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From the editor

very enterprise swears by its customer, that exquisite entity who plays
such a significant part in defining and determining the success of a
business. Its a straightforward enough equation: keep the customer
satisfied and the health of the company concerned will surely be in the pink.
Getting this right is far from easy, though, as the experience of so many
organisations, and countless customers, shows. Setting the bar high is
certainly one way of cracking the code. Why settle for merely satisfying the
customer when you possibly can with effort and insight, prescience and
panache actually exceed the customers expectations?
Thats what the Tata groups endeavour has been, and the rewards have
been abundant. This edition of Tata Review casts a comprehensive and wideranging eye on a cross-section of Tata companies for whom the customer
always comes first, in word, deed and pledge. The 11 companies featured in
our cover story are different in many ways, functioning as they do in a variety
of industries and with distinctive business models. Where their destinies run
parallel is in the approach and philosophy towards customers. To put the issue
in perspective, we have a message from Tata Group Chairman Cyrus Mistry on
the subject, as also articles by senior Tata leaders Harish Bhat, Dr Ralf Speth,
Bhaskar Bhat and R Mukundan.
Our special report on the businesses and ambitions of the Tatas in the
Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region takes in customers and a whole lot
more as we detail the varied operations of group companies in a geographical
spread that spans two continents.
There are more stories within these covers, most prominently on Tata
Interactive Systems clocking 25 years and Tata Chemicals nutraceuticals
venture, which promises to further reinforce the companys reinvention
conviction. Also on our menu this time out is the women-oriented affirmative
action programme run by Tata International in Dewas, Madhya Pradesh, and
a social uplift programme in Rajasthan, backed by the Tata trusts, that works
with adolescents from poor communities. The written word plays second
fiddle in the three photo features we have for you: on the restoration of the
gloriously ornate Esplanade House built with love by Jamsetji Tata in 1880s
Bombay the Tata Engage volunteering programme, and the Hay Festival in
the United Kingdom.
This collection of articles has been curated to delight you our reader
and, hence, ourcustomer. Do write in with your comments, suggestions and
all the rest.

Warm regards,

Christabelle Noronha

Contents

VOL 53 | ISSUE 2 JULY 2015

Cover story
42 RALLIS: REAPING THE
GOOD WIND

SACRED IS THE LINK

Customer centricity is intrinsic to the Tata culture and

46 TATA SKY: THE

the cover story explores how Tata companies

Philip Chacko

SIGNALS ARE CLEAR

engage with customers, their most important stakeholders,

along with perspectives from senior Tata leaders on how to

Nithin Rao

50 JUSCO: AN

build a customer-first culture

OPERATION APART

Shalini Menon

53 TATA STEEL: BONDS


MADE OF STEEL
06 CHAIRMANS MESSAGE

26 TATA GLOBAL BEVERAGES:


THE CONNECTION IS

08 ITS IN THE CULTURE


Harish Bhat

Sangeeta Menon

Dr Ralf Speth

WHOS AT THE WHEEL?

BRIDGES ARE FOR

OF THE CIRCLE

Philip Chacko

BUILDING

SUBSTANCE IN

Kalpana Shah

17 TATA MOTORS:

Business

Gayatri Kamath

BEGINS TO BLOOM

Gayatri Kamath

BETWEEN PROMISE
AND DELIVERY

A TELECOM TUNE TO HUM


Nithin Rao

R Mukundan

60 MIND THE GAP

38 TATA COMMUNICATIONS:

Bhaskar Bhat

59 A NEW EQUATION

AFFECTION, TOO

ALL GEARED UP
Nithin Rao

34 TATA POWER: GENERATING

THE STYLE

DELIGHT

58 IN THE CENTRE

14 TITAN COMPANY:

57 DESIGNED TO

TASTY

Philip Chacko

29 TATA CHEMICALS:

10 JAGUAR LAND ROVER:


Photofeature

Ajit Rao

Esplanade House,
in the early years of
the 20th century

68 TATA INTERACTIVE
SYSTEMS: TUNED
IN TO TEACHING

Cynthia Rodrigues

70 TATA CHEMICALS:
ELIXIR ON THE MENU

Philip Chacko

74 TATA INTERNATIONAL:
WHERE THE
SHOE FITS

Cynthia Rodrigues

63 TATA ENGAGE

78 HAY FESTIVAL

82 ESPLANADE HOUSE

EDITOR
Christabelle Noronha
Email: chris@tata.com

Special report

DEPUTY EDITOR
Sangeeta Menon

87 POSITIVE PROSPECTS

EDITORIAL TEAM

Interviews with heads of various

Anjali Mathur

Tata enterprises operating in the

Cynthia Rodrigues

Middle East and North Africa region,

Gayatri Kamath

which is a strong and substantial part

Jai Madan

of the Tata groups global operations.


Tata Sons | Tata Consultancy
Services | Jaguar Land Rover |
International Shipping and Logistics |
Voltas | Tata Communications | Tata
Steel | Tata Motors | Tata Global
Beverages | Titan
by Christabelle Noronha
and Kalpana Shah

Philip Chacko
Shalini Menon
Shubha Madhukar
CONTRIBUTORS
Kalpana Shah
DESIGN
Abraham K John
Shilpa Naresh
EDITORIAL COORDINATOR
Ketayun H Bamji
PRODUCTION
Mukund Moghe

Community

EDITED AND CREATED BY

117 THE TATA


TRUSTS:

in association with

LIFTED BY

The Information Company

LEARNING

Email: grouppublications@tata.com

Jai Madan

Website: www.tata.com


CONTACT
Tata Sons
Bombay House

Tech talk

24, Homi Mody Street

121 A SNIFF YESTERDAY, AT THE CORE TODAY

Phone: 91-22-6665 8282

Mumbai 400 001

Dr Gopichand Katragadda

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COVER STORY

Tata group Chairman Cyrus P Mistry

As the Tata group sets out to achieve the targets articulated in our Vision 2025
statement, one thing is quite clear: our customers will determine how well we
undertake that journey; customer centricity is our road map to success.
Winning new customers while keeping our existing customers happy has
to be our focus in the years to come. To enable this, we have to create an
organisational culture where the customer is always first. Building such a
culture requires us to do three simple but critically important things.
First, we should always remain close to our customers. There is no substitute
to meeting customers and being in constant touch with them. Deep business
insights emerge from this closeness to customers.
Second, we need to bring a spirit of excellence and perfection to whatever
work we do. Our excellence at our work is reflected in the quality of our
products and services, and helps us delight our customers.
Third, we should be humble and honest, always willing to walk that extra
mile to deliver the best experience to our customers. All our organisational
processes must be geared towards making this possible.
As Indias most trusted brand and one of the worlds most valuable brands,
we have a unique opportunity to make all this happen by building on the
immense trust that our customers have placed in us over so many years. We
must deepen our relationship with our customers, understand and anticipate
their needs at every step, and create solutions that meet and exceed their
expectations.
We must let our customers show us the way to Vision 2025.

6 Tata Review

July 2015

COVER STORY

Sacred is the link


Tata companies are reorienting and even
reinventing themselves to strengthen
their relationship with the most important
constituent of them all the customer
and the benefits have been quick to accrue.
By Philip Chacko, with Nithin Rao,
Gayatri Kamath, Shalini Menon,
Kalpana Shah and Sangeeta Menon

July 2015

Tata Review

COVER STORY

Its in the culture


The Tata promise to every customer provides an inspiring
message for Tata companies as they reinforce their commitment
and recalibrate their approach to serving the most substantial and
significant constituency of all, says Harish Bhat

ll of us make promises to people we


consider significant in our lives. As
students going to college, many of
us promised our parents we would
study diligently. At the time of our marriage,
we make a promise to our spouse to be forever
faithful. Often we promise ourselves that we will
pursue goals that matter to us: securing financial
stability, spending quality time with our family,
getting to a weight-loss target, and the like.
In the Tata group we have made a promise
to one of the most important people in our
corporate lives our customer. Why have we
done this?
Simply put, our customers make our
businesses possible. It is, consequently, critical to
build a culture in each of our companies where
the customer is centre stage. Satisfying our
customers needs is at the core of everything we
do. A promise to our customer evangelises this
customer-centric culture. If this promise sits on
our desks and in our hearts, it reminds us every
day of our customers needs, which we must
constantly strive to fulfil.
Any promise to our customers has to
embrace three realities: we have to stay close to,
and be aware of, our customers needs; we have to
stay relevant to these needs; and we have to serve

8 Tata Review

July 2015

customers as best as we can, and then some.


This is the genesis of the Tata promise to
every customer. It reads as follows:
Customer centricity is intrinsic to our culture. We
promise to:
Develop a deep understanding of the unique
needs of our customers.
Deliver pioneering products and services of
outstanding quality and value.
Delight our customers with great experiences
at every touchpoint.
This is how we will always demonstrate
responsible leadership with trust.
The three essential words here all begin with
the alphabet D. In effect, the promise is about
the three Ds for every C (the customer).
Let us look at each of these three Ds in a
little more detail and understand why they are so
crucial to the promise that we have made.
DEVELOP
Developing a deep understanding of the unique
needs of our customers is the first step to serving
them well. For instance, Voltas understood
the unique air-conditioning needs of Indian
customers in different seasons of the year. This
enabled the brand to evolve the concept of
the all-weather air conditioner, which rapidly

COVER STORY

became popular with its promise of round-theyear climate control.


Similarly, Tata Motors developed a
deep understanding of the unique needs of
businesspeople who required a modern, driverfriendly small vehicle for last-mile distribution
of their products, and this while navigating
the narrow roads and bylanes of India. The
understanding enabled the company to launch
the Tata Ace, an automobile which took care
of these unique needs. The Ace has, as a result,
gained excellent acceptance among customers
from across the country.
Whatever be the product or service category
that you are part of, your customers will have
singular needs. These needs are likely to vary
across different segments of customers. For
example, when it comes to fashion garments,
an affluent young man is likely to have different
needs from a middle-class and conservative
elderly person. Developing a clear understanding
of the diverse needs of these customers ensures
that we are focused on satisfying them really well.
DELIVER
This brings us to the second D: delivering
pioneering products and services of outstanding
quality and value. Having developed a good
understanding of customers needs, our next task
is to deliver to these customers exactly what they
need. If our customers have to truly cherish what
we bring to them, then our products have to offer
outstanding quality and value.
Quality is non-negotiable. And value,
always on top of the customers mind,
encompasses multiple factors, among them
price, consistency, durability, service standards,
maintenance and disposal costs, and freedom
from breakdowns.
Brands such as Tetley, Tata Salt and Tata
Sky are used and loved by millions of consumers
because of the wonderful blend of quality and
value they offer. In a completely different space,
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is loved by its
customers across the world for the consistently
high quality of the services the company delivers,
and the outstanding value attached to them.
Quality and value of this order emanates

from TCSs outstanding expertise and legendary


responsiveness. Excellence in delivery is often
the result of robust processes within companies,
as well as constant innovation in creating
pioneering products and services.
DELIGHT
Delight, the third D, is all about putting a big
smile on the customers face. Every brand
we market has so many touchpoints with the
customer: our retail stores, the interiors of our
aircraft or hotel rooms, our people who interact
with customers, the packaging of our products,
our websites or mobile apps, our advertisements.
We have the opportunity to delight our
customers at each of these touchpoints.
A customer of Tanishq jewellery once
told me: When I go to the Tanishq showroom,
the staff there is excellent and the service is
amazing. Thats why I love going back there to
shop. A small entrepreneur who uses Tata Steels
products spoke to me about his satisfaction with
the companys local service centre, and about
how well it handles his every need. Recently,
a customer who flew Vistara spoke about the
delicious food he was served on the flight. These
are examples of delight.
PROMISES TO KEEP
We have to work hard to ensure that our promise
to our customers comes alive every day. The
three Ds require a lot of effort, but they also yield
happy and engaged customers. Even as you think
about this promise and how you will implement
it in your workplace, you may wish to reflect on
the words of Robert Frost:
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Harish Bhat is a member of the Group Executive


Council of Tata Sons. He leads a Tata group-wide
initiative on customer centricity. The development
and adoption of the customer promise featured
in the article here is one of the key elements of
this initiative.

July 2015

Tata Review

Members of Help for Heroes, a charity that supports British


servicemen and women, at a Land Rover experience
event jointly hosted by the company in Solihull (UK)

COVER STORY

Whos at the wheel?


The customer thats who is the star of the show in the
scheme of sales that Jaguar Land Rover swears by, and there is
no limit to how far the company will go to keep it that way

heres more to life in the automobile


selling business at Jaguar Land Rover
(JLR) than the sale itself, as Mellise
Callis and her eight-year-old son, Adam,
discovered recently.
Ms Callis had, more in hope than
expectation, written to the Stratstone Jaguar
dealership in Mayfair, London, asking if carcrazy Adam could be shown some Jaguar models
as part of a birthday treat. James Roberts, the
executive the mail was addressed to, knew
instinctively what the right thing to do would be.
Mr Roberts and his team arranged to meet
Adam on a Saturday afternoon and show him
all of the cars in the dealership. We gave him
the red-carpet treatment, says Mr Roberts. We
arranged a ride for Adam around London in a
red F-Type convertible. And as he was leaving
we gave him a few Jaguar mementos, including a
shirt and a cap. After all, youre eight only once.
This little nugget may explain more than
anything about the rationale and philosophy
that lubricates the relationship that JLR
endeavours to build with its customers, present
and potential, as it continues cruising down the
road leading from revival to prosperity. Given
the markets the company has made a mark in,
the sales environment for high-end cars, and the
clientele it is chasing, this is par for the course.

The automotive industry has become


much more customer centric in recent years,
explains Joanne Pearson, global customer
insight director at JLR. This is driven by
three main factors: increased competition,
which gives customers more choice and
pushes manufacturers to focus on their needs
and opinions; globalisation, where customers
have a wider choice of brands in their market
and manufacturers feel the urgency to
understand customers from a diverse range
of countries; and ever-improving internet
penetration, which enables customers easy
access to brands, comparison data and the
views of others.

