Know Your Divisional Heads


My qualifications:
B.E. (Electrical), Chartered Engineer.

I head:
The Electrical & Electronic Services Division.

I deal with:
Internal Services: Electrical Maintenance, Electronic Maintenance, DG Sets, Air Conditioning, Compressed Air, Electronic Measuring Instruments, Telecommunications and Energy Conservation.

External Services:
Electronic Technology Solution Provider, Compressed Air Management Systems, Electrical Power Distribution Systems and Electrical Contracts Division.

Our strength:
The biggest strength of our Division is technology.

My Division's marketing techniques: Our single-most strength is completing projects with military precision, providing high quality and delivering well before the timeframe given by the customer.

Its sales turnover:
Over Rs. 10 crores.

The export turnover: Less than 5 per cent.

My Division's goals for 2004-2005:
To be the Number One Energy Solution and Energy-Saving Company (ESCO) as well as Number One in Power Distribution Bus Duct and Raising Mains Business.

My personal goals for 2004-2005: To provide reliable, competent and cost-effective services to our internal and external customers and achieve enough surplus from external customers so that we can provide free services to our internal customers.

My strengths and weaknesses: Quick response to customer queries. Every customer must get a response (+ve or -ve) within 24 hours, whether it is an internal or external customer or Branch.

My weakness is impatience.

My family background: Wife and two children. Before marriage, wife Yasmin used to work with a Chartered Accountant's firm. But she gave up the job, as travelling from Vikhroli to VT was too strenuous.

Daughter Arzin, studied in SIES College, married to Dr. Sorab Italia, a Family Practitioner in Houston, USA.
Son Azar, presently studying Final Year Engineering (Computer Science).

My first crush: Energy Conservation and Environmental Management.

My hobbies: Swimming.

My pets:

My favourite book: Made in Japan by Akio Morita, Founder-Chairman of Sony Corporation.

I am content with: Spending one or two hours of leisure in the evening with my family, after a day's hard work.

I get upset when:
An unplanned emergency crops up because of negligence or lack of foresight.

I am proud of:
Being a Godrejite.

My retirement plans:
To work on Environmental Management maybe with some NGOs, where I can do some positive work on environmental activities for the benefit of society.

The future of Godrej: Godrej's biggest strength is its employees. With such dedicated, hardworking emplo-yees, the future has to be good, irrespective of what we face in day-to-day life.

I love India because: Of our rich culture, heritage and the history of 7,000 years.

I believe: Firmly in the theory of Karma as I am sure whatever good or bad we do, it is going to come back to us in one form or another.


The Electronic Man

B.K. Karanjia

ou could call him an electronic man in an electronic world ?only, he can’t keep pace with it. Which probably accounts for what he himself calls his greatest weakness, impatience. His is a different world altogether, a bizarrerie with inbuilt emergencies, which he tackles as best he can in an 11-hour stint from 6 in the morning to 5 in the evening, day after day, sometimes even on Sundays. The harried look on his face is just a mask, which he drops the moment we sit down for the interview and he is his genial self again. By mutual agreement, we set aside the prepared questionnaire and decide on an informal exchange of views.

The world may be too much with him. But work does not tire him; rather it sustains and enriches him. Meeting him for the first time is a surprise. Our contacts so far have been only by phone and an officious e-mail. For one thing, he looks better than he photographs and, for another, he is not by nature officious. He looks with an indulgent eye on the young executives? particularly the MBAs? unending search for greener pastures, but his own loyalty to Godrej is old-worldly and absolute. Thirty-four years is a long stint indeed, with never a thought given to the occasional outside offers, tempting because of the specialised nature of his work.

Having myself worked in Godrej in a PR capacity from 1954 to 1961 and having rejoined in 1991, I am astonished by the many changes in management styles. So is Homi Daruwalla. His used to be a one-to-one interaction with Naoroji Godrej at a time when Godrej were manufacturing traditional safes, cupboards, furniture, and so on. There was a dramatic change in 1990, when trade barriers were broken, the pernicious Licence Raj was bid goodbye, and foreign companies started bringing in their products as well as their finance. "I didn’t myself understand at that time all that was happening," Daruwalla confesses. "The meaning of change, the total transformation with new machinery, new processes, vastly different from the old ones, with new management tools designed to take the competition head on."

