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Corporate Report

Published on: Oct. 19, 2022, 3:28 p.m.
Crown Worldwide makes a turnaround
  • Crown has earmarked around $20-40 million in ramping up its facilities

By Arbind Gupta. Assistant Editor, Business India

The Hong Kong-headquartered Crown Worldwide Group, offering a range of specialised logistics services and solutions across people re-location, corporate mobility, records management, workspace management and others, is ramping up its operations in the Indian market. Founded by James E Thompson (the current chairman of the group), the $500-million privately-owned group, which originally started its journey in 1965 from Yokohama, Japan and subsequently moved to Hong Kong in 1978, has recently made big strides in India.

Though it entered India in 1996 and celebrated 25 years of presence in the country last year on 16 July, it was only during the last decade or so that the company was been able to position itself strongly in the market, growing at a CAGR of 20 per cent.

Pursuing new plans and strategies, Crown, over these years, has meticulously improved its solutions and integrated new-age technology and digitisation to address the ever-changing demands of the Indian market.

“As we celebrated our silver jubilee year of operations in India last year, we decided to expand the digital capabilities of our business offerings across verticals to meet the changing times and make it even simpler for individuals and corporates to live, work, and do business anywhere in the world. This, along with our series of initiatives taken in the last few years, will help us expand our operation further in the Indian market which is showing a good deal of traction for specialised services and solutions,” says Srinivas Krishnan, regional managing director, South Asia, Crown Worldwide Group 

While globally the company, which has a presence in 50 countries with 275 facilities, is known primarily for its relocation and mobility-related solutions, in India Crown’s business is led by its records management business where it manages secure storage and the retrieval of information in both physical and electronic format for corporates across multiple sectors.

From being present in seven Indian cities in 2010, the company today is present in 13 cities where it has 21 offices/storage facilities for carrying out its record management services as also other services across its other verticals.

Crown owns assets in three facilities (two in Chennai and one in Mumbai). The company, which employes around 400 people, is also looking at markets like Bengaluru and Gurugram where it wants to invest in building its own assets/warehousing/storage facilities. Besides, it is also looking at expanding its network in Tier II cities. Crown has earmarked around $20-40 million in ramping up its facilities and infrastructure (across verticals) in a market where it is competing with global players like Writer, AGS, Santa Fe relocation, Pickfords, Star Relocation Newgen and Iron Mountains. 

Apart from records management and relocations/mobility solutions, Crown has also expanded its offering in India by venturing into newer areas. In 2016, the company added a new vertical called Crown Fine Art where it provides specialist services for the planning, storage, installation and movement of fine art for museums, art galleries, auction houses and private collectors.

In 2019, another business was launched under the brand Crown Workspace where it creates inspiring and productive working spaces. Under this business, it takes care of everything, from interior design and fitout, to relocation and storage, helping organisations to sustainably stay ahead of ever-evolving ways of working. In pursuit of further expanding and diversifying its offering, Crown in India is currently also evaluating the market for offering bespoke logistics services such as storing and managing wine collections. It is planning to set up a wine cellar in Bengaluru.

  • Krishnan: expanding operation in the Indian market

    Krishnan: expanding operation in the Indian market

New plans and strategies

“Though we entered India over 25 years ago, we couldn’t make much dent in the market in the initial years of our journey. But in the last decade or so we have formulated new plans and strategies which have helped us in consolidating our position in the market. We are ramping up our capabilities across verticals to leverage our offerings in this market which presents massive opportunities. Going forward, we will continue to maintain this momentum,” says Krishnan. 

Krishnan is known for his turnaround skills. He has been with the group since 1997. He joined Crown Worldwide Group’s Indonesia operation as Financial Controller in August 1997. He turned around the business in less than a year. Consulted on several cost and control initiatives, he helped Indonesia win the award for top performer in the group in 2001. He was appointed as the Finance Director of the foreign subsidiary in 2004.

In addition, he managed a feasibility study for an owned facility in Jakarta and facilitated a smooth changeover in management in 2007. Alongside, he played an active role in the integration of Lavanchy into Crown’s fold in its Italian operation in 2000, assuming the role of an Interim Financial Controller.

Till 2010, Krishnan worked as a consultant to the APAC CEO, leading internal audit assignments for Philippines, Vietnam, China, India, and Russia. He was a corporate trainer for strategy mapping in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Vietnam, India, Thailand and advisor on various strategic initiatives in several APAC offices and helped in the integration of new acquisitions in South Africa.

In June 2010, he was promoted as Managing Director of Crown Worldwide Group’s India operation and in 2012 got designated as the Managing Director, South Asia, where he has overall responsibility for India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Led by Krishnan, Crown Worldwide Group’s India operation has also made a turnaround and has shown a good deal of traction in the last decade or so. Today, India, contributing over 6 per cent to global business, has emerged as one of the fastest growing markets for the group which is also emerging as a hub from where the group is executing its digital transition journey across other global markets. 