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Land Rover customers and the companys employees

July 2015

Tata Review

11

COVER STORY

We operate in the premium


automotive sector; the customer
and prospect base here is
generally cash rich and time poor.
Joanne Pearson, global customer insight director, JLR

Getting into top gear in such circumstances


takes careful calibration. JLR has global teams
organised by marketing discipline: strategy,
products, communications, sponsorships,
customer insights, etc. These teams work
with regional groups who implement and
deploy the plans and approaches. The global
marketing setup at the company is integrated
with the design and research functions through
a common outlook, consistent processes and
collective efforts on launches.
We operate in the premium automotive
sector; the customer and prospect base here
is generally cash rich and time poor, says
Ms Pearson. The principal challenge in
understanding these customers and their
changing requirements involves engaging
them in market research. These customers are
more likely to be individualistic and expect
more bespoke and personalised products and
experiences, which makes it more difficult to
generate common insights.
JLR has defined the different stages in

Land Rover (featured here) and Jaguar have


customers who prefer personalised products

12 Tata Review

July 2015

the customer journey, from consideration


through ownership to renewal. The company
banks on what it has gleaned to determine its
customer relationship strategies and marketing
material. Digital communications and
experiences are crafted as part of the overall
communications process to ensure consistency
and integration.Social media platforms are
maintained at the global and local levels, with a
single editorial flow to coordinate content.
The importance of customer feedback to
JLR cannot be overstated. It is critical to us
as a company growing rapidly and constantly
engaging new customers in a variety of markets,
emphasises Ms Pearson. We seek customer
feedback on everything, from the development
of new cars and the purchase experience to
service and our customers relationship with
our brands. We contact every customer we have
interacted with to find out how her experience
was and what we can do to improve it.
There is no one-size-fits-all method in
the JLR way on customer centricity, and there
cannot be. We are present in 177 markets
across the world and although we aim to deliver
a consistently superior customer experience
based on global expertise and best practice, we
recognise the importance of cultural nuances,
says Ms Pearson. We set the standards and
guidelines but we enable our markets and
partners to adapt these where appropriate. For

COVER STORY

example, some cultures welcome celebration and


a sense of ceremony when a new car is handed
over; others prefer discretion.
Emerging trends on customer orientation
in the automotive space JLR occupies suggest
that a continual tweaking of marketing options
and approaches will be essential for the company
to stay ahead of the game.
There will be an enhancing of
experiential marketing, driving experiences
and sponsorships that bring our brands and
products to the places that our customers
frequent, says Ms Pearson. We have to ensure
that the technology in our cars is compatible
with and complementary to the technology
that our customers use in and outside of their
homes. Theres also the imperative to develop
electric vehicles and to pursue mobility
solutions beyond cars.
Whatever be the nature of the future that

Marketing arena
China, the United States, the United
Kingdom and Germany.

Strong points
l JLRs customers are strong

advocates of its brands and


recommend them to others, and
provide feedback that leads to
product improvements.
l Customer research is embedded in

JLRs product creation process and


forms part of the gateway for new
product development.
l The companys employees

consistently use customer inputs


and insights to improve automotive
experiences.

Areas for improvement


l Use of individual customer data

to better personalise and tailor the


experience of using JLRs products.
l Ensuring that all partners and

retailers, in every market, deliver


outstanding service to customers.

unfolds for JLR, there is certainty on one piece


of the evolving business milieu for the company:
connecting with the customer will remain
central to the equation. Thats how it has been
and thats how it will be.
Philip Chacko

CUSTOMER STORIES
l The Guy Salmon Jaguar dealership in Stockport

(UK) showed earlier this year that customer


relationships at JLR go beyond money and
mechanics when it went out of its way to make the
day for a family with an ailing child. David Skidmore,
a valued customer, was having a stressful time
after the hospitalisation of his young son, Joe, with
kidney failure. The JLR people came to know of
Mr Skidmores distress when he brought his Jaguar
for a routine service. They collected some money
and purchased a Lego set and a teddy bear for Joe,
and they promised Mr Skidmore he could borrow an
F-Type Coupe to drop the child when he was well
enough to go back to school. We wanted to create
a memory and an experience the family wouldnt
forget, says service manager Martin Scott.
l The people at the Land Rover dealership in

Duckworth (in Lincolnshire, UK) did something


similar when they heard from a customer, Darren
Lynch who had just bought a Range Rover
Sport that his son had cut his knee on a rear-seat
runner while climbing into the back of the vehicle.
They went out and got a toy spaceship for six-yearold Ewan, a big Star Wars fan, and also had the
company design rubber kneecaps to prevent the
child from hurting himself again. Darren and his wife,
Lisa, were chuffed to bits that wed acted quickly and
personally, says senior sales executive Tim Horne,
and Ewan was absolutely over the moon.
l Seven JLR employees and six customers of the

company got together recently in Iceland to take the


drive of a lifetime in the new Land Rover Discovery
Sport. The group lapped up the breathtaking
landscape on the menu were volcanoes, river
crossings, fjords and more had their share of hairraising moments and, to cap it all, bonded to form
friendships that likely will last a lifetime.

July 2015

Tata Review

13

Titans wedding jewellery captures the imagination of brides in Indias urban


centres just as much as it does of their counterparts in the countrys rural regions

COVER STORY

Substance in the style


Far from sitting on its achievements, Titan Company is further
refining the outlook and the methods that have enabled it to
evolve into one of Indias most customer-friendly enterprises

ver since it was launched in 1984, Titan


Company has been a customer-centric
organisation. From bringing watches
with international style into India to
setting up exclusive showrooms for world-class
shopping, Titan has been catering to changing
customer preferences and needs.
The last 10 years have seen Titan evolve
from a product-brand company to Indias largest
speciality retailer. Its two most recent forays,
jewellery and eyewear, used to be retail businesses
that were characterised by long transaction times
and high repeat purchases. The independent
retailers (jewellers and opticians) dominating the
market had understood this and built systems
and processes to induce customer loyalty to the
store. It was imperative that Titan incorporate this
factor in its strategy while introducing measures
to improve the customer experience.
Over the last eight years, these divisions
crafted programmes creating fans in 2007,
renamed the Tanishq way of life in 2013;
making hearts beat for the eyewear division in
2013 that covered the following aspects:
Understanding the various impediments to
delivering excellent customer experiences
in the stores (policy, process, staff capability
and behaviour).
Modifying policies and processes.

We were convinced that an


exceptional customer experience
would create a huge competitive
advantage for all the three divisions.
CK Venkataraman, CEO, jewellery, Titan Company

Determining a way of systematically handholding the customer in the journey through


the store, and training the staff to do so.
Evangelising the entire programme with the
staff and the franchisees.
Evangelising the entire programme with
other stakeholder departments.
Conducting mystery audit and customer
satisfaction surveys at each store and giving
the feedback to the store for improvement.
Linking the scores to the store incentives in
some way.
These programmes took the performance
of Tanishq and Titan EyePlus to the next level
and made them industry benchmarks. But
there were several changes happening that made
us pause and reflect on what we needed to do
further, says CK Venkataraman, chief executive
officer, jewellery, at Titan.
Customer expectations were starting to
rise fast. At the same time, a rapid expansion
July 2015

Tata Review

15

COVER STORY

of the network, combined with a certain level


of attrition, put considerable pressure on
Titans ability to prepare its staff to meet these
expectations. And inescapably, the competition
was raising the bar.
It was in this context that the world class

CUSTOMER STORY
I have a condition called astigmatism, and it is not easy
to get eyewear that corrects my vision perfectly. This
optical defect is one in which refractive power is not
uniform in all directions. Light rays entering the eye are
bent unequally by different meridians, which prevents
the formation of a sharp image focus on the retina.
Ive had to wear spectacles since the 8th grade,
so you can imagine the number of different glasses I
have owned. Anyway, last year I needed new glasses
and happened to pass by a Titan Eyewear showroom. I
walked in to get my eyes tested. I was introduced to an
optometrist who exuded a quiet confidence and who
turned out to be very knowledgeable. He made me feel
like I was in the right hands.
He tested me for long and short sight and made
sure that I was reading comfortably. When it was time
to choose the frame, once again the salesman was an
unobtrusive young man who gave me the feeling that
he wanted to work with me in finding the perfect frame,
rather than just push sales. After I chose a frame, he
quietly asked, Sir, may I introduce you to something
better?
He did this because he had learned that I ride
horses regularly. Riding requires rapid eye movement,
and he offered a customised pair of glasses that would
take care of my sight even during riding. I can say with
delight that I have never had a more comfortable pair of
spectacles.
Yes, I paid a premium for the product but I was
happy to pay! The Titan Eyewear team displayed
confidence and character and the common thread of
customer service runs from top to bottom. The shop
manager isnt just called when a problem has to be
escalated; he is asked for advice and is like a mentor to
the salespeople.
I have shared my experience with my friends
and highly recommend Titan to anyone who requires
eyewear.
TP Vasanth, cofounder of Primus Public School,
Bengaluru

16 Tata Review

July 2015

customer experience journey was visualised for


Titan Company as a whole. We were convinced
that an exceptional customer experience would
create a huge competitive advantage for all
the three divisions, apart from substantially
energising all the people involved in the
programme, says Mr Venkataraman.
After some engagement on the subject, the
team narrowed it down to the idea of customer
advocacy as the holy grail that it should be
seeking. In an era where people were sharing
many things about themselves through social
media, the power of positive word of mouth was
becoming even more evident.
The net promoter score was the popular
measure of advocacy that many customercentric companies were using globally. The
simplicity of that concept and the ability to
execute it easily through hundreds of stores
made it the ideal choice. The watches division
had already chosen to deploy it even as the
company was converging on it.
Titan is now in the earliest stages of
this journey, where a cross-company team is
determining common goals and metrics for all
the divisions. Also being given a good deal of
thought is the use of technology in retail, so that
our standards on customer experience rise to
expectations, says Mr Venkataraman.
Kalpana Shah

Marketing arena
Watches India, South Asia, the
Middle East, Southeast Asia; jewellery
and eyewear India.

Strong points
l Design capabilities.
l Retail operations.
l Franchisee management.

Areas for improvement


l Smartwatch technology (watches).
l Superior customer experience

(watches, jewellery, eyewear).


l Greater choice in stores (jewellery).

COVER STORY

All geared up
The Indian automobile sector has undergone a sea
change in recent years, resulting in the launch of modern
vehicles equipped with state-of-the-art technology.
Importantly, the balance of power has shifted in favour
of the customer, who is now driving changes in the
sector. Customer centricity is of paramount importance
in an industry that is catching up to meet the growing
demands of the informed buyer.
For Tata Motors, the largest automobile manufacturer in
India, the customer is now at the core of its operations.
Ravindra Pisharody, executive director, commercial
vehicles, and Mayank Pareek, president, passenger
vehicles business unit, discuss how this has come to be,
and what this means for the company.

July 2015

Tata Review

17

Anticipating customer needs and


catering to them has enabled Tata
Motors to provide commercial vehicles
that are a second home to drivers

COVER STORY

In for the long drive


For the commercial vehicles division of Tata Motors, innovation is
at the heart of customer centricity, from creating new categories
to setting the standard in efficient, viable and comfortable trucking

CUSTOMER VOICES

or the commercial vehicles (CV)


division of Tata Motors, customer
centricity is a double-pronged effort
aimed at buyers and actual users,
the drivers. Ravindra Pisharody, executive
director at the division, points out that,
contrary to general belief, the commercial
vehicles space is more business-to-consumer
than business-to-business. While our
customers use their vehicles as part of their
business, most of them buy it as if they are
buying a vehicle for their own use, he says.
The Indian trucking industry is fragmented
and a majority of truckers are single-vehicle
owners. Most fleet operators are not large
corporations but small and medium enterprises.
As a result, the majority of customers buy a
commercial vehicle based on parameters like
fuel economy, low downtime and tyre life rather
than styling, design and comfort.
Tata Motors, Indias first truck
manufacturer, was instrumental in bringing in
several pioneering initiatives. It is now ensuring
that international trends in CV offerings are
matched in India. This is a business organised
into four broad segments: light commercial
vehicles (LCV), mid and heavy vehicles
(M&HCV), all-passenger vehicles and buses,
and vehicles for the defence sector. The company

now has a fifth vertical, customer care, reflecting


the ever-growing importance of the people it has
been created for.
In its new line of Prima trucks,
benchmarked with European brands, Tata
Motors has introduced several customer-driven
changes: air-conditioned cabins for drivers
and advanced electronics in the vehicle. The
company has also launched the no-frills Prima
LX, which looks the same but is 25 percent
cheaper than the standard version. In the LCV
segment, it has a new version called Ultra, with
improved ergonomics, low operating cost, and
the flexibility to cater to a range of tonnages
and uses.

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19

COVER STORY

Additionally, the CV division has a


telematics programme where vehicles are fitted
with GPS equipment. Last year, it tied up with
Microlise, a United Kingdom-based transport
management systems provider that supplies
specialist fleet telematics for trucks and buses.
This allows owners to monitor their vehicles
anywhere in India.
A side effect of this change is that truck
owners and drivers are increasingly preferring
authorised workshops to roadside mechanics. In
response, Tata Motors has expanded its network
of workshops. Today we have an authorised
workshop every 50km on major highways,
says Mr Pisharody. We have a 24-hour Tata
alert service and a toll-free number that can
be accessed by drivers round the clock. We
guarantee that if a vehicle breaks down on a
highway, a mechanic will visit it within four
hours. And if the truck is carrying perishable
goods, we will provide a relief vehicle.
Recognising that vehicle uptime and

CUSTOMER STORY
With a fleet of 50 vehicles and an attached fleet of 200
more vehicles owned by vendors, Shashank Pawar,
director, Vaishali Transcarriers, caters to the needs of
a wide range of manufacturers. For the past two years,
his company has also been a vendor for Amazon
India, handling the transportation of its products in
Maharashtra and Goa. Mr Pawar has, additionally,
transport contracts with Drive India Enterprise Solutions
and Infiniti Retail, which runs the Croma chain.
Ninety-five percent of my fleet comprises Tata
commercial vehicles, says Mr Pawar. Most of them are
the small-sized Tata Ace, but I also own mid and heavy
vehicles. As we expand, I will surely think of acquiring a
Prima.
All the vehicles are covered under the annual
maintenance contract of Tata Motors and Mr Pawar is
happy with the after-sales service. Tata Motors has a
wide network of dealers across Maharashtra and Goa,
so my vehicles do not face any problems in case of
breakdowns and there are no issues with regard to the
availability of spares, he says.

availability is the key to its customers


businesses, Tata Motors not only ensures deep
network connectivity but goes a step further
to assure its customers that if a vehicle does
not get repaired within 48 hours, it will pay
a penalty. However, since the launch of the
programme, the company has hardly faced a
situation wherein a penalty was required to be
paid. The company has also introduced annual
maintenance contracts (AMCs) to all buyers,
including those of small CVs. Weve made
this into a big driver of our customer-centricity
push, notes Mr Pisharody, so much so that the
AMC team has been moved out of the service
department into marketing.
Competition has intensified in the
commercial vehicle segment in India, with
more than eight truck manufacturers jostling
for pole position. Tata Motors has set up a new
key account management team at every regional
office. Each team also has a list of 100 potential
customers to target for new business.

Marketing arena
India and export markets.

Strong points
l Consistently innovating and

bringing in new products that


meet and exceed customer
requirements.
l Focused product development to

reduce the customers operation


costs.
l Robust and widespread network

across the country to ensure high


vehicle uptime.

Areas for improvement


l Dealing with ever-intensifying

competition in improved fashion.


l Understanding the evolving

customer, who has become more


demanding and is not into brand
loyalty.
l Coping better with the cyclical

nature of the industry.