I’ve always been sceptical of the new meeting culture. Daruwalla assures me that, under the changed circumstances, regular, frequent meetings are not only necessary, they are inevitable: "Over the years, our Company has expanded not vertically, but horizontally. A single Division or Department can no longer work in isolation. We have a centralised Human Resources Department, Industrial Relations Department, Capital Procurement, Infotech, etc., and we have very heavy cross-functions between these Departments for day-to-day working. Hence, it is but natural that we regularly meet and discuss various issues and problems with these cross-functional teams. Once upon a time, Dr. K.R. Hathi was Marketing Head and everything was under him ?branches, warehouses, showrooms, everything. Once you spoke to him, you covered everything. Today, there are so many Dr. Hathis. Technology has advanced and become so complex that many new departments are formed, more people are involved and a lot of time is spent on meetings. At the same time, if we didn’t meet, things wouldn’t work."

The electronic revolution poses a paradox, that while individual time is saved, collective time spent on meetings has multiplied: "For instance, I was in Pune yesterday, attending a CII meeting. My work didn’t come to a standstill. I carried my laptop, accessed my mail frequently, my mobile phone stuck to my ears. My engineers and assistants call me up and I respond to them and suggest actions to be taken. I spend about 25 per cent of my time meeting outside people and try to give 75 per cent to my own engineers and subordinates. Before 6.45 a.m. every day, I try and finish all e-mail and corres-pondence, so that I am able to devote three hours up to 10 to have one-to-one discussions with my engineers on the day-to-day running of the Department. Thereafter, I spend time with other departments.?Daruwalla jokingly refers to his Electrical Department as “Emergency Department? “I get emergency calls on a 24-hour basis, almost every day. On an average, I get six to 12 calls at home in the evenings, sometimes even in the middle of the night.?His private life is disturbed. Evening cinema shows for which tickets have been booked have to be cancelled. “My wife understands. But consoling my two children was quite a problem.?/p>

We revert to the question of loyalty. I recall how Prof. S.K. Chakraborty in his book Managerial Transformation by Values deplored that the old bonds of loyalty and understanding between the management and workers in Godrej did not exist any more: He felt the need to demonstrate that an “Indian Ethos ?Western Technology? on the lines of the highly successful “Japanese Ethos ?Western Technology? could be evolved and made workable. Daruwalla too attended many of Prof. Chakraborty’s lectures. But, according to him, it is not so much a question of loyalty as an eagerness to change and greed to earn more. “As competition increased, in Appliances, in Furniture, everywhere, if a manager has 14 to 15 years?experience in Godrej, he becomes a much-wanted person to our competitors. They pick him up at double the salary. This is what Godrej simply cannot do.?Besides, in the good old days, technology diversification was far less. Today, diversification is the order of the day. Managers keep hopping from company to company in order to widen their experience in at least three to four technologies.

Impatience is a must of the driving spirit. Could that be a weakness? “Yes, I know. If people do not work at my speed, I become impatient. When there are 10 different jobs in hand, a meeting which was supposed to get over at a stipulated time gets stretched unnecessarily, add to which there is some sort of an emergency, and handling all this becomes difficult.?br>
He had left unanswered a question put to him earlier about the most embarrassing moment of his life. I asked him why. It was so as not to cause embarrassment to someone closely associated with the Platinum-rated CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre at Hyderabad. When I told him he needn’t mention any names, he relented: “This happened at a time when, forget Platinum, in India we had not constructed even Gold, Silver or just Certified Green Buildings. Platinum is the highest, requiring 56 points. Unfortunately, in the first submission, out of 56 points attempted, only 17 points were guaranteed. Even for simple certification, 26 points are required. I had to bear the brunt of our poor, even pathetic documentation. But let me tell you, one good came out of this embarrassment. A team was formed and it was decided that every submission thereafter should go through S. Raghupathy of the CII and myself before forwarding to LEED. Finally, out of 59 points attempted, we got 56 and our building got awarded the Platinum plaque as the world’s greenest building at that time.?br>
High points
Daruwalla’s close association with the Green Business Centre was a high point in his career. There were other high points too ?in 1996 the Electrical & Electronic Services won the prestigious ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 for the high level of their services, the first Internal Service Department to win this distinction.

