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WIRE AND CABLE INDUSTRY’S YOUNG TURKS

Meet the exceptional young achievers in wire and cable industry who have distinguished themselves before rallying the troops.

The Wire and Cable in India (WCI) team recently identified and interviewed wire and cable industry’s young achievers who are currently taking the lead in the industry. Full of ambition and energy and habouring a clear vision of what they want to achieve, these young Turks have boldly been marching forward to achieving new milestones; and in their journey to success, they continue to inspire many other young businessmen and professionals in the industry. Their professional accomplishments have significantly impacted their company’s core business and their vision serves as a guidepost for decision making – from strategic decisions through to operational decisions. They are the ones who play a major role in setting standards, benchmarks and performance targets; they are the ones who get going when the going gets tough.
Abraham Lincoln once said that “character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” Unfazed by the enviable reputation that these young turks have built up as businessmen, the WCI team made special efforts to get an insight into their character: Do they believe in caring for others? Do they give importance to friendship, trust and truthfulness? Does the human side of business leadership mean anything to them? What do they normally do after work? Are they successful in striking a balance between work and family?
Let us meet these young Turks one by one.

What are your company’s success factors? Where does your company’s core strength lie?

The key success factors of Polycab are its entrepreneurial culture, risk taking ability, technology and manufacturing strength, huge distribution network, quality systems, outstanding employees and effective customer relationship management. Our core strength lies in our supply chain, procurement, dealer relationship and customer focus.

What is your role in your company? Are you satisfied with your professional performance?

I have been playing an important role as a ‘change agent’ to improve our management team, processes and systems, improve the customer responsiveness as well as protect the financial interests of our company. From the last 4-5 years we have been focusing on operational improvements with a view to improve efficiencies in operation, reduce costs and improve productivity without sacrificing the quality. In the last one year or so, we invested in improving distribution part further, increased our brand presence and moved the company on the path of professionali-sation. I am also driving our export ambitions. Polycab is a very large company and the role is challenging and thus extremely exciting for me. Although I am, satisfied with the progress that we have made in the last few years and passionate about doing a lot more.

Please tell us about your academic qualifications. How has education helped you in achieving professional success?

I did my graduation in business and finance and post graduation in operations and change management from Manchester University, United Kingdom. Thus I have received a fair exposure to both, the hard and soft sides of the business. Education, I am sure, makes one think and understand faster and what you have studied it helps you apply various theories in organization building. My education has enabled me to build credibility amongst high caliber professionals from the best corporates in India and abroad.

It is said that we must go wherever our interests and talents take us so that we can discover our strengths and develop our skills. What brought you to wire and cable industry?

Having spent my childhood in a very entrepreneurial environment in a large joint family, business is something that has fascinated me from a very young age. In whatever career one would pursue this kind of an upbringing becomes your strength. I have been visiting cables and wires factories since the age of ten. It is as if I was not brought in to the industry but I was born into the industry. For me it is more about what I can contribute to brand Polycab and team Polycab and the things that we can do to be a dominant global player in the cable and wire Industry in the coming decade.

What are the advantages and disadvantage of joining family business?

Joining a family business gives you immediate acceptability, an immediate role and a ready made platform to add value to. However, this often happens whether one deserves it or not! The disadvantage is that, you have a safe nest that may tolerate your lack of capabilities and knowledge and hence you are not exposed to harsh realities of a competitive world. It is important to deserve your position even though you are a member of the family and win the respect of your team and family through your competence, leadership and achievements. That is what I constantly work towards.

How has your company contributed towards corporate social responsibility?

We do not speak about our contributions in CSR in public platforms. Our company has a deep-rooted commitment to various environmental, health, education, skill building and cultural causes that we espouse, both as a company and as a family.

Do you think that you have more leisure than your parents had? What do you normally do in your leisure time? Do you get time to pursue your hobbies?

I definitely have less leisure time than what my parents had, as the world is moving really fast. In today’s world we have to try and achieve a lot more in far lesser time. I ran Mumbai Marathon last year, to win a friendly bet! I love gully cricket and am a foodie.

Have you been successful in striking a balance between work and home?

