CHENNAI: Any organisation that has been operational for the last five decades becomes a mirror to the changes in the business scenario and industrial environment of the country. When Chemplast — the flagship company of The Sanmar Group — completed 50 years in 2017, a pictorial publication documenting the history of the group was released to provide a detailed account of its growth to the present scenario, as a conglomerate with an interest in chemicals, engineering, metals and shopping. Authored by historian V Sriram, there are 34 chapters interspersed with anecdotes, pictures from archives and moments of glory.
The legacy of the group dates back to the 1900s when Nanu Sastrigal and his son SNN Sankaralinga Iyer of Kallidaikurchi near Tirunelveli laid the foundation stone for the company. Soon after, SNN’s son KS Narayanan represented the next generation in the business along with his close friend and partner TS Narayanaswami. Narayanan’s son N Sankar is the present chairman.
“Chemplast was inaugurated on May 4, 1967. The sequence of numbers 4/5/6/7 makes it an unforgettable date. That was also the day I had my first interaction with the company when I arrived at Mettur for the inauguration. A couple of weeks later, on May 22, I began working with Chemplast as an unpaid apprentice. My association has continued since,” said Sankar in this book.
The book documents the challenges that the group surmounted during the course of its growth. It looks at various business opportunities the group ventured into during the past several years. Not all are with Sanmar today, but it cannot be denied that they too left their impression on the group’s management processes. It also looks at how India changed into a location for business and how The Sanmar Group adapted itself to survive and grow. The book showcases the fundamental principles on which the group has based its growth — integrity, excellence and a never-say-die spirit.
“Looking back, while the progress we have achieved over this period may be muted by current standards, I must confess to a feeling of pride that in achieving this we have firmly established a corporate culture which combines excellence and integrity. The group has been blessed in being able to attract and retain extraordinarily talented, loyal and dedicated employees without whom we could not have achieved what we have,” said N Sankar.
The men at the helm played important and influential roles in social organisation and industry representative bodies. The book serves as an archive of the past for future generations that come into Sanmar.