How a traditional business in Kandanchavadi has kept pace with the developments on the IT Highway

SIGT (Southern Industrial Gauges and Tools) Private Limited in Kandanchavadi is a piece of local history. One of the early manufacturing plants to have been established on Old Mahabalipuram Road, it supplied a variety of machines, including tool-cutter grinders, motorised spindles and conventional rotators, for BHEL and Defence establishments.

Ravi Ganesh, a director at the company and the second generation in the business, says his family started the unit in the 1960s.

“The founders — B. Narayan Rao and B. Ganesh Rao— worked with SRP Tools, which they left to start a unit of their own. When they began, they ran something like a vocational centre to train employees,” says Ganesh.

The 70s and 80s marks a purple patch for the company. “We were employing over 150 people in our early years, and finding labour was not a challenge as many from nearby villages sought work,” says Ganesh, adding that he joined the business in 1992 after completing his engineering course.

With the recession of the 90s, the small-scale units on OMR were forced to change track. Later, the advent of Elnet Software and Tidel Park in 2000 changed the face of OMR, turning it into an IT hub.

“Facit Asia (now Global Infocity), SRP Tools (where Holiday Inn is located) and Sushma Pneumatic (where Hotel Turyaa is present) were among companies that gave way to other businesses,” says Ganesh.

A raft of small-scale units changed their businesses to take advantage of the fact that software giants were making OMR their new address.

In 2015, the promoters of SIGT sold a major chunk of their space to a construction company.

“The last two years have been tough on our business with the pandemic but we have to move on and we hope to restart soon,” he says.

Ganesh adds that mechanical design has been the company’s strength and they are working towards digitising the drawings.

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