Born in the historic city of Bikaner in Rajasthan (India), Premchand Goliya, chairman and MD, Meco Instruments Pvt. Ltd., went to Japan to learn about the latest manufacturing technologies. He returned to start manufacturing in India, taking the production of T&M equipment to a different level. He took over his family’s business and converted what was essentially a distribution set-up into a renowned T&M instruments company with worldwide repute. In conversation with Sneha Ambastha from Electronics Bazaar, Premchand Goliya talks about his journey so far.
Born in the historic city of Bikaner in Rajasthan (India), I was a quiet child. I still cherish the memories of playing with my friends during summer. The days used to be hot then but the nights were pleasant, with a gentle breeze.
I was average in studies. Physics, chemistry and mathematics were my favourite subjects. They have been useful throughout my life. Being born in a business family, it was my ambition to enter the family business and take it a step forward. Thus was born my passion to study electrical engineering from a very young age. In this way I built a strong foundation for myself, my family and the next generations too. My youth began with this vision so I thrust myself into hard work, and never looked back ever since.
We are four brothers and two sisters, and I am the eldest of my siblings. As I was growing up, my younger brothers and sisters were still studying.
My father ran a business at Bikaner that supplied electrical and musical goods (like Philips radios and HMV records). He migrated to Mumbai in 1943, during World War II. There he started a company named American Trading Co., which imported and distributed electrical goods from USA, Europe and Japan. In a short period of time, because of dedication and hard work, he achieved great success in business. He was a contented person and one fine day, he decided to renounce the business and worldly pleasures and devote the rest of his life for the upliftment of his inner self.
My mother was instrumental in guiding me and inspired me to remain strong and disciplined at all times.
My wife, Shanti Devi, and I have two daughters and one son, Kamal, who has been helping me in the business since 1994. My daughters are married and well settled. In the year 2010 we celebrated our golden wedding anniversary in Mumbai.
Life as a graduate
Life as a graduate is not easy for everyone. One had to be very careful in those days. It was very tough for me. Having been cheated many a time, I decided to move to Japan in the early days of my career.
The turning point in my life
Just when I thought that life was getting to be stable i.e. in 1960, the government restricted the import of instruments into India.. This was a turning point in my life, as most of the business norms for established importers changed.
The Japanese businessmen understood our difficulties and agreed to support us in manufacturing panel meters in India.
So I visited Japan twice—in 1963 and in 1965—to learn how to manufacture electrical volt and ampere meters, and to study the technique of instrument manufacturing. I later implemented the same technology at Meco. I was able to trigger a lot of changes, enabling the company to achieve higher productivity good quality and efficiency of men and materials.
I maintained a good relationship with my Japanese partners and in turn, they arranged technical co-operation for us with several manufacturers like Soar Corporation, Seiko Epson Corporation, Micro Denshi and Fuso Electric Co. These companies shared with us their designs of digital multimeters, clamp meters, insulation testers and power transducers, for production in India.
Major contributions to the industry
My commitment towards work has allowed me to introduce a number of new products to the market. Way back in 1964, we introduced the first electronic insulation tester as well as a clamp meter. Since 1965, we have been manufacturing analogue meters, which was much earlier than the other players in the market.
One of my major achievements has been the development of digital panel meters in 1982, which replaced the analogue panel meters. The digital panel meters are used for the transmission and distribution of electricity.
Under my guidance, Meco’s research and development department, makes innovative products as well as upgrades existing products which have much better features and at a lower price.
Meco’s digital multimeter, digital clampmeter and digital panel meter are the most popular of our products, ordered by customers not only across India, but from 50 countries around the world.
Today, Meco Instruments acts as the OEM to manufacturers in Germany, Italy, France and the UK.
What success means to me
According to me, success is the achievement of an objective which is not only related to your personal goals but also relates to the success of everyone around you—your colleagues, family, community and the public – in fact, almost anyone who has in some way or the other helped you in reaching your current position.
I attribute my success to several Japanese friends who helped me a lot in life.
Preferred work environment
When it comes to work, I feel planning is very important. I always try and plan my work for a day, a week and a month, and sometimes, even for a year—to improve productivity and quality.
My passion is to train my employees so that they do proper and quality work. I like to guide our personnel to innovate in order to be competitive in the world market. I have always wanted to train my subordinates, to help them do their work easily and confidently. This gives me utmost joy and satisfaction. After all, they have similar values in life and hence, I enjoy being with them.
Advice to budding entrepreneurs
The budding entrepreneurs of this generation are fortunate enough to be exposed to a lot of options for knowledge-acquisition like websites, which are easily accessible via the Internet and Wi-Fi. They get swift and ready information and the required skills through different media. This results in a large number of technically qualified graduates every year. But they must understand that it’s very important for them to be completely devoted to their work. They should also stick to some good values in life. Their sincerity in business and a firm commitment to serve customers honestly can take them to the top.
There is no shortcut – success requires hard work and honesty. Be honest, helpful, simple and do not harm the interests of others.
Ideas I live by
The first and foremost thing is to enjoy the simple things and follow a discipline in life. The second is to be honest and work hard.
My favourite pastime
I spend my free time in doing welfare work for the poor, in the fields of education and health, holding medical camps and supporting hospitals. I also visit several Jain religious places in India and organise charitable work for the needy. In Bikaner, myself and my family have founded a palliative care ward in the hospital for cancer patients.
Travelling is my hobby and meeting people worldwide is my passion. I socialise and make friends very easily. Many people from far and near come to me for advice, personally or professionally and go back feeling satisfied. I also love to communicate with and understand my global business partners.
- Electrical measurement entrepreneurship award (in 1992)- by Wisitex Foundation
- Appreciation awarded in recognition of outstanding leadership and devoted services to the instrument industry- by IDEMI, Mumbai
- EFY award continuously for three years (2004, 2005 & 2006) in the category of multimeters on behalf of Meco Instruments Pvt. Ltd.
My favourite things
- Favourite music – Indian
- Favourite food – Vegetarian (Jain)
- Favourite film – Pyaasa, Jaagruti, Guide
- Favourite actor – Raj Kapoor
- Favourite singer – Mohammad Rafi