Personally it is a very difficult task but I have decided to keep up with it and not lose out on either side. I believe that at home, the everyday things matter much more than the bigger occasions. As a family we do breakfast and dinner together. We find time to have general conversations and simply being together and have fun.

Does the human side of business leadership mean anything to you?

I strongly believe that emotional quotient (EQ) is far more important as a leader than intelligence quotient (IQ). To create strong working teams, a leader must understand how to communicate effectively keeping in mind the various sentiments of people, resolve conflicts while keeping everyone motivated, empathise with people to build their loyalty towards the organization and control their emotions in adversity to keep the morale intact. This is one of the biggest challenges in today’s environment. I endeavor to improve myself in these areas by seeking feedback and receiving mentorship from my seniors and well wishers.

Do you believe in caring for others? Do you give importance to friendship, trust and truthfulness? How often do you visit your relatives and friends?

I am a very outgoing person, love to meet different people and make new friends and for me friendship comes before business. The people you work with should become your good friends irrespective of their age, experience, level or gender. The art is to accept people as a whole with all their strengths and weaknesses. I am in touch with most of my friend’s right from school to university days apart from my business friends. As a member of the entrepreneurs’ organisation, I have been exposed to many people from different business families and professions.

What has been source of inspiration?

My family is my biggest source of inspiration. My father was only 10 years old when my grandfather passed away. The four brothers under the leadership of my uncle Mr. Inder Jaisinghani, have built up a Rs. 4300 crore business empire from a 200 square feet shop in Lohar Chawl in Mumbai. This was done without any capital, technology or support. Today, Polycab employs 8000 people across 16 manufacturing plants and is the dominant number one cables and wires Company in India today. My family’s commitment of being together, working hard, being selfless, caring for employees and the passionate desire to build an outstanding Company, are my real inspiration.

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What are your company’s success factors? Where does your company’s core strength lie?

My Company’s success factors lies on the principle of values and beliefs in terms of steadiness, integrity and welfare of mankind, which have actually been the steering force behind the success story of my company owing to which I have fostered innovation and have built a distinct and healthy Company culture. My Company’s core strength lies with a team of highly talented and experienced engineers for smooth execution of projects, ensuring on-time delivery at most competitive prices.

What is your role in your company? Are you satisfied with your professional performance?

My role is to making my company a process focused engine where we are not the employer but the business is! I myself being the new age entrepreneur believe that experiments are essential to evolve and stand out of the crowd. I am very much satisfied with my professional performance because I could utilize the experiences which I had gained while working in USA, this has made me a dynamic entrepreneur.

Please tell us about your academic qualifications. How has education helped you in achieving professional success?

I completed my graduation from Bhubaneswar and moved to USA to receive my masters’ degree. My experience of working for two years in USA served as a fertile threshold to join my family business in the year 2002. Till today, my face glows with the feel of satisfaction when I remember the first time I earned $ 20 in America. I feel that success in even a day-to-day challenge is no less than an achievement. I was honoured with the award for Excellence in Entrepreneurship by Chief Minister Sri Navin Patnaik in 2007. It was also a moment of pride for me when I won full scholarship in USA and received the Graduate Assistant award by the Delta Tau chapter of Beta Alpha PSI & the department of the accounting based on my scholastic achievements and teaching performance in 1999.

I emphatically say that the experience which I have gained while working in USA made me a dynamic entrepreneur. I greatly transformed my outlooks and sowed the seed of growing into a businessman with a difference. Now all my business decisions are directed towards making my company into a process focused engine.

Following the saying ‘success is not one’s ability to become successful but it’s one’s ability to make others successful’, I make every effort to help the needy and become successful in earning the basic amenities of life. I also assisted in various projects taken up by round table India, the country’s premier service organization where members come together to help people and educate under privileged children.

It is said that we must go wherever our interests and talents take us so that we can discover our strengths and develop our skills. What brought you to wire and cable industry?

I am someone who from childhood believed that the more you give yourself to something, the harder you try; the better you learn and develop your skills. Interest of different individual varies, in fact from time to time. I was always clear what I wanted. It was to grow my family business, make it big and standout in the industry for quality of products and services. My fight was only with myself. I have no regrets of getting into my family business. The efforts my grandfather, father and other family members put in had to be taken forward with a vision and sincere effort and I am proud that I have been able to do so.

