Introduction A business magazine ran a story on the grand revival of Ashok Leyland in Chennai. This was around ten months ago. It had seen a new CEO who took many tough decisions. Like implementing a Voluntary Retirement Scheme and letting go of non-performers. There had been a sea change in terms of emphasis on quality conforming to world-class standards. All this helped the organization to ramp home and return to the black.
Ashok Leyland is not alone. There was a big metamorphosis of sorts that has spanned new directions. One needs to understand the bigger ramifications to appreciate the kind of changes that have happened. In this article, we will discuss these ramifications pertaining to a) Use of Information Technology on a very wide basis across industries b) Taking tough decisions all the time c) Giving HR it's due in some organizations d) Making Quality as a given and e) Going global as a matter of routine.
Use of Information Technology on a wide basis With the advent of globalization the use of Information Technology has become a way of life for every organization. This is applicable to every Indian organization even in the service sector. For example, Big Bazaar has its entire operations computerized and managed with the best precision. The system is reportedly so advanced that the available inventory is known to Senior Managers every hour. And the entire supply chain is managed so well that the profits are made every single day. And all banks in India have advanced IT systems that offer superior benefits to customers.
Take, for instance, the new private sector bank called the Fincare Small Finance Bank. It has become a scheduled bank and is one of the fastest-growing in the country. Its net banking facilities are excellent. The minimum balance account comes with just a one lakh fixed deposit. Its interest rates are higher than most banks in India. Its managers maintain personal relationships with each customer and they come home for the opening of the savings account, The customer is served at homes and he gets a kit that gets him to activate his sb account and the ATM card. He is also given access to net banking immediately.
The Fincare way of caring for the customer is a differentiator. The bank is growing from strength to strength as it is based on personalized customer service, which is totally missing in every or most public sector banks. Add to this fact that customers have to spend hours together in most pubic sector banks since the crowd is always large. This sort of importance given to IT is spread throughout India. Payments through Google pay and Paytm are spreading like wildfire. The high network individuals, earning upwards of Rs.1,50,000 per month in cities like Chennai or Bangalore do all their transactions online. Food comes from the likes of Swiggy. Today, there are start-ups that have addressed the needs of customers in every functional area of Management.
Taking tough decisions all the time Regular and safe employment, with a host of perks is history. Even public sector organizations are gearing up to face all challenges. It is obvious that in the next few years the likes of NLC, BHEL, NTPC, and Coal India will all become private sector organizations. The Government of India will effectively freeze any new employment in the newly merged banks and will claim that there will be no retrenchment. But the additional workload and the added benefits to existing employees will be dangled like a carrot. Already, the trade unions have lost all their bite and militant trade unionism is history.
The employers are clearly having the upper hand. There are several reasons for this. Even the trade union leader would be using cell phones and the most advanced information technology in their offices and homes. This includes the left-wing leaders as well. The communist unions understand the importance of modernization like never before. This is exactly why the trade unions were not able to stop the first private sector train, the Tejas Express, that runs between Lucknow and New Delhi. More such trains will be introduced soon.
The State will be present in defense and finance. And foreign and home affairs. Perhaps everything will become private. We now have deemed universities like SRM and the VIT that have campuses in so many places. These universities have placement records that give the NITs a run for their money. Many faculty members have resigned from the NITs to join such deemed universities. We are likely to see only large private universities in India. The State Government universities will see a continuous decline.
Everywhere the toughest decisions are being taken. At BSNL the VRS is a famous success. The Government of India wants to operate it with minimum manpower.
Giving HR it's due in some organizations Operational freedom being given to talented executives. Experiments in flexitime and work from home advantages are now common. Increasing employment of women at all levels is a good sign. So are welfare facilities like the creche being provided by the employers fostering of a "family" feeling in many organizations. This is common in organizations like BHEL, ITC, SAIL, Asian Paints, the Aditya Birla Group, the entire Tata group of organizations, NTPC, ICICI Bank, Canara Bank, and a few other organizations. The aforesaid organizations are often quoted for their progressive HR practices in most HR conferences and are now growing from strength to strength. It is another point that HR has miles to go before it can reach professional status in India.
Making Quality as a given Not many people are aware that it took one International Quality expert called Prof. Tsuda, to advise Mr. Venu Srinivasan, the big boss of TVS Motors to go on his own and end the tie-up with Suzuki when it demanded a majority stake. TVS Motors is still very viable.
The Munjals of the Hero Group came out of their relationship with Honda. The latter has an India operation, but Hero still lords over the Indian market. Similarly, Bajaj Auto has fought the battle with renewed vigor and has become a formidable competitor. Take the likes of ITC, the entire TVS group, Tata Motors, the Aditya Birla group, Madras Cements and the like, and each of these organizations have products that conform to world-class standards, without any problem whatsoever. Today, even the Indian Railways is improving the quality of facilities provided in trains and this trend is likely to continue for a long time to come.
Going global as a matter of routineThere is this organization called Brakes India Private Limited in the TVS group. It is the sole supplier of Brake systems to companies like Maruti Sukuzi Limited, and to many global majors. It has a Foundry Division at a place called Sholinghur in Vellore district. It is the largest foundry in Asia. Around a decade ago it had set up a Foundry in Oman. Since then, it has expanded capacity in that country. Similarly, Sundram Fasteners, a major company of the TVS group has set up in China decades ago. TVS Motors has plants abroad too.
The TVS group is not alone. Asian Paints has several plants abroad. The Aditya Birla group had set up several plants in foreign countries decades ago. It has gone ahead and acquired many plants abroad too. ITC has plants abroad. It controls several hotels abroad. The Tatas have also expanded abroad. TCS is a globally competitive IT services provider that competes very successfully with the global majors. These trends will continue for decades now and all the aforesaid parameters of business excellence will become assumptions that will be "givens" in any organization. However, only those who are fast in taking decisions and catering to the needs of customers on a worldwide basis will ever stand the time of time.
Conclusion The aforesaid trends have resulted in a total metamorphis of Corporate India. There are just indicative and not exhaustive. The advent of so many globally competitive organizations is one sure sign that we are in for the best of times in Indian Corporate history.