20 Tata Review

July 2015

COVER STORY

Customers are becoming more


demanding; if they are not happy or not treated
well, they will move to a rival brand, says Mr
Pisharody. The company has introduced a
loyalty programme called Tata Emperor, with
silver, gold and platinum cards. All transactions
vehicle purchases, spare parts, servicing
get points added to the card. The points can be
redeemed at partner outlets of BPCL, JK Tyres
and CEAT Tyres.
One big aspect of its customer-centricity
is the companys effort to continuously reduce
the life-cycle cost for the vehicle owner. For
instance, in the past the engine lubricant had
to be changed every 20,000km. Technological
innovations have now improved this figure fourfold and now the lubricant needs to be changed
once every 80,000km.
Tata Motors has expanded its engagement
with customers by offering driver-related schemes
like insurance for drivers, tie-ups with about 10
driver-training institutes, and scholarships for
the children of drivers. Similarly, it has a strong
school bus safety programme that engages with
school management, school bus drivers and
operators to create awareness on safety.
There are facilities for drivers at its
workshops and major dealer outlets, too. At
the Vasai outlet near Mumbai, for example,
there is an entire building for drivers who
bring in their vehicles for servicing. There is a
large air-conditioned lounge and waiting room
for these drivers. They can watch television,
relax in a sleeping bunk, enjoy food at the
subsidised canteen and take a break from their
busy schedules. About 50 workshops have such
facilities and more are being added.
Tata Motors has survived market cycles and
downturns by maintaining strong relationships
with its dealers. When a downturn happens,
our volumes may drop by 25 to 30 percent,
explains Mr Pisharody. Thanks to its strong
relationship with its customers, the company has
managed to ensure that its market share remains
intact despite growing competition. Every
year about 300 to 400 customer touchpoints
owned and managed by the dealers are
opened across the country.

Today we just paint dhabas with our


ads. We are looking at taking over
a few dhabas, where we will offer
spares, oil refills and the like.
Ravindra Pisharody, executive director, CV, Tata Motors

Traditionally, the CV division has not


spent much on television and press advertising,
but in recent years it has started investing in
such brand-building initiatives. For instance,
the highly popular T1 Prima truck-racing event
saw 12 souped-up Tata trucks participate in
the race. Participating in a race is the ultimate
test for a vehicle in terms of endurance,
acceleration and braking, notes Mr Pisharody.
Prima was also the official title sponsor of
the Kings XI Punjab cricket team in the 2015
Indian Premier League.
Tata Motors plans for the future include
associating its brands with dhabas (roadside
diners) across India. Today we just paint
dhabas with our ads. We are looking at taking
over a few dhabas, where we will offer spares,
oil refills and the like, says Mr Pisharody.
Another important marketing tool is the hosting
of vehicle exhibitions at transport hubs on the
outskirts of major cities, attracting many truck
drivers. Recently the company organised 16 such
events, improving awareness of its new products
and vehicle features. With many truck drivers
now having smartphones, social media will also
emerge as a major platform for the commercial
vehicles division, adds Mr Pisharody.
Gaining customer insights and inputs
plays an important role for the company. Every
new product is based on the findings of quality
function deployment and feedback from
customer groups. Based on this feedback, Tata
Motors decided to introduce factory-fitted music
systems for its Ace group of vehicles and Wi-Fi
features for its buses.
At Tata Motors the customer is not only
in the drivers seat, but is also driving the
companys future strategy.
Nithin Rao

July 2015

Tata Review

21

Reflected in the recently launched Zest is a key learning for


Tata Motors: that the customer of today demands quality

COVER STORY

A healthy obsession
In an industry segment changing at warp speed, Tata Motors
passenger cars division is pulling out all the stops to entice and
please the most important character in the show the customer

ayank Pareek, president, passenger


vehicles business unit, Tata Motors,
is convinced that customer centricity
will define survival and leadership
for the business in the times to come. Customer
centricity is everything now, he says. No
business in the automobile sector will succeed if
it is not centred on customers.
Mr Pareek gives an interesting example
to illustrate how Tata Motors is ensuring that
it is in touch with its customers. Automatic
transmission, often seen as an answer to the
challenge of driving on congested roads in
Indian cities, was not popular in the country
because of its relatively high cost. When Tata
Motors conducted a survey on manual versus
automatic transmission, executives were
surprised at the results. Motorists admitted
that they would prefer some sort of automatic
transmission instead of manual gears, but
with modifications. In response the company
introduced automated manual transmission
(AMT) in most recent launches such as the Zest
and GenX Nano.
Seeking customer feedback and ensuring
that the feedback percolates through all
departments, including product and service
development, quality improvement and research
and development, has become a set process at
the passenger vehicles division.
Over the last 25 years, the Indian

automobile industry has witnessed three


different eras in its relationship with customers.
In the early to mid-1990s, demand outstripped
supply, so customer centricity was a good topic
to talk about; it was not at the core of being for
the industry, explains Mr Pareek. The customers
importance rose between the mid-1990s and
2005, but demand matched supply, so the
customer was still not at the heart of things. In
the last 10 years, though, the balance of power
has shifted in favour of the customer.
The manufacturing capacity in the Indian
automobile industry today is two to three
times more than demand. With product and
technology convergence across the industry,
the differentiator that sets apart a manufacturer
is customer orientation. I would replace

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July 2015

Tata Review

23

COVER STORY

CUSTOMER STORIES
l Marketing professional Varun Vishwanaths first

exposure to a Tata vehicle was the Indigo CS,


which his father gave him when he began working
in Mumbai. Within three years Mr Vishwanath had
clocked about 100,000km, even taking the car all
the way to Shimla and Delhi.
Last year, when I decided to buy a new car, I had
a budget of about `450,000, he says. I looked at
different cars, but opted for a Tata Zest. The Tatas
make good and sturdy cars. Im happy with the
Zest; I find genuine pleasure driving it.
That includes driving in Mumbais bumperto-bumper traffic. Mr Vishwanath says hes
comfortable in his Zest, with its soft clutches
that reduce the strain of driving. He clocks about
40-50km daily and has also taken an annual
maintenance contract. Ive had a good experience
with the servicing, which is seamless, he adds.

CUSTOMER VOICES

Whenever there are minor issues, the company is


quick to respond. Recently, when Mr Vishwanath
wanted a software upgrade, the Tata Motors team
was fast in sorting out the issue.

customer delight with customer obsession, says


Mr Pareek. Only companies that are completely
aligned to customers and obsessed with them
will succeed. That is why customer centricity has
become the core of our operations.
Customer preferences have also undergone
a sea change. In India, where half the population
was born post 1990, customers want different
types of products, with vastly different price
points and features. Besides products, the
quality of service and the infrastructure of the
showrooms and service workshops have also
become important while dealing with this
generation of customers. They go to swanky
malls to buy a shirt, so when they come to a
car showroom they expect a certain kind of
ambience, says Mr Pareek.
Tata Motors has multiple layers of
structure to ensure that customer centricity
remains central to its operations. There is
a market research group and a programme
planning and project management team. These
act as an interface between the research unit
and the customer. They work out strategies,
conduct surveys to find out what the customer
needs, and keep track of the changes happening
in the industry and with the competition,
explains Mr Pareek.

l A Navi Mumbai-based professional photographer,

Aditya Chandane has to be on the move all the


time. About three years ago, he began looking for a
compact car that would fit in all his equipment, take
him around Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra
and Gujarat, and also ensure that it could be parked
in the busiest of lots.
I decided to buy a Tata Nano LX, says a content
Mr Chandane. Besides driving on Mumbais busy
roads, he also takes the car to Pune, Nashik, Roha
and Surat. Im satisfied with the car, he says.
Even the long drives are comfortable. I drive
extensively and Ive not had any problems.
Mr Chandane is also happy with the servicing at the
dealer workshops. They call me for regular checkups and servicing, and also let me know about
offers and schemes. After all, its a Tata brand and
that makes it reliable.

24 Tata Review

July 2015

Marketing arena
India and some export markets.

Strong points
l Strong connection between the
business and R&D.
l Access to multiple customer
feedback and research forums.
l Ability to measure customer
experiences across the board.

Areas for improvement


l Anticipating customers needs at

least four years in advance.


l Enhancing the capability to deliver
products on time to customers
unwilling to wait.
l Being present on all digital platforms.

COVER STORY

Tata Motors also has a customer experience


team which measures the softer aspects such as
what the customer likes or dislikes. The company
uses many tools to stay connected to customers
and it also takes the help of outside agencies to
understand customer requirements.
A challenge in understanding these
needs is that they have to be anticipated by
automobile manufacturers four years in advance
(the development cycle of a car typically takes
that long). When a manufacturer plans a car
in 2015, it has to understand what a customer
would want in this car in 2019 or 2020. Its a big
challenge. We have to anticipate what a customer
who is 25 today would want when he or she
turns 30, says Mr Pareek, Your processes have
to be robust and backed by good research.
A key learning for Tata Motors has been
that the customer is the most ruthless teacher.
With awareness about emerging trends high
among customers, many automakers who got
older designs from abroad and launched them in
India found to their dismay that customers here
want the latest products. Quality is a hygiene
factor, explains Mr Pareek. They expect
and demand world-class quality. You cannot
experiment with it.
Another key parameter while dealing with
the new set of customers is communication.
This generation spends more time on Facebook
than with face-to-face communication, says
Mr Pareek. Digital marketing becomes critical,
therefore. You have to be present and active
across all digital platforms. Earlier, social media
was a mere adjunct to the main campaign of the

We have to anticipate what a


customer who is 25 today would
want when she turns 30. Your
processes have to be robust.
Mayank Pareek, president, PV, Tata Motors

company. But now, with social media becoming


a part of the everyday life of a customer, no
campaign can be launched without it. Auto
shows, motor sports and road presence are
important ingredients of such campaigns.
An emerging trend is that todays youth
need to stay connected all the time. To cater to
this demand, Tata Motors is introducing the
concept of a connected car. The company has
also introduced the latest infotainment systems
usually available in high-end cars in its
entry-level Bolt and Zest.
The new age brings with it newer
challenges: customers spoilt for choice;
increasingly impatient customers who are
unwilling to wait a month or two for deliveries;
the emergence of women buyers as a category
(they constituted less than 10 percent of
buyers for a long time, but now comprise
more than a fifth of car buyers, as well as being
important influencers in other purchases); and
rural markets emerging as a major segment,
accounting for 15-20 percent of total demand.
Tata Motors has its work cut out, and it is
confident that it is up to the challenge.
Nithin Rao

July 2015

Tata Review

25

COVER STORY

26 Tata Review

July 2015

Customers enjoy a hot cup


of Tetley tea in the chill of winter
during a promotional event in Canada

COVER STORY

The connection is tasty


Just like the medieval European fortune tellers who read tea leaves
to predict the future, Tata Global Beverages uses the power of
insights to create versatile beverages that appeal to consumers

erving 250 million units of tea, coffee


and water every day is not an easy
task. The worlds second-largest tea
company, Tata Global Beverages (TGB)
has managed to do it with the calmness of a
Zen master. The companys consumer-centric
approach, blended with in-depth insights, has
helped it develop a range of products loved
and desired across 40 markets. Consumer
focus is part of our corporate DNA, says Garth
Viegas, global insights director, TGB. One of
our directional themes is the consumer is our
heartbeat, and consumer insights our lifeblood.
Its imperative for TGB to constantly feel the
pulse of the consumer as preferences, geographic
distribution, buying habits and the way they
interact with products have changed dramatically
over the last 10 years, and continue to evolve.
We are constantly striving to have a meaningful
impact on all stakeholders, from farmer to
consumer, says Mr Viegas. Todays consumers
are interested in the taste and benefits of a
product. They also want to ensure that it was
procured and processed in an ethical manner.
TGBs progress with the Rainforest Alliance
Certification is an example of its commitment
to sustainable sourcing. More than 50 percent
of Tetley tea worldwide now comes from
plantations certified by the Alliance. The

company has committed to sourcing 100 percent


of its black teas from such plantations for all
Tetley-branded teas in North America, Europe,
the Middle East, Africa and Australia by 2016.
In addition to sustainable sourcing, TGBs
innovative social media initiatives such as
Farmers First Hand enable consumers to talk
directly to the people who grow, harvest and
produce their favourite beverage. Consumers
have reacted favourably to this initiative and
the company now has half a million highly
engaged fans.
Consumers today are spoilt for choice
and, consequently, over 80 percent of all new
products in the industry are discontinued

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Learn about the customer centricity practices that have


made TGB the worlds second largest tea company

July 2015

Tata Review

27

COVER STORY

within 12 months of launch as they lose


consumer interest. In such a fickle world, sharp
customer insights have enabled TGB to improve
the chances of success for its products.
This is a big challenge since TGB operates
in different markets and with diverse consumers.
The market success of green tea is a cogent
example. Healthy lifestyle preferences, which
have grown exponentially over the recent past,
have spurred the demand for healthy beverages
and foods. TGB leveraged this insight to sell
green tea differently. Says Mr Viegas: Our UK
team discovered that the vitamin market is
growing rapidly, with one in three customers
taking vitamin supplements every day. We used
this insight to create Tetley Super Green Tea.
The tea was fortified with vitamin B to reduce
tiredness and fatigue and vitamin C to boost the
immune system. Our sales of this tea have gone
up by 30 percent as a result.
In Australia, the TGB team created a
100-percent steamed green tea which with its
fresh and delicate taste appealed to customers
and helped boost sales by 47 percent. In India,
where a bath is an important part of the daily
ritual, the team created the inside walaa snaan
(bath from within) campaign to highlight the
power of green tea to purify from within.
Collecting information from multiple
sources and weaving it together to form a
complete picture of the customer has been TGBs
key to anticipating and identifying trends. TGB
also invests in new and innovative technology.
With the launch of Tetley Green Tea in India, for

instance, TGB used neuro-tracking technology


to understand consumer responses.
It is critical for TGB to stay close to its
consumer base and their myriad preferences.
To understand these nuances the company
speaks to consumers through multiple channels.
Consumers across the globe are subjected to an
overload of information. Our role as marketers
is to break through this clutter of mediums
and messages and find different and innovative
routes to the consumer, says Mr Viegas.
TGBs Eight OClock Coffee brand wanted
to appeal to a younger set of consumers in the
highly competitive United States coffee market.
The target consumers were found to identify
with popular TV sitcoms such as Friends.
Coinciding with Friends 20th anniversary series
premiere, TGB partnered Warner Bros to craft a
replica of New Yorks Central Perk, the favourite
hangout of the gang in the popular comedy
show. This was a winner for TGB.
Listening to consumers enables TGB to
develop beverages that consumers take to. Start
with the consumer and you are halfway to a
winning proposition, says Mr Viegas.
Sangeeta Menon

Marketing arena
Global

Strong points
l Integrated beverages company.
l Focused play in the natural

CUSTOMER STORIES

beverages category of tea, coffee


and water.
l Brand presence in 40 markets

across the world.


l Im a big Tetley fan; its the only tea I drink.In

Newfoundland, Canada, Tetley outsells all other teas.