What are the advantages and disadvantage of joining family business?

There are many advantages as well as disadvantages of joining family business. But the advantages are so huge that the disadvantages get mitigated to a larger extent. Few problems like possible inadequacies, conflicts etc are however important to foresee but we try to mitigate them by mutual understanding and which we have been successful in. Just the way we use the terms market segmentation and market sealing in economics we have also been able to make a clear demarcation of roles and responsibilities among all our family members. This also gives us full freedom to make proper business decisions. In spite of having some disadvantages of joining family business, many advantages can be seen like some of them are:

Loyalty – Family owned businesses are theoretically ideal because family members form a grounded and loyal foundation for the company and because family members will often exhibit more dedication to their common goals. Having a certain level of intimacy among the owners of a business can help bring about familiarity with the company and having family members around provides a built-in support system that should ensure teamwork and solidarity. Other benefits of a family business include, trust, loyalty and shared values.

Flexibility – Families tend to be more lenient and forgiving when it comes to work schedules, work-related decisions and judgments, and even mistakes. In a family business, there may be more leeway to work a flexible or part-time schedule, or to choose your own hours, so you can attend to your children, parents or other family members in need.

Easier and faster communication when work-related situations arise outside of business hours.

Prior knowledge of your co-workers strengths, weaknesses and temperament.

Long-term stability – Families also tend to be more willing to make sacrifices for the sake of the business.

And these advantages are so huge that the disadvantages get’s ignored.

How has your company contributed towards corporate social responsibility?

We at Gupta Power are committed to behave ethically thereby continuously contributing to economic development besides improving the quality of life of the workforce as well as of the local community and society at large.

Our in-general CSR Initiatives are not just restricted to corporate ethics and legal compliance, safety, accident prevention, and environmental preservation, product safety and quality, risk management, green innovation businesses, train personnel and promote human rights. Apart from this, my Company also takes active participation in many CSR programs held in the state to share the knowledge of keeping the environment healthy and to present the green efforts of our Company thereby encouraging and promoting to use the green mechanism for a more productive future. We also sponsor events of round table India and other social organizations for the development of society at large.

Do you think that you have more leisure than your parents had? What do you normally do in your leisure time? Do you get time to pursue your hobbies?

I think parents have worked hard all their life and now it’s time for them to relax and enjoy and I make sure they get that. I take up most of the responsibilities and make them feel relaxed. It is important that your family members understand your role for the development of business and I am happy that my wife understands that. I do make sure that some time of the day I spend only with myself reading books, listening to music and watch cricket.

Have you been successful in striking a balance between work and home?

It is very important to do that. After a hectic day at office the only thing I look forward is spending quality time with my wife and kids. However I make sure my weekends are only for my family. I spend most of the time with them watching movies, playing cricket with my son etc. Quality time spend with them keeps me rejuvenated and helps me get back with full energy for the next day at work.

Does the human side of business leadership mean anything to you?

There is a thin line which needs to be drawn between the two. It is important to have a healthy relationship with the people you work but then you also need to look from the business point of view. It means a lot to not just me but to all doing business. We need to realize that employees are the main strength of any business and I do spend time with them. This helps them to bring out their best while at work. We make sure during Diwali and other auspicious festivals we celebrate with our employees.

Do you believe in caring for others? Do you give importance to friendship, trust and truthfulness? How often do you visit your relatives and friends?

Of course! God created us as human beings so that we are sympathetic and empathetic towards other people. If we don’t start caring for others what difference would it make between human beings and animals. Friend-ship, trust and truthfulness are preached as principles in my life. They are very important to me. It becomes very difficult to visit relatives in this hectic schedule but thanks to social media I keep myself updated on the friends and relatives front.

What has been source of inspiration?

My source of inspiration is my family. I have been highly influenced by all my family members as each one has specific qualities that I strive to emulate. My parents and grandparents played a major role as they transmitted values, ideas and beliefs in me. They have given me the gift of eternal values and made me realize that “success is not one’s ability to become successful but its one’s ability to make others successful.” My grandfather ensured that every day at around 4:00 am (Brahma Muhrat) all the youngsters and ladies of the house join him to do ‘Satsangh’ for an hour. I truly believe that those were the precious moments as my grandfather along with discipline was laying our core foundation of family values.

