The chemical manufacturing industry is currently undergoing a significant transformation, marked by a surge in demand for sustainable products and a shift towards circular economy practices. At the forefront of driving this change is Süd-Chemie India Pvt. Ltd. (SCIL), a pioneering company led by CEO Mr Prakash Babu Surya.
Founded in 1969 as Catalysts & Chemicals India (West Asia) Pvt. Ltd., the company emerged as a leader in catalysis. Subsequent mergers and acquisitions led to transformations, with the company being renamed United Catalysts India Ltd. (UCIL) in 1979 and Süd-Chemie India Pvt. Ltd. (SCIL) in 2000 with Süd-Chemie A.G. Germany acquiring CCI, USA’s shares.
Acquired by Clariant International in 2011, SCIL now stands as a global giant, delivering catalyst solutions and catering to both Indian and international markets. Their strength lies in a profound understanding of chemistry and its applications, addressing the specific needs of clients in both Indian and international markets.
Dedicated to crafting catalysts that embody innovation, environmental sustainability, and resource conservation, SCIL aims to provide cutting-edge solutions for technological advancements while enhancing end-product efficiency and quality. The company envisions pioneering a future of sustainability through catalysts.
SCIL’s organisational culture is underpinned by five core values, collectively abbreviated as “CHIME.” The company emphasises Commitment, with a dedication to honouring commitments made to internal and external stakeholders and maintaining confidentiality.
Honesty and transparency form the foundation of SCIL, ensuring openness and truthful communication without misleading or concealing information. Integrity is paramount, with ethical conduct at the forefront of all transactions.
Mutual trust and respect are promoted, acknowledging stakeholder needs, valuing contributions, embracing responsibility, and maintaining accountability. Excellence is ingrained in SCIL’s ethos, with a commitment to compliance with safety, health, and environmental regulations, striving for excellence in manufacturing processes, product development, quality, and customer services.
Mr Prakash Babu Surya has been associated with Süd-Chemie India since 1992 and has held the position of CEO for the past 12 years. Throughout his tenure, with his highly competitive spirit, he contributed to the enhancement of market share, the development of innovative products, and the expansion into new segments. Mr Prakash’s leadership is marked by a harmonious blend of heart and mind, fostering teamwork and empowering individuals for innovation and sustainable transformations.
His inclusive approach involves every employee in shaping the organisational vision, ethics, and work culture, creating a sense of ownership and entrepreneurial spirit. Mr Prakash advocates for strategic and intelligent performance, coupled with loyalty and dedication, both at the individual and organisational levels. SCIL, under his guidance, embraces a distinctive “Home to Home” culture, fostering a conducive work environment where employees feel comfortable and are motivated to deliver their best for the organisation.
With 50 years of establishment, SCIL has earned global acclaim and is lauded for its groundbreaking products and exceptional service with a commitment to innovation, environmental sustainability, and community development. The company specialises in the development and scaling up of new catalysts, serving as a commercial manufacturer for these crucial components. Employing cutting-edge manufacturing technologies, SCIL produces a diverse range of oxide, precious metals, zeolites, and wash coat-based products.
At SCIL, recent efforts have seen an increased emphasis on sustainable products and initiatives contributing to greenhouse gas emission reduction. Beyond production, the company offers valuable after-sales services, including performance evaluation, life predictions, troubleshooting, and loading/start-up assistance. Tailoring its products to diverse industries, including petrochemicals, automotive, synthesis gas, and refineries, SCIL boasts a clientele exceeding 100, featuring prominent names such as IOCL, HPCL, BPCL, IFFCO, Khibhco, RCF, and Chambal. With a dedicated workforce of 535 employees, the company operates production units in Kochi and Vadodara, supported by offices in New Delhi and Mumbai.
In the chemical manufacturing industry, catalysts serve as the linchpin for customer’s unit performance, reliability, and overall profitability. SCIL, with a profound understanding of the chemical industry spanning fertilisers, refineries, petrochemicals, steel, speciality chemicals, and semiconductors, excels in delivering competitive, cost-effective, and high-quality catalysts complemented by the best services.
At SCIL, safety stands as the top priority, regarded as a non-negotiable aspect. The company places utmost importance on both behavioural and process safety, working tirelessly to eliminate all safety risks. Culturally, the belief prevails that all incidents are preventable, with a shared responsibility to avert them. This philosophy is translated into actions by fostering a psychologically safe environment and encouraging individuals to report unsafe conditions transparently and fearlessly. All reported concerns are circulated without filtration, ensuring timely action. SCIL actively engages every stakeholder in cultivating a foolproof safety culture through frequent safety audits, mock drills, and the incorporation of HAZOP and HIRA processes from the project conception stage. Strict monitoring of DART rates is enforced to ensure a vigilant approach to safety.
The journey for SCIL was not without its challenges, particularly when European companies attempted to flood the Indian market with products to eliminate competition. However, SCIL successfully navigated this situation by proving predatory pricing and subsequently securing the imposition of antidumping duties.
Introducing newly developed products to the market posed additional hurdles, as did the task of setting up manufacturing facilities with the lowest capital expenditure costs. Nevertheless, the teams at SCIL approached each challenge with determination, commitment, and agility, consistently emerging successful in every instance.
Discussing the success of SCIL, Mr Prakash expresses deep satisfaction with the company’s performance over the past couple of decades. He shares,
Marked by the successful development and commercialisation of numerous new products, SCIL has notably shifted from importing technologies to being a major exporter, with 60% of its sales revenue derived from exports. Emphasising a commitment to “Make in India,”. The company has cultivated a culture of agility, flexibility, commitment, and entrepreneurship, proving instrumental in addressing complex and challenging issues.
Excellence and innovation are ingrained in the culture at SCIL, forming an ongoing and integral process. The company has successfully introduced numerous new products, some of which are groundbreaking and exported globally. SCIL adheres to an innovation policy that emphasises deriving “25% of sales revenue from new products commercialised during the last five years.” This commitment to innovation extends beyond product development to encompass continuous enhancements in production processes, quality standards, energy efficiency, and various other operational aspects.
SCIL employs advanced automation and digitalisation programs to enhance quality and productivity. This includes ERP-driven processes, automation systems, and robust security measures such as EDR, XDR, UTM/Firewalls, and cloud-based email protection. The company utilises many advanced tools and integrates IoT/AI-based systems, with some initiatives already implemented, others in progress, and ongoing exploration. The approach to digitalisation is policy-based, and SCIL fosters a culture of digital innovation through the ‘SCIL-Digital Club’.
SCIL’s vision for 2030 is to continue its historical growth, averaging close to a 20% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR). The company has set ambitious targets for both short-term and long-term goals, with a significant focus on developing products that contribute to sustainability, energy efficiency, and greenhouse gas reduction for their customers.
Demonstrating a longstanding commitment to sustainability, SCIL has implemented various initiatives, including the installation of windmills, biomass boilers, steam turbines, and power optimisers. Their product development efforts are dedicated to crafting solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, facilitate plastic recycling, and support the production of green ammonia and hydrogen. In tandem, the company has implemented effective measures to reduce effluents through recycling processes. Aligned with these efforts, their demonstrations are strategically designed to achieve a 40% reduction in CO2 emissions from 2019 levels by 2030, with the ultimate goal of complete carbon neutrality by 2040.
SCIL also has a robust pipeline of new products tailored for both domestic and global markets, aligning with the “Make in India” initiative and bolstering export capabilities. Mr Prakash, foreseeing a bright and challenging future for SCIL, shares,
“We are actively pursuing several new product strategies, including sustainability measures, digitisation, and automation, to cater to evolving market needs.”