A Tetley fan in Newfoundland, Canada


l My familys day begins with Tata Tea Gold.

Tata Tea consumer in Uttar Pradesh, India

l I just cant function without my morning cup

of Eight OClock coffee.

Eight OClock coffee lover in Seattle, USA

28 Tata Review

July 2015

Areas for improvement


l Premiumisation, or, moving up the

value chain has become a necessity.


l Expansion into the markets and

categories of tomorrow.
l Creating a balanced portfolio of

brands in the categories that the


company operates in.

COVER STORY

Bridges are for building


The secret of Tata Chemicals success is that it strives to
deliver value beyond what is expected by the customer

A strong customer connect has enabled Tata Chemicals to grow from humble beginnings in Mithapur
(the setting for the childrens dance here) to a company that reaches 600 million consumers each year
July 2015

Tata Review

29

COVER STORY

ata Chemicals is, at its heart, a company


that makes vast quantities of commodity
products like soda ash and salt. How
then has this company managed to
become the only soda ash enterprise in the world
to charge a premium for its soda ash? How has
it grown its Tata Salt brand into a superbrand
that reaches more than half a billion consumers
every year? The answer lies in the way that Tata
Chemicals deals with its customers.
Zarir Langrana, chief operating officer of
the chemicals business (India), says that the
companys customer centricity journey began
about 15 years ago, when the Indian market
opened up. India became one of the most
competitive markets in the world, he says. Our
customers were spoiled for choice. We had to
change the way we viewed the business.
In a fightback, Tata Chemicals set about
overhauling its customer processes. The
chemicals business handled about 1,500-2,000
customers across India, serviced by conventional
sales and marketing (S&M) teams. The first
step was to analyse these customers based on
their unique needs, and understand how Tata
Chemicals could engage with them better.
All the customers were classified into two
verticals: key accounts (about 25 in number) and
channel accounts. The key accounts included not
just the big customers, but also certain mid-sized
ones. The rationale was that key accounts had
specific needs that Tata Chemicals would meet:
customised products, just-in-time delivery,
specific packaging requirements, and so on. These
accounts are serviced by key account managers.
The channel accounts included small
and mid-sized customers, trade partners and
distributors, and totalled up to more than half of
the chemicals business. When Tata Chemicals
became a global business with the addition

Once a year the company and


each of its customers get together
in a room and brainstorm ... on
improving our engagement.
Zarir Langrana, COO, chemicals business (India)

30 Tata Review

July 2015

of the Europe, North America and Kenya


operations, a third category of customers was
added: global accounts (seven customers, among
them Unilever, P&G and Saint-Gobain, which
are serviced from at least two global sites).
The way Tata Chemicals engages with its
key and global accounts is unique. Mr Langrana
explains, Once a year the company and the
customer get together in a room and brainstorm
for a day or two on how the engagement can be
improved, how we can create additional value.
The room is not in a swanky hotel but at either
the companys or the customers plant so that
people can relate the talk to the manufacturing
process. In the room are senior leaders and
cross-functional teams representing not just
S&M but also manufacturing, commercial,
supply chain, quality, etc.
There is, typically, no discussion on
pricing. Instead, we discuss how we can add
value together. This could happen through
many routes: new product development, new
variables in the formulation, different packaging,
improving quality, streamlining warehouse
operations, mapping our delivery schedules to
the customers manufacturing requirements,
getting our enterprise resource planning
systems to talk to each other, exploring
opportunities for joint procurement or crossselling, etc. Every year we come up with new
ideas and we run with these ideas. We have
found that this is an enriching process for Tata
Chemicals and the customer, says Mr Langrana.
A similar exercise occurs with the channel
accounts. The company also conducts customer
user group meetings at big market centres. The
cumulative impact of this journey has been that
at Tata Chemicals the customer is not owned
by the S&M teams. Everyone engaged in the
transaction, where a batch of soda ash leaves
the plant and reaches the customer, is involved
and aware. If we are making a batch for, say,
P&G, all the people involved are aware the
key account manager, the shift manager, plant
head, the quality control person, the packaging
unit, the call centre, even the loaders and the
truck drivers know what is happening , says
Mr Langrana. The P&G product is different

COVER STORY

from the Saint-Gobain product, the way it is


produced, packaged, delivered. Everyone down
the line has to be on the same page.
In recent years, key account management
has gained greater traction. Unilever, for
instance, runs a joint business development
programme with Tata Chemicals that touches
on non-sales aspects like capability building,
sustainability, responsible sourcing, joint
innovation programmes, global delivery
optimisation, etc (see Customer stories).
Going a step further, Tata Chemicals
also focuses on measuring the value delivered
to the customer and, just as importantly,
communicating this to the customer. The
company measures a wide range of metrics
that have business benefits for the customer.
It could be productivity that is linked to the
quality of the product; for example, one tonne
of the companys soda ash leads to more output
at the customers end as compared with the
competitions, or needs less rework. It could be
offering customers text alerts to track just-in-time
deliveries, or changing ordering processes so that
the customer needs fewer people to order and
track deliveries.
We measure these metrics and compare
them with those of our competitors, we measure
the customer value that we deliver, and the
customer is able to see value in our work,
Mr Langrana says, explaining that this is why

Tata Chemicals is the only soda ash company in


the world that is able to command a premium for
what is essentially a commodity.
Then there is the listening and voice of
customer process. Tata Chemicals integrates
feedback from all points key account
managers, its call centre in Mithapur, customer
meets and more to determine avenues for
delivering additional value. This has led to
further improvements: delivering bromine
in trucks with GPS tracking, creating special
formulations of soda ash for the metal industry,
and the like.
In some cases the customer engagement has
taken a highly unusual route: knowledge sharing.
Tata Chemicals executives are invited by the
companys customers to conduct workshops on
safety management, supply chain management,
continuous improvement, and so on, and the
initiative is highly appreciated by customers.
What keeps the customer centricity journey
lively is that the challenges keep changing. Says
Mr Langrana, The pace of change in customer
requirements has increased. Earlier, new
demands would come in once every two-three
years. Today there are two-three new demands
in a year, and we have to be agile enough to
respond. Rapidly changing technology is
a challenge in itself. Integrating customer
relationship management systems across
geographies, matching the technology upgrades

July 2015

Tata Review

31

COVER STORY

We are focusing on tracking


consumer responses to our
products ... on efforts that will
help us generate trials.
Richa Arora, COO, consumer products business

at the customers side, capturing the voices of


customers across geographies, these are the
challenges that the company is handling today.
There is a similar story of change and
customer centricity over at the consumer
products business, home to brands like Tata
Salt, I-Shakti (pulses and spices) and Tata Swach
(water purifiers). Richa Arora, chief operating
officer of the business, says that Tata Chemicals
can proudly claim that it touches about 600
million consumers more than any other Tata
company through the stupendously selling
Tata Salt alone.
When Tata Salt was launched in the
1980s, Tata Chemicals had limited itself to the
manufacture of salt. The packaging, promotion,
distribution and marketing was left to a single
distributor, with no clear line of sight to the end
user. In the last 12-13 years, Tata Chemicals
has revamped the front end of its value chain
by having multiple packing centres, carry-andforwarding agents, distributors and stockists
across the country, bringing the companycloser
to the retailer and, in turn, to end consumers.

Over the years it has strengthened these


relationships, setting up channels to get feedback
from everyone down the value chain, end user to
retailer to stockist to distributor.
Ms Arora says the changes at the
consumer products business are wide-ranging
and ongoing. The company has built up more
customer capabilities in recent months by
bringing in specialist competencies to focus
on branding and sales. Much like fast-moving
consumer goods organisations, Tata Chemicals
is hiring professionals for trade marketing,
brand activation, consumer insights, media
and more.
We are focusing on tracking consumer
response to our products. For example, we know
that we have high repeat buying in pulses at
nearly 70 percent levels. So in our branding and
communication activities both at the retail
level and in media we focus on efforts that
will help us generate trials, says Ms Arora.
Infotech is being leveraged tremendously
to get the movement going. We are providing
hand-held devices to our stockist salesmen in
towns with over a million population, says
Ms Arora. This will give us real-time data on
how our products are moving on a daily basis.
Also, there is a lot of anecdotal information at
the market level; we need to capture and analyse
this so that we can derive benefits from it.
The potential is huge. The Tata Salt
distribution network covers more than 3,000

The brand equity index (BEI), a measure of brand equity, of Tata Salt as measured by Nielsen in a
consumer survey conducted in 17 cities. A maximum BEI of 10 is possible in this model and Tata
Salt is ranked, as per the model, in the top 6 percent of brands from across the world.
7.4

Brand equity index

7.3
7.2
7.1
7
6.9
6.8
6.7
6.6
6.5
6.4
Jun 02

32 Tata Review

July 2015

May 04

Jul 05

May 06

Jul 06

Aug 07

Feb 08

Apr 09

Apr 10

Feb 12

Feb13

April14

COVER STORY

towns and 1.3 million retail outlets. There


are a few immediate challenges, according to
Ms Arora. The division intends to improve
its consumer understanding not just through
research but also through live interactions
with users. We want our people to talk to our
consumers about salts, pulses and spices while
they are cooking and using these products.
We are also working on formalising a process
which mandates a certain number of hours
talking to the consumer for everybody in the
organisation.
Another challenge is to build agility in the
company to respond to consumer expectations,
and launch new products. The heart of the value
proposition of the consumer products business
is health and wellness. The company intends to
leverage the inherent health benefits of spices
like chillies and turmeric through I-Shakti spices
(recently launched in the North India market).
It is looking at niche, high-end varieties of
crystal salt, rock salt and flavoured salt, and food
products beyond salt, pulses and spices. We
want to own the thali, is how Ms Arora puts it.
To sum up, the growth in Tata Chemicals
businesses is firmly linked to the ability to
differentiate it from the competition, and to
connect ever so strongly with the consumer.
Gayatri Kamath

Marketing arena
Global

Strong points
l Focus on delivering and measuring

value to customers.
l Strong relationships with channel

partners.
l The ability to command a premium.

Areas for improvement


l Agility in responding to the

expectations of customer.
l Gaining more consumer insights.
l Keeping up with technology

changes.

CUSTOMER STORIES
l Tata Chemicals relationship with Unilever has

evolved to become global and strategic. As part of


his review of existing relationships, Harald Struck,
procurement director, Unilever, visited Mithapur and
realised that Tata Chemicals was a key player in
markets that are important to his company. He also
identified values ethics, customer centricity and
sustainability that could be the foundation for a
deeper relationship. A shared agenda emerged and
culminated in the signing, in December 2012, of a
joint business development plan, which sets out
areas where the two companies could collaborate.
Says Mr Struck: Its a serious and strong
commitment to grow together. We need to work
in partnership and we do this in the core areas
of capacity and capability building (suppliers
need to invest with us); value creation (we are
focused on reducing cost, not price, and taking
waste out of the value chain); open innovation
(we are collaborating with Tata Chemicals
Innovation Centre in Pune to find solutions for our
personal care portfolio); sustainability (reducing
environmental impact); and service (were focused
on providing the best we can to customers).
l An important Tata Chemicals customer is Saint-

Gobain India (glass division), a subsidiary of


Saint-Gobain France, a leading global float glass
manufacturer. Says Swaminathan Eisenhower,
director of operations for Saint-Gobain India: Tata
Chemicals supplies us dense soda ash, a prime
raw material in the manufacture of glass. Our
association with the company dates back to 2005,
when it started supplying to our Chennai plant. We
find them consistent in product quality, packaging,
communication, response and logistics support.
The Tata Chemicals team has shown great initiative
for system optimisation and has always striven to
meet the demand of customers like us with respect
to achieving monthly delivery schedules. The
relationship has evolved into a partnership and we
are working together to improve the supply chain.
We expect that Tata Chemicals will maintain the
good work in the future and wish them good luck.

July 2015

Tata Review

33

COVER STORY

Operating in a heavily regulated industry and with tariffs it cannot control, Tata
Power has remained competitive by maximising its customer affection quotient
34 Tata Review

July 2015

COVER STORY

Generating affection, too


Tata Powers affinity with its customers, who range from industrial
users to individuals, is characterised by a willingness to change
and improve, to reach out while nurturing relationships

ata Power is going digital. About six


months from now, the company will
launch its power app, a mobile app
that will enable digital interface with
its consumers. This will make it easier for
consumers to do everything, from paying bills
and tracking and analysing usage to applying
for a new connection, locating bill payment
counters, registering complaints and more. We
are designing the app to be more user-friendly
and with more features than anything available
now, says Ashok Sethi, chief operating officer
and executive director of Tata Power.
The mobile app is the latest step in Tata
Powers customer centricity journey. In the
last five years, since the company joined BEST
and Reliance Energy in distributing power
in Mumbai, Tata Powers consumer profile
has changed dramatically. In addition to big
consumers such as Indian Railways, Tata
Power now caters to more than 600,000 retail
consumers, comprising residences, commercial
outlets, shops, slums, etc. Nearly 400,000 of
these consumers consume less than 300 units of
power a month.
To deal with this wide disparity in
consumer profiles, Tata Power classifies its
consumers based on a segmentation study. Key
accounts include essential services such as the

railways, the Mumbai airport, municipal water


pumping stations, sewage treatment plants,
fire brigades, hospitals, and the refineries of
Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum.
Consumer requirements are very different
for our key accounts, explains Mr Sethi.
Reliability of power is an absolute must since
their operations are entirely dependent on
uninterrupted power. The tariff also becomes a
key factor; they draw so much power that even a
10 paise hike impacts their costs.
For all its key accounts, Tata Power has
appointed key account managers who are
reachable round the clock. Moreover, these
consumers can call up the power system control

To download the app


scan the QR code
with your phone

Scan the image


using the app to
watch the video

Watch this video to find out how Tata Power transformed


the Ambujwadi slum in Mumbai through electrification

July 2015

Tata Review

35

COVER STORY

centre at any time in case of issues. Tata Power


also works with them on matters that go far
beyond power supply, such as demand-side
management, which involves thermal storage,
flattening peak loads, energy audits, reducing
power bills through use of efficient equipment,
and renewable energies like solar and wind.
Another step Tata Power has taken on the
consumers side of the fence is through training.
The company trains electricians, technicians and

CUSTOMER STORIES
l Quality, reliability, relationship, responsiveness

and all those things that matter are actually good


with Tata Power. Even the senior leadership people
are quite accessible. The top management is so
humble, it makes us feel good to be associated
with the company. Tata Power is constantly creating
infrastructure suitable to meet all our requirements.
As far as technology is concerned, Tata Power is
the best. It has also helped us in identifying energy
conservation initiatives. We see Tata Power as our
strategic partner as we move along. The team we
deal with is very, very friendly, cooperative and has
sound experience, too.

Kedar Zingade, senior officer, Mumbai International


Airport, one of Tata Powers key accounts and the
company that runs Indias busiest airport
l Words will not suffice to describe my experience

at the relationship centre at Mira Road. Excellent


service, courteous relationship officers, very
knowledgeable and helpful. I left fully satisfied. Will
not hesitate to visit again.

