My name:
Kaustubh Shukla

 

My qualifications: B.Sc. Engineering, M.M.S.

I head: Industrial Products Division comprising Tooling, Process Equipment and Precision Engineering.

I deal with (products): As the names of the divisions suggest:
Process Equipment for chemicals, petrochemical plants, refineries etc. comprising pressure vessels, distribution columns, trays and column internals.
Tooling for Sheet Metal, Plastic components and Dies Casting Components.
Precision Engineering, Machining and Fabrication for special applications comprising specialised equipment which require fabrication for nuclear power plants.

My Division’s marketing techniques:
Focus on selected Market Segments,
Develop solutions for those,
Assimilate and improvise the Technology,
Develop Key Accounts.

Its sales turnover: Targeted to be around Rs. 180 crores.

The export turnover: Targeted to be around Rs. 20 crores.

We export our products to: Middle East mostly.

Our competitors :
Process Equipment Division and Precision Engineering Division -
L & T, Walchandnagar Industries, BHPV.
Tooling - Telco, NTTF, Dytech, BPL, Mahindra & Mahindra, Mutual Mecaplast.

My Division’s goals for 2002-2003: Turnover of Rs. 180 crores and Turnaround.

My personal goals for 2002-2003: To help the divisions turn around. To remove any impediments that may come in my team’s way.

My strengths and weaknesses:
Strengths:
Process and systems oriented, organised, good communication and interpersonal skills, perseverance and huge capacity for work.
Weaknesses:
I tend to be open and free with my team, tend to take decisions both with head and heart, am seen as giving a long rope to my colleagues and hence run the risk of being seen as lenient.

My family background: Father retired as Joint Director of Industries, Mother is a housewife. Wife Suhasini teaches Physics and Electronics at a Polytechnic college, two daughters Gauri ( 11 years — 6th Std), Chinmayee (6 years – 2nd Std).

My first crush: Hmmmm.

My hobbies: Travel, sports, music, reading, cooking.

My pets: We had dogs when I was in school — Fox Terrier, Pomeranian, Cocker Spaniel. Not anymore.

My favourite books: Oh ! Several. Some top of the mind recall — Goal, Maverick, It is not Luck, books by Arthur Hailey… Even comics such as Asterix. I regularly read comic strips such as Hagar the Horrible, Beetle Bailey, Garfield, Dilbert. Humour in Asterix and Scott Adams’ books (Dilbert) is a class apart.

My most embarrassing moment: To post a loss for Tooling Division when heading it.

I am content with: Simple things in life — good food, quality time with family and friends, good books, good movie /theatre, outings, a good game of badminton, a job well done….

I am jealous of: Not really jealous. I admire and long for the work ethics in some of the developed countries and world-class companies. It is not jealousy — it is more of a hurt at not being able to emulate it ourselves.

I get upset when: Commitments are not kept, people do not deliver what they promise, meeting people with closed minds or people who are rude, attending meetings just for the sake of it, am unable to complete the task on hand.

I fear: Failure.

I am proud of: Team achievements.

My retirement plans: Spend quality time for self, family and society. I would like to teach and share whatever I would have learnt by then. All these are vague ideas as of now. Presently I do not even plan for the next weekend or a holiday!

 

 

The future of Godrej: Can be made secure if we adopt the work ethics of some of the developed / industrialised nations. Sincere work output — a fair day’s output for a fair day’s wages, being organised and systematic, carrying out duties as prescribed/instructed. I am sure we all know all the best practices in the world that are worth knowing. We are not able to put them in practice. The collective work ethic needs drastic improvements. We need to focus on Customer & Quality, and on improving productivity levels of our processes to world-class levels to secure the company’s future. We owe this to the company.

I love India: Because of its great collective ethos — values such as integrity, gratitude, tolerance, attitude of sharing, strong family values seen so commonly in everyday life. It is a pity that a nation with a great history has such a pathetic present. Despite the current state of affairs there is ample evidence of the values I mentioned earlier.

Industrial Products Group
Planning a Complete Turnaround

He is young, dynamic, smart, punctual and hospitable. When asked what inherent quality led him to become Chief Operating Officer of the Industrial Products Group of Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd. at the young age of 38, Kaustubh G. Shukla modestly replies: "I don’t look at it as an achievement. It is a responsibility, an assignment that I have been asked to perform. I was lucky to get the right breaks and opportunity to perform." He adds that given the kind of coaching students receive in colleges and business schools, most of them would tend to react to a particular situation in an identical manner. Many would have responded to the challenges posed by the assignments in the same way that he did. Some might even have done better! "I guess I was lucky to be there at the right time!" Yes, but not just lucky, he is also sincere and hardworking, and has a high level of perseverance. "I just don’t give up," says Kaustubh.

The Industrial Products Group, headed by Indrapal Singh, President, came into existence on 1 April, 2002. It is a consortium of three divisions:

Process Equipment Division: This department is a true diversification of the Godrej business, and as it has nothing in common with other Godrej businesses or products, is unique in terms of technology and manufacturing processes.

