BurdaEducation’s team live Burda’s company’s mission and values every day, ensuring that projects are completed correctly and on time, every time.
In this series, we explore what motivates the hardworking members of the BurdaEducation team as they support the education of millions of children around the world.
Name: Achal Aggarwal
Designation: Chief Operating Officer
Country based: India
Achal began his career in printing at one of India’s leading newspaper groups, Hindustan Times Media Ltd, and has been managing printing related operations, involving mass-scale production and distribution, since then. In 2008, Achal joined BurdaEducation and was actively involved in setting up the print production plant in Greater Noida, India. As the current business head, he is in charge of the design of multiple projects for Indian and African customers and for heading the company operations of Burda Druck India.
- What do you see as the main objective of BurdaEducation?
BurdaEducation was set up by the Hubert Burda Group to improve literacy rates in developing countries, with the aim of contributing to the global ‘Right to Education’ mission.
Literacy is made possible by well-planned educations programs that include creation and distribution of textbooks. And it is the latter that I ensure, i.e. the production and distribution of textbooks and learning materials.
- What drew you to this profile?
My role at the organization is not a job anymore. Instead, I am immensely inspired and grateful for this opportunity to contribute towards society in such a positive way. It is very encouraging to see young children getting access to our textbooks and the chance to improve their futures.
- Could you describe what your present role entails?
I am responsible for operations from bidding to delivery. This includes meeting clients (usually government representatives), the production and distribution of textbooks, and administrative management of the
- What project are you currently working on? Please describe its scope and goals.
In India, December marks the beginning of textbook season since the new semester begins in April. We are presently working on bids for multiple state projects like Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, along with the execution of multiple small orders for Africa. We intend to produce several million textbooks in first quarter of 2020.
- Have you experienced or seen any specific outcomes of your work?
With Burda entering the education sector, many Indian and African companies are being challenged to improve their operations as Burda has raised the bar in terms of customer service, planning, and higher-quality standards.
- What is the most satisfying aspect of your work?
I love challenges and this business gives me plenty of them! There is a sense of great achievement when we are able to find solutions to complex problems. For instance, for one of our projects, production was carried out in India, Africa, and Europe. The finished books were then supplied to a single location in Africa and distributed to multiple schools. The project was successfully completed in the required time frame.
- What is the most difficult aspect of your work?
First, the print business is declining due to digital transformation. Second, many low capacity competitors are entering the market, offering lower prices by reducing the quality of paper and printing, and thereby reducing the quality of books and customer service.
- Is there any specific project or achievement of which you are especially proud?
Indeed! We have executed many projects successfully over the years. We recently completed a textbook project for Haryana, which required the school-level distribution of 5.3 million books across 20,000 destinations in a record time of just 15 days! The Government of India expressed their appreciation for our work
Similarly, we once executed a project for another Indian state, Bihar, where books were delivered to destinations on time by using small vehicles, since larger vehicles were on strike at the time.
We are in the process of developing and transforming our printing and binding processes, which will enable us to produce textbooks faster, reducing turnaround times, which is an essential requirement for our customers in Africa.
- What is your personal goal for the company and its clients?
I would like to see my company recognized and appreciated as a world leader in the production and distribution of not only quality textbooks but also other learning materials that are essential for the development of young minds, such as writing books, exercise books, properly designed notebooks, and so on.