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My name:
Dara E. Byramjee


My qualifications: B.E. (Mech), F.I.E. (India) – Chartered Engineer.
I head:  Security Equipment Division.
I deal with: Physical and Electronic Security products: Safes, strong-room doors, safe deposit lockers, vault equipment, fire-resistant filing and record cabinets, data safes, fire-resistant safes, electronic safes. Fire and Avanti doors, electronic burglar and fire alarm systems, access control systems, surveillance systems and currency handling systems.
My Division's marketing techniques:  To be a “One-Stop Shop” for all security needs of all customer segments.
Its sales turnover: Rs. 109 crores plan for the current year.
The export turnover: Rs. 6 crores plan for the current year.
We export our products to: UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, SAARC Countries, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Yemen.
Our competitors: Gunnebo Steelage, Methodex, Kores, Zicom.
My Division's goals for 2002-03:

Net business volume : Rs. 109 crores
Gross contribution : Rs. 18.61 crores (17% of sales value of production)
Profit before tax : Rs. 9.5 crores (8.7% of sales value of production)
Average net working capital blockage : Rs. 21.8 crores
Working capital turns : 5
Rate of interest : 42.1 %
Net funds flow : 3.38 crores.

My personal goals for 2002-03: Bring about improvements in EVA and Delta EVA for the Division. Improve operating efficiencies at all levels within the Division. People development. Bring about process improvements in manufacturing. Special thrust on exports. Create “innovative” and “performance-driven” work culture. Create visibility for our Division and our products.
My strengths and weaknesses: STRENGTHS: Loyalty, sincerity, no ego, transparent, team spirit, empathy, maturity, being proactive. WEAKNESSES: Not tactful, empathy sometimes gets construed as permissiveness.
My family background: Parents are retired. Wife worked with Hindustan Lever Ltd. for 12 years, now doing freelance work. Son studying in USA (M.S. in Manufacturing Engg).
My first crush: My wife.
My hobbies: Reading business magazines, music, TV.
My pets: NIL
My favourite books: (1) The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey. (2) The Goal – Eliyahu M. Goldratt. (3) Principles of Marketing – Philip Kotler.
My most embarrassing moments:  To be caught lying by somebody close to me.
I am content with:  My job, my family.
I am jealous of: Nobody.
I get upset when: Somebody belies my trust.
I fear:  Doing something which may harm others.
I am proud of: 1) My son and my wife. (2) Being a part of the “Godrej Parivar”.
My retirement plans:  Consultancy, social service.
The future of Godrej: Great!
I love India because: It gave shelter to our forefathers who came from a distant land. Because of the tolerant culture of India, we could survive as a race and maintain our identity as Zoroastrians.


“Coming Together Is Beginning, Keeping Together Is Progress,

The quintessence of a Godrej man? Look closely at Dara Byramjee, Vice President and Business Head, Security Equipment Division. He has no airs about him, MBA-wise or otherwise. No ego problems, his ego left behind under his pillow at home. He reminds me of Pirojsha’s old managers, doughty warriors, who saw Godrej through the tumultuous pre-freedom thirties and forties, and the late fifties and sixties when the ugly face of socialism distorted freedom’s smile. They carried on regardless, consolidating the many gains of founder Ardeshir’s inventive genius.

Byramjee stoutly upholds the values by which Godrej grew to become a household, then a brand name. He is equally conscious of the changed circumstances of global competition constantly demanding added values. A manufacturing man, Byramjee identifies the core competencies in his field of security equipment, yet he is no captive of the conventional wisdom that until very recently dominated the Company’s way of doing things.

Today, he has to face the exacting demands of global marketing and the rapidly evolving managerial or, more correctly, entrepreneurial skills needed to provide satisfaction to the global consumer. Byramjee is now learning and mastering the most important lesson of all — to bend his will, purpose and energy to serve the new product segments demanded by the latter, in the new far-flung geographic markets being tapped by the former.

The problem Byramjee faces, along with his mentor Phiroze Lam, is seemingly an insurmountable one — how does one add value to Godrej Security Equipment that has been proved to be and is widely acknowledged as being perfect in its fall-, burglar- and fire-resisting qualities, earning for Godrej the proud encomium of being “Guardians of the Nation’s Wealth”? How do you change the best into something better? There are ways, as Lam discovered some years ago when Godrej safes were put on display at a New York exhibition. It was pointed out to him that the painting of these safes was 20 years behind the times. Now everything requires to be powder painted. This was done, but it was a surface improvement, superficial at best.

Electronic security
Value is being added in more integral ways. As for example, in the banking segment which forms a major part of Godrej business: “Our current strategy,” Byramjee explains, “is to consolidate our presence in the banking segment by aggressively fighting competition and increase our market share which today stands at around 75 per cent. We are also focusing in a major way on the non-banking segment, particularly homes. We have a plethora of products we can offer to this vast segment, like small safes, coffers, etc. and alarm systems, in the range of Rs.10,000 to cover a thousand square feet flat.”

