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From being just Office and Home Storage businesses, the combined Furniture and Interiors Group has redefined its objectives with a new Business Definition and Mission and Vision statements:
Business Definition: We are in the business of enabling people to be more effective and comfortable in their personal and professional lives by providing ergonomic and aesthetic value-for-money furniture, interior products and services.
Business Mission: Enriching life by transforming Home and Work Spaces.
Business Vision: Godrej ?“The Choice?for Home and Work Space Solutions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"

Communication is our

biggest problem. I
spend a lot of time
communicating with

all supervisors, sales

people, dealers and
this has to be a two-
way traffic.?/font>

"

 
My name:       
Anil Sain
Mathur

My qualifications: B.E. (Mech.), MBA.
I head: Furniture and Interiors Group.
I deal with (Products): Home Range: steel cupboards, beds, dressing tables, kitchen cabinets, sofas, showcases, coffee tables, dining tables and SOHO. Kid’s Furniture: i-space. Office Range: filing cabinets, lockers, bookcases, Tambour door units, modular sliding door units and modular range, systems furniture, steel and wooden desking systems, office and mass seatings.
My Division's marketing techniques: To segment the market and offer a range of products to each segment so as to maximise the market share in the Home Furniture and Office Furniture markets.
Its sales turnover: A Combined turnover of Office and Home segments: Expect to touch Rs. 320 crores in 2003-04.
The export turnover: Target for the year is Rs. 10 crores.
We export our products to: The Gulf, East Africa, Canada and SAARC countries.
Our competitors: There are many regional players in each segment. On the national level, for Home Segment: Gautier, Truzo and Durian are our competitors. In the Office Segment: Blowplast, Featherlite, Methodex, Gautier, Merry Fair, Delite, Eurotech and Jasani.

My Division's goals for 2002-03: Net Business Volume = 320 crores. Profit = 34 crores. Working Capital = 7.45 turns.
My personal goals for 2002-03:

1. To establish Godrej as a national brand in the Home Furniture Segment.
2. To make Godrej a solution provider in Furniture and Interiors for the Office Segment.
3. To develop a team which is innovative, vibrant and ready to take up challenges and achieve its targets.
My strengths and Weekness: Strengths: High level of commitment, good interpersonal skills, process-oriented.
weaknesses: Time management, “emotion?driven at times, far too outspoken?and many more I guess.
My family background: Parents ? Retired; Wife ?Sangeeta, Housewife; Daughter ?Mansi, 14 years in Standard IX; Son ?Mohit ,12 years in Standard VII.
My first crush: Was in a Mumbai local train when I was crushed from all four sides. That was my first crush!
My hobbies: Travelling, music, reading and cooking.
My pets: None at the moment, but I used to have dogs as pets. My favourite breed is Labrador Retriever.
My favourite books: Many of them are favourites but the most recent one is Who Moved My Cheese? by Dr. Spencer Johnson. Sidney Sheldon and Asterix comics are also my favourites.
My most embarrassing moments: When our Division did not make a profit in 2001-2002, and I had to stand before the Board to make a presentation that showed a loss.
I am content with: My family and a satisfying day’s work.
I am jealous of: Nobody.
I get upset when: (a) People do not keep commitments. (b) When people have closed minds.
I fear: Failure and hurting people.
I am proud of: My parents for instilling in me a value system.
My retirement plans: Too early to plan. Nevertheless I would definitely like to share my experience and knowledge either through teaching or through consultancy.
The future of Godrej: Bright. We have the right diversity and a brand known for its value system. All that is required is to become more consumer-centric and bring in velocity in the changes required to service our customers.
I love India because: It has a blend of Culture and Contemporariness. The complexities have made Indians more resilient and capable of handling any situation. It has also brought about in Indians a spirit of tolerance and an attitude of sharing.

