After having lost everything , Shri Shankar again had to start from scratch. Few people stood by him in his trying times, and one of them was Mr. S.L. Kirloskar. He offered Shri Shankar some contract work, but knowing Shri Shankar, he wanted to do something more challenging and substantial to get IEC back on track. Kirloskar’s had been importing sea water pumps from Germany at the time, and Shri Shankar wanted to try his hand at replicating these pumps.
After much thought and consideration, it was decided that Shri Shankar could use his manufacturing abilities to build a sea water pump, but only if it was approved by the Lloyd’s Registrar of Shipping. As a result of the promise of fresh beginnings, Shri Shankar became fascinated with the seawater pump and immersed himself in its workings. With his ingenuity and hard work, his IEC-manufactured sea water pumps passed muster with Lloyd Registrar, and he received his first contract to manufacture them and circulation pumps. Under the able guidance of Lloyds officials, IEC manufactured bronze castings and shafts and ran trials of the pumps as per specifications laid down by the Lloyds Registry of Shipping. IEC was now back in business and raring to go. A milestone had been crossed on Shri Shankar’s checklist when his factory received regular orders and met client demands.
As IEC got back on its feet, Shri Shankar was finally able to inaugurate his factory with the blessing of his mentor, Mr. Kirloskar. An impressive mix of dignitaries from the manufacturing, business, and political worlds attended the factory’s inauguration. Shri Shankar’s luck was finally on the upswing. Even though IEC was regularly supplying sea water pumps to Kirloskar oil engines, Shri Shankar was looking to expand his product line. Even though the Indian economy was in a slump, Shri Shankar remained optimistic and continued to seek new opportunities. Mr. Rolsma, the chief engineer of Philips India, presented one such opportunity after Shri Shankar declined to take on the contract for industrial piping at their premises. Mr. Rolsma suggested that Shri Shankar branch out into the production of pneumatic screwdrivers for radio assembly in addition to marine pumps. Also, there was a ready market for them in Philips.
Pneumatic tools were unheard of back then and had to be imported from other countries. Mr. Rolsma’s suggestion piqued Shri Shankar’s interest; he was intrigued by the product but lacked the technology to manufacture it in India. The technology was only available in Japan, Germany, and England. It was in 1970 that an ambitious Indian entrepreneur embarked on his first journey into the unknown, unacquainted with the distant shores he was visiting. Shri Shankar was en route to Japan.
It was an opportunity of a lifetime for Shri Shankar to visit Japan. When he arrived in Osaka, he asked the airport receptionist if a local family could provide him with a place to stay. A warm welcome was extended to Shri Shankar by Mr. Hidaka and his family. He was fascinated by the Japanese culture, lifestyle, residences, and attitudes. During his visit to Osaka, Shri Shankar paid a visit to M/S Uryu Seisaku Ltd., a well-known manufacturer of pneumatic tools. Though language was a barrier, Shri Shankar was able to communicate with them about his business thanks to Ms. Nushiara’s interpretation talents. He talked to them about his business practices, product quality, and dedication, and an MOU was inked between IEC and Uryu Seisaku Ltd. to develop impact wrenches, grinders, and screwdrivers in technical partnership with Uryu Seisaku Ltd. Although Shri Shankar held the signed MOU and other paperwork, he realized that acquiring the necessary import-export licenses, foreign exchange, and other documentation back in India would be an uphill task. Those were the days of License Raj, and getting approval from the Delhi Heavy Industries Ministry was extremely daunting. On January 13th, 1972, after walking the narrow, winding corridors of Indian bureaucracy, he finally gained approval from the government. almost two years after his initial trip to Japan. Once the go-ahead was received from the ministry, Shri Shankar wasted no time in signing the contract with Uryu Seisaku Ltd. Business was growing; besides Philips, it was IEC that supplied pneumatic tools to Telco, Bajaj Tempo, Maruti, BHEL, and other enterprises in the automotive and engineering industries for the first time in India. Shri Shankar also signed a rate contract with the Director General of Purchase (DGSND) to become the sole vendor to government organizations.
IEC had finally arrived, and the time had come to set up its sales and service offices across the country.