IIT Delhi and IIM Ahmedabad – How would you describe your educational experience at two of the topmost institutes of India?
SACHIT: My experiences at these prestigious institutes were totally different from each other .When I joined IIT Delhi; it was still growing up and was in the midst of absolutely brilliant minds. I in spite of being one of the best few at the IIT entrance with a rank of 155 was an average student through my engineering years not exactly sticking to my record of being the topper through my school years. I did not study much, missed classes and the likes and I think it was to a large extent to do with the method of teaching, which did not inspire me. And once I did get into IIT, it dawned on me that I as not meant to be an engineer. I started to come to terms with finding out who I am, what did I really want to do and I realized that I enjoyed Humanities much better. But that being said, I had I had the best experiences and the best days of my life with great friends when I was there at IIT Delhi. At IIM Ahmadabad, the scenario was quite a contrast. Before getting into IIM, I was focused towards what I wanted and thoroughly enjoyed studies from Day 1. In fact in IIT Delhi where I probably missed two classes daily, at IIM Ahmadabad, I think during the whole course the total missed classes were two. I definitely enjoyed the more professional case study method of teaching which involved the students and facilitated more interaction and learning. I went on to be one of the Gold Medalist at IIM Ahmadabad.
1990 till date – Your association with Vardhman Textiles has been agelong. You started as a Management Trainee & Area Sales Manager and grew forward to such an esteemed position. Enlighten us on the various phases of the business all through these long years.
SACHIT: Well, I started off with Hindustan Lever as a trainee in the sales and marketing division. In the year 1990 I moved to Vardhman Textiles Ltd. My life in fact has been really different from that of many others, since I jumped from being a management trainee at HLL to the Executive Director at Vardhman Textiles, which is a family business from my inlaw’s side and I joined post marriage. I began my career at Vardhman Textiles by handling the company’s new facility in Himachal, where my areas of responsibility included project management, running plants and the manufacturing processes, I was also involved in dealing with workers – something I had not done before and after 18 years of handling all of that, I moved to the corporate house of Vardhman Textiles in Ludhiana. What I left behind in Himachal was a strong workforce of almost 7,000, which was about 35-40 workers when I had joined. Being at the Himachal facility gave me the exposure of collaborating with the government and being a part of policy formulation while interacting with the officials, etc. Currently I have been with the corporate house for close to a year and am managing the financial aspects, accounts and the internal audit for the company.
When students doing professional courses go in for training, what would you say is the proper manner of functioning when undergoing training?
SACHIT: Now what I feel is that most of us, when we go for our trainings focus too much on grabbing that job, with the majority paying all their attention to Finance and Marketing and in the process ignoring Organizational Behavior courses. I hold Organizational Behavior to be one of the most important areas in life and that’s what most students tend to ignore today. So for those who want to focus on growing professionally and making their mark, I feel the focus should be on developing the ability to interacting with, getting along with and understanding people. Whether one is a merchant banker, a marketing expert, or follows any other profession, functional knowledge combined with the knowledge of people is the winning combination.
What is the functioning of CITI – YEG Group? SACHIT: The CITI – YEG Group is a group for Young Entrepreneurs and acts as a forum to discuss topics, interact and get to know people from your industry. The group members have all had their earlier generations in business and so information sharing becomes a part of it. Basically some benefit professionally and some personally and it’s a good forum for the young 25-26 yr old Entrepreneurs- a category I don’t think I can assign myself to now, being more than young!!
How do you see this present economic downturn? How much impact has it on your industry and organization in particular?
SACHIT: The present economic downturn has affected the textile industry very badly –it’s the worst period in a long time, in fact ever in the past 40 yrs .What makes the situation even more grim is that fact that the textile industry was affected adversely even before the current scenario became apparent because of the Rupee Appreciation and us losing out on the Developed country market demand because of this reason. So yes, we are facing the brunt of these tough times.
How do you view the current Fiscal and Non – Fiscal measures like ‘Reduction in excise duty on Textile Machinery, Components & Spares to 4%’ helping the industry in the current times?
SACHIT: No , I don’t think the government is doing all that’s to be done and lots of recourses have already been wasted by the government in trying to deal with this situation , however it’s all been in vain.
In the recent inauguration of UDAAN-2009 (a 2- day mega job fest) at Chandigarh, you shared your views saying despite recession, the companies were looking for competent professionals. What are the key identifiers that you look for in a potential recruit?
SACHIT: On a whole, what I think are the key personality traits for a potential recruit are – energy , possible traits of loyalty and the ability not to get ruffled in difficult situations and basically have a broader development of personality, meaning – a wider taste in extracurricular, etc . I feel looking into a person’s eyes can give you a glimpse into the personality and I think the traits that are a must are energy and loyalty apart from the functional expertise.
Quality has always been the key factor of Vardhman Textiles. How is the quality process system monitored? How does ERP benefits textile industry?
SACHIT: Yes indeed, quality is given high priority at Vardhman Textiles Ltd because of the fact that our orders are customized and specified by the customers. So we have a variety of quality checking instruments, in process measurements of quality with not only the management but also the workers continuously observing the processes and making sure that quality is up to standards. So , one step is quality building into the product and the other is to make sure its fine with the help of measuring instruments , continuous training imparted to our workers , etc . On the other hand, ERP is the backbone for information capturing. It assists in capturing and dealing with the large transactions information that characterize a massive business.
What would be your strategy to continue to hold a lead in the market share amidst stiff competition and recession – mixed together?
SACHIT: Vardhman Textiles Ltd as a group has always focused its energies on improvement in all areas. We follow the PCDSM path where P stands for Productivity improvement, Q for Quality improvement, D for Delivery improvement, S for Safety improvement and M for Morale improvement. Along with following this inclusive all round growth strategy, we also aim at product innovation, developing our product mix, tapping new customers and markets and continuous expansion. Even after all this effort, there are loopholes left out, we take it in a positive sense towards improving further.
Do you think that the B-Schools today are on the right path of tapping the creative bent of mind of the potential entrepreneur?
SACHIT: I feel that the B-Schools today are not tapping the very essential need for human relations and are missing out on imparting to the students value systems and the importance of human beings. The hyper competitive environment with the constant rat race will hamper the ability of the students to work in teams. The cut throat competition focuses too much on the technical skills and tends to ignore the importance of people’s skills, the result being, that even if you win, you turn out t be a rat. This aspect needs to be improved and a right combination of the technical skills and soft skills is what needs to be worked on. On a lighter vein, if I had a chance to go back in time, I would certainly say that one biggest mistakes of my life was getting the gold medal at IIM – I could have enjoyed myself more. – wouldn’t do that n enjoyed myself more. Everyone needs to learn the lessons of life and I learnt my lessons early. “Work hard to become a good student and not just for the grades” and “Study to learn and add to your personality”
Message for MBA graduates and The CEO Insights?
SACHIT: One thing that all of us need to realize is that we need to figure out the meaning in our life. We are here in this world for a purpose .We are constantly trying to be cool , dress up , look attractive to the opposite sex and will grow up with the idea of making money. We are racing forever and in the process life loses meaning and becomes empty. We might not realize that right now but will realize so later in life. Life is much more than just the competition and all of us should look for something that lifts us and gives us happiness, over the years find something that drives u .This realization needs to be more intrinsic than extrinsic .Listen to your heart and be in touch with it. All of us should follow the example of young children who are far away from the worries of competition and are forever smiling and happy.
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