Synthite Corporate Office Inaugurated
The newly-opened corporate headquarters of Synthite Industries Limited at Kadayiruppu is an expression of ideas
It was a bit surreal. The setting. The structure. The scheme. The style. And to top it all, the thought that went into its making. In everything that matters, the Synthite campus at Kadayiruppu stands tall. The twin towers housing the Corporate House and the Technology Centre jell well with its rural setting, and is a refreshing change for a corporate headquarters. And after going around it, I am convinced that it is meant to perform some real tasks: tasks that will propel this sleepy village into global prominence.
What greeted me first was the lush green lawn with saplings of palms, flowering plants and fruit trees lined up on it. It made a perfect setting for an organisation with global character to perch itself on. I am sure one day this campus will become iconic on Kerala’s industrial landscape and the garden will be its signature element. Perhaps the company wants to stay rooted to its place of birth, and growth, instead of getting lost in the flood of high-rises in the city.
I made a few more steps and took a left turn. Now I stood in front of the two towers, and I was a bit confused on which way to head first. On my left was the Technology Centre and on my right, the Corporate House.
I took the left turn, again. For, it’s housing the New Products Development and Research Division (NPD&R), the most ambitious wing Synthite has ever launched to power its growth. It is envisaged as a place where brains come together, think of today and plan for tomorrow. It’s not a conventional R&D centre; its calling is to come up with new ideas rather than products. And should they feel. Like taking those ideas to a lab, yes, then there are labs, too!
I walked up the wooden stairs, built over a giggling rivulet originating from the water body that separates the two towers. On the ground floor, I found the library. With a strong R&D powering its growth in all these 43 years of growth, it’s natural that Synthite chose to base its Technology Centre on a library. It’s stacked with books and journals from all over the world. They have a critical job too: to be the foundation of the big dreams Synthite has dreamt for its future.
I walked up and on the first floor, there was a conference room, Cy- press. It will henceforth play host to the presentations on the findings, some of them seminal, its inmates will come up with. The History Wall in the room will tell you the milestones the company has covered in its journey to become the largest oleoresin company in the world, and then its march ahead. Outside, I saw a side lounge, like a canopy. Sit there, next to the bamboos just across the glass wall, and you will feel like gazing at the world outside through their leaves. I presume it’s made for the scientists to let themselves lose in nature and refresh themselves. The best one can conceive for a scientists abode! And I saw Salt and Pepper, the 80seater cafeteria, should they feel like feeding their stomachs in the process.
Hectic activity begins on the second floor. It hosts the man who will lord over the future developments at the Centre. And there is a laboratory which can match some of the best in class: in terms of equipment, facilities and qualified people. There are PhDs, patent holders and future scientists busy seeking to satiate the palates of the future. When Synthite entered the oleoresin business, spices were sold as a commodity and oleoresin was a value-added product. Times have changed and today, oleoresins are treated as a commodity, and the industry has started demanding more from Synthite. The Technology Centre will come out with products that will ad- dress the current and future needs of the food and nutraceutical industry all over the world. It will study the trends in customer choices across the continents, assess them and come out with solutions. With an enviable list of customers, the Technology Centre has quite a job at hand. And I am sure they will meet more than the demand placed on them.
I also saw a show kitchen where they will showcase the products into which the new ingredients developed here would go. One day millions of customers worldwide would taste some of them. And on the floor above, there is an analytical lab and an NPD lab. There is a raw material store, chemical store and anything that you can think of in a modern lab.
And I looked at the cute work- stations. The aesthetically designed furniture in pleasant combinations of white and light green seek to make life cool but demanding. I found the small conference rooms, they call it huddle rooms. I imagined the life of a scientist here: relaxed, reassuring, demanding, and caring. It must be exciting. Period.
Now I descend to the earth. Cross another wooden bridge, and I enter the Corporate Centre that hosts the people who have made it happen and who will make more things happen in the future. At the impressive visitors’ lounge, I come across the image of Mr C V Jacob, grace personified, ingrained on a massive glass wall. Signed by Mr Jacob, the doyen of the industry, and founder of the group, the wall proclaims the essential philosophy of the company:
"The secret of success emanates from a pioneering idea, backed by systematic planning, hard-work and the humility to accept the outcome as God’s will.”
Beyond the wall, in the corner room, sits Mr Jacob. At 83, he remains as agile as one can think, having done his three-games-of-shuttle badminton a day in the morning. Next to him is Managing Director, the Deputy Managing Director, and then the di- rectors. The Board room, I must admit, floored me with the grandeur: it befits the thought room for a global company.
The other floors host the heads of various departments and the people who man them. The Synthite Centre for Learning and Development, which is the in-house training facility for the group, is perched on the second floor. A simulated golf course where you can test your golfing skills is an added attraction. Deli, the snack bar, is a great place to unwind: you can enjoy a cup of coffee looking at the lush green lawn outside. There is a pool table, too, should you feel like taking a break.
As I left, I carried with me the image of a workplace which is made of ideas. To be part of the excitement it exudes is a proud privilege. Even for a newcomer.