Sophie Moochhala: Leading by Example to Successfully Transform a Family Business

Vinod Shah Posted on: 2021-03-17 08:11:00 Viewer: 7,714 Comments: 0 Country: India City: Mumbai

Sophie Moochhala: Leading by Example to Successfully Transform a Family Business (Ms. Sophie Moochhala, Managing Director, Fluid Controls Pvt Ltd.)

Fluid Controls Private Limited was established in 1974 by Dr. Y.E. Moochhala, a Ph.D. from Northwestern University, the USA with a vision to deliver high quality and high-performance products which delight customers. Fluid Controls offers customers comprehensive end-to-end “Make in India” solutions for Rail & Metro brake piping arrangements – from design & engineering services to supply of high-performance products and installation services.

Carrying forward the legacy of her father Dr. Y.E. Moochhala, Sophie Moochhala leads the Mumbai-based Fluid Controls Private Limited in the capacity of Managing Director. She is following the footprints of her father, who was a strong believer in a self-reliant India and left his career in the USA to establish the Fluid Controls Private Limited. His idea was to develop high-quality, high-performance products to suit local prototype climatic and performance expectations.

Sophie studied in the USA for seven years and has an MBA from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute. She has over 25 years of rich experience in managing corporate and entrepreneurial business including strategic planning, operational finance, new project management, team management and integrated marketing activities.  Sophie joined Fluid Controls in 2003 when it was a small family-run business. Since then, she has built on the foundations established by her father whilst realising the vision of the company to be a “Global Leader in the field of Hydraulic Fittings, Valves and allied application solutions”. Today, Fluid Controls is a known and trusted brand, and is a leading provider of brake piping solutions to the Rail & Metro industry, a premier supplier to onshore and off-shore oil & gas installations, the defence industry, and critical applications for nuclear plants.

Under her leadership, and that of Dr. Tansen Chaudhari, COO of Fluid Controls, the company has been granted approval as an “In-House R&D unit” by the Department of Scientific & Industrial Research (DSIR), Government of India. Carrying forward the legacy of innovation and R&D, Fluid Controls has invested in a state-of-the-art R&D center located at Chakan, Pune. This center is equipped with the latest design and analysis software and a laboratory equipped to conduct all pressure, vibration and reliability tests as well as in-house Spectro, PMI and UT testing. 

Since 2011, Fluid Controls has developed more than 25 new products, which is very much in line with the Company’s vision statement.  

Adding to its strength in innovation, Fluid Controls has filed its first Global Patent and is in the process of filing two more patents. The Company has received the CII Industrial Innovation Award for Medium Scale Manufacturing Organization and CII recognition as one of the Top 25 Innovative Companies of the Year at the Indian R&D Ecosystem Conclave 2019. Other recognitions include the Rail Solution Provider of the Year [Instrumentation]at Rail Infra & Mobility Business Digital Awards 2020” by Urban Transport News and the award for “Excellence in Technical Innovation” by ISA Maharashtra Section at PPA Meet 2020. Apart from this, the Company has been awarded with International Railway Industry Standard (IRIS) certification for its high-value quality products.

Making Fluid Controls a Vocal for Local Company

Working in an industry where women leaders are few, Sophie Moochhala’s vision has built Fluid Controls from a small, family-run firm to a medium-scale company with a clear focus on the “Make in India” theme, revenue growth, profitability, sector focus and research & development.

Appreciating the Govt. of India’s ‘Make in India’ and ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ initiatives, Sophie said:

Fluid Controls is a “Vocal for Local” MSME organization and we whole-heartedly support the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative.” She further added, “Domestic manufacturers have the capability – be it in manufacturing, quality, and R&D – to cater to domestic requirements across sectors. Atmanirbhar Bharat, which clearly outlines procurement policies, will go a long way to boost domestic manufacturers, especially in the MSME sector. With our manufacturing and R&D capabilities, Fluid Controls can contribute immensely to provide high-quality, high-performance products to all sectors in the move to localize supplies.

Rising Above the Pandemic

While talking about the Pandemic COVID-19 and its effect on the business and how the Company survived Sophie commented, "At Fluid Controls, we Engineer Connections Everyday. And in the COVID-19 pandemic, we are also committed to “Staying Safe Everyday”.

During the onset of the Pandemic COVID-19, our primary focus was to ensure the health and safety of our employees, their families, our customers and our business partners. And we had changed the way we approach every task and every activity. We had to adapt our mode of operation since face-to-face meetings and interaction were not possible for some months (and we are still work-from-home at our Mumbai office!). We have invested in ERP and Microsoft Teams software to ensure the ease of teamwork and connectivity. To ensure seamless day-to-day operation, each department head would hold daily telephonic meetings to discuss tasks and the way ahead.

We also had to change the way we conducted our external business. During the lockdown period, Fluid Controls engaged with customers via video conferencing and calls. And, to ensure the least disruption in schedules, we have provided regular updates on our business status and order status to them. As many of our customers still do not allow business visits, we continue to have a virtual engagement with them.

At Fluid Controls, we “Engineer Connections Everyday”. And in the time of COVID-19 pandemic, we learned how to “Adapt Everyday”!

Winning the Accolades

With a rich experience of over 25 years first working in a Global Company and then managing the one of own making it the Global company Sophie has won numerous awards such as “Rail Business Leader of the Year [Female] Award” at Rail Infra & Mobility Business Digital Awards 2020, “Woman of the Year Award” at Rail Analysis Innovation and Excellence Summit 2020, “Woman Achiever Award 2020” by ISA Maharashtra Section, and the India SME Excellence Award for “Woman Entrepreneur of the Year 2020 in Manufacturing Sector”.

Message for the Aspirers

“Entrepreneurship is an exciting, challenging and fulfilling career choice.  It gives you control of your destiny and to be able to see the fruits of your work is immeasurably satisfying”- Sophie Moochhala.

(Ms. Sophie is also featured in the March 2021 issue of Urban Transport Infrastructure Journal among top women leading the urban infrastructure industry)

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