The year was 1975. India was entering the field of petrochemicals, and the Indian Petrochemical Corporation Limited was set up near the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., Gujarat, for getting feedstock directly from the refinery. For various petrochemical projects, a number of fractionating columns required trays to be manufactured. The engineering consultants for these projects, M/s. Engineers India Limited, had acquired tray design technology from Hydronyl, U.K., and were on the lookout for an expert sheet metal manufacturer. As Godrej had in-house tool room capability and sheet metal manufacturing expertise, an order for 50 columns was received by the Company, the execution of which was entrusted to G.K. Datar, Plant Manager, Lalbaug Works. The order was executed successfully.

More orders from fertilizer plants at Bhatinda, Panipat and other chemical units followed. DCM Shriram, Kota, required an urgent order to be executed for two reboilers and one distillation column for their VCM expansion project in the short delivery span of four months. The Process Equipment Division (PED) accepted the challenge and executed the order. This marked the Division’s entry from manufacturing sheet metal to pressure vessels.

Today, the Division handles large size equipment as well as small precision components required by India’s process industries. The PED has contributed immensely to India’s infrastructural growth in oil refineries, petrochemical plants, nitrogenous fertilizer plants, pharmaceutical bulk drug units and inorganic and organic chemical industries.

For the last three years, i.e. after the slowdown of India’s infrastructural growth, the Division has been concentrating on the export of process equipment to the Gulf and Far Eastern markets. Recently, it bagged a large export order from Krupp Udhe, Qatar Fertilizer Corporation.

Tooling Division: This Division was formerly known as the Die-Casting Department, then it became the Tool Room, and is now called the Tooling Division. Its beginnings at Lalbaug were humble, starting off with just one shaper worth Rs. 4,000. Naval Godrej had a hard time convincing his father Pirojsha to buy that first shaper! Started in 1935, three years after Naval Godrej’s joining the Company, Meherjibhai D. Morawalla was put in charge of the Division. Casting was done on a single 100-tonne Buhler Die-Casting Machine. Dies were made for the Godrej and General Electric Company logos. Milling Machines and Jig Boring CNC Machines were purchased. The number of die-makers and repairers grew from nine to 475.

Prestigious orders began to be received. One of the earliest was for a sand channel from the Ordnance Department of the British Government for use in desert warfare in Egypt. This was followed by orders for fuse caps used in the manufacture of bombs during World War II. But the most prestigious order of all was for making dies for 17 lakh ballot boxes for free India’s first elections.

The Tooling Division meets the need for quality toolings of the entire range of Godrej products from frost-free refrigerators to electronic typewriters, from machine tools to office equipment and from safes to all types of locks. (Final Victory: The Life and Death of Naval Pirojsha Godrej by B.K. Karanjia.)

The Division turned commercial when its operations were spun off as a profit centre. Initially profitability was good, but over the last few years the margins have been under pressure and profitability has dwindled. The principal concerns before the division are to manage the delivery schedules and improve productivity.

 

CAREER MILESTONES
Period Designation Division/Department
From To    
May 1987 March 1990 Product Executive Security Equipment Division
April 1990 May 1991 Branch Sales Executive Mumbai Branch
June 1991 July 1992 Branch Manager (All Products) Pune Branch
August 1992 April 1993 Deputy Manager (Marketing) Furniture Business
May 1993
July 1994
June 1994
March 1995
Manager /
Sr. Manager (Marketing)
Storage Solutions Group
April 1995 January 1996 Senior Manager (Manufacturing) Storage Solutions Group
January 1996 March 1997 General Manager (HRD) Office Equipment Division
April 1997 April 2001 General Manager (Manufacturing) Security Equipment Division
May 2001 March 2002 Vice President & Business Head Tooling Division
April 2002 Present Chief Operating Officer Industrial Products Division — comprising:
1. Tooling Division
2. Precision Engineering Systems (Nuclear) / Machine Tool Division
3. Process Equipment Division
4. Aerospace Business.

 

Aerospace Business: The genesis of this Business was in the PED, which had built up an excellent reputation for custom-built fabrication. The Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Trivandrum approached the Division for the manufacture of a motor casing prototype. On executing this order successfully, several orders for aluminium riveted structures followed. Later, the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre approached Godrej to manufacture Vikas liquid propulsion engines. The biggest challenge of fabrication was to produce a fifth order polynomial curve for the contoured exhaust nozzle, which gives primary thrust to the rocket. An expanding mandrel machine of 800T capacity was required.

The Tooling Division manufactured the precision components, whereas the integration was done by PED’s Aerospace group.

Since then the Division has built over two dozen Vikas engines in various configurations. Many of them have been successfully flight tested in Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and Geo-stationary Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) launches.

The Aerospace Business is proud to contribute to the noble cause of nation building by assisting the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). ISRO is engaged in VSAT connectivity, TV broadcasting, speech circuits on trunk routes, distance learning, cyclone warning, disaster warning, meteorology imaging, search and rescue services, e-commerce, Internet backbone and services, agriculture, water, ocean, mineral resources and drought and flood forecasting.