 

Anil Mathur
A ROLE MODEL OF CHANGE

Anyone who has seen Never Say Never Again can never forget the dynamism of James Bond. We have a person in Godrej who, though not a spy, is as determined as Bond, with a licence to target his Division’s weaknesses and whose motto differs slightly from that of 007. His motto is “Never Say No? So does that make him a yes man? Laughing, Anil Mathur, Vice President, Furniture and Interiors Group, clarifies: “It’s not that I never say no to anybody. I never say no to work because I look at the positive side of work. When I was moving to the Rajkot Branch as Manager, H.N. Patell was moving from Hyderabad to the Bombay Branch. We had our farewell functions together. He remarked that when he wasn’t sure who to delegate a matter to, he passed it on to me to execute. My attitude was that of a learner. I’ve never considered any job too big or too small. This attitude has helped me both in my career and my personal life.?br>
Mathur, with a B.E. (Mechanical) degree in hand, joined Godrej as a Sales Engineer for Forklift Trucks in 1980. Enhancing his knowledge was an essential aspect of his growth in the Company. So, from 1984 to 1987 he studied for an MBA degree from the University College of Business Management, Hyderabad, while handling Industrial Products in the Company’s Hyderabad Branch. The long hours of work combined with studies took their toll on Mathur’s health.

A positive man, Mathur concentrated on leveraging the strengths of the Storwel Division: “The Godrej Storwel has become synonymous with steel storages across the country. We can leverage the brand by offering a variety of home furniture to customers. For office storages, we have the best sheet metal working facility in the country, which has the flexibility to do mass customisation.?br>
One wonders why there are complaints about the Godrej Storwel having alignment problems. Usually, it is because the flooring is uneven. Unfortunately, customers do not realise this and compare the Godrej Storwel with local cupboards, which do not have a 3-way bolting system which requires proper alignment. To level the Godrej Storwel, paper/cardboard packing is placed under the legs. Mathur explains: “Over a period of time, the packing beneath the Storwel becomes soft, resulting in misalignment and the Storwel gives problems in opening and closing. We have taken the onus on ourselves and have come out with steel levellers, which are an integral part of the Storwel. Levellers can be adjusted at the time of installation. Unlike packings, they do not get compressed. This has solved the problem.? Godrej is the first to come up with an innovative solution to a problem for which it is not responsible.

More solutions have followed. Deliveries of kitchen cabinets used to be very slow. Mathur claims to have put the processes in place and deliveries are now effected in four weeks?time. Comparing Godrej deliveries to a local carpenter’s, Mathur notes: “The local carpenter works for two weeks at the customer’s house and makes a nuisance. Here, everything is done in the factory without in any way disturbing the customer ?We are aiming for deliveries in three weeks?time. We can have the material ready in two weeks and one more week may go in transit. We have now standardised the units and have added a new range of units, which we can use as filler units. Also, what we are doing is to keep the carcass (body of the product) separate from the shutters (steel or wooden), pick up the units and shutters as required and deliver them to customers. That way there is larger standardisation with less number of stock-keeping units.?br>
Mathur dismisses complaints about the high prices of Home Furniture products. Unlike Godrej, local manufacturers do not pay duties and taxes. Besides, a customer looks at value for money, which he or she gets from Godrej in terms of quality, service and durability: “We are targeting the large middle class and upper middle class in India who cannot afford to refurbish their house frequently. For them it is a 15- or 20-year cycle.? Mathur once asked a customer why he bought a Godrej kitchen with steel shutters and not with wooden shutters. The customer replied: “You do not know the strength of your product! Every three years if my wife wants a new look, I repaint the metallic shutters and the kitchen looks as good as new, whereas replacing wooden shutters would cost me a hell of a lot!?br>
There is another grievance that manufacturing capacity needs to be increased in order to be able to meet the customer’s demands in time. Could it be that we have too few machines to take care of the job? Mathur explains: “We have the required number of machines. We need to bring about flexibility in our manufacturing processes by developing quick change of tools, developing cells which have synergy in the product designs so that we’re able to very quickly change our plans and adhere to customer needs. We recently finalised our plans to re-layout our lines. Now in Plant 13, we have two products running every day in the Knockdown product line. We’ve also gone in for tool modifications in our Notching Department, giving the Department greater flexibility to move from product to product. We’ve also trained our Design Team to use new packages such as Pro-E and CAD so that their designing time is reduced and we’re able to adhere to delivery schedules.?Similarly, in Plants 4 and 14 manufacturing office furniture products, cell layouts to address market requirements of variety and delivery are being put in place. Mathur is grateful to Consultant Takao Kasahara who “has been a catalyst of change in the Storwel Division and is now actively involved in the Office Furniture manufacturing plants. He has now switched his role from being a tutor to being a mentor.?/font>


