Cheapest is best

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Cheapest is best
Business Standard, New Delhi, India January 17, 2006
Prakriti Prasad

Technology Vikas Goel claims he sells the cheapest PCs —
and now he wants to trade in commodities.

When Ludhiana born Vikas Goel set forth for Singapore in
1996, he had a clear vision — to create extreme wealth. Ten
years later he remains unabashed: “I knew wealth could be
attained either by extreme innovation or extreme simplicity.
And I chose the latter, doing what others were already into but
with extreme efficiency,” quips the 35-year-old law graduate
and an MBA from Punjab University.

Having acquired a loan of $3.5 million from a local bank in
Singapore, Goel set up eSys Technologies in 2000 to
distribute hard disc drives in India. Within the first year, the
company’s revenues hit $108 million. The meteoric rise
continued and today the turnover is $2 billion. eSys boasts of
a distribution network in more than 31 countries.

But try asking Goel what exactly his business is all about and
he shrugs nonchalantly, “I’m in the business of efficiency.”

Probe further and he relents, “You can call us a combination
of Amazon, Wallmart, eBay and Dell — the business of
process management efficiency. We make business
transactions efficient by breaking them into different steps and
finding the cheapest way to perform them.”

With a geographical footprint across the world, Goel claims 80
per cent of his transactions, say from Moscow to Canada,
happen not within days but within hours.

Having initially started as an HDD distributor, eSys soon
ventured into manufacturing PC components and branded
PCs. “Today every second PC in India has components, if not
the whole system, provided by us,” says the smug managing
eSys has state-of-the-art automated manufacturing plants in
Singapore, USA, Dubai and India which produce “ at $199,
the cheapest PCs on the planet”. boasts Goel. But what about
the quality? “Approximately 10 per cent of our business
comes from offering our PCs to big brands who merely put
their label on our PCs,” he maintains.

eSys was ranked No. 1 in 2005 Enterprise 50 awards given to
the most dynamic companies of Singapore, and adjudged
Indian Entrepreneur of the Year by Singapore India Chamber
of Commerce in 2004.

About 12-13 per cent or Rs 1,000 crore of the company’s
global revenues come from its India operations which was set
up two years back. “We plan to double it in 2006 and are
exploring possibilities to set up manufacturing facilities in
Chandigarh. In the next three months we will set up one unit
each in India and Amsterdam,” rattles off Goel.

With a successful business model in his pocket, Goel has now
diversified into exporting mango pulp, rice, iron ore and
manufacturing lifestyle products and cutlery.

“We know there’s already a buyer and a seller for these
products. We just get between the two of them, give them
efficiency, lower cost and make money for ourselves in the
process,” he explains.

From eSys PCs to mango pulp, isn’t the clientele vastly
different? Goel doesn’t think so, “In America or Singapore, our
PCs are sold next to potatoes and tomatoes at stores and
petrol stations. Once our brands get recognised, it doesn’t
matter what we sell,” he argues. But IT certainly remains the
mainstay of his business.

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