Manoj Chaudhari: A Veteran Leader Setting an Industry Benchmark

Manoj Chaudhari | Veteran Leader Setting an Industry Benchmark | The Enterprise World

Thriving in the business of Cranes, Heavy Lifting and Material Handling requires leaders to understand the technical intricacies, relevant safety protocols, and best practices. Workers within the construction industry often operate in physically as well as mentally demanding environments. As a result, creating a safe, productive, and motivated team of efficient workforce is a critical leadership aspect for successful project execution.

With over 25 years of experience, Manoj Chaudhari, CEO of Shethia Erectors and Material Handlers Ltd., and Director of HEFT Cranes International Pvt. Ltd. is a well-versed leader in this industry. Seeing the industry at such a close distance, Manoj Chaudhari has mastered the art of handling difficult situations to find quick solutions by leveraging individual talents across the organization.

Leadership Transformation

In the last decade, leadership approaches have shifted from autocratic to democratic, strategic, and transformational. As a result, modern leaders leverage a collaborative approach and commitment to empowerment and inclusion to make an impact. On the other hand, numerous organizations have begun highlighting their forward-thinking by opting for an open work culture and a flat hierarchy—aiming for an innovative yet efficient work environment.

According to Manoj Chaudhari, an ideal contemporary leader must possess a multitude of skills such as a clear vision, sound integrity, communication skills, a people-centric approach, a high degree of adaptability, genuine passion for their work, rapid decision-making abilities, a mindset for delegation, proficient understanding of the numerical data, and a strong sense of empathy.

In contemporary leadership, the adept use of technology along with effective people management is vital. The leaders must leverage their tech-savvy & people management skills to optimize organizational processes and accomplish strategic objectives,” he says. 

The Destined Journey and the Turning Point

With an amassed experience of more than two decades, Mr. Manoj Chaudhari has become a renowned veteran across the heavy-lifting and material-handling industry. However, he highlights that his journey into the construction equipment, lifting, and material handling industry was not a deliberate choice but his destiny.

Manoj Chaudhari’s professional endeavors began with Reliance Industries Limited as a Graduate Engineer Trainee. In a short span, he quickly progressed to Deputy General Manager.

During 13 years at Reliance, he was responsible for various functions—including operations, maintenance, planning, procurement, contracting, business development, and planning. However, he primarily focused on cranes, construction equipment, heavy lifting, and material handling equipment.

Entering his next professional Chapter, Manoj Chaudhari moved to Sarens Heavy Lift India Pvt. Ltd., the Indian Business Unit of Sarens Group Belgium, and the second-largest Crane Rental Company in the World. Driving the company forward as the Managing Director for the India BU, he looked after the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region for an additional three years with some additional responsibilities for North Africa.

For the past seven years, Manoj Chaudhari has been the CEO at Shethia Erectors & Material Handlers Ltd., managing the Profit and Loss (P&L) for the Indian operations and steering the global business interests of the group. Additionally, he is heading the HEFT Cranes International Pvt. Ltd.The Heavy Lift Startup of Indiajointly founded by Manoj and three of the top five Crane rental companies in India – Shethia Erectors & Material Handlers Ltd., Barkat Cranes & Equipments Pvt. Ltd & Amrik Singh & Sons Cranes Services Pvt. Ltd..

Evolved Solutions and Services

Manoj Chaudhari | Veteran Leader Setting an Industry Benchmark | The Enterprise World

HEFT Cranes I is offering the following services/ solutions:

  • Turnkey heavy lifting solutions for Heavy & Super Heavy equipment
  • Detailed engineering studies at Bidding / Construction feasibility study / Feed stage
  • Providing solutions for modular construction feasibility to optimize the schedule
  • Heavy Lifting Tackles, Lift Plans, and Method Statements
  • Turnkey Heavy Lift Projects
  • Specialized In-house Tackles for handling different equipment

While the basics remain the same, there have been significant technological advancements in Heavy Lift Cranes and the Engineering of lifts. Today, a heavy lift is accurately planned and takes less time to execute from its initial concept. The cranes have become more modular and lighter, and have added safety features with warnings and cut-offs.

