IT WAS an interactive session with a difference with participants sitting hundreds of kilometres away, in Chennai. The event was a video conferencing titled ‘face-to-face with success’ organised by Indore Management Association (IMA) at Jall Auditorium today to commemorate golden jubilee of All India Management Association (AIMA).
Several corporate icons of the country including R S Mashelkar of CSIR, Suresh Krishna of Sundaram Fasteners and M V Subia of Muruguppa Group took part.
The programme was jointly organised by IMA, AIMA and Sanghvi Institute of Management and Science along with Madras Management Association. Dr J J Irani of Tata Sons and Venu Srinivasan of TVS Motors were unable to attend.
The programme was held in Chennai and the proceedings were broadcast to Indore, Ahmedabad, and Bangalore via Internet. After an introductory speech by AIMA president Sudhir Jalan, Dr Mashelkar took over. Speaking on the theme ‘innovation is key to global competitiveness’, he said an innovator was one who did not know it couldn’t be done. Emphasising on this point Dr Mashelkar said, “An innovator is one who sees what others don’t.”
Lamenting that Indian IQ was being used to generate intellectual property for MNCs, he said that the power of Indian mind would make it a global leader in the 21st century.
Suresh Krishna talked about ‘how can Indian product be best in the world.’ He said that excellence was like a mindscape. “You discover more and more as you go along. Once you accept mediocrity, good becomes rare and excellence becomes an idiosyncrasy.”
Krishna rued that Indians were very forgiving, be it garbage on the streets, planes arriving late or traffic indiscipline. “It is easy to do business with a forgiving customer, for example they will understand the delay in delivery if there is a strike in the factory. But global customers refuse to accept any excuse for delay.” Krishna said that if a customer was prepared to wait for your product then your project was the best.
M V Subia talked about ‘how to unlock the future of agriculture.’ “Almost 60 per cent of population is still in villages and the challenge before us is to get that 60 per cent to change using technology.” He said that basically farmers continued to be farmers for generations and have little clue as to what was happening in the market place.
He said that GIS mapping could be used to assist farmers and prices of commodities could be made available to them on Internet, so they could decide when to harvest and when to go to market.
Although Tata Sons director J J Irani could not attend in person, he sent a video recording that was screened. He talked about ‘what happened to Tata Steel in past 20 years.’ Irani said that it was like turning around the Titanic.
“But unlike Titanic, we were able to turn Tata Steel around just in time and thus prevented it from sinking.” In 1980s Tata Steel was a very successful organisation, he said. “But in 1991-92 it became essential to improve.
We downsized the staff and designed coke ovens to suit Indian conditions. Our productivity now is six times what it was 10 years ago and Tata Steel has become one of the cheapest producers of steel in the world.”
The speeches were followed by a question and answer session in which members from the audience in Chennai, Indore, Ahmedabad and Bangalore interacted with the industrialists. Image Guru Dileep Cherian acted as moderator. This was followed by prize distribution ceremony at the Indore centre of IMA.