Ravinder Sethi, CMD – R E Rogers India Pvt Ltd

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In failure do not loose your strength, In success do not loose your humility

ES. Your love for this industry reflects from the fact that you have spent almost four decades of your professional journey working in it. Can you share with us some major milestones achieved over the years?

Ravinder Sethi. I can speak of countless milestones over our journey of the last 37 years .

To name a few , handling the largest defense and aerospace exhibitions (DefExpo/Aero India) since their inception ; handling the largest sports event (all 3 editions of Formula – 1) in the country ; handling some of the largest live events (Rolling Stones , Justin Bieber, Bryan Adams) staged here ; executing some of the biggest defense projects (Lockhead , Boeing) in the country etc.

However , I’d name our most memorable milestone as what we achieved during Covid. Revenue streams dropping critically for exhibitions, we enhanced activities in our other verticals (defense, special projects, etc.) on a war footing for survival. Survival to revival to growth without any redundancies (or salary cuts !) during the worst period of all our lives is, no doubt, our biggest milestone till date.

ES. R.E. Rogers India (RERI) is one of the market leaders for logistics solutions to the Exhibition, Defence, Sports Entertainment Industries. How would you go the extra mile in keeping a customer satisfied?

Ravinder Sethi. You very rightfully state we are market leaders in all these verticals. We are always proud to lead the way for others to follow! Some key factors on how we continue to maintain this position are:

Having highly professional manpower, globally unparalleled, from top to bottom of the organization.

Keeping as many of our operational tools (handling equipment, custom brokerage, IATA, etc.) in-house and not be dependent on outsourced support.
Maintaining high level quality, sustainable, and safety processes and always keep them on top of our nonnegotiable agenda

We go the extra mile for our customer by being his partner and friend, and not just his vendor. Most important is maintaining our humility in our position as market leaders.

ES. Please share with us your thoughts considering how effectively the IELA has aided its members?

Ravinder Sethi. IELA creates great opportunities and platforms for its members to enhance their knowledge of exhibition logistics and the overall macro industry.

It, moreover, creates a bridge between its members and other stakeholders in our ecosystem – namely, the organizers, venues, and related trade bodies. Last, but not the least, as a strong body IELA is a strong proponent of advocacy and recognition of our members rights and needs globally.

Our Congresses, besides providing knowledge rich programs, are amazing platforms for camaraderie and networking. Foremost on my agenda for Malta is to meet old friends and make new ones !

ES. What is your vision for exhibition logistics? Where is the journey heading?

Ravinder Sethi. I can see net zero carbon goals for on site operations and digitalization of processes being high on the agenda in the coming days.

Being also well established that face to face exhibitions will always remain, logistics will continue to remain the critical component for the success of the industry.

ES. What are some trends we may anticipate in the exhibition logistics sector over the next few years?

Ravinder Sethi. I foresee some interesting trends at a macro level in the future:

Some exhibition logistics MNCs will be proactive and opt for more acquisitions, while some will choose to exit. End result will be only a handful of MNCs being left in the fray.

Mid-size companies, with regional strengths, will continue to grow but will be less dependent on revenues from exhibitions.

Small companies, especially those in the West with limited clientele, will struggle as they’ll be unable to withstand high inflation and a possible recession.

ES. With customer demands speeding up, what are RERI’s plans to keep up with the demand while also being eco-logistic friendly?

Ravinder Sethi. At RER, coping to high customer demands and being eco-logistics friendly go hand in hand. They’re both part of our daily DNA in today’s fast moving world.

ES. Are you in the race for any acquisitions or expansions?

Ravinder Sethi. We’re probably one of the few (if not only !) logistics company on an expansion mode from the Covid days itself .

Our expansion in non-exhibition verticals is an ongoing process, having no effect on our leadership position in exhibitions logistics. Our expansion will continue to be generic and not via acquisitions.

ES. Could you share any experiences with us about how your company managed any crisis situation and ensured all shipments from clients arrived on time?

Ravinder Sethi. I don’t want to be specific, but over the last 37 years we’ve had some instances of critically delayed shipments arising from strikes, vessel delays, natural calamities, etc. Each instance was a challenge and history will show we always rose to the occasion.

ES. What is your leadership style?

Ravinder Sethi. RER has a collective leadership in place for many operational and policy decisions. The buck, of course, still stops with me. Let me, therefore, share a phrase I once read : “The mediocre leader tells; the good leader explains; the superior leader demonstrates and inspires.” I believe I fall in the last category.