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What are your company’s success factors? Where does your company’s core strength lie?

Sterlite Technologies (I) Ltd. is uniquely positioned as a global leader in telecom and power transmission solutions. Over the last 20 years we have developed world-class manufacturing facilities, cutting-edge research and development capabilities, global brand and most importantly an excellent team. Our core strength lies in understanding the expected future concerns of our customers today and providing customized solutions to resolve them. We work closely with our customers in a partnership model and give solutions that add value to their business.

What is your role in your company? Are you satisfied with your professional performance?

I am the Global head of the Telecom division. Our product portfolio includes optic fiber, optic fiber cable, and fiber connectivity solutions and data cable (Cat 5, Cat 6, Cat 7 etc.) I am overall responsible for various aspects of this business – manufacturing, sales and marketing, research and development, finance and business development like merger and acquisition/joint ventures etc.

Yes, although I am satisfied with my professional performance so far, I believe I have a long way to go. Even though we are leading in India with 35 percent market share, globally we have 6 percent market share. Our aim is to achieve 15 percent global market share within the next two-three years. I am also very passionate about broadband connectivity and especially focused on enabling rural connectivity in India.

Please tell us about your academic qualifications. How has education helped you in achieving professional success?

I have obtained my bachelor’s in Business Administration from the University of Southern California in 2004 and Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from London Business School (LBS) in 2010. My education has been one of my key pillars for achieving professional success. My bachelor degree helped me to get my basic foundations strong in finance, accounting, marketing etc. and develop personal skills such as time management, team-work and people management.

Graduating from a prestigious MBA program such as LBS instilled a strong self-confidence and helped me build a global network in over 50 countries. I was able to learn and adapt from various cultures and develop tools/ frameworks that continue to assist me in day-to-day decision-making.

It is said that we must go wherever our interests and talents take us so that we can discover our strengths and develop our skills. What brought you to wire and cable industry?

I have always been very interested in the telecom and IT space. I have been actively following the broadband sector in particular over last 5 years and have been particularly passionate about enabling broadband pan-India. Today we have just 15 million broadband connections in a country of more than a billion people. By leading the telecom division of Sterlite Techno-logies I am able to play an integral role in the future of broadband in the country. We continuously look at technologies and cable designs deployed abroad and partner with the Indian Government and private sector to implement them in India.

What are the advantages and disadvantage of joining family business?

There are several advantages of joining the family business. I am able to learn and consult on a regular basis with my relatives who would have previously been in similar positions. As I have been visiting the various factories and offices and meeting the employees during my father’s visits, I am able to quickly adjust and adapt to the environment. Another advantage is that I am able to quickly implement some of the best practices I have learnt either during my MBA or through experience in other companies. The only challenge is to manage expectations of internal and external stakeholders.

How has your company contributed towards Corporate Social Responsibility?

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a key aspect of our business and the culture has been strongly ingrained by my grandfather across the Sterlite group of companies. We are involved in a range of CSR activities in Pune, Aurangabad, Haridwar and Silvassa. For example, we have adopted a village 40 km from Aurangabad and have been working with a local NGO to provide check-dams for water, solar lighting, computer education etc. Our CSR projects will impact the lives of over 20,000 villagers in 2014.

Do you think that you have more leisure than your parents had? What do you normally do in your leisure time? Do you get time to pursue your hobbies?

Yes, I think we are able to balance work and home time more efficiently as we have more access to mobile / internet communication and better road / air infrastructure. I enjoy travelling, sports, gyming etc. I normally wake up early in the morning to do some form of exercise.

Have you been successful in striking a balance between work and home?

Yes, although I travel for work extensively, I always ensure that I am able to spend the week-ends with family.

Does the human side of business leadership mean anything to you?

I strongly believe that a leader is only as good as the team with him. I have closely observed and admired the loyalty, which my father has gained from his employees. He is always there for them, and empowers them to take important decisions. I have tried to align my team to the vision for the company – to connect every home on the planet.