Anil Sain Mathur was among the speakers invited by “Mindspace Events?to address a seminar on “Pester Power?at Taj Land’s End, Mumbai on 24 January, 2003.

The year of learning
When Mathur took over the Storwel Division in 2001-2002 the Division had made a loss. But he has successfully made the Division turn around: “In 2001-2002, we did not have a proper handle on the cost structure and expenses, also, we spent about a crore of rupees in shifting from Plant 12 to Plant 13. That was a short-term loss, but it was good for our business, as 20,000 square metres of area is now gainfully deployed by the Company. We cleansed our system in old stocks and outstandings, which helped improve our working capital by 52 per cent and our fund flow to the treasury improved by 38 per cent. That was the year for stabilisation, the year for transition and learning. The last financial year 2002-2003 was good and right from the beginning we turned around the Storwel Division from a loss of Rs. 3.6 crores to a profit of around Rs. 5 crores!?br>
Mathur is trying to reestablish standards of all Furniture and Interiors Group (encompassing the erstwhile Office Furniture Division and the erstwhile Storwel Division) products, especially the ones that are being exported, his aim being to produce products that can be sold globally. For enhancing the export business, he has adopted a two-pronged strategy ?to expand to countries such as Saudi Arabia, North America and Europe where the Division has not been selling, and to introduce new products such as lateral filing cabinets, Tambour door units, KD Mozaic, etc. in those regions where Godrej is well known and the Company could command a better price.

The Furniture and Interiors Group primarily caters to three business segments:
 
  • Office Furniture and Interiors: “This involves systems furniture, desking, seating and storages. With the change in the market scenario in terms of increased growth in IT enabled services, the business is focusing on coming out with solutions for systems furniture in the range of Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 15,000 per work station, apart from catering to the other IT and banking segments to give a growth of 36% in this product portfolio. Similarly, in seating, the focus is on increasing the market share in the mass seating segment to give a growth of about 11%. The desking is focusing on low-end computer furniture and top-end desking where we expect growth.?br>  

  • Home Storages: “The growth is very slow. Therefore we are focusing on a market segment which requires a cupboard at Rs. 6,000 to Rs. 7,000. The new Slimline range addresses this segment. The product goes down the line in a knockdown condition till the point of purchase. This saves on transportation costs. Also, instead of thicker and round wall construction with intricacies of interlocking, this model is in a simple square form with thin wall construction with integral legs. Thus the number of components processed are reduced and the cost of manufacture comes down.?br>  

  • Home Utility: “Two years ago we had only kitchen cabinets and i-space in the Home Furniture Segment. Last year, we developed vendors for bedroom sets, sofa sets and dining sets. These are now growth engines for the coming years. There is tremendous excitement in the field among our sales officers and among dealers.?/li>

The Group also plans to enter a new market of Laboratory Furniture such as laboratory work benches, fume hoods and laboratory storages especially in low and medium complexity labs catering to educational institutes, pharmaceutical, chemical and physical laboratories.