Marketing arena

Ferdinand Lovett Pereira, a Tata Power consumer

Strong points

l Tata Power has a fantastic initiative whereby a

customer is able to directly communicate with the


companys senior management. I would like to
compliment the company on this initiative. Such
a step will go a long way in ensuring customer
satisfaction and will deliver a superior customer
experience, which is what Tata Power has been
doing over several years.

others in handling equipment such as breakers


and switchgear.
For smaller consumers, Tata Power has
gone wide rather than deep. Our consumers
expect reliable power supply as a matter of
course, but they also need quick responses and
convenience of service, and that is what we
give them, says Mr Sethi. Tata Power has set
up customer relations centres, call centres, bill
payment centres, mobile response vans, and
more. It runs two separate call centres to handle
technical and commercial queries. A chain
of bill payment centres and cheque payment
kiosks across Mumbai ensures that a consumer
does not have to travel more than a couple of
kilometres to pay the bill.
A listening and learning process keeps
attention focused on consumer feedback,
which is collected across key account managers,
customer relations centres, call centres, and
posts on the companys Facebook and Twitter
pages and then analysed. Feedback is taken
seriously at the highest levels. The customer care
website has a large section that allows consumers
to write directly to Mr Sethi or to Tata Powers
chief executive, Anil Sardana.
Last year, the company ran a voice of
customer survey for its key accounts. Along
with feedback on the need for demand-side
management and digitisation of services, one
unusual feedback was the requirement for
information on the power industry. In response,

Satish Gundewar, a Tata Power consumer

36 Tata Review

July 2015

Mumbai

l Relationship with key customers.


l Focus on retail customer

conveniences.
l Move towards digitisation of

services.

Areas for improvement


l Moving beyond tariff control.
l Launching mobile apps.
l Improving value-added services.

COVER STORY

Customer relations centres like this one are a crucial element of Tata Powers listening and
learning process
Tata Power launched a newsletter called
Energise, which publishes industry updates,
news, initiatives, etc, and goes to the companys
top 100 commercial and industrial consumers.
Reaching out to consumers has been given
a community engagement twist. Last year the
company provided electricity to 5,000 residents
of Ambujwadi, a slum in the western suburbs of
Mumbai where people had lived without power
for 20 years. Recently, a few slum households
without power in Garib Janta Nagar and
Machchimar Nagar (slum areas surrounded by
the swank buildings of Backbay Reclamation),
got power from the company. Tata Power also
operates mobile health vans in backward areas,
provides water purifiers to low-income schools,
and builds toilets where needed.
Becoming customer-centric is a journey
that changes continuously. The attitude of the
consumer has changed dramatically in the last
few years, and we have had to change alongside,
says Mr Sethi. Consumers have become far
more vocal. Their expectations on quality
and performance are much higher. They want
superfast responses. Activism is on the rise.
Younger consumers take to the digital media to
voice their concerns. Such behaviour is fairly new.
Tata Power occupies a unique position

TATA POWERS CUSTOMER SATISFACTION


SCORES (CSAT) OVER THE LAST FOUR YEARS
86
84
82
80
78
76
74
72

FY12

FY13

FY14

FY15

CSAT scores

CSAT scores: FY12 78%; FY13 76%; FY14 84%; FY15 84%

in the Tata group as it operates in a heavily


regulated industry, where every aspect of
running a power company is prescribed by
central and state authorities. The challenge is
to be competitive when we are not in control of
tariffs, says Mr Sethi. The only way to do that
has been through increasing what the company
has defined as customer affection.
Gayatri Kamath

July 2015

Tata Review

37

COVER STORY

A telecom tune to hum


The communications revolution and widespread use of personal
devices such as smartphones and tablets have transformed the
very definition of a customer for Tata Communications

he explosive growth of smartphones


and other personal devices has changed
the very definition of a customer for a
company such as Tata Communications,
which is generally seen as operating in the
business-to-business space. While in the past
most of the dealings, in terms of networking and
infotech services, were done through the chief
information officer (CIO) at the clients firm, these
days the number of stakeholders has increased,
with more and more consumers becoming
prosumers, the marketing term for professional
consumers who are also online influencers.
Says Julie Woods-Moss, chief marketing

38 Tata Review

July 2015

officer and chief executive, NextGen business, at


Tata Communications: Even in the business-tobusiness segment, there is the growing influence
of the prosumer. This professional consumer
wants the same level of tools that he or she uses
in home life at the workplace as well.
According to Ms Woods-Moss, the
foundation of customer centricity is employee
engagement, which, she says, is the lead
indicator of customer advocacy in an
organisation. Tata Communications employee
engagement is 85 percent, which is higher than
the global telecom industry TQ, global best
employers TQ and even the Tata group TQ (as

COVER STORY

Tata Communications public telepresence rooms, located across Asia, Europe, the Middle
East, Africa and North America, provide face-to-face video collaboration, anytime, anywhere

per Aon Hewitt). They are the first advocates for


Tata Communications, which is also aware that
33 per cent of its customers have categorically
expressed interest in being an advocate for
its services. What we need to do is turn this
customer advocacy into action, making them
reference customers. Today about a third of
the companys customers are happy to provide
references, says Ms Woods-Moss. I would like
to see this go up to more than 50 per cent.
As always, the challenge lies in meeting
expectations. It is just not enough to provide
value-for-money and reliable services, says
Ms Woods-Moss. Customers expect innovation
and value additions. We have to show leadership
in products, services and cost innovation.
Tata Communications has launched several
new programmes to collect customer feedback.
These are part of a collaborative effort involving
the customer service, sales and marketing teams.
Ms Woods-Moss, for instance, leads a customer
experience team that about a year ago identified
140 touch points, covering different aspects

It is just not enough to provide


value-for-money and reliable
services. Customers expect
innovation and value additions.
Julie Woods-Moss, CMO and chief executive,
NextGen business

of marketing communication that touch the


customer. We ask our customers how satisfied
are they with the way we communicate with
them, she explains. We have systematically been
improving the quality of our communications
across those 140 touch points.
The company has adopted the concept
of identifying moments of delight and
moments of frustration that a customer
undergoes. Best practices from Singapore
Airlines and the companys own customer
experience management programme have
been utilised to identify moments of delight as
identified by customers. This practice guides
Tata Communications to focus its efforts and
July 2015

Tata Review

39

COVER STORY

resources on driving the most significant


improvements and advancements across sales,
services and support activities. These are the
factors that affect customers the most.
Another programme, called hundred
voices, identifies top 100 customers and,
based on the interactions with them, Tata
Communications seeks their response to the
quality of services it provides. From these
interactions it looks at ways of minimising
the moments of frustration and increasing the
moments of delight. All the efforts and energy
of the employees are focused on improving the

CUSTOMER STORIES
l The number of users, offices and devices within

the Kion Group meant that we wouldnt be able


to achieve the agility and adaptability that is
demanded by our strategy with different regional
[internet protocol] networks around the world.
A single global provider would have enabled us
to simplify our network management, but the
advanced services that Tata Communications
provides are going a step further in allowing us to
take complete control of the traffic on our network.
We can now take a truly user-focused approach to
our services.

Walter Grner, chief information officer, Kion Group,


the worlds second-largest manufacturer of forklift
trucks and a force in warehouse technology

moments of delight for a customer, while steps


are taken to address the moments of frustration.
One example: many customers have their
moments of frustration when the company
takes a long time to quote a price for a new
service or product.
Customers told us they appreciated the
fact that the new service had a lot of innovations
and that it would save them money, Ms WoodsMoss points out. But they were concerned that
it took us so long to work through the details.
They wanted us to compress the cycle, so we put
a task force to work on this. What ensued was
the change from a moment of frustration for our
customers to a moment of delight.
Another unique programme emerged from
the insights platform. In order to innovate, you
have to understand your customers and their
needs, says Ms Woods-Moss. While the sales
and customer service teams have knowledge
about the customer, they need to match it with
knowledge about the sector they operate in,
industry trends and business issues.
About three years ago, Tata
Communications invested in its insights platform
to mine information about the businesses of their
customers. Every year we proactively work with

Marketing arena
Global

Strong points
l 85 percent of customers are

l Formula 1 is one of the most popular spectator

sports in the world. As the official connectivity


provider for Formula 1, Tata Communications
already has the major fibre operations in place,
making it possible for us to pick up high quality
content at an improved latency rate. We are
committed to providing a highly innovative service
to our client, Sport1, and this distribution capability
opens up greater possibilities for the services we
can provide to our clients in the future.

Jelmer Kleingeld, vice president and general


manager, Chello DMC, the official F1 licensee and
broadcaster

40 Tata Review

July 2015

potential advocates for the


companys services.
l Passionate about understanding

customer businesses.
l Engaging with customers through

social media.

Areas for improvement


l Increasing the number of customers

who can provide references.


l Providing leadership in products,

services and cost innovation.


l Turning moments of frustration into

moments of delight.

COVER STORY

some 300 customers on the insights platform and


engage with them through workshops, accountbased marketing and interactive sessions to build
innovative and relevant strategies suited to their
business needs, says Ms Woods-Moss. We are
passionate about understanding their businesses
and we bring new ideas to the table.
Tata Communications also undertakes
a broad annual feedback survey of 1,200
customers every year, along with a monthly
dipstick survey to find out whether the
company is driving change and improving the
relationship with its customers. Social media,
especially LinkedIn and Twitter, is where Tata
Communications has informal engagements
with its customers. Many of them raise customer
service issues on these social platforms and the
matter gets resolved quickly.
An independent survey of companies using
social media had ranked Tata Communications
in the emerging rank about two years ago.
Today it occupies the focused leadership rank
in the survey. Our strategy is to use Twitter as a
platform to engage with our customers, analysts
and the industry, says Ms Woods-Moss.
The company uses technology as a lever to
drive its customer-led innovation. For instance,
its engagement with Formula One Management
to deliver world-class connectivity for all F1 race
locations around the globe is a great example of
innovation at all levels.
Since 2012 Tata Communications has been
the official connectivity provider of the Formula
1 races and the official web hosting and content
delivery network provider of Formula1.com.
This content is accessed by tens of millions of
fans around the globe throughout the racing
season. The company sets up a track-side data
centre at each race location in two days and
dismantles it in just three hours, a process that
would traditionally take weeks.
Last September, Tata Communications
became the first company to deliver a live
4K feed from a Formula 1 event over fibre;
this means the content has a horizontal
resolution of 4,000 pixels, ensuring highquality broadcasting, delivering live footage
from the Singapore event to the Formula One

To download the app


scan the QR code
with your phone

Scan the image


using the app to
watch the video

Watch how Tata Communications made the Mercedes AMG


Petronas team faster in the Formula 1 championship

Managements technical headquarters in Biggin


Hill in the United Kingdom.
Another exciting partnership is the
companys official association as the
communications partner for TeamIndus,
Indias only entry in the $30 million Google
Lunar XPRIZE competition. The contest will
see privately-funded teams attempt to safely
land a spacecraft on the surface of the moon,
travel at least 500 metres, and transmit highdefinition video, images and data back to Earth.
Tata Communications brings its connectivity
and prowess in cloud and data centre services
to provide TeamIndus with mission critical
communication services. Its an exciting project
and a great example of the kind of pioneering
work we do, adds Ms Woods-Moss.
How well is Tata Communications geared to
meet the changing needs of the customer of the
future? Ms Woods-Moss believes that building
speed into the DNA of the company is critical
and Tata Communications is already a very
agile company. We have this inherent fast cycle
time in our culture, she says. Agility and speed
are great investments for being able to respond
to new events in the industry and to meet the
emerging requirements of our customers around
the world.
It is clear that at Tata Communications
the race to delight the customer is taking the
company into new spaces from the F1 race
track all the way to the moon.
Nithin Rao

July 2015

Tata Review

41

COVER STORY

Ralliss products and services are aimed at


putting a smile on the face of Indian agriculture

42 Tata Review

July 2015

COVER STORY

Reaping the good wind


Rallis India is a standout in the business of relating to the
customer and, by doing so, understanding what it takes to
nurture ties that go beyond the merely transactional

heres nothing newfangled about Rallis


Indias enduring connect with the
people who matter most to it. Customer
centricity has been a cornerstone of
the Rallis way since about 2003, when the
company got started on a re-engineering
exercise that has delivered in spades ever since.
And the engagement has got deeper and more
meaningful with the passing of the years.
The customer is at the core of what we
do at Rallis, says KR Venkatadri, the chief
operating officer of the agricultural inputs
company, a leader in its field and an exemplar in
mapping and comprehending the constituency
it does business with. We are forever looking
at what our customers want. It is from this
perspective that we work on our products and
solutions. Rather than develop something and
try to sell it in the market, we listen to their
needs and develop products.
Mr Venkatadri reckons that Rallis has
perhaps got one of the most widespread
distribution networks in India for crop
protection. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari,
from west to east we have a presence and we
have products and solutions for all major
crops. Operating over such a spread and on
such a scale would not have been possible
for the company without a comprehensive

understanding of its customers and the


circumstances in which they function.
Rallis has expended considerable time
and effort over the past 12 years developing
that understanding through open-ended
focus group discussions, covering key crops
and regions; through advisory services that
are mostly free of cost to the farmer; through
seminars where university professors and other
experts talk about the problems and solutions
in Indian agriculture; through farmer exchange
programmes (where farmers from one district or
state get to visit a different district or state); and
through on-field demonstrations and studies.
What we do as a company is provide

To download the app


scan the QR code
with your phone

Scan the image


using the app to
watch the video

Watch how Ralliss products and services are helping


farmers across India get more out of their land

July 2015

Tata Review

43

COVER STORY

inputs to farmers to help them decide which


crop to grow, when to spray what chemicals, and
what agronomic practices to follow, explains
Mr Venkatadri. For us product selling, per se,
is not the critical focus. Our focus is on helping
farmers improve the return from the land; thats
what generates the pull for our business. We
know that seeing is believing for a farmer and
hence field trials are important; the benefits we
talk about have to be demonstrable.
The centrepiece of the companys customer
engagement efforts is the Rallis Kisan Kutumb
(RKK), a farmer network that has close to a

CUSTOMER STORIES
l I have been doing pomegranate farming for long, but

due to the lack of modern technology I was unable to


get the desired results. Then I became a member of
the Rallis Kisan Kutumb and things began to change.
I got advice on how to get the best yield from my
land and I was able to overcome the difficulties I
faced earlier. I managed to produce 9 tonnes per
acre of the fruit last year, even while reducing my
expenditure on crop-protection measures.

Ashok Dagdu Devkate, Solapur, Maharashtra

l I have 8 acres of paddy cultivation and on this

land I began using Origin [a novel combination


of insecticide and fungicide that works as a oneshot solution]. The difference this made was soon
obvious: my field was pest free and the greenness
was more visible. It was then that I told my farmer
friends about Origin.