The company’s flagship business (in India) offers secure archiving and retrieval of information in physical and electronic formats, digital imaging, workflow automation, business process digitisation or automation solutions, media management and data destruction. The company has 12 facilities (warehouses/centres) in locations which apart from major cities include Ludhiana, Bhubaneshwar, Chandigarh, Indore and Coimbatore.

Apart from physical storage of records, Crown also help businesses in securing archiving and retrieval of information in electronic format, helping the workforce to work remotely. Crown’s solutions allow companies to manage their workforce online – from trackers, to services like document digitisation and storage in online repositories, giving different departments instant access to the data they need. Solutions like Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems and Document Management Systems (DMS) further help manage content, helping employees coordinate workflows and boosting productivity.

“Crown Records Management is a significant force in corporate information management. With impressive facilities available in multiple locations, we manage secure storage and the retrieval of information in both physical and electronic formats and thus help clients maximise the value of their corporate memory. We help solve problems. Whether that’s rehousing priceless libraries, storing irreplaceable legal documents in climate-controlled conditions or reducing your organisation’s exposure to data risk,” explains Krishnan.

  • Crown Records Management is a significant force in corporate information management. With impressive facilities available in multiple locations, we manage secure storage and the retrieval of information in both physical and electronic formats and thus help clients maximise the value of their corporate memory

“With a presence in India for well over 25 years, we have been working with financial services, healthcare, legal, manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries as well as many public sector organisations giving them the ‘power of memory’,” adds he.

Crown’s records management vertical has been offering its solutions to organisations like Indian Oil Corporation, Electrotherm India, Hikal, Sify Technologies, Biostadt India and Karamtara Engineering. In the case of Electrotherm India, Crown implemented an Electronic Document Management System that helped the client achieve efficiency in its accounts payable function, while in case of IOCL, the objective of engaging Crown’s services was to digitise voluminous and unwieldy employee records.

Similarly, in Sify, Crown helped to manage the ever-growing volume of documents; Karamtara engaged Crown’s services to provide electronic document management solution across all their departments and locations; and Crown Records Management offered its extensive workflow solution to Biostadt.

“The key benefit of engaging Crown Records Management solutions is that all documents are available with one click. We can login in and get any document we want. We can also search documents in several ways and 

it is very easy to find them. There is also a workflow in place around invoice processing and it is so much easier to manage,” says Manish Mishra, senior manager, treasury & accounts payable of Carlsberg India which engaged Crown’s records management services.

Professional approach

“Since we have engaged Crown in April 2022, we are receiving excellent, consistent and quality support from their team, especially for the file management. Their approach is extremely professional and they have met all our demand in terms of time management, data support and so on,” states S Rajkumar of Tata Motors Finance Ltd.

Under Crown World Mobility vertical, the company provides strategic assignment management, immigration and relocation services for multinationals and international organisations. Available in 53 countries, the company’s experts help clients better manage their international talent across the entire assignment lifecycle, helping them both enable and leverage a globally mobile workforce.

“Crown World Mobility excels at complete mobility programmes of every size and complexity, in one country or many, for a few employees or large teams. Our solutions scale to provide domestic or international services, self-service options through the full range of program management services. Uniquely, we deliver the majority of services in-house, augmented by a carefully managed supplier network,” says Krishnan.

Crown’s relocations vertical provides a range of services and expert guidance to people relocating internationally or domestically. It offers an array of services, covering everything from door-to-door transportation, secure storage, immigration, to ‘settling in’ support; all co-ordinated by dedicated move managers determined to make every relocation a success.

  • The company has 12 warehouses across the country

The group has doubled down on its commitments to sustainable development, with renewed investment across the group in more energy efficient technology and much more, underscoring its commitment to caring for both global and local environments. For the last five years, the group has been on a journey of discovery growing in diversity and inclusion.

From launching its policy in 2016, to holding focus groups with its senior leaders in 2020. In 2021, it changed from D&I to ED&I as it felt equality was also essential if it was to sustain a fair and ethical workplace.

“Crown is committed to making a positive difference in every community where it lives and works. That’s why it oversees a wide-ranging CSR programme which support local and global charities, actively champions employee wellbeing and continually seeks to reduce its environmental footprint. We are also proud of our diverse and inclusive culture. This provides all our employees with a sense of belonging which allows them to reach their full potential, supported by our commitment to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) since 2005,” says Krishnan.

Backed by its five verticals, Crown Worldwide is making its presence felt in the Indian market which, over the years, has undergone a big change in favour of these specialised logistics. In the last few years, the company has ramped up its capabilities to explore the opportunities in the market where it is trying to differentiate itself from competition through increasing adoption of technology and digital solutions. With all these developments in place, Crown is well placed to commence its next growth phase in India.

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