In addition, the erstwhile Storwel Division is also a preferred supplier for refurbishing the cabins of naval ships. In the last two years it has refurbished at least two cabins on four ships, including the prestigious aircraft carrier, INS Viraat. Today, Godrej is working with the Navy, the Mazgaon Docks and the Kochi Shipyard to design modular cabin blocks along with furniture and fittings for new naval ships.

Think Culture
How have these new product introductions been so successful? Well, the Storwel Division is the first to bring about a Think Culture at the time of product introduction. The process is called Integrated Design for Manufacturing and Marketability (IDMM). When the Design Team underwent this course and developed i-space, the first of its kind in the country, it was this learning that helped the Division make other new product introduction processes more successful than in the past: “IDMM has changed the outlook of the design, manufacturing and marketing teams. Even when we import any products like sofas, dining tables and work tables, we get involved in the product design so that we adapt to the taste of the Indian customer.?br>
The Furniture and Interiors Group has recently started Call Centres to satisfy customer needs. Under Mathur’s strong leadership the Group has trained people both at dealer points and at Branches in order to enable them to “handle both technical and psychological complaints that a customer would have about a product? Call Centres have already started in Mumbai, Pune, Delhi and Kolkata. These will be followed by Chennai, Hyderabad and Lucknow.

Being Divisional Head of the Furniture and Interiors Group is both exciting and exacting for Mathur: “It is a recognition of my Storwel Division team. It is an acceptance of me as capable of handling another big Division, the Office Furniture Division.?Mathur aims to bring about improvements in two areas: “A high level of customer focus and integrating operations so that we can leverage the infrastructure in terms of man and machine to come out with new products, products with world-class quality and aesthetics.?br>
One fundamental change he’d like to bring about is a sense of ownership among employees: “When I see that something is not up to the mark on the shop floor, I go up to the worker and ask him to put himself in the customer’s shoes, that if he were to be offered this product by a dealer, would he buy it. We have a long way to go in improving our quality. For that a sense of involvement has to be brought in. We want suggestions from each and every workman whether it is on productivity, sales, safety?The progress is too slow. Some time ago we were giving small gifts to our workers for suggestions. Progress had become slightly better. I believe that only monetary incentives do not work in the long run. If you are serious in what you say to your workers and pay heed to their suggestions, their response, too, will be good. If, for some reason, you cannot implement that suggestion, tell them that we have looked at your suggestion but cannot implement it right now. That at least makes the worker feel that he is being heard and that there is a possibility of his suggestion being accepted some time in the future?I’ve always respected, trusted and loved my workers and they have responded equally well by giving me all the trust and affection as well as the productivity whenever I require. Communication is our biggest problem. I spend a lot of time communicating with all supervisors, sales people, dealers and this has to be a two-way traffic.?br>
Mathur motivates his employees well. A subordinate of the Group told this interviewer that whenever he does a good job, Mathur sends an e-mail appreciating his work with copies of his mail to all the relevant (read, important) people. But Mathur is not satisfied with that. He has started a 360-degree appraisal. He has asked his managers, other business heads and General Manager (Sales) to grade him on his abilities, strengths and weaknesses: “This has actually brought about a tremendous attitudinal change in people. They feel that there is somebody to listen to us if we have something to say about him. It may not be directly connected with the work at all.?He intends to percolate this down the line and bring about a more transparent and learning culture.

Godrej is Mathur’s first and probably his last job. With so much job-hopping in the industry, what is it that has kept him glued to Godrej? Mathur reveals the secret: “The value systems in the organisation such as trust in people, truthfulness, recognition of sincerity, hard work and competence are akin to what my parents had inculcated in me. The organisation culture has allowed me to be independent. Also, change in job, territory and product portfolio brought the challenge of proving myself in a new area and kept me going.?br>
This young and dynamic Division Head is conscientious, for at the end of the day “my conscience should say, yes, I have done something good. The day my superiors feel otherwise, I should never be in this seat.?/font>

Rashna Ardesher