Najjar Singh Ratia, Fatehabad, Haryana

l I farm 5 acres of paddy. Earlier I was using different

brands of pesticides and the outcome always left a


lot to be desired. It was after joining the Rallis Kisan
Kutumb that my outlook began to change. I started
using Ergon [a fungicide that delivers quality yield
benefits in crops such as paddy while providing
protection from different diseases] and the change
was immediate and obvious.
N Thimmareddy, Sindhanur, Karnataka

44 Tata Review

July 2015

million members. Set up in 2007, RKK is the


umbrella initiative, the mother programme
through which all of Ralliss products, solutions,
advisories and the rest are offered.
We have segmented farmers into
categories: the progressive kind, the followers,
the laggards and those who are uninterested,
says Mr Venkatadri. India has in excess of 100
million farming households. It is not possible
for one company to reach them all. Our concept
is that if we are able to make one farmer
understand what we are trying to say, he will
take the message to 10 farmers around him. We
can then have a cascade. Through RKK we have
a million progressive farmers to focus on. They
may not have large holdings, but they are willing
to try out new things.
The 4S campaign, as it is called,
encapsulates the Rallis connect with customers:
sampark, sambandh, samruddhi and santushti,
which translates from Hindi as contact,
relationship, prosperity and delight. The
campaign was the culmination of a process that
the company was honing to bring coherence and

Marketing arena
India (Rallis also exports its products to
some 70 countries around the world).

Strong points
l Capability to capture customer

voices and concerns; this is done


mainly through focused group
discussions.
l Model of connecting with

customers, the principal instrument


of which is the Rallis Kisan Kutumb.
l Variety of farmer engagement and

education programmes.

Areas for improvement


l Improving the customer

satisfaction score performance.


l Utilising digital and internet

technology to educate farmers.


l Setting up additional advisory

centres in important markets to


enhance engagement with farmers.

COVER STORY

A Rallis advisory service on the use of insecticides, and a farmers family in North India with a Rallis product
consistency to its customer-centricity endeavours.
It was crucial to put a formal structure and
mechanism in place, and to find a unified way of
working, says Mr Venkatadri.
What Rallis was also aiming for was to
create a corps of all-rounders. Everyone of
our people out in the field has to be technically
competent to advise the farmer, Mr Venkatadri
adds, and to approach the task from the
perspective of making the farmer aware of newer
and better ways of working. There are sales
goals, obviously, but the objective is not to chase
a number; that is a short-term benefit. If you
push a sale you will get away with it for a while,
but how do you retain a customer for life? Being
a trusted advisor and guide helps.
And its no ordinary customer
Mr Venkatadri is talking about. Risk is built
into the Indian farmers existence; they have no
choice, he says. The farmer is walking blind
on so many fronts: he is not sure about the
rains, the price he will get for his produce, the
conditions that will be present at the point when
he sets out to make his sale, the cost of inputs, the
availability of labour... The farmer gets squeezed
in multiple ways; he has to gamble all the time.
Ralliss intent is to ease some of the load
these uncertainties impose on the farming
community. The company is now also working
on issues such as financing and insurance,
gaps that often get farmers into a tangle.
Governments do a lot to help farmers, but there

is much inefficiency in the delivery system,


says Mr Venkatadri. Consider the problem of
middlemen, for example. We have to recognise
the reality that the middleman is there for the
farmer when he needs money, for a marriage in
the family, for medical expenses, etc. Till such
time as there is a formal structure to handle
these exigencies, middlemen cannot be cut
out. You cannot dismantle the existing system
without having an alternative in place.
The challenges Rallis faces in strengthening
its link with farmers are difficult, but that is
unlikely to deter the company. We have to help
with educating them, we have to reach further
into the interiors, and we have to get farmers to
understand the benefits of modern technology
and agricultural practices, says Mr Venkatadri.
This is far from a lost cause, though.
Indian farmers are intelligent and capable; what
they lack is exposure, adds Mr Venkatadri.
Thats what companies like Rallis have to
continually work on. Beyond that, we have to
become complete solution providers, end to end:
on crop protection, nutrients, seeds, advisories,
weather patterns, global agricultural prices and
trends, finance and insurance. A single human
being cannot know all of this, but a company
can. Becoming a one-stop shop for the farming
community this is the dream we have for the
Rallis of the future.
Philip Chacko

July 2015

Tata Review

45

COVER STORY

Sending the right message


to customers about service
issues is critical for Tata Sky

46 Tata Review

July 2015

COVER STORY

The signals are clear


Tata Sky has long figured out that the quality of customer service
is the key, and perhaps only, differentiator in the direct-to-home
television business and it is living by that principle

he direct-to-home (DTH) television


services sector in India is in some ways
a commoditised business. Content
provided to consumers by television
content operators is not exclusive, the same
technology is available to all companies, the
distributors are common, and there is virtually
no difference in pricing as well.
So how does a player like Tata Sky
the largest in the sector, with more than 10
million subscribers stand apart from the
competition? We have to depend on superior
customer service to differentiate our offerings,
says Harit Nagpal, the companys managing
director and chief executive officer.
Tata Sky has honed its skills in this area,
developing processes that are today the envy
of the industry. Take, for example, one of the
key parameters in the DTH business, the field
failure rate (FFR) for set-top boxes in the homes
of customers. About four years ago, the FFR for
Tata Sky was in excess of 2 percent. This was
initially brought down to 0.5 percent and later
to 0.2 percent. Last year, it came down to 0.1
percent, even as the industry norm remained a
high 5 percent.
My team is striving to bring it further
down to 0.05 percent, Mr Nagpal says. The
company claims that during the monsoons,

when thick cloud cover and heavy rains disrupt


signals, Tata Sky has half the number of signal
failures when compared with its rivals.
Tata Sky connects with customers through
its website (which also includes a chat mode), a
text messaging system and a 24x7 call centre. It
has set in place processes to constantly monitor
customer complaints and ensure that these get
reduced dramatically over a period of time.
Our service and processes should be such that
the customer should never have to call us, says
Mr Nagpal. In the last four years Tata Sky has
doubled its number of subscribers, but there has
been no corresponding increase in the number
of customer complaints.
For the customers who do call to complain,
there are processes in place to tackle these
complaints on the same day. Today 91 percent
of the calls we get are serviced and matters
rectified on the same day, says Mr Nagpal.
Robust systems measure the time taken

The customer should never have


to call us ... 91 percent of the calls
we get are serviced and matters
rectified on the same day.
Harit Nagpal, chief executive, Tata Sky

July 2015

Tata Review

47

COVER STORY

Vision statements
Recently, when Tata Sky sent out test signals
from its satellite to identify the precise number of
subscribers whose dish antennae were not properly
aligned, a handful of customers got upset after they
had to deal with unevenness in the signal quality.
They reacted quickly, setting up a Facebook page
and urging other discontented subscribers to join
in. We could have ignored it. But I went to the page
and enrolled myself and began taking their queries,
says Harit Nagpal, Tata Skys chief executive. Of the
100-odd members on the page, just 10 turned out
to be genuine customers who had problems. They
thanked us profusely for facing the problem headon and resolving it immediately.
A crucial learning from the response was that
subscribers wanted to be informed in advance of
any possible disruptions. So, when Tata Sky once
again decided to send test signals from the satellite
to find out other homes with weak signals, it ran
a film on the screen, asking subscribers to give a
missed call or send a text if they faced a problem;
a technician would respond with a free service call.
Another set of films, with the same cast, thanked
the customers for bearing with the company during
the upgrade and offered free viewing of all channels
to all subscribers for the month of May.
Mr Nagpal cites another instance where the
company went out of the way to help subscribers.
After a cyclone struck Vishakapatnam, several
dishes were blown off the rooftops of homes (even
the airport roof was blown off) and hundreds of
trees were felled. We sent technicians from other
parts of India to the cyclone-affected area and
made sure that the dishes were replaced before
the trees were cleared from the roads, says
Mr Nagpal. The company also offered a 50 percent
discount on the new dishes, an offer that was
much appreciated.
The result was that there was a surge in new
connections after the incident as subscribers
spread the good word. What we did hardly cost
us anything, but it generated enormous goodwill,
adds Mr Nagpal.

48 Tata Review

July 2015

by the operator to answer calls. Call centre


executives are trained to understand the
customers problem and resolve the issue in the
first call itself. The next step is to give a firm
turnaround time, and if by some chance the
company is not able to meet the deadline, then
the subscriber is informed and an extension
sought. Another parameter that is tracked is
repeat complaints. In the DTH business, the
possibility of the same trouble cropping up, even
after the engineer has set it right, is about 15
to 16 percent. We have brought this down to
below 2 percent, says Mr Nagpal.
The company also analyses the top three
reasons why customers call up the centre. This
enables it to rectify its processes and reduce the
number of calls. For example, customers call up
the centre to activate a sports channel which
they have not subscribed to at the time of a
major tournament or match. Earlier this would
result in the centre being flooded with calls,
and many customers left disappointed. Tata Sky
introduced a new method: a ticker on the screen
informs customers about the cost of subscribing
to the channel. They are then told to give a
missed call (or send a text message) to a number
from their registered phones; this automatically
activates the selected channel within a few
seconds. Says Mr Nagpal: Technology plays a
big role in ensuring customer delight.
The voice of the customer is taken very
seriously at Tata Sky. Every senior director and
executive, including those heading the finance,
technology, customer service, marketing,
commercial and human resources functions,
frequently barge into the call centre to listen
to customer complaints. In normal course, the
head of customer service would face resistance
if additional expenditure or funding was needed
for new services or technology. But if the
finance director is equally aware of customer
pain points, he will clear an investment
proposal from customer service without a fuss,
explains Mr Nagpal.
Social media is monitored to pick up
potential issues. We have a team that constantly
scans the internet and the moment a complaint
appears, they get into action, says Mr Nagpal.

COVER STORY

SCORES FOR TATA SKY AND ITS COMPETITORS

45

44

44 44

42
39

Tata Sky
42
39

38

36

43
40
36

38

39
36

37
32

31

31
29

27

25
19

Product experience

Installation

Billing and recharge

Company image

Purchase experience

Call centre

Source: Nielsen (Tata Sky customer satisfaction track, 2014)

You cannot dismiss these complaints. I see this


as an opportunity, not as a threat. Typically,
the customer who is quick to react negatively is
equally quick to appreciate the swift resolution
of the grievance.
Walking the talk, Mr Nagpal is one of the
few chief executives who is not secretive about
his email ID. When you have 10 million-plus
subscribers, the best of processes can go wrong
and every day there will be a few people who
are unhappy with the replies from the call
centre or from the field service team. You have
to provide a relief valve for such people; if
they are really upset they can write to the chief
executive of the company.
Mr Nagpal gets about 15 to 20 mails every
day, which he forwards to a team based in
Bengaluru. Their job is to get in touch with the
person immediately and try to resolve the issue
at the earliest. When the aggrieved subscriber
gets a call from the company within 15 minutes
of sending a mail to the chief executive, and the
problem gets solved within an hour, that person
becomes a promoter of the company, he says.
Another important aspect of getting such
mails from subscribers is that Mr Nagpal gets
to know what is wrong with the processes. If I
get 20 mails a day, and if five or six relate to one
particular type of failure, I know that the process

is not working, admits Mr Nagpal. We can


then rectify it immediately.
As a service provider, Tata Sky is well aware
of the importance of sending positive signals to
the customer at all times.
Nithin Rao

Marketing arena
India

Strong points
l Tata Skys set-top boxes have

a lower field failure rate 0.1


percent to the industrys 5 percent.
l Repeat complaints are lower than

2 percent, as against an industry


average of 15 percent.
l 91 percent of customer complaints

are resolved on the same day.

Areas for improvement


l Keeping signals stable, especially

during the monsoons.


l Ensuring that customers do not

have problems, and minimising the


need to call up the call centre.
l Making certain deadlines to resolve

issues are met.

July 2015

Tata Review

49

COVER STORY

The community feeling in Jamshedpur, among the young and old, is especially
strong during the Jamshedpur Carnival that Jusco organises with other partners

50 Tata Review

July 2015

COVER STORY

An operation apart
Functioning in a unique environment and with a distinctive model,
Juscos expertise at managing and providing civic amenities and
services is borne out by the satisfaction that its customers feel

amshedpur Utilities and Services


Company (Jusco) was born of Tata Steels
town services division, which used to
manage the civic amenities and municipal
services in Jamshedpur. Incorporated in 2004,
Juscos mandate was to become a customerdriven, cost-effective business unit without losing
out on the prime focus delivering civic services
seamlessly to Jamshedpur.
Over the years Juscos service portfolio has
expanded to include engineering procurement
and construction (EPC), power distribution and
integrated township management. Its customers
now include the residents of Jamshedpur, the Tata
companies operating there and organisations
such as the Uranium Corporation of India and
the city of Mysore.
The century-long journey of Tata Steel
and, subsequently, Jusco has not been without
challenges, the foremost being providing civic
amenities and municipal services to the citizens
of Jamshedpur without being fortified with
magisterial powers like any other municipal
corporation in the country. This means that
the company has to work closely with district
authorities to ensure a sustainable working
relationship to facilitate city management.
Staying true to a long legacy of impeccable
civic services is another challenge that the

company has to face. Our core customers are


accustomed to a high standard of civic and
municipal services and they keep raising the bar
on expectations, says managing director Ashish
Mathur. Keeping pace with the changing needs
of our customers with a fixed operating budget
has been one of our biggest issues.
Jusco also has to ensure robust service
systems and procedures despite the wide disparity
in customer profiles. The integrated nature of
services and processes has meant that they have to
be constantly reviewed and updated in adherence
with strict quality standards.
The customer always gets a fair hearing
at Jusco. A single-window customer interface
that operates round the clock, the Jusco Sahyog
Kendra (JSK), deals with complaints related to
power, water, waste, road maintenance, building
maintenance, etc. Transactional feedback on
all attended complaints logged at JSK which
completed 10 years of uninterrupted service in

To keep pace with the changing


needs of our customers with a
fixed operating budget has been
one of our biggest challenges.
Ashish Mathur, managing director, Jusco

July 2015

Tata Review

51

COVER STORY

2014 is captured and rated on a four-point


scale: very good, good, fair and poor. The voice of
the customer is heard through listening posts.
Parameters such as service-level guarantees
and performance, customer expectations
and quality gaps are continuously monitored.
By assigning outcomes and performance
measures for our services, we have ensured that
employees and field staff are trained to match
operational efficiency and quality service delivery
requirements, explains Mr Mathur. Soft-skills
training on customer orientation, given to
frontline officers and vendor employees engaged
in service delivery, has ensured that the customer
experience is progressively enhanced.
Department heads and representatives
from service departments meet and interact with
customers at regular intervals to obtain feedback
and to redress grievances. Once a year, Jusco
commissions a third party such as AC Nielsen to
do a customer satisfaction survey.
Jusco has differentiated processes to
determine the satisfaction levels of end customers
across the various segments it serves. Customer
dissatisfaction trends are also captured. The
performance on basic hygiene factors is
important as this is where the customers expect
more than adequate performance.
Juscos customers now have the option of
paying their monthly utility bills through a variety

of offline and online means. Online monitoring of


equipment through a state-of-the-art supervisory
control and data acquisition system ensures
uninterrupted service to consumers and minimal
equipment breakdowns. Additionally, customers
have access to a portal to check the status of
various services provided. Logging a complaint
has become easier with Juscos mobile application.
Tata Steel and Jusco have developed strong
ties with their key stakeholders over generations.
In the Jamshedpur area, they have deepened
the relationship with local stakeholders through
corporate social responsibility activities in their
areas of operations and beyond.
Juscos calibre in providing quality services,
the goodwill it has generated over a period of
time, and its commitment to the well-being of
Jamshedpur have been validated most loudly
by the townships residents, who have time and
again opposed the idea of forming a regular
municipal body.
The customer will always come first at
Jusco as it continues the Tata Steel tradition of
providing high-quality municipal services.
Shalini Menon

Marketing arena
Jamshedpur (India)

Strong points

CUSTOMER STORIES

l Overall customer satisfaction score

on a par with global benchmarks in


the utility sector.
l Complaints attended to in a defined

l The unique Jusco Sahyog Kendra is a single-

window facility to log customer complaints related to


municipal services.

l Customer feedback on attended

BK Dinda, general secretary, Tata Workers Union

Areas for improvement

l The Jusco Sahyog Kendra is an effective

complaint logging and redressal cell.


manner, with quick turnaround time.

