The Man behind MDH

Shri Dharampal Gulati, born on March 27, 1923, in Sialkot in present-day Pakistan – fondly known as ‘Mahashay’, was an Indian businessman. He was the founder and CEO of MDH, an Indian spice Company. He was a visionary and fondly referred to as the ‘Spice-King’. This magnanimous gentleman established 20 schools, a 200-bed hospital for poor and a mobile hospital for slum dwellers. In 2016, he received ‘Indian of the year’ award by ABCI, Excellence award for lifetime achievement in 2017, and was also the highest-paid CEO in FMCG sector in the same year. He used to donate 90% of his salary to charity and received a Padma Bhushan in 2019. A school dropout at the age of 10, Mahashay left his hometown Sialkot, Pakistan, during the Partition and arrived in India in 1947. In 1958, he set up a small spice store in Karol Bagh, New Delhi to restart his father’s business with the same name ‘Mahashian Di Hatti of Sialkot’.

While working at his father’s store, he developed a knack for doing business and visualized the concept of ready-to-use spice powders, at a time when most Indians would grind spices at home. In 1959, he set up a manufacturing plant in Kirti Nagar, New Delhi. Mahashian Di Hatti was formally registered as MDH Private Limited in 1965.

His sheer dedication, determination, and sincerity in maintaining the quality of the product helped the Company to achieve greater heights. The Company procures raw material directly from the centres of produce to maintain uniform taste and quality. The ‘Arch of Europe’ award for excellence in quality received in Paris and ITID Quality Excellence Award are a testimony to the fact that MDH has maintained quality.

The Company has well-equipped R&D laboratories which work incessantly to develop new blends of spices. Moreover, the quality control labs test for the consistency in the taste and quality. These have been the two pillars of success for the Company.

Mahashay didn’t believe in using the success of the celebrities to promote his brand. Since he was the man behind MDH’s success, he started featuring himself in his brand ads to promote MDH, making him the brand mascot. Four decades down the line, this strategy has helped the brand in gaining trust and brand recall. MDH further keeps their margins as low as possible so as to dictate prices and make quality products available at an affordable price. This has led to a 30% growth in revenues despite an increase in input prices.

Where does MDH stand today?

The ever-growing demand has made the Company reach greater heights. MDH has a 12% market share in India with more than 70% coming from north India. The Company has large fully automatic manufacturing plants at Delhi, three plants of spices in Gurgaon, Papad and Export Unit in Nagaur (Rajasthan), two plants of methi and spices in Sojat (Rajasthan). The Company has set up branches at Ghaziabad, Amritsar & Ludhiana as well.

MDH has expanded overseas too by the efforts of Shri Rajeev Gulati, son of Mahashay. The Company products are being exported to around 50 countries. Today, MDH has a range of 62 products available in over 150 different packages. These are dispersed through a network of over 1000 distributors and over 8 lakh retail dealers in India and abroad.

Contributor: Team Leveraged Growth

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