The Precision Component Manufacturing group of the Tooling Division and the Integration group of PED have been merged to form the Aerospace Business group for improved coordination and streamlining operations.

Precision Engineering Systems: To tap the vast potential for supplying precision-machined and fabricated equipment for nuclear power plants, the infrastructure and expertise of the erstwhile Machine Tool Division is planned to be deployed for this new business. The Division has made a good beginning by bagging several large orders.

As mentioned earlier, the constituents of the Industrial Products Group have not being doing well lately, especially since the economy slackened. There was greater dependence on the domestic markets and practically zero development of export markets. The team now plans to make a complete turnaround.

The factors for success for all the constituent divisions have been identified as follows:

1. Improving the process of estimation: When a new project is studied by any division before making a bid, either there are very few details available or it takes so long to evaluate all the technical details that it is nearly impossible to study all the data for the project to provide a quote. The quotes have to be highly competitive to be able to win orders. However, underestimation of the amount of work involved can be a problem. It is therefore important to streamline the process of estimation.

2. After receiving an order, effective project management is essential to meet the committed delivery dates. Project management is seen in the context of managing timely deliveries. At the same time, the Divisions have to concentrate on managing costs within the estimate.

3. Focus on improving productivity, quality and operating efficiencies, and reducing and controlling costs.

Kaustubh’s focus is on the customer and quality: "Everybody right from the head of the organisation down to the lowest level must know that the customer pays our bills. The whole organisation exists to serve him. We sometimes tend to disagree with the customer or feel that he is not being reasonable. But, finally, he is angry probably because there are some things we are not doing right!

"For industrial products and the kind of business we are in, when the customer calls, he expects the head of the business to know what the status of the order is. So it is a relationship-intensive business. Order values are very large, ranging from Rs. 50 lakhs to a couple of crores. The importance of the project to the customer is almost always much higher than the order value to Godrej. Customers therefore expect attention to the minutest details from everyone in the supplier organisation. So the Division Heads and I have to keep in direct contact with customers and be in sync with the execution of the project," Kaustubh says.

"Focus on quality is equally important. Quality as in quality of response, of the products, of our communication… As far as fitness for use is concerned, we are probably equivalent to world class. However, our drawback lies in not being able to deliver the product on time. Quality improvement techniques have to be standardised. Poor quality also means rework and delays. We need to analyse the cause of poor quality. It could be lack of knowledge, lack of tools, lack of fixtures, of specifications, of measuring instruments … We need to attack the root cause and thereafter improve the process to make it mistake-proof. It is all about application of mind and vigour. These are the two tools to attack poor quality.

"In order to taste success, our planning has to be good. When we undertake a project, we need to plan meticulously, visualise the entire process right from the order intake to the despatch and commissioning. Everything has to be planned properly and resources assigned."

The Industrial Products Group needs to be clear about where it is heading. In Kaustubh’s words: "Change is a continuous process and is also natural, like a forest growing. We should be concerned about the direction in which we are heading and about the pace at which change is happening." As far as productivity is concerned, there is a lot of ground to be covered by the Group as compared to world leaders. There is a need to try and match the standards of world leaders. At the same time change needs to be measured and documented in terms of process improvements and milestones achieved.

If the Group is able to deliver what the customer community (domestic and international) wants — speed, accuracy and quality — it will grow by leaps and bounds.

Kaustubh concludes: "We know why companies like Toyota, P & G, HLL are successful. We generally know what it takes to be successful — better infrastructure, better tools, help. But that is not all. We also need a team that is driven, that wants to change and improve, bring about change. I feel we have it in us. I have an able and enthusiastic team, eager to turn things around. That is our single-minded pursuit. We all owe it to the Company."

Rashna Ardesher

 

 
The list of awards conferred on Sohrab P. Godrej was inadvertently omitted in the last issue.
Some of the important awards received by him are as below:
Jan. 1975 ‘Officer de l’Ordre de la Couronne’ by Baudouin, Roi des Belges.
May 1988 ‘Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur’ by the President of the Republic of France.
April 1989 ‘Commandeur de l’Ordre de Leopold II’ by Royaume de Belgique.
July 1989 ‘Lok Shree Award for Social Commitment’ by the Institute of Economic Studies, New Delhi.
June 1991 ‘WWF 25th Anniversary Benefactor Award’ by HRH Prince Philip The Duke of Edinburgh.
Nov. 1991 ‘The Indira Gandhi Paryavaran Puraskar Award for 1991’ by the Government of India.
April 1992 ‘Indian Merchants’ Chamber Diamond Jubilee Endowment Trust Award’ for outstanding contribution by a businessman in enhancing the image of the business community by personal service.
Feb. 1994 ‘Nisarga Mitra Award’ for environmental protection, with special reference to Mangroves at Pirojshanagar, by the Rotary Club of Bombay, Vikhroli.

 

 

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