Dimexon is an inspiring story of a family business built on Indian soil. This is just as much a story of Pankaj Mehta, founder and chairman, as it is of a business that pioneered women’s empowerment and sought to have pay parity – unheard of in the diamond industry in India. When Pankaj Mehta decided to set-up his manufactories in Coimbatore over five decades ago, he had a palpable desire to break down barriers. He championed local communities and hired local talent – primarily women. “I wanted to do something different, and I had to give back to the society. These natural diamonds, if they were cut by women, for women, (there would be) nothing better than that. So I decided as an experiment, with just 10 girls and started a small workshop and eventually this factory grew to 100 people, the 100 was converted to 1000 and ultimately the 1000 to maximum level it became 4500” reminisced Mr. Mehta.
Facets Of Excellence
The patriarch nurtured the passion for diamonds in his sons, instilling in them the importance of traceable, responsibly sourced diamonds. Under his leadership, Dimexon became a De Beers Sightholder in 1976, shored up business by sourcing roughs from Rio Tinto. Today, sons Rajiv Mehta and Vishal Mehta are business stewards of a “future-ready” business hinged on transparency. With outposts in Belgium, the United Arab Emirates and China, Dimexon’s focused on diamond manufacturing and distribution.
“In fact, Dimexon was the first diamond producer in 2006 to implement SAP ERP software across its end-to-end supply chain. Without this automated tracing of stones from rough to polished would be impossible,” says Rajiv Mehta, Director. The journey to a new era of traceability began in 2017. With their diamonds HRD, IGI and GIA certified, Dimexon also operates its own grading laboratory overseen by a certified gemologist. The cut and polished diamonds are currently sold to global luxury houses headquartered in Europe, over 50 retailers in India and several others in Thailand, Indonesia, Hong Kong and China. The calibrated small diamonds, meanwhile, make their way to the ateliers of many Swiss watch brands, while fine and bigger certified diamonds dazzle on Haute Joaillerie creations.
Today, I have a house of my own, a car, land and everything I need. I am able to provide an education for my daughters.
At Dimexon, diamonds are undeniably a girl’s best friend. As many as 1,500 women stream into work every day at the three factories in Coimbatore that employ 1,700 people. “Today, women have progressed through the ranks, to the extent that our unit in Coimbatore, our Deputy General Manager is a lady” says Rajiv Mehta. Additionally, women remain an integral part of the sales team in India and overseas. “Their passion for the job is underpinned by their values and ethos; both on a personal level and the business front,” explains Rajiv. Dimexon has rolled out a plethora of development initiatives: apprenticeship programmes and in-house training sessions. High-potential employees are also trained at the Indian School of Business (ISB), in Hyderabad, and the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland. Signing up with online education providers like Coursera opens up the doors to educational opportunities and fosters an environment of growth at our workplace, observes Vishal Mehta, Director.
Gems at Dimexon
Karina V. Chlygiuna
Karina did her Masters at the Moscow State Mining University and worked as Senior Diamond Trader with Backes and Strauss in Antwerp, Belgium. She then joined Dimexon in 2010 as Senior Manager of Sales and, after six years of tireless work, landed the role of Head of Sales. Here, Karina and her team draw up sales targets, examine growth opportunities, explore sales improvements and develop products and services.
“We grow with our customers and work alongside as a team,” says Karina, who thrives on challenges. “Challenges foster growth, develop new talents, while also encouraging us to think outside the box.” Dimexon’s progressive approach, reflected in its women-centric workforce, is deeply encouraging. Women from diverse backgrounds get an opportunity to learn and subsequently grow into leadership roles, observes Karina. “This, for me, is an exciting and turbulent world; one that I like being a part of.”
Breaking Down Barriers
Sixteen-year-old Revathy finished school and joined Dimexon in 1988.“Thirty years ago, my hometown, Coimbatore, hadn’t quite warmed up to the idea of women taking up jobs.” Thankfully at that time, her mother worked at the manufactory. The initial learning curve, Revathy recalls, was steep. Fired by the desire to upskill herself, she threw herself into the job. As years went by, more women joined the workforce.
Only after Dimexon started did every industry start taking on women employees in Coimbatore.
Encouraged by the idea of financial stability, people in nearby villages deemed it wise to educate their children up to Class 10 and often beyond (uncommon back in the day), points out Revathy. They encouraged not only their daughters but also their daughters-in-law to seek employment. “This changed several thousand lives. Besides, we couldn’t have asked for a safer workspace,” she adds. The idea of doing a bachelor’s degree in Administration (via distance education) was compelling. “My thaatha (grandfather)was a huge inspiration; he continually encouraged my brother and me to scale greater heights. I am so proud of what I’ve accomplished in the past three decades.” Her brother works with Dimexon in Mumbai, while her son works in their Dubai office. “My daughter-in-law too recently joined the company,” adds Revathy. As an Assistant Manager, handling Production, Revathy currently oversees a 1,500-member team. Clearly, this small-town girl has come a long way.
Armed with a diploma in Computer Science Engineering, Vijaya joined Dimexon in 1991 as a data entry operator. Then, while her daughter studied for engineering, Vijaya pursued BS in Engineering and Technology at BITS Pilani. She attended online classes, referred to her daughter’s books, burnt the midnight oil and went to work every day.
I came in as a rough diamond, that is true. And I have been polished in these past 23 years.
“I’d always wanted to study, but life got in the way. So, when I got an opportunity to follow my dreams, I chased it,” she adds. As her colleagues rallied around her efforts, tech-savvy Vijaya moved up the ranks and now works as the Assistant General Manager for Business Applications. Often described as a “critical link in the Dimexon supply chain,” she is the architect of the in-house developed MIS systems and played a key role in the implementation of end-to-end SAP at the firm. Vijaya has scripted her own success story.
Giving Back To Community
Dimexon devotes its resources and supports its employees and the local community with educational assistance and guidance initiatives – building science labs and educating underprivileged rural children by partnering with local social institutions. Medical camps and cancer screening sessions too are organised regularly, along with a focus on sustainability, reimagining energy and harvesting rainwater to protect the environment.