Filling the Industry Gaps

Historically, Heavy Lift Cranes were imported on a need basis by Indian Customers, a process that demanded planning for several years ahead. However, despite proper planning, the availability of the required Heavy Lift Cranes for specific schedules was unpredictable and required adjustments. The surge in growth across various sectors in India over the past two years has only made this problem worse than it was before.

HEFT Cranes has strategically positioned itself to address such industry-specific challenges in the market. Through HEFT, the lift planning time has reduced significantly from years to months—particularly for crawler cranes with capacities up to 2000T.

HEFT is committed to attaining its objective of streamlining heavy lifting operations to provide businesses the assurance of timely and reliable access to Heavy Lift Cranes. In the pursuit of its expansion, the company anticipates further reductions in planning durations—especially for super-heavy segments led by operational efficiency across the industry.

Enhancing Operational Efficiency

Maintaining a well-rounded approach, promoters of HEFT regularly visits Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) factories and actively participates in exhibitions, seminars, conferences, newsletters, peer group discussions, and various industrial events to stay abreast of industry developments. Networking with key stakeholders such as customers, suppliers, OEMs, employees, and industry veterans further enriches the company’s understanding of the market landscape.

To identify the new tech upgrades, HEFT / its promoters conducts a comprehensive assessment program, which studies and carefully evaluates all the available options. This approach enables the company to select the most suitable product that addresses the specific organizational needs while ensuring convenience. Subsequently, the company carries out a trial run, reference checks, and meticulous implementation processes to guarantee the seamless integration of the finalized technology. 

“The systematic approach reflects HEFT’s and its promoter’s commitment to adopting and implementing technologies that enhance its operational efficiency to meet the evolving needs of its business.”

An Ambitious Endeavor

Opting for an ambitious growth strategy, HEFT Cranes I recently initiated the acquisition of a comprehensive fleet. It includes 1 x 1700T Crane, 2 x 2000T Cranes, and 2 x 2200T Cranes, with the option to add a 3200T Twin Crane and a 4000T Twin Crane to its fleet. Furthermore, HEFT Cranes I has also ordered 5 x 750/800T Cranes.

Simultaneously, HEFT Cranes I is actively involved in the development cycle of various specialized equipment, including the Ringer crane proposal, Tailing Frame, and other innovative solutions to enhance its service offerings.

At HEFT Cranes I, the vision is to provide end-to-end solutions for the entire heavy-lift scope of any project. This strategic approach enables the company to deliver reliable and efficient heavy-lift solutions tailored to the requirements across various projects.

Advising the Aspiring Leaders

Led by easily accessible financing options from lenders and credit terms from suppliers, the traditional entry barriers within the crane industry have significantly reduced.

As a seasoned professional in this sector, Manoj Chaudhari recommends his fellow industry participants plan their expansion cautiously. Given the capital-intensive nature of the Crane Industry, it is vital to make sensible investments that are backed by a robust business plan to mitigate potential risks.

For business leaders, Manoj Chaudhari advises staying positive, keeping a long-term vision, Valuing their people, empowering their team, regularly introspecting to improve, managing their Stress & time well, loving their work, and never forgetting that the Customer is King. One should also remember that Health, Safety, Environment & Quality is imperative and a top priority.

Key Lessons Learned to Thrive In the Industry

Manoj Chaudhari | Veteran Leader Setting an Industry Benchmark | The Enterprise World

Here are the key lessons that Manoj Chaudhari has learned, which apply to all:

  • Never forget the financial discipline
  • Keep Debt Levels low and sustainable even during down cycle
  • Never let go of people who have stayed with you in bad times
  • Never let the reputation of your company suffer
Manoj Chaudhari | Veteran Leader Setting an Industry Benchmark | The Enterprise World
Company size: 501-1,000 employees (Shethia + HEFT)
Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra
Type: Public/Private Company
Founded: 1968 (Shethia), 2023 (HEFT)
Specialties: Heavy Lift Equipment Rentals, Supply of Cranes on rentals, Turnkey Projects in Wind Farm Development, Specialists in Wind Mill Erection, and Heavy Lifting EPC

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