Ch.
IPS

 

 

 


Ch.

 

In our Company, I feel that the MBA sits and lays down the law.
That is not the case. Our style of working is highly participative. Employees set their own goals in congruence with the overall strategies and plans of their respective divisions. There are always some specialists and some generalists. Balancing this mix is the key to our success. There’s no point in having too many specialists who do not understand business in the overall sense.

 

Do you think we have good design engineers today?

  IPS

No, we do not. Today, we do not have a single doctorate in Engineering in our employment as opposed to our early days. Being a manufacturing product-oriented organisation, competent design engineers are the need of the hour. How to attract, motivate and retain them is our challenge.

 

  Ch. Divisionalisation was ushered with some fanfare. Now, there appears to be some disillusion about Divisionalisation.
  IPS

As you know, we are a highly diversified organisation. Our range of manufactured products is vast and extends, as Dr. Kasturirangan, Chairman of ISRO, has put it, from ‘locks to launches? In order to grow and compete successfully in a liberalised economy, Divisionalisation was imperative.

The expectation from this move was business growth through enhanced focus. However, this has not come through primarily on account of economic recession and lower productivity of all resources.

 

  Ch. Can we have such frequent shifts in policy?
  IPS

Yes, why not? There’s nothing wrong in re-visiting our organisational structure every three years or so to thrive in this competitive environment.

 

  Ch. Couldn’t Divisionalisation be strengthened?
  IPS

Yes, we could do it. As a result of Divisionalisation, our overall management of key customers suffered. The challenge is to bring about greater synergies amongst the Divisions for serving our customers. If this is achieved, then we could have both the benefit of sharper focus and economies of scale in support functions.

 

  Ch. Yes, I understand. That calls for extraordinary skill.
  IPS

Yes. Good management is a challenge. Whoever said that managing is easy in these difficult times.

 

  Ch. We hear that the Process Equipment Division is not performing up to your expectations.
  IPS It is primarily on account of paucity of orders. As you know, we supply critical equipment for oil and gas sectors. After 1998, in this sector no new major projects have come up. Hence, the demand for critical equipment has been very sluggish, far below our capacity to produce. Another option in the absence of local demand is, to get business from markets abroad. But exporting critical equipment is difficult. The process of getting accepted is long and tedious, especially for Indian engineering companies. We have had some breakthroughs recently in markets abroad, but we have a long way to go.

 

  Ch.

"Sustaining life through sophisticated fabrication" is the mission of Precision Equipment Division. How do you envisage it? What are its developments?

  IPS

In the ultimate, whatever we do, must have a noble purpose. As you know, we essentially fabricate complex pressure vessels. This equipment is deployed for processing of toxic and non-toxic chemicals, both organic and inorganic.

Our pressure vessels process these chemicals safely, thus preventing accidents that could be hazardous to the surrounding environment.

As molecular technology progresses, we need to constantly update our manufacturing technologies and produce more sophisticated equipment to process these newer chemicals faster, cheaper and safely.

As Godrej is well-known for protection of environment, what else could be our mission than to fabricate sophisticated equipment which sustain life.

This is the nobility of our purpose.

 

  Ch.

Your frank opinion about consultants, please. I mean if they are doing good, they are worth it.

  IPS

In my opinion it is the question of the maturity of the people exposed to the expertise that consultants offer. It is like going to a doctor. If you have difficulty breathing, your oxygen holding capacity is low, maybe he’ll prescribe medicines and suggest a mild regimen of aerobic exercises. If you do not take heed of his advice and don’t change your daily activities, you can’t blame the doctor if your condition does not improve.

It is in the implementation of their advice that benefits will accrue.

It’s also a question of our own resolve as to how much better we want to be.

 

  Ch.

One of the present consultants is very specific and hits the nail on the head. The other talks of principles.

  IPS

We require a consultant like him because our maturity level is low. But, the danger is that we could become very dependent. We must understand the principles on which his advice is based so that we replicate his efforts on our own. We must become self-learning and self-evolving, This will also reflect our deeper conviction that human beings can learn and change.

 

  Ch. What about Partnership 2000? Does it help in our day to day activities?
  IPS

It is a good initiative. The basic idea is to bring about better job clarity as well as accountability towards creating a performance and leadership culture, which is the need of the hour. But, like any other initiative, we need greater focus on implementation for it to result in positive change.

 

  Ch. Are Entrustment and Empowerment practiced fully?
  IPS

Progressively, more Entrustment and Empowerment is happening. However, to go full steam ahead, we require a system of measurement and review because what cannot be measured cannot be improved.

 

  Ch. Is anything being contemplated?
  IPS

Yes. More Entrustment and Empowerment will happen as the people demonstrate their capability to handle issues and resources with greater maturity and a sense of ownership. Also, to support them in this endeavour we need to provide them with the required operational information and a system of measurements, which gives them the desired perspective of business. As these systems evolve, more Entrustment and Empowerment will be given. As I have mentioned before, the goal of this system should be to make employees self-managing.

 

  Ch.

You have stressed on the importance of ‘people?in a 21st century organisation. Do you think our management adequately recognises the importance of its best resource, its employees?

  IPS

Yes, our management does. Good employees and not all employees are our best resource. We have to utilise the potential of our good employees fully.

Partnership 2000 and other initiatives are precisely aimed at achieving the above.

 

  Ch.

You have a great sense of humour. How does humour help in your day-to-day activities? Does humour help in increasing productivity and improving profits of the Company as well?

  IPS

In our organisation, a lot of people are too dull. Humour is a great way to relieve stress. This helps to open up new vistas for creative thought and action. Having fun at work is vital for improving productivity and to have fun you don’t have to take yourself too seriously. Humour enlivens the work environment. People lower their guards for a while, and a new energy is introduced, which boosts the quality and the quantity of work.

 

  Ch.

You are a voracious reader, with a wonderful collection of books. Which author inspires you the most?

  IPS

It is very difficult to choose a single author. There are two very good books on Management. I believe that everyone in the organisation should read Out of the Crisis by Dr. W. Edwards Deming and The Goal by Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt. Their teachings have a great relevance in today’s business context.

I am particularly proud of our Library on the ground floor. Our collection on management books is one of the best in Mumbai. We have about 500-600 employees borrowing books on a regular basis. This is in consonance with the importance that we give to continuous learning for coping with ongoing change. I sincerely wish that more employees utilise this fabulous resource fully for the betterment of self and the organisation.

 

  Ch. Are there books pertaining only to Management?
  IPS

Mostly Management, some also pertaining to different subjects like technology, psychology, self-improvement, science, leadership, creativity, innovation, philosophy, strategy, organisational design, etc. We have a professional librarian who manages the library very well. I have a number of letters from people thanking me for making available the books from which they have benefited greatly.

 

  Ch. A piece of advise for our employees?
  IPS

Transformation is everyone’s job. Are you doing your job? Let’s work together and transform our Company so that it can successfully thrive in the years to come.

 

     
   

At the Office

The newly appointed officer was rather short and felt the need for a footstool. But when he wrote to his Head Office in Bombay, he was asked what had happened to the old footstool, why he needed one, and why he could not manage without it. The correspondence went on, and finally the exasperated officer withdrew his request. When Head Office asked him the reason, he wrote back: "The existing file on this subject has become big enough to be used as a footstool."

 

 

   

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