Interview with Mrs. Shree Kelkar of Span Filtration Systems Pvt. Ltd.

Q: Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself (personally and professionally)?

For me, it started out with a strong passion of doing something different and socially responsible with whatever I venture into. With very little technical background or entrepreneurial experience, I entered the manufacturing sector to provide industrial air filtration systems.

It has been a journey since we have set up this company almost two decades ago. This company has been a big part of both my personal & professional life. Professionally, I have always believed in “learning by doing” and following a practical approach. It is my strong belief that a business should be run with utmost integrity, and therefore root its culture in my spiritual upbringing. At SFS, we believe a sustainable business is built only through constant value addition, ethical business practices, good product & service quality, setting realistic targets and having a SMART vision.

Q: How did you get started in this business?

It all started with tremendous passion for providing air filtration solutions for the manufacturing sector, especially for the machine tools industry and automotive sector during the late 1990s. This passion was aided by timely support from our now long-term business partner Filtermist situated in UK. Filtermist was looking for a strong & reliable technological partner at that time to establish its market in Asia Pacific region. Through years of hard-work, commitment to our common goal and a lot of concept selling, we have established ourselves in the air-filtration industry. After the takeover of Filtermist by
Absolent Group, eventually Span Filtermist became Span Filtration Systems Pvt. Ltd, wholly owned by our organization. Through continuous R&D with our partners, we have now achieved an acknowledgeable position where we can provide complete & diverse range of air filtration solutions to our customers, whatever manufacturing processes they may have!

Q: Can you describe your customers/what type of customers do you have?

As we ventured into this business, our focus was mainly on the manufacturing sector especially the automotive industry and machine tool industry. Owing to our corporate strategy at that time and favorable market conditions, it stayed the same for almost a decade since our inception. However, since the mid-2000s we started branching out into various other industries like Aerospace, Bearings, FMCG, Forging, Jewelry, Rubber industry and are constantly on a look out to diversify.

Additionally, we offer our solutions & services to both the end customers from above industries (be it OEMs or component manufacturers) and Machine tool manufacturers that supply CNC/VMC machine tools for these industries. This approach allows us to cultivate strong business relationships with our customers across various industries and monitor & adapt ourselves according to the changing trends in marketplace.

Q: What are some of your “keys to success” in building your customer base?

The consistent growth in past two decades is a result of sheer passion and belief in our products & solutions. This is possible because we take total ownership of our products & services and provide technically reliable solutions to our customers. We look at our customers as business partners and work with them together on challenging projects by providing various options & by helping them understand how their investment is justified. By doing so, we gain their valuable trust which we regard as our biggest asset.

Additionally, we believe in doing fair & ethical business which starts right from first customer interaction till the air filtration system is up & running. Further, we provide constant service support over the years of our unit’s operation thus striving for higher degree of customer satisfaction. Lastly, our presence in the marketplace allows us to be vigilant about changing trends and innovate to keep up with the pace and stay competitive.

Q: Is there anything about your business that you feel makes it special?

We, at SFS Pvt. Ltd, are committed to make our customers’ work environment healthier, cleaner and safer for their entire work force. According to us, this is the most important thing a socially responsible organization can do. We help our customers in this initiative to a certain extent. Apart from that, we add value to our customers’ manufacturing processes by bringing down their cleaning costs, minimizing any accidental risks, optimize machine speeds, reclaim expensive coolants etc. Though we started out with concept selling in the beginning; now our customers have recognized the benefits of installing air filtration systems. This is how SFS has become a brand in air filtration industry.

Further, we can bank upon several success stories viz., winning a big order after a decade of patient follow up and consistent technological support OR developing a particular customer abroad for a specific range of product allowing us to receive repeated orders over the years.

Q: Where do you see your business in the next year? In the next five years? In the next ten years?

We have seen a phenomenal growth this FY as compared to the previous, with continuous orders inflow. For the next year, we would like to sustain this growth rate, optimize our internal processes and maintain a healthy cash flow so as to build a foundation to achieve consistent growth figures for the coming five years.

The current government’s policies are boosting investor confidence in industries relevant to our business, which presents us with favorable business conditions to achieve our strategic targets. Our outlook for the next five years is quite optimistic considering the trust we have developed amongst our customers. Apart from that, we plan to diversify our business by timely investment in our facilities, embrace state of the art business practices and strategically reshuffle certain internal processes to aid our business in the long run.

For the next ten years, our mantra is “Observe, Adapt & Innovate”..

Mrs Shree Kelkar

Mrs Shree Kelkar
Managing Director
Span Filtration Systems Pvt. Ltd.
Ramtekdi Industrial Town Planning Scheme
Hadapsar, Pune 411 013
Maharashtra, India
Tel: +91 20 6560 3153/54.