“Honesty, responsibility and hard work is the key to personal and professional success,” says Rajesh Kumar Keyal, Director of Keyal Group. Keyal believes that proper division of work and responsibility makes it easier to attain any goal. “Contribution of all associated members is crucial for the success of any business or industry. Personal success of an individual is an outcome of his professional success,” says Keyal.
--By Om Prakash Khanal
Keyal, a permanent resident of Birgunj is involved in his family business and manufacturing for the last two decades, and is an active member of business fraternity of Birgunj. Keyal Group has been in business in Nepal for seven generations. The Group’s business initially consisted of textiles, wood and hardware, and later the Group entered in to manufacturing twenty years ago.
Born to Krishna Mohan Keyal and Bimala Devi Keyal in Birgunj, Keyal completed his secondary education in Birgunj itself. He remembers growing up a mischievous boy. “I was more interested in playing and having fun than in my studies,” recalls he. As he grew up in a well-off family, he was well provided for and didn’t have to face any adversities in his childhood. According to him, his happy family background inspired him to become a successful entrepreneur.
For his higher studies, Keyal went to Karnataka, India and completed his Engineering degree. “I entered the family business after competing my engineering. The utilized the skills I learned in the Group in construction of buildings, industries, installation of equipments and in manufacturing,” says Keyal. His technical knowledge has helped him set up new industries and also in the daily operations of the Group. According to him, he used his personal capabilities in the development of the Group, which resulted in increased production capacity and cost reduction.
Looking back, Keyal recalls the challenges he faced in the initial phases of manufacturing business. As the Group’s background was trading, manufacturing was an entirely new arena. “The major problem I faced was with investment. Banking sector not was as developed as today back then, and it was very difficult to find the investments,” says Keyal. Today, Keyal says that his company is a strong one owing to his hard work, earned reliability and good business and industrial relations.
Keyal also experience hurdles in his business because of unhealthy competition in the market. “I faced the problem by following new technology and maintaining the quality of my products. Market competition generally helps both the manufacturer and consumer, but unhealthy competition doesn’t benefit anyone,” says he. Keyal says his focus is in providing good quality products to his consumers at a reasonable price. According to him, Keyal Group is committed to taking feedbacks from its costumers and manufacturing products according to the requirement and need of the customers. “We also incorporated new technology in our business wherever applicable. This has not only helped in refinement and improvement in our manufacturing, but has also kept us ahead in the competition,” says Keyal.
At the moment, Keyal Group has numerous manufacturing units under it. Narayani Rolling Mills Pvt Ltd manufactures TMT steel rods and other steel products required for construction works. Star Cement Udhyog Pvt Ltd manufactures Shikhar and Arati cement brands, and Shree Krishna Steel Pvt Ltd manufactures metal pipes and other products. The group also has trading and importing unit that deals in hardware and electronics. In addition, the group also distributes hardware products through its outlet named Bikki Hardware. There are around 15 such hardware outlets around Nepal.
The major focus of the Group is in the steel products manufacturing. Through its industries, the Group manufactures steel rods, flat square rods, angles, black pipes and rolled sheets among other steel products. The Group also has plans of diversification in its manufacturing and trading. The future endeavour of the Group will be in food grains and pharmaceuticals, says Keyal.
Keyal is married to Suman Agrawal Keyal, and the couple has a daughter Rishika and son Shrey. When free from his responsibilities, Keyal likes to be occupied with gardening. He has personally planted various flowering plants and fruits in his residence. His hobby has helped in the construction of gardens in every industry under the Group. He takes some time out of his busy schedule everyday to look after the gardens. Apart from gardening, he is also interested in cookery and photography. Despite his hectic schedule, Keyal says he tries hard to manage time for his family. He says he takes at least two vacations a year, and goes to various places with his family. He has been to many tourist destinations in Nepal and India with his family. Keyal is also interested in doing social work, and wants to give back to the community. He shared his plan of constructing a hospital on Birgunj to help the community.
Growing up in a business-oriented family, Keyal dreamt of joining and strengthening the family business as a child. Today, he says he is happy as he has transformed the family’s major business from trading to manufacturing. About 600 people are directly and indirectly employed in Keyal Group at present. “I am satisfied with the fact that I have been able to provide employment to so many people. If a person holds some sort job, he is the only one who receives employment, but if he becomes an entrepreneur, he can provide employment to many more,” says Keyal.
Keyal says he is an optimistic person and has no regrets from his life. “I believe everything happens for a good reason,” says he. He firmly holds that entrepreneurs and businessmen should research about the market and make investment only after having thorough knowledge of the sector. “Most importantly, an entrepreneur must be friendly and soft spoken. This always helps to achieve success,” says he. To move ahead in business, Keyal believes an entrepreneur shouldn’t be completely satisfied with his work, and must strive for betterment. “One has to be ambitious in his undertakings, but in moderation. Being over-ambitious can also result in failure,” advices Keyal.