Ruchi Narendran, chairperson, AIWC

l The Sahyog Kendra is the nerve centre of Jusco.


Sanjiv Paul, managing director, Tata Metaliks

52 Tata Review

July 2015

complaints consistently positive.

l Ability to meet the evolving

expectations of consumers.
l Improving integration and

coordination with government


authorities.
l Expanding the scope and reach of

services provided.

Bonds made of steel


Tata Steel has, over the years, transformed the nature
of its relationship with customers, to the enduring
benefit of the company and its ecosystem of partners

The construction industry has become a


critical consumer segment for Tata Steel
July 2015

Tata Review

53

COVER STORY

here is a before and after to Tata Steels


relationship with its customers that
can be neatly demarcated. The after
pertains to the period following the
economic reforms that were forced on India in
the early 1990s, when the climate for business
in the country began getting transformed with
dramatic effect. As for the before, it was in many
ways a world apart.
Up until 1991 we were living in the licence
raj world, where we did not really have to do
anything active on sales and marketing, says
Peeyush Gupta, vice president, marketing and
sales, Tata Steel. We would produce whatever
was allowed by the government and sell it in the
market at prices that were regulated or controlled.
All that changed when the industry was delicensed and imports and competition were
allowed to come in. Almost overnight it became a
different world for Tata Steel.
This different world danced to a different
beat. Tata Steel had to start thinking hard about
its customers, about who were using its produce
and for what purposes. The company had been
supplying or selling to intermediaries, traders
and wholesalers and had never felt the need for
customer-centric strategies. It certainly did now.
The phase from 1991 to 2000 was when Tata
Steel forged a transaction relationship with its
customers. Further changes in the sales equation
would unfold at the turn of the millennium
following the commissioning of the companys
new plant, equipped to make high-end products
for the automotive and appliances industries.

To download the app


scan the QR code
with your phone

Scan the image


using the app to
watch the video

Watch the video to see the production process of Serica,


Tata Steels premium product for automobile customers

54 Tata Review

July 2015

We realised then that we had to take a deeper


dive on customer centricity, says Mr Gupta. We
reckoned that we had to start considering our
customers as our partners. We began working
with them to design facilities that would meet
their requirements, and to reach product and
service levels that would make solutions happen.
After the transaction phase came the
preferred supplier stage for Tata Steel, but
the changes did not stop there. Between 2000
and 2007, with mood and intent completely
transformed, the company morphed into a
strategic partner of its most important customers.
We understood that our growth was inexorably
linked to the growth of our large customers, says
Mr Gupta. Some of these customers would go on
to become winners in the marketplace. As they
expanded, so did we.
There was no stemming the evolution in
the relationship that Tata Steel had built with
its customers. By about 2005 the company
was forging collaborative partnerships with
its customers to craft solutions for particular
requirements. Mr Gupta puts the story in
perspective when he expands on the four phases
of the journey Tata Steel had undertaken, from
transactional to preferred supplier to strategic
partner to collaborative associate. Whats unique
about this journey is that we did it in 20 years,
of which the last 10 years have seen exponential
change. There are other steel companies in other
countries that have done this, too, but not in such
a short span of time or with this kind of coverage
across customer industries.
There are two parts to this change that
Tata Steel embraced. It became a customerfacing organisation by turning itself into a
techno-commercial supplier providing product
application engineering support. From there it
progressed to having customer service teams.
The last bit, Mr Gupta says, is singular. The first
part has been accomplished by many steel and
other commodity companies, he explains. The
second is something no other company in India
or Southeast Asia has pulled off. We realised
that when you are dealing with an automotive
company, for example, it is not just the purchase
guy who has to respond. He must be supported

COVER STORY

by the larger organisation.


Tata Steel now has customer service teams
for its top clients. There is a universal advantage
here, explains Mr Gupta. First, you influence
a large organisation to become more customer
centric simply through having to confront
customer issues. Second, even if the frontline
people in both organisations change, there is no
effect on the bond with the customer. Longevity
is, thereby, built into our relationships.
The customer service teams deal with
everything other than price. The idea is to
cultivate a relationship that goes beyond cost,
says Mr Gupta. The relationship is, instead,
based on solutions that we can help deliver
to the customer. And we have extended this
arrangement from the automotive industry to
construction to appliances. Over the last 15 years,
our share of business has increased at a faster

CUSTOMER VOICES

pace where our customer service teams have been


deployed. We are supplying better products and
providing effective solutions. This has enriched
Tata Steels relationship with customers as a
whole, as one system.
There were plenty of challenges to be
overcome for Tata Steel to get to where it has on
customer centricity. The prickliest one concerned
the organisational mindset. The sales team
would not allow somebody else to come into their
domain, the purchase guys would not allow us
into their domain, and so on, says Mr Gupta. The
customer-team concept changed all that. Also,

CUSTOMER STORIES
l Tata Steel is the first supplier we have dealt with to

have a vendor managed inventory. This has helped


us avoid stockouts and reduced our working capital
requirement considerably. Endeavours of this sort
have led, down the years, to the development of a
strong bond between us and Tata Steel; it reflects
the companys customer-centric approach.

Marketing arena
India (more than 95 percent), Sri
Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Southeast
Asia and the Middle East.

Strong points

l Extensive reach and connect

with a large and fragmented


customer base through a dedicated
distribution channel network.

l We take pride in using quality steel products from

Tata Steel, products that are readily accepted by our


clients. Besides maintaining consistent quality, Tata
Steel has been a pioneer in introducing products such
as FE-600 and super ductile bars for the construction
industry. The company has also extended its range of
offerings to cover value-added products like cut and
bend steel. We are proud of this association.

l Strong and long-lasting

relationships with original


equipment manufacturers through
robust programmes that lead to
value creation.
l The ability to employ technology

that helps customers with their


requirements and enables higher
and improved usage of steel.

Areas for improvement


l Utilisation of digital technology to

Vice president and head of supply chain


management at a top engineering and construction
conglomerate
l Tata Steel has been the backbone of our growth

for nearly two decades. The support on steel for our


new plant helped us ramp up capacity rapidly. Highly
commendable has been the development by the
company of DP-600 grade steel, thanks to which we
are now able to localise this steel for our customers.

connect to customers, especially


small and medium enterprises.
l Designing appropriate metrics to

gauge the companys progress


in the journey towards customer
centricity.

Vice president of a leading electrodes


manufacturing company

Managing director of a leading auto-comp


enterprise

July 2015

Tata Review

55

COVER STORY

we provided what I call immunity to the frontline


sales force. We got them to understand that sales
will automatically grow as the relationship with
the customer matures. Not least, we came to
appreciate better than ever that it is a few select
customers that influence our fortunes decisively.
We were able to focus single-mindedly on these
customers.
Tata Steels play in the automotive sector is
indicative of how it has changed its ways with
customers. Worldwide this is where the most
discerning and demanding customers come from
for steel companies, the cherry on the cake, as
Mr Gupta puts it. Tata Steel has concentrated hard
on satisfying this group and the rewards have
been manifest. The companys market share of
the steel sold in India is about 11 percent; in the
automotive space it has climbed to 44 percent.
An outstanding example of the partnerships
Tata Steel has built with the automotive industry
is its relationship with one of the largest players
in the business. It gives us maximum pride
and happiness that we became a trusted partner
of an industry leader, says Mr Gupta. They
started using our products after a lot of vetting
and trepidation to localise purchases and
reduce imports. As competitive intensity in the

1.25

50

1.2

47

1.15

44

1.1

41

1.05

38

FY12

FY13

FY14

FY15

35

LHS: CSS score (relative,1=on a par with competition)


RHS: Automotive market share (%)

l Customer satisfaction score (CSS) relative to competition

(1 = on a par with competition) has been consistently higher


than 1 despite an increasingly intense competitive environment.

l The automotive sector is one of Tata Steels most important

sales segments. Despite increasing competition, including


from global majors, the company has not only maintained a
leadership position here but also increased its market share.

56 Tata Review

July 2015

automotive space in India increased, they felt


the pressure to localise and the need to form
relationships with domestic suppliers like us. We
were the first to make galvanised steel in India for
the automotive sector; they were willing to try it
out and other automotive companies followed.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs)
represent another substantial customer segment
for Tata Steel, which interacts with some 7,000
of these organisations across the country
through its distribution channel. Back in 2000
the segment was a blip on the companys radar;
now it is critical, as is the construction industry.
Servicing enterprises in these spheres, effectively
and efficiently, has been a learning curve for Tata
Steel on the road to becoming a customer-centric
organisation.
So what have been the crucial lessons that
Tata Steel has absorbed along the way? Says
Mr Gupta: First, customers want consistency
in the policies on servicing a particular industry
segment. You cannot, as a supplier, swing with
the wind and expect to be trusted. Second,
customers are looking for suppliers who will solve
their problems. They have enough to focus on in
their market space; if you can solve some of their
problems, if you start to talk in a language that
will make them comfortable, then they start to see
a meaningful relationship happening. We are no
longer somebody who supplies to specifications;
we are a partner who is going to make our
customers more competitive.
The unending endeavour at Tata Steel is to
further enhance the connection it has established
with its customers. These relationships are not
person or people dependent; they are part of
an institutionalised process, says Debashish
Choudhury, chief, business excellence and new
projects, marketing and sales. We want to, where
possible, do more than delight our customers;
we want to surprise them. In an industry where
the intensity of competition has increased
rapidly, and commoditisation of technology is
making product differentiation difficult, Tata
Steel has achieved plenty through solutions and
relationships borne out of customer centricity.
Philip Chacko

COVER STORY

Designed to
delight
The class of people in India buying luxury
cars is burgeoning, and that is vrooming
good news for brands such as Jaguar and
Land Rover, writes Dr Ralf Speth

ith an estimated 125,000 high-networth individuals a figure set to


grow to 900,000 by 2020 India is
rapidly becoming an important premium car
market. In terms of ownership patterns in luxury
automobiles, the country is one of the youngest
in the world thanks to favourable demographics.
Put these two factors together and it becomes
apparent that this is a market with great
potential for international brands.
Due to rising wealth and aspiration levels,
buyers of the Jaguar and Land Rover brands
in India are getting younger. These statusconscious customers want to make a statement
about their level of professional and personal
achievement and, unlike in earlier times, they
are not reluctant to reward themselves with
extravagant purchases.
Jaguar and Land Rover customers in India
are well-informed and well-travelled. They have
a global perspective, stay up to date on advances
and trends in the automobile industry, and are
willing to share and exchange views with their
peers and in the social circles they belong to. The
expansion of social media and digital platforms
has increased awareness of consumer products
and luxury cars fit right into this matrix.
Among Indian luxury car customers are,
of course, the wealthy and those joining the
club in rapidly increasing numbers. There are
established industrialists and businesspeople
in the mix; owners of small and medium
enterprises from business fields; lawyers,
architects and socialites, and achievers from the
realms of entertainment, fashion and sport.

Though it is growing fast, the current


ownership demographic in premium
automobiles reflects the still nascent nature of
the segment in India. In most markets of the
developed world, there are other customer
groups such as corporate figures and those
in middle management, and bureaucrats and
diplomats from the government side who
are also able to buy into the premium segment.
In India, too, this is a sizeable segment, but at
an early stage of development. It is expected
that with overall economic development, and
as salaries and disposable incomes go up, the
segment will contribute to an exponential
growth of the car market in the country.
Jaguar and Land Rover are relatively
new entrants in the Indian market (they were
launched in the country in 2008). Our strategy
has thus far focused on raising brand and
product portfolio awareness while offering a
world-class customer experience through our
burgeoning network of dealerships.
To serve the increasingly discerning Indian
customer, the Land Rover brand offers the
finest all-terrain vehicles, products that suit
the emerging lifestyle of a growing group of
sophisticated owners. With the Jaguar brand,
customers can own and drive vehicles that are
agile, sleek and seductive. These are high-quality
creations that perfectly combine performance
and design. Simply, Jaguar and Land Rover have
the qualities to endear themselves to India.
Dr Ralf Speth is the chief executive officer of
Jaguar Land Rover.

July 2015

Tata Review

57

COVER STORY

In the centre of
the circle
The customer is much more than a
stakeholder she is what the entire
ecosystem of an organisation has to revolve
around, says Bhaskar Bhat

t was not until the late 1990s that the


business world realised that the customer
of a company is not the property of the
marketing department alone but is, in fact,
the responsibility of the entire enterprise.
Understanding the needs of this customer began
becoming ever more vital from this point on.
Thus were born several popular phrases
involving the customer. Customer centricity,
customer focus, customer driven and
customer orientation are terms commonly and
interchangeably used by companies to describe
their attitude toward this critical stakeholder.
The customer is outside the ecosystem of a
company when transacting with that company,
and therefore can best be described as a unique
stakeholder whom all other stakeholders
shareholders, employees, lenders, business
associates and partners want to indulge
because their own wellbeing is shaped by her.
While corporations may vary in their
prioritisation of the stakeholders with whom
they interface, it is the customer who enables us
to stay relevant. Therefore, there is a need for the
entire ecosystem in the company to orient itself
towards her, to put this person at the centre.
There is sufficient evidence to show that the
greater the organisational orientation towards
the customer, the greater is the companys longterm prosperity and sustainability. Companies
that come to mind in the context are Singapore
Airlines, Walt Disney & Co, McDonalds and,
closer home, Amul and Asian Paints.
Achieving a strong organisational
orientation towards the customer requires,

58 Tata Review

July 2015

among a host of things, at least the following


practices within the company:
The presence of robust processes to
continuously listen to customers and track
their articulated and latent needs and
aspirations. The development of products
and services, advertising, channels of
distribution, pricing, etc are the expected
outcomes of such processes.
Organisations providing high levels of
satisfaction to their customer-facing people
(employees as well as partners), and thereby
achieving customer loyalty.
An obsession within the organisation to
explore innovative ways to delight customers.
The emergence of services as a significant
sector in emerging economies has also brought
welcome changes to customer practices in
traditional companies. This has ushered in the
understanding that closing the entire circle
from communication to buying experience to
usage experience to after sales needs equal
attention from the organisation. Nothing can be
left to chance.
The recent explosion in and ease of
communications through mobiles and the
internet have brought both challenges and
opportunities to companies. In this new world
order of business, the ecosystem of a corporation
will not be a mere circle but a digital cum brickand-mortar sphere. In both these realms the
customer will reign supreme.
Bhaskar Bhat is the managing director of Titan
Company.