Do you believe in caring for others? Do you give importance to friendship, trust and truthfulness? How often do you visit your relatives and friends?

Friendship, trust and truthfulness are equally important at work, home and social gatherings. As mentioned earlier, I always ensure that I take time on the week-ends to spend with family and friends.

What has been source of inspiration?

I have been profoundly inspired by my uncle Mr. Anil Agarwal, who has showed me how to have a vision for the country and that one man can make a difference. He is always optimistic even in times of extreme negativity, and converts the seemingly impossible into possible. I have also been inspired by my father who has taught me the importance of simplicity in needs and focus on working hard. I consider myself very fortunate to be part of this family.

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What are your company’s success factors? Where does your company’s core strength lie?

V-Guard got listed in BSE in 2008, and since then the company has grown at a rate of 35-40 percent year on year basis. The company’s turnover has increased three times from INR 450 crores in FY’10 to INR 1350 crores in FY ’13 largely due to venturing into new markets outside south India. V-Guard’s core strength lies in quality of the products offered to the customers. Our research and development is DSIR certified and we have employed state-of-the-art technology at all our manufacturing locations and this is our greatest strength and reason for achieving premium quality products.

What is your role in your company? Are you satisfied with your professional performance?

I joined the company in 2006 and assumed the role of Managing Director in 2012. V-Guard’s main focus has been to go beyond the South Indian market and reach a pan India presence. We are trying to ensure a good talent pool for the company. Apart from our flagship product – stabilizers, we diversified our product portfolio in other areas like kitchen appliances, consumer durables as well.

Please tell us about your academic qualifications. How has education helped you in achieving professional success?

I am a commerce graduate and did my MBA from University of Melbourne, Australia. Being a commerce graduate I am more interested in numbers and data’s. The MBA helped me in getting a better-rounded outlook on business but I have to admit the last seven years on the job has been the biggest learning for me.

It is said that we must go wherever our interests and talents take us so that we can discover our strengths and develop our skills. What brought you to wire and cable industry?

V-Guard started wire division in 1999. It’s a business I inherited when I joined V-Guard in 2006. Couple of things that attracted my dad to this industry was that there was a dearth of quality players in the market at that time. Now wire is an important product of our portfolio.

What are the advantages and disadvantage of joining family business?

The advantage would definitely be the goodwill among the key stakeholders created by your previous generation and the disadvantage would be the high expectation from everyone to perform. Also in many joint family business roles and responsibilities are not well distributed and clarified. Luckily at V-Guard and our sister companies we have good clarity. I take care of V-Guard whereas my brother looks after the theme park business (Wonderla Holidays).

How has your company contributed towards corporate social responsibility?

V-Guard contributes largely to the welfare of the society through various initiatives.

K Chittilappilly Foundation – The K Chittilappilly Foundation is the philanthropic wing of Shri. Kochouseph Chittilappilly, founder V-Guard Industries. The foundation extends its helping hand to the society in various ways like financial assistance for medical treatment, promotion of education, promotion for organ donation etc.

The Thomas Chittilapilly Trust – The Thomas Chittilapilly Trust was founded by Kochouseph Chittilapilly, in memory of his late father, C.O. Thomas. It is an extension of the philanthropic and responsible values espoused at V-Guard. It is dedicated to extending its reach to areas of health, education and care.

Shantimandiram – An old age home for women, providing shelter and care for those who are unable to take care of themselves in Parappur Village, Trissur, Kerala.

Social Welfare Fund- an employee CSR activity – Social welfare consciousness being embedded in V-Guard work culture has motivated the employees to join hands in reaching out in charity. The social welfare fund was created out of the goodwill of the employees who collate funds and donate towards cost of medicines for the poor in the cancer ward at the Ernakulam general hospital.

Self Help Groups (SHG) – Since its inception V-Guard has been providing a mutually beneficial income generating option to women. Women who have grouped themselves to form SHG’s (self help groups) are distributed assembly kits for voltage stabilizers.

Do you think that you have more leisure than your parents had? What do you normally do in your leisure time? Do you get time to pursue your hobbies?