More importantly, Godrej are focusing on continuously expanding into new niche businesses — electronic security (covering alarm systems, access control systems, electronic safes and surveillance systems), fire doors and Avanti doors for homes and commercial establishments and banking automation products (including cash counting machines, coin sorters, currency sorters, note bending machines and fake note detectors).

Byramjee adds: “We have recently developed our own Cash Counting Machine which is being manufactured by Prima Division at their Shirwal Plant, but marketed and serviced by us.

“We take assistance of our E&E Services Department while developing electronic security products. We also have our Technology Cell to take care of various types of customisation to be carried out to meet diverse customer needs, particularly for alarm systems, access control systems and surveillance systems.

“As a part of our endeavour to offer world-class products and services to our customers, we constantly upgrade our product functionality/quality and also get our products tested regularly at CBRI – Roorkee and at UL – USA. There is also great focus on developing new products. We have come out with the Defender Plus range which has improved burglar resistance and offers resistance to fire for as long as an hour as against the 30-minute time period stipulated under the BIS Standards.

“The designs of strong-room doors have also been similarly upgraded and we will soon come out with the Defender Plus range of doors.”

Positive work culture
Simultaneously, organisational changes were made, including improving Industrial Relations in the plant, right-sizing (45 per cent reduction in workmen over the last five years), Research and Development design focusing (new products and product certifications) and process improvements in manufacturing.

Asked the reasons for the Security Equipment Division’s good performance every year, Byramjee replies: “The answer is simple. To put it in a single word — PEOPLE. I am indeed very fortunate in having very good people in my Division. I joined this Division in April 1996 and from day one, my focus has been on developing a good team, putting the right people in the right place, leveraging on the strengths of people and encouraging people to think differently, challenging the status quo and putting in place a transparent and positive work culture. This has led to deeper involvement of all people, bringing about a sense of ownership. We do have our weaknesses, but in an environment which breeds openness, nobody is defensive about their shortcomings. Rather, we work on our weaknesses and make efforts to grow as effective individuals, to improve our Division’s performance. I personally appreciate people who question my decision and constructive debate/criticism is always encouraged. The quality of decision-making thereby gets improved.”

He goes on to talk about the power of collective wisdom, respect for all individuals regardless of hierarchy and a strong process orientation: “Striving for continuous improvements in all operating processes is a way of life with us. We encounter problems whenever the process is not clearly defined and known to operating people or there is lack of implementation. We modify processes as we go along whenever the need is felt. There is a well defined process of constant monitoring for assessing overall performance.

“As most of our products are heavy in weight, with heavy steel components, our manufacturing processes are labour intensive. For the last two years, our prime focus is on removing manual fatigue from the handling processes, thereby removing pain from the system. Our intent is to increase productivity and throughput manifold, by reducing pain from operations, through low cost automation.

“We consider Takao San as our guru in improving our manufacturing processes. Under his able guidance, and with the involvement of our Manager, supervisors and also workmen, we have started setting up single-piece flow lines in our Assembly Departments, and we are seeing positive results out of this exercise. This is a continuous process and once the line is set up, we go for further improvements to get better and yet better results.”
Byramjee summarises how he has added Value to his Division as follows:

  • Portraying the Security Equipment Division as a “One-Stop Shop for total security solutions” for all customer segments.

  • Bring in complete customer focus.

  • Team work — involvement of all — participative management — bringing in a sense of ownership.

  • Positive work culture.

  • Ensure profitable growth — year after year.

User-friendly processes
Byramjee recalls how a senior workman who retired three years back was astounded on a recent visit to see the changes that had taken place and the increased emphasis on making processes user-friendly and less painful. The worker had spent his entire lifetime in manually handling heavy material and he was delighted to find that his junior colleagues were now working in an easier and more congenial work environment.

Byramjee speaks gratefully about his “great boss”, Phiroze Lam, who guides them from time to time, empowers them to take their own decisions and constantly motivates them for better performance. Last month Byramjee recalls he spent almost 70 hours in having a series of interactions with Managers, Supervisors, Safety Officers, Personal Executives, Key Workmen and Union Members of each and every department of the Plant. The main topic of discussion was “how to further improve our productivity and throughput”. In the course of these discussions, 304 — repeat 304 — issues came up, which are now being worked on jointly. Byramjee is confident that these will be effectively resolved.

When asked the basic reason of why the Company as a whole is not doing as well as in the past, Byramjee frankly admits: “We make good plans, but where we lack is the implementation part. Clear focus on our action plans, tracking variances and taking necessary mid-term correctives and being proactive in decision-making can certainly lead to improvements in results.”

He is convinced that the new performance management as part of the Partnership 2000 initiative will help Godrej in bringing about the desired focus. Also, the great emphasis on innovation and newness in all areas of operations will surely generate the desired catalytic influence: “With all functions within each business having innovation and newness as part of the Key Result Areas, we are sure to see some positive outcome.”

What does he think about the future of Godrej? “Great! Provided we stay focused on our plans and their implementation. Full customer focus will also be needed to progress further.”

And, finally, what is the secret of Byramjee’s success? He points to a slogan on his cabin wall: “The truly successful leader is one who builds a team complementing his own strengths and surrounds himself with people who disagree.”

B. K.