Stainless Steel
Tuesday | 14 July, 2015 | 12:31 pm

Export express

Written by By Emily Vasquez

Stainless steel producer invests big in high-quality products and long-distance service

July 2015 - Stainless steel consumers around the world rely on Venus Wires Industries. Why does this Mumbai, India-based company matter? Venus Wires exports products to over 50 countries with 95 percent of its output shipped into North America and Europe. 

Venus Sales and Marketing Director Pratik Sanghvi shares with Modern Metals the traits and practices that have kept the lights on for 50 years, without needing to establish production in North America.

All in the family

Although 8,000 miles away, Sanghvi treats American customers as if they were down the street. A family-owned company, Venus Wires is not just a voice-operated, order-taking telephone system. A second-generation owner, Sanghvi says the company values humanity over business. 

“We firmly believe that business is built for people. Our belief is reflected in our approach with all levels of the supply chain. Be it our suppliers, customers or employees, we treat them all with dignity and respect. We treat them as our extended family and develop long-term relations,” he says. 

While the “familial” relationships Venus has formed around the world are its foundation to establishing the three-tiered company, its specially formulated stainless steel products are the anchor its customers rely on. 

Venus Wires Industries Pvt. Ltd., a division of the Venus Group, started as a trading company in 1965 selling stainless steel long products within India. In 1990, Venus expanded its production unit to export material. A young supplier in the export market, the mill quietly grew its presence in the stainless steel global arena. Venus Wires sells to a wide range of industries: automotive, oil & gas, medical, hydraulics and pneumatic equipment, shipbuilding and, more recently, aerospace, Sanghvi says. 

MM 0715 stainless image1

In addition to Venus Wires, the parent group operates Venus Weld and Venus Bars from a plant near India’s busiest seaport, Nhava Sheva. Total production capacity is 60,000 metric tons per year. With 1,000 employees, Venus Group makes round, square and hexagon shapes in various sizes, including its trademark products, the VSQ bar (PSQ), FitMach machining-grade stainless bar, Solenoid quality bar and Tru:Tuf  stainless steel bar. Its production quality is backed by ISO 9001, ISO/TS 16949, AS 9100, TS 14001, OHSAS 18000 and ASME Section III certifications.

Finished entirely within the Mumbai factory, the stainless products are controlled from “ingot to shipment,” Sanghvi says. Stainless steel products are heat treated in-house in Venus’ computer-controlled furnaces to customer specifications, giving Venus full command of the product, keeping heat consistent and making scheduling amenable to abrupt changes. Products undergo rigorous surface roughness tests, 100 percent crack testing, tolerance tests by laser micrometer and ring gauge testing prior to shipment. 

Flexible arrangements

Sanghvi says Venus strives to be highly flexible in order to adapt to the specific needs of niche markets. Its engineers are always on hand, experimenting with special chemistries to reach customers’ desired specifications. “In the grades we make, there are more than 10 different chemical compositions each to suit different application requirements. Our flexibility over all these processes and meeting exactly what a customer needs gives Venus the added advantage.”

Steve Spradley, owner of Best Stainless & Alloys LP, Houston, has worked with Venus for over a decade. Since its founding in 2003, Best sought suppliers that could formulate chemistries distinct to its brand. “Of course, we buy from many different mills but they’re one of our key suppliers, and a good supplier,” says Spradley. A stocking service center that works with premium specialty stainless and nickel alloy bars, Best Stainless’ performs such processes as honing, turning, heat treating and waterjet machining. Finished bars are sold into markets like oil & gas, rotating equipment, mining and petrochemical. 

One of the special chemistries Venus supplies Best Stainless is PSQ bar for pump shafts. Ranging from 1⁄2 inch to 5 inches in a variety of grades 20-foot random lengths, Venus formulates the PSQ bars to match Best Stainless’ customers’ requirements.

“This development has helped Venus achieve [a rate of] less than 100 parts per million for products that don’t match the specifications ... for PSQ bars [made] for Best Stainless. Such reliability helps our customers grow their business more with lower inventories and fewer complaints from their customers,” says Sanghvi. 

Spradley adds that competitive pricing and customer service have kept Best Stainless loyal. “Customer service has been excellent,” naming Sanghvi and sales representative Thrideep Pillai as timely and courteous when addressing errors or concerns. 

MM 0715 stainless image2

Direct delivery

A primary concern for distributors—no matter the time difference—is prompt delivery. Aware of the long-distance trip its products must take, Venus is on high alert when it comes to packaging and delivery. The mill rigorously checks material quality to ensure order accuracy prior to shipment. 

“Most of our business in the United States is with DDP, delivered and duty paid. Once a customer places the order with us, we take care of all other factors involved to complete the transaction. We deliver our goods right to their warehouse on flatbed trucks, exactly like a local supplier. Hence, for customers it’s as good as buying locally. We have long relationships with shipping and warehousing companies locally to handle all our needs,” explains Sanghvi, adding that, because surface quality is so important, each bar is bundled in “seaworthy packing to avoid any damage caused during transit.”

Venus has an 80 percent on-time delivery rate. Ocean-going vessels can face delays. To communicate unpredictable changes, customers are given weekly progress reports “and—in case of supply line stoppage on the customer’s end—we also deliver the material via air,” says Sanghvi.

Although Venus conducts the vast bulk of its business dealings from India, face time is not out of the question. Venus has four manufacturer’s representatives serving the United States who are on call to resolve problems and give in-person attention to critical needs. These reps are educated on stainless steel long products, acting as liaisons for Venus, reporting back to Venus management. 

Spradley says Venus representatives proactively seek resolutions without delay. “We take our claims very seriously. We pay attention to the smallest feedback from our customers and try to implement [changes] in our procedures to avoid problems in the future. When we receive any complaints, it is always followed up by a local representative’s visit, who collects samples and sends them to India. After detailed study of our internal procedures and samples, we derive conclusions and take necessary action,” says Sanghvi.

Ultimately, Venus wants to guarantee quality products for its customers, no matter how far the material travels. Nearly 25 years after introducing its product to the United States, Venus is now a supplier for several major service centers, a segment that has grown 10 percent annually. Sanghvi anticipates Venus Group will increase its production capacity down the road, noting the automotive and medical markets are looking “very good” in 2015. 

Sanghvi cannot emphasize the group’s philosophy—humanity over business—enough, saying, “We discourage all unethical trade practices and cultivate self-respect and freedom among the people working with us. Venus always aims to have sustainable development and build a business for the people.” MM


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