 1989. Today, we have 22 gang saws and 1 multi-wire saws. Our initial system of mining was rather conventional. We didn’t know much about mining technology. So, my father and uncles went to Italy to get an insight into modern methods of marble mining and processing. They came back with many new ideas. Many Italian experts came here to train our workers… as well. We gradually became more organised and were able to check wastage. As a result, our production increased. By 1998, our mines had become the world’s largest mines in terms of production. We have invested a lot in state-of-the-art machines. Most of our machines are highly customised, which means that the parts of these machines have come from different sources—some have come from Italy, some from Germany and some from other parts of the world. That’s one of the main reasons why we are currently doing somewhere between 1.8 and 2 million tonnes annually,” said Mr. Vineet Patni.

Mr. Vikas Patni also has a high opinion of application of technology to business. Speaking on the advantages of mechanisation, he said: “We were the first ones to mechanise a quarry. It started at our Morwad quarry… . Soon others took their cue from us; they also started importing machines. The sophisticated equipment we use at our Vietnam quarry meets international standards—and that’s why we are always in a position to increase production as per the demand.”

Mr. Vineet Patni

Mr. Vineet Patni

Speaking on innovation, Mr. Vineet Patni said: “In today’s competitive world, you can’t survive or remain in the same position for long without being innovative. One has to be very innovative to remain in the marble business for long. There is no place for copycats in business. Don’t follow, try to lead—that should be our motto. For instance, when we were planning to buy the machines for our new factory (90 Degree), we didn’t know that we could produce such a wide range of products… . It was when we started operating the machinery with proper training that we realised that we could do something different in the field of natural stone processing and finishing. Our attitude to work completely changed; we entered a new work zone, so to say—and all that added a lot of commercial value to our products.”

From a Modest Beginning to Centre Stage

They say beginnings are modest. This saying applies to R K Marble as well. What started as an ordinary business at a warehousing facility in Kishangarh, Rajasthan, in 1989, has now blossomed into a gigantic company. Regarded as one of world’s market leaders in marble mining, processing, research and technology development, today’s R K Marble has a team consisting of 2,200 workers, who work with state-of-the-art machinery worth over Rs. 250 crores to produce 2 million tonnes of marble every year. In addition, the company’s operations have gone global with the acquisition of mines in Vietnam and Turkey.

Speaking on the company’s journey since its inception, Mr. Vineet Patni said: “My grandparents were into food grain business. They used to buy food grains from farmers, store them and finally sell them to the wholesaler. My father and one of my uncles were also in this business. They were regarded as the best businessmen in this area. The other uncle of mine—the younger one—did not want to work in the family business; he wanted to do something different. In 1987, he started his own stone business. Now during those days, stone business was not regarded as a commercially lucrative venture; but he ran this business for a couple of years and to everyone’s surprise made a good amount of money. Attracted by the profit margin, my father and my older uncle decided to start a marble factory—in 1989. But they continued working in the family business as well. The biggest challenge that they faced after setting up the factory was procurement of raw material. So, my father and my uncles decided to start their own mining; but finding a quality mine was a hard nut to crack. In 1992, they somehow managed to get two good mines. They never looked back. By 1998, these mines came to be regarded as world’s biggest mines—in terms of production.

RK

“In 2006-07, we started importing marble blocks, because we wanted to follow the global trend and add variety to our product range. We are currently importing marble blocks from countries such as Italy, Turkey, Spain, Iran, China and Vietnam. So, we are now the largest marble importer in the country; and we are also in a position to approach topnotch architects with our products. Earlier, they were not keen on selecting from the existing products. The best part is that we can now customise the marble for them—something we couldn’t do in the past.”

00 RK_K_410Sultans of Marble

R K Marble’s sophisticated processing centre at Kishangarh and other capabilities have enabled the company to scale dizzying heights. Mr. Vineet Patni said: “We can now do anything on stone—not just marble. Earlier, we were only into marble… . We have facilities for cutting stones like granite, sandstone, slate, quartzite, phyllite and so on. Ours is a unique factory. No one else in India can do what we do. Probably, in the world as well, there are very few companies that can do all stone-processing activities in one building. We have built our facility to offer customised solutions. We can do perfect calibrated tiles—something no one else can do. Our precision is quite good, and our products meet international standards.

Elaborating more on the newly started project called “90 Degree Stone”, Mr. Vineet Patni said: “This unique project is dedicated to high-end designs and exotic finishes on natural stone. A fusion of talent, innovation and cutting edge technology, this project has not only brought the company into greater limelight, but also showcased our ability to create high-end designs and surface finishes. It’s a new way of thinking about natural stone. Our 90 Degree Stone or ‘Master of Stone’ is the pioneer in the country to introduce cut-to-size panels. With the new state-of-the-art factory, which has Italian machines, we can produce ready-to-use, desired stone panels in desired finish, size and thickness.”

Mr. Vikas Patni

Mr. Vikas Patni

Speaking about R K Marble’s special products, Mr. Vikas Patni said: “Our Company has yet another extraordinary and unique product to offer. Known as Wonder Beige, this fine-grain marble comes from the Company’s own quarry in village Kothara, Banswara. This marble is perhaps the company’s most valuable discovery. It is a big jewel in our crown. Let me also tell you that the Banswara mine is spread over an area of 54 hectares and is equipped with state-of-art machinery. In fact, this stone is a good replacement for vitrified tiles for real estate developers, as it has the aesthetic value of natural stone and is available at reasonable prices.”

Taking the Legacy Forward

Both Mr. Vikas Patni and Mr. Vineet Patni believe that despite their success, they cannot afford to rest on their laurels. “If we do that, our competitors would soon take away a lot of our business. We have to be on our toes. If our import capacity has increased over the years, it’s because of our untiring efforts. We are keen on opening new quarries… just waiting for the opportunity. We will also try to increase our processing capacity in our factories. We also have to keep developing our people, as we consider them as our assets. After all, it’s their commitment to the Company that matters the most. Of course, our family members have also contributed a lot towards the growth of the Company…,” said Mr. Vikas Patni.

RK MarblesIn a similar vein, Mr. Vineet Patni said: “We need to take the legacy we have inherited to a higher level. We can start doing this by establishing distribution across cities with our brand… . In addition, we have to do a lot in the area of granite processing. Also, we need to keep expanding 90 Degree. Yes, we will go for more machines.”

Lasting Impressions

R K Marble has an arresting tagline: “Lasting impressions”. It aims to foster a work culture in which the customer gets a lot of importance. Commenting on the tagline, Mr. R. K. Gupta, Executive President, R K Marble, said: “We need to live the tagline. We must do our best to make a lasting impression on our customers, our shareholders, our employees.. People in our country used to do mining in a primitive way. They didn’t know how to use technology to enhance quality and production. We shared our knowledge of technology application with them so that they too could get similar benefits. And while doing so, we made a lasting impression on them. We reinforce values such as honesty and trust through our adherence to quality and customer satisfaction. We educate our customers on application—how to lay marble, how to polish it… . This is how we make a lasting impression on the people we deal with.”

RK Marbles Factory

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