Before the arrival of the tech era, India was a different place. Most of us must have spent our free time doing household chores, watching Shaktimaan and Mahabharat on our classy TV sets, and, yeah, bicycles’ luxury in boredom.
Back then, bicycles used to be the cheapest and most convenient vehicle. All credit for the blessing of bicycles in India goes to the Munjal brothers from Kamalia, proudly responsible for the infamous brand Hero Cycles.
They were the primary reason for the increase in the production and demand of bicycles back then which has exponentially multiplied to this date. So let us look at their journey from mid beginnings to cash rain to quench your curiosity.
The Story Behind Greatness
Though not in the best condition, the Munjal brothers were living a mid-life. It didn’t last long as the partition snatched most of their possessions. Hard times brought Brij Lall Mohan and his three brothers- Dayanand, Satyanand, and Om Prakash to Amritsar with a bit of money and many dreams. Soon the Munjal brothers set up a bicycle spare part business which didn’t see much light.
Without watering dead plants and wasting, in 1956, the brothers took a loan of ₹50,000 with the thought of setting up a bicycle manufacturing and assembling business.
With the gradual growth in their business, 25 cycles were manufactured daily, which would rise to around 2 lakh annually after a while. Their business graph was scaling daily without fail as the year 1986 was when the sun shined for them. In 1986, Hero Cycles entered the Guinness Book of World Records for manufacturing 22 lakh Cycles overall as the largest manufacturer of bicycles in the world.
On this day, the bicycle giant maps 89 countries across the globe with 7500 outlets and employs over 30,000 people worldwide.
Reasons Behind Their Success
The Munjal Brothers always kept it real regarding the service they provided and the units they produced. No cap if we say they grew their business like their own child. They were always dedicated to the process and were personally involved in the company’s working algorithm.
When their business was stabbed and stoned by a rival or due to unintentional irresponsibility, Om Prakash Munjal himself got involved in the manufacturing process and sorted it out for good. Such responsibility resulted in these bicycles ending up in all households and also throughout generations.
Once, an incident occurred where a truckload of their consignment was burnt down. When this case was left stranded, the Munjal brothers took all the responsibility to prevent the dealer’s loss and sent him another one free of cost. No doubt they run the Hero brand!
The Munjal brothers weren’t the ones settling for less. On the contrary, they always walked past while expecting the worst case and hence portrayed a positive approach towards failures. Moreover, they always believed in the strength unity holds and made all their sellers and dealers a part of their venture while paying them a part of their profits. Several such actions helped Hero maintain its reputation in the long run and just upscale throughout the period.
Along with bicycles, the Hero group advanced toward motorbikes. This venture blew up in 1980 when they joined forces with Japanese motorbike giant Honda and manufactured some of the most famous two-wheelers in India. Hero made a solo comeback in 2011 when Hero Honda split after reigning in the industry for around three decades. To this day, the rebranded Hero MotoCorp company manufactures 75 lakh cycles annually.
On this day the company is run by the son of Om Prakash Munjal namely Pankaj Munjal. The greatness of the Munjal brothers will be felt with their cycles that have been passed on through generations, just like gold. They taught us that only being a sharp-minded businessman doesn’t get individual money, but if one maintains a ground-to-earth attitude even after earning all the riches and treats their customers equal to God will always win in the long run.