Yes being a second generation in family business I think I have had more leisure than my dad as he started as a one man army. I like to travel, spend time with family and friends during my free time.

Have you been successful in striking a balance between work and home?

Yes, I have been able to strike a balance between work and home. I am grateful to my father for inculcating the discipline in me.

Does the human side of business leadership mean anything to you?

While managing a business one needs to have a human side to rightly understand and evaluate the needs of your employees to ensure smooth running and proper decision making.

Do you believe in caring for others? Do you give importance to friendship, trust and truthfulness? How often do you visit your relatives and friends?

Caring for others has always been important to my father and this quality has permeated in us. V-Guard as a company is very transparent in communicating all the management decisions and open to any suggestions from its employees, hence qualities like friendship, trust and truthfulness are essential qualities for each individual here.

I take lunch with my parents almost every day. I meet with my friends once in a week usually on weekends and I usually meet my relatives for some family function which is usually once or twice in a month.

What has been source of inspiration?

My father has been my biggest source of inspiration. His dedication and determination are the strongest qualities I have grown up admiring, and still continue doing so.

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What are your company’s success factors? Where does your company’s core strength lie?

We have always focused on the path that we have charted for ourselves. This is driven by the values which are followed by each and every member of our family. When I say family, it is not just the immediate family of ours, but an extended family, where each and every employee is a respected member of Ram Ratna Parivar.

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What is your role in your company? Are you satisfied with your professional performance?

Our roles in the company are very well defined. Each one of us looks after an area of one’s expertise. All important decisions are built on a consensus. We would like our company to be called as a learning organization; one which is marching forward towards professionalisation at a fast pace. Our company is the recipient of two coveted awards from SP Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai. In 2012, we received award for outstanding family managed business (FMB) that has achieved professionalisation in its organization. In 2013, we received award for outstanding family managed business that has managed its people/human resources. We aspire that in times to come, we should establish ourselves as a great place to work.

Please tell us about your academic qualifications. How has education helped you in achieving professional success?

I am a commerce graduate and have been exposed to factory administration. Sumeet is an engineer with post-graduation, in business management. Education has helped us in extending our horizon and perspective. We value both formal and informal education. Learning in fact is one of the major initiatives that we have taken up in our company for every individual.

It is said that we must go wherever our interests and talents take us so that we can discover our strengths and develop our skills. What brought you to wire and cable industry?

We are in the business of copper since long. Coming to wires and cables was a logical extension to our key business focus and strength. We have always kept product quality and customer as our top most business priority and as a result we have innovated and pioneered several new products. We were the first to produce unilay conductor likewise there are several other firsts to our credits.

What are the advantages and disadvantage of joining family business?

We see only the advantages in the family business. Each member of the family supplements the strengths of the other member and abides by common values and beliefs. Our strength lies in being together.

How has your company contributed towards corporate social responsibility?

Socially we are committed to the upliftment of tribals and the down trodden. We support their education. We are committed to the welfare of our community. Every year we organize medical camps at Silvassa and Baroda. We support two schools in Mumbai- Ram Ratna Vidya Mandir and Ram Ratna International School. Our social commitment extends to environ-ment, safety and health and energy preservation.

Do you think that you have more leisure than your parents had? What do you normally do in your leisure time? Do you get time to pursue your hobbies?

Both of us have made work as leisure. We enjoy everything that we do. Yes, we do set apart family time where we would not like any intrusion. We enjoy travelling, playing cricket, table tennis and listening to music. In our company we plan to have a music room, a library and even indoor games for all our employees. We do have a very good cricket play-ground at Baroda.

Does the human side of business leadership mean anything to you?

Very much. We can rightly attribute the progress to our emphasis on human side of business.

Do you believe in caring for others? Do you give importance to friendship, trust and truthfulness? How often do you visit your relatives and friends?

Absolutely, caring is an important element of our personality. Our organizational values are truth, honesty, integrity, ethics and compassion. We visit our relatives quite often. We always look forward to the opportunities for such visits and family get-together.

What has been source of inspiration?

Our elders are the source of inspiration. Our grandfather, parents and in fact every elder in our organization is a source of inspiration in one or more ways.

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