There are self-centred people, and there are work-centred people. I have observed that the personal lives of work-centred people are more interesting than those of self-centred people, which are mostly ego trips. Not so in the case of Daruwalla: “I am 57. I have been able to balance my life between my work and my leisure activities. There were occasions when I stayed back till 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. But now I’ve made it a point to be available to my family from 5.30 p.m. onwards.?This reminded me of our former Chairman Sohrab Godrej. He too was a workaholic, so much so that even 24 hours in the day were not enough for him. When I mention him, Daruwalla recalls that he too had worked with Sohrabji for nearly 25 years and had learnt a lot from him.

Leisure Activities
Daruwalla used to take a 40- to 45-minute walk every day in Vikhroli on the Hillside grounds. When he shifted to Ghatkopar, he had to look for a suitable place to take a walk. Now in Dadar he walks around Five Gardens. Of late, he has started swimming at the Godrej Club House after office hours, before going home. Pets, particularly dogs, he loves. “I had quite a number of them, but had to give them away because my wife was allergic to them and got asthma attacks. But when I was in Ghatkopar, there was a little pup in our building called Julie. She was very friendly with my daughter. I used to notice that she would accompany my daughter on her way to school and would wait for her to cross the road safely before returning home. This so touched me that in spite of my heavy schedule, even now when we are staying at Dadar, I go to Ghatkopar every day in the morning to feed her. Poor thing, she is now totally blind. But she recognises me by smell. She even recognises my car horn and starts barking before I reach the door.?br>
This love for animals was shared by Naoroji, who didn’t like the crude manner in which dead pets were disposed of at the Sakarbai Petit Hospital. So Naoroji thought of an electric crematorium and the man he approached to build it was Daruwalla. “We were discarding our enamelling furnace at Vikhroli. We had designed an oven that used to operate at 800 degrees Celsius. We upgraded it to work at 1,300 degrees Celsius, whereby the body is converted to ash in the twinkling of an eye. I am happy to say that it is running perfectly well at the hospital, and the hospital is making good money out of it.?br>
Daruwalla’s other hobby is reading books or, rather, management books. His favourites are two, Made in Japan by Akio Morita, Founder-Chairman of the Sony Corporation of Japan, and The Reckoning by David Halberstam. The first recounts the story of how Japan, totally destroyed after World War II, took a giant leap forward to change the tattered industrial map of Japan. The Reckoning is the corporate story of Nissan, which describes how Japan became a superpower. The author compares two automobile giants, Ford Motors, USA, and Nissan in Japan. It shows how U.S. automobile giants (Ford, General Motors, Chrysler) were once ruling the world. But then the Japanese car industry posed a real threat to the American, in terms of quality, reliability, fuel economy and price, beating the Americans on their own turf.

Just as Naoroji was an inspiration in his younger days, so is Naoroji’s son Jamshyd now. Jamshyd gives immediate sanction for all investments in Energy Saving Equipment, which pays back within two years. In fact, he encourages all such investments with rapid returns. At first Daruwalla thought such immediate sanctions would be given only for small investments of Rs. 4 to 5 lakhs. What about larger investments? Will the sanction come through as fast? “One day I approached Jamshyd with a mega project on energy conservation costing Rs. 70 lakhs. I explained the project to him, wherein there was a guaranteed saving and attractive payback. To my surprise, the sanction came equally fast.?br>
We discovered some common ground between us in our shared belief in karma and in astrology. He told me of an astrologer in a royal court to whom the Maharaja would always send the janam patrikas or palm prints of each and every member of his family. One day the Maharaja felt like testing the astrologer. He prepared some fictitious palm prints and false birth details and sent them to the astrologer. After two days the Maharaja got a reply. The astrologer wanted to come and personally meet the man whose palm prints the Maharaja had sent him. He told the Maharaja that a person with such a palm and such a patrika, could never even take birth. If at all such a person existed, the astrologer would sit at his feet and would learn astrology from him. The Maharaja learnt his lesson.

It had been a stimulating interview. I thought ?here is a man who is impatient, restless, effective, a workaholic, able to survive by summoning the inner resources of the spirit. To a true workaholic, work is infinity ?an opportunity for infinite improvement.