Zaveri began her career on the shop floor of NRB (her father founded the needle-bearing company in 1966), where she learned all about steel. She says that she was able to make the brave decision to open an R&D center at NRB because “I had sufficient engineering knowledge, and I was not constrained.”
“My whole approach was to see what I could do instead of what I couldn’t.” She believes that European and Japanese businesses have a huge legacy of innovation. She says that if you are going to be the future leader, you have to think differently. Otherwise, you’ll be a shadow. Her initiative to create the facility soon paid off.
In 2004, Timken Company approached the Sahneys for the sale of a majority share in the company. However, under Zaveri’s guidance, they exercised their right of first refusal and bought the entire Timken stake of 26 percent to become an Indian-owned company. NRB bearings are used in 80-90 percent of vehicles on Indian streets today. The company’s total revenue is around INR 800 crore. It is also one of the largest suppliers to international automakers such as Audi, Mercedes-Daimler Daimler, Honda, Volvo, etc. When asked how she built a business as sustainable as NRB, she replied, “You can’t achieve this level of profitability without creating products that others (competitors), don’t offer. In other words, it is necessary to disrupt the market.”
NRB also is a company that values its employees. Zaveri is a Wellesley grad and prefers that her junior staff work together with senior members in order to create an exciting company culture. She adds, “We want people who are collaborative and have a low ego. They also don’t mind admitting mistakes or teamwork.
Zaveri’s current focus is on acquiring engineering services in the friction-bearing space, and he is planning to establish greenfield projects overseas. Zaveri has also been open to working with startups, but it is still unable to match NRB.