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On former Chairman S. P. Godrej’s death anniversary (20 May), DOREEN ROSARIO, Office Furniture Division, Plant-4, looks at the challenges facing Godrej in a new millennium.
Godrej Enters a New Millennium
It was way back in 1897 that the founder of the Godrej enterprise manufactured and offered its first product ?locks ?ensuring the safety, security and self-reliance of Indians in British India.
After locks came safes in 1902, soaps in 1914, steel cupboards and office furniture in 1923, typewriters in 1955, refrigerators in 1958, Cinthol in 1952, forklifts in 1961, edible oils and other food products in 1972. Electronic typewriters followed in 1985, printers in 1986, computers in 1988 and Cad Cams in 1989. To complete the picture, came Eden Woods in 1990, where the Company decided to spread its wings and offer premium housing to the elite of Mumbai. After that, the sky was the limit ?resulting in liquid propulsion engines for rockets in 1992. Simultaneously, we divisionalised, co-located and adopted the Enterprise Resource Planning ?ERP ?BAAN. Today, we offer the Mozaic tile system for offices and Avanti doors for homes and fire doors for industry. We have grown from being a manufacturer to a marketer and a trader as well as an outsourcer in a span of 106 years. We also entered into strategic alliances with international players and in some cases terminated the joint ventures as with Procter & Gamble, General Electric and Fiskars. There have been major changes in the economy, both in India and the world in the century gone by but Godrej as an organisation has not changed the relationship the Company’s founders had with their workforce. People were ?and are ?our main strength, the force of our future.
We are all set to usher in the new millennium with open arms. The question here is how well armed are we? As the proverb goes “to be forewarned is to be forearmed? Manu Parpia, Advisor ?Electronics and Telecom, observes that competition is a healthy phenomenon. It pushes us to improve our product and seek ways to gain competitive advantage. Of course the best way to gain a competitive advantage is to leave the competition behind. Parpia believes the way to do that is to innovate, especially by using technology and technological insights to establish high standards.
We are a global company today, but how strong a global force are we? The answer could lie in our mindset. We look only to the Indian market and don’t treat the world as our market. We have been encouraged to do this because in the past, global companies could not access the Indian market. That is now fast changing and unless we learn to compete in all markets, chances are our share in the Indian market will drop. Good communication is one of the many tools by which we can change our mindset. Restructuring will no doubt bring about change in the organisation set-up but it would be successful only if all our structures, strategies, processes, systems and above all, our people, mesh together in harmony so that there is a unified force which will bring about quantum improvements.
It is 2003 ?the future is here already and we at Godrej have landed on the information technology superhighway as planned. All Godrej companies have powerful Internet and Intranet websites. Business information is now available anytime, anywhere on cell phones. E-commerce is a way of life and our dealers are already booking their orders on the Internet. “This technology is sure to cut costs in many areas and boost our sales,?says Pradeep Kapoor, CEO, Godrej Infotech Ltd.
The ERP market internationally as well as in India has changed completely in the last five years and with our experience in implementing ERP in different business scenarios, Godrej Infotech has made the total cost of ownership of ERP very affordable for customers, says Ashish Jain, Business Development Manager, Godrej Infotech Ltd.
R.G. Walimbe, former General Manager (Marketing), Precision Equipment Division, says: “In the centuries to come, we dream of harnessing the available resources, not only on our earth, but on the other planets also. With the successful launching of the PSLV satellite where the rocket engines manufactured and supplied by Godrej were successfully deployed, our dream should become a reality.?/p>
On the question of leadership, leadership means different things to different people. For P.D. Lam, Executive Director, true leadership is forging a team which wants to perform, which is delighted to perform, which has the courage and convictions to take up challenges, which has no fear of failure and which is led from the top by example. He adds that if we can enthuse the spirit of healthy competitiveness, of striving for success in our people, we will have done meritorious service to Godrej. But what we require is courage and conviction of leadership in each one of us.
Jamshyd N. Godrej feels that leadership and performance have always been the strong points at Godrej. Today we are reinforcing and enhancing these strengths in the 21st century by the breakthrough HR initiative, Partnership 2000 (P2K). Partnership 2000 is not just another consultancy programme but a call to each one of us to come forward to perform and to lead. Vaishali Job, Manager (P&A), strongly feels that P2K is bringing about a performance-oriented cultural change wherein roles, competencies, leadership and improving all our processes are the milestones to be achieved. B.K. Rajkumar, Vice President, Locks Division, believes that P2K is all about bringing in a performance and leadership culture and is confident that the organisation will meet the challenges ahead.
Value for money
Even as Godrej moves into the next millennium, it is time for us to rededicate ourselves to the vision of our founding fathers. “We Godrejites must take up the ownership and challenge of propelling Godrej to still greater heights in the days to come,?says Anil Verma, Vice President and Business Head, Office Furniture Division. We need to understand that we are on the verge of a new era where the very nature of change has changed. Change has become discontinuous and disruptive. “As Godrejites, we must learn to lead in this new age,?says Ashwani Keswani, Vice President (Service), Godrej Appliances Ltd. (GAL). Soumitra Ghatak, Executive Vice President, GAL, adds: “We must combine effectively our size and solidity with professionalism and vigour in this current era of hyper competition.?The powerhouse that it is, we must ensure that our transmission lines are robust and strong so as to translate and reap the benefits of this “Power Brand ?i.e. Godrej?in every possible way.
Godrej is no more just a commercial organisation, it is an institution today, which time and tide cannot erase. Being a commercial organisation, it aims at surplus and profits which are ploughed back into the welfare kit for employees, society and environment. If Godrej makes profits, we profit. The goal is clear. The path is paved. Let us in our own unique way contribute towards self-reliance and self dignity at a time when India is facing scams, scandals and corruption. We Godrejites should be proud of being employees and members of the Godrej “parivar? which means “family? A family gives support, security and sustenance and is the basic fibre in the fabric called society.
The name Godrej has stood the test of time and tradition. It stands for value for money, for strength of character, for sustenance and superiority, for quality and brand equity, for fame and fortune, for peace and progress, for indigenization and, of course, for integrity, growth, development and leadership.
Long live Godrej!