COVER STORY

A new equation
begins to bloom
Beyond B2B and B2C, product content and
marketing strategies are being tailored to
fit the human-to-human engagement, says
R Mukundan

n the fast-changing marketplace of our


age, the lines between market segments
are increasingly getting blurred. The B2B
(business to business) and B2C (business to
consumer) customers of today share some
common ground: both are informed and
sophisticated, with a strong set of expectations
from the enterprises with which they do
business. These customers paint their impression
of a brand on the basis of the experience
that the brand provides in relation to their
expectations. That and the promise of the brand.
An experience that exceeds the customers
expectations is the critical factor in securing
customer satisfaction.
B2C companies have realised in
no small measure due to the instantaneous
nature of modern media and the buzz around
e-commerce businesses that increasing
customer satisfaction through good analytics
and insights drives measurable revenue
increases. Meanwhile, a single B2B relationship
is often worth millions of dollars, and B2B
companies can garner extraordinary value
by optimising customer experiences. This is,
contrary to popular view, much like it happens
in the B2C space.
At Tata Chemicals we have developed
a strong customer-centric culture across the
organisation. We have done this by continuously
concentrating on developing an understanding
of the distinct needs of our customers. It is
a culture that enables us to accomplish our
customer promise in line with our mission
statement and our long-term strategy.

While the lines might be blurring, there


still remain distinctions that separate B2B and
B2C buyers, who are in two dissimilar places
emotionally.Therefore, while the marketing
tactics adopted to cater to any given segment of
buyers may be merging, the content at the heart
of these tactics is significantly different.
B2B buyers work hard to streamline the
buying process so as to save time and money.
A B2B purchase is based on, it can be assumed,
sound reasoning and lower personal risk, while
a B2C purchase is driven by emotion and the
value-for-money proposition.Selling a product
to a B2B client involves highlighting the logic
and features of the product or service, and
understanding the organisational need of the
buyer to save time, money and resources. In
sharp contrast, a B2C purchase means focusing
on the benefits of the product.
The bottom line is that purchases in both
the B2B and B2C segments boil down to the
buyers emotional perspective about the product.
What one needs to remember, however, is that
businesses are run by humans and, therefore,
communications should not be complicated.
And a new trend is coming to the fore, paving
a fine path between B2B and B2C: the H2H, or
human to human, engagement.
This is a dynamic where buyers are seen as
human beings with particular needs. Product
content and marketing strategies will necessarily
have to be designed to cater to such needs.
R Mukundan is the managing director of
Tata Chemicals.

July 2015

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59

COVER STORY

Mind the gap between


promise and delivery
Ajit Rao on how to align your brands promise and
customer service

ustomer satisfaction is increasing


across categories around the globe as
a result of management focus. Quality
and Six Sigma programmes have been
important drivers, too. However, while customer
satisfaction has been going up, customers do
not see much differentiation between brands in
terms of service provided.
A recent global Nielsen study of mobile
service providers and retail banks indicates that
the standard deviation of brand equity* is much
higher than the standard deviation of customer
satisfaction. This suggests high variation in brand
equity but low variation in customer satisfaction.
The customer satisfaction index was also
found to be higher than the brand equity index
for each brand. Importantly, this pattern was

60 Tata Review

July 2015

observed in both the categories and in each


of the eleven countries (including India) in
which the study was conducted. The inference
is clear while service providers are able to
differentiate themselves on brand in the eyes
of the customer, they have not been able to do a
good job at differentiating themselves on service
delivery. Most service providers in mobile
service and retail banking seem to be offering
what we are now calling commodity service.
Most organizations have different measures
for tracking brand and customer satisfaction.
This is perhaps an inadequate way of looking
at customers because the final outcome of both
these tracks brand or customer satisfaction
is to enhance brand equity.
An organization exists because it creates

COVER STORY

some value or benefit for its customers. These


values need to (a) be relevant to the customer,
(b) act as a differentiator from competition and
(c) be sustainable in the long run. This warrants a
clear positioning and is in the realms of strategy.
However, creating the right values is not
good enough for success. The organization
needs to deliver these values and benefits to
its customers at every touch point, at every
interaction that the customer has with the
service provider. Simply put, the organization
needs to deliver what it promises effectively
and efficiently. Effectively in the context of
ensuring that the experiences that the service
provider delivers to the customer are in line with
all that is promised. Efficiently in the context
of delivering these services quickly, first time
right and at a low cost and no wastage.
Making the right promises, combined with
the delivery of those promises, translates into
high brand equity and better differentiation on
service delivery. This, in turn, leads to better
profits for the organization.
THE RIGHT APPROACH TO
CUSTOMER SERVICE
Organizations that look at service as a cost or
service as a necessity may not build great service
companies. Those organizations that view
service as a competitive edge focus their energies
in improving customer satisfaction. However,
over time, while these companies do indeed
improve customer satisfaction, they do so at the
cost of poor differentiation compared with the
competition. Hence, despite improving customer
satisfaction, these sectors end up competing on
price and promotions.
Those organizations that view service
delivery as an expression of the brand are the ones
that will not only improve customer satisfaction
but will also be seen as being different when
compared with its competitors. The outcomes are
stronger brand equity, higher levels of customer
loyalty and brand ambassadors, together leading
to higher profits and growth!
In order to be able to align the brand
promise with the brand delivery, one needs a
mechanism to be able to do that. The Promise-

Delivery Matrix1 is one such mechanism that


can help an organization bridge the gap between
promise and delivery.
In this matrix (see page 62), the benefits
or brand promise is listed on the y-axis. In the
hypothetical telecom example, the benefits
offered by the service provider to its customers
are always available, convenience, speed,
friendly employees and entertainment. On the
x-axis are listed all the points of interaction with
the customers. In this example, the moments of
truth are network, activation, recharge / billing,
call center, store and VAS.
Every cell in the matrix contains attributes
that are specific to a benefit and specific to a
moment of truth. For example, in the call center
area, one could have attributes such as the call
center is open 24 hours a day (availability), one
can connect to the call center in the first attempt
(speed), the call center executive resolved my
problem in the first call (speed), the call center
executive was warm and friendly (friendly staff)
and so on.
The brand promises of the telecom company
are now being aligned to the delivery
at the call center and, when surveying customers,
this is what is asked in the research questionnaire
as well. All the other cells can be filled up in a

CREATE AND COMMUNICATE


CLEAR VALUE(S)
l Relevant l Differentiated l Sustainable

DELIVER THE VALUE(S) AT


EVERY TOUCHPOINT
l Effectively l Efficiently

HIGH BRAND EQUITY


HIGH LOYALTY BEHAVIOUR
HIGH DIFFERENTIATION

July 2015

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61

COVER STORY

Value delivery channels


Network

Activation

Recharge /
billing

Call
center

Store

VAS

Values / benefits offered


Customer expectations

Always
available
Convenience
Speed
Friendly staff
Entertainment
similar fashion. In some cases, the cells could
be empty, for example network and friendly
employees.
The mobile service provider can now
measure and manage the alignment of the brand
promise with the brand delivery. This will not only
enhance the brand equity of the mobile service
provider, but also differentiate its experience
from those of its competitors. The mobile service
provider also no longer is focused on improving
operational excellence but has brought back
strategy into service delivery.
Organizations must not view customer
experience independent of the brand or as
improvements in operational excellence.
Organizations will need to bring strategy
back into service delivery by ensuring that the
brand promise is delivered at every interaction
point. Most organizations manage customer
satisfaction from inside-out. Hence, the focus
is on improving processes, systems, training of
people, etc since the lens of the organization is
on the delivery points such as the call center or
the store rather than on the customers needs.
When the organization looks at customer
satisfaction as on brand customer experience,
the lens of the organization is outside-in. The
starting point becomes the customer. The focus
of the organization is not just on improving
the processes but improving, reinforcing and
enhancing the benefits or promises such as
convenience or speed that the organization

62 Tata Review

July 2015

makes to its customer.


This approach, needless to say, makes the
organization customer-centric and as we all
know such an approach has a positive impact on
brand equity and hence loyalty and profits.
One must highlight here that the Tata
customer promise is in line with the philosophy
of making a clear promise and then aligning all
delivery with the promises made. Customers
are not only attracted to the strong value
proposition of the Tata brands, especially trust
and dependability, but also the consistent
delivery of the brand promise.
The author, Ajit Rao is an Executive Director with
Nielsen India and can be reached on ajit.rao@
nielsen.com. The final, definitive version of this
paper has been published in Journal of Creating
Value (http://jcv.sagepub.com), Volume 1/Issue
1, May/2015, DOI: 10.1177/2394964315569624,
by SAGE Publications India Pvt. Ltd. All rights
reserved. [The Author] In case you require
further details, please get in touch with Roosevelt
DSouza, Senior Vice President and Global Client
Business Partner for Tata Group, Nielsen India. He
can be reached at: roosevelt.dsouza@nielsen.com
*Nielsen has a proprietary way of measuring Brand
Equity amongst consumers/customers.
1. Subhash Chandra and Ajit Rao, The Little Book
of Big Customer Satisfaction Measurement,
New Delhi, Sage Publications, 2012

PHOTOFEATURE

Tata Consultancy Services volunteers inspired students at the Big Bang Fair, the biggest tech fair for
young people in the United Kingdom, through activities designed by young graduates at the company

ME FOR WE
A collage of images from the third edition of Tata
Volunteering Week (TVW-3), which marked the
completion of a year of Tata Engage, the group-wide
volunteering programme. Members of the Tata family
from across the globe came together for the event,
guided by the Me for We theme of TVW-3. This
represented the philosophy that when the group joins
hands, and aligns its strengths to a singular purpose,
it becomes a catalyst for change. Family members of
employees and retired employees also participated in
the programme.

Vivanta by Tajs employees in Bengaluru


cleaned up the area around the hotel and
planted saplings and flowering plants
July 2015

Tata Review

63

PHOTOFEATURE

Volunteers from Tata Communications painted the Sanyas Ashram School in Vile Parle, Mumbai, and also
engaged in games, storytelling and craft, drawing and painting activities

Tata Motors Finance employees donated books to the nonprofit, Divya Prabha, at Thane, Mumbai, and spent
the day with the children there (girls who have been abandoned or whose parents are in prison)

Volunteers from Tata China introduced children to the magic of books as part of The Library Project

PHOTOFEATURE

Employees of Tata Technologies, Thailand, donated blood as part of the volunteering drive

Volunteers from Voltas created


an activity area and helped in
attracting visitors to the Qatar
Cancer Society booth at the
Qatar International Food Festival
in Doha

Tata Global Beverages organised a joint volunteering activity of painting and cleaning, and planting
the kitchen garden of Letchmi tea estates hospital in Munnar, Kerala; employees of Tata Chemicals,
Rallis India, Amalgamated Plantations and Kanan Devan Hills Plantations Company also participated

PHOTOFEATURE

Tata Consulting Engineers, Bangaluru, donated 21 computers to St Patricks Community College,


an institution which helps 10th standard drop-outs. Volunteers conducted sessions on MS Office,
Excel, Word and Powerpoint for students

Volunteers from Voltas, Thane, donated bedsheets, pillow covers, plates and saucers to Vivekanand
Balakashram and spent the day playing cricket and getting to know the children

66 Tata Review

July 2015

PHOTOFEATURE

Tata Chemicals
employees
interacted with
village elders as
part of a wetlands
mapping exercise
and social survey,
carried out to
develop the
Chandra Bhaga
community wetland
at Baradia village in
Gujarat as a refuge
for the waterfowl,
a freshwater
aquaticbird

Tata Housing Development Company employees


beautified the external wall of Sardar Nagar BMC
School at Sion, Mumbai

Volunteers from Tata Technologies served midday meals and


conducted drawing sessions for children at two schools in
Hinjewadi, Pune
July 2015

Tata Review

67

BUSINESS

Tuned in to teaching
Celebrating a quarter century of growth, Tata
Interactive Systems is looking forward to the future
with renewed enthusiasm as newer technologies
enable learning in faster and more efficient ways

t has been 25 years since Tata


Interactive Systems (TIS) began to
design computer-based learning
programmes. Over the years, the
company has found its niche and
adapted to changing technologies
and trends in an attempt to stimulate
learning in the best manner possible.
Sanjaya Sharma, the chief
executive of TIS, looks back at the
beginnings of the company, a time
that preceded the creation of the
internet. He says, We began in
1990 with computer-based training
and multimedia. The arrival of the

personal computer in 1981, and


the internet in the early 1990s,
transformed the learning scene.
In 1994, Netscape Navigator was
launched and we started creating
web-based solutions. These
developments let people learn in
completely new ways. And so that
became our mission: to change the
way the world learns.
Having set up business, TIS,
which has the distinction of being
a unique intrapreneurial venture
in the history of the Tata group,
was cash positive even before it had

Most of the web-based training now


works on personal computers and tablets
... the shift to smartphone-based modules
will happen quite dramatically by 2016.
Sanjaya Sharma, chief executive, Tata Interactive Systems

68 Tata Review

July 2015

acquired its own office space.


A young company in a rapidly
changing time, TIS faced more than
its fair share of challenges. For one,
there was no market in India for
its services. The company had to
build its reputation, project by
project, in the domestic and
international markets.
BUILDING ASSETS
TISs attention to detail and
insistence on quality earned it a
rich haul of awards and asserted its
credibility in the global market. It
was during this challenging period
that TIS built the technical and
design skills that would become its
greatest assets.
Meanwhile, the company
was also building core skills of
instructional design, graphics,
animation and project management.
Its multi-disciplinary team, with
people of varied backgrounds and
competencies, enhanced each
project with a set of specialised skills.
No two people have the
same profile, says Mr Sharma. TIS
also has the distinction of having

BUSINESS

40 percent women at all levels of


seniority, in functions from human
resources and instructional design to
project management and marketing.
This period of rapid change
offered TIS the stimulus to improve
its capabilities, adapt to new
technologies and ride on emerging
trends.
Today we have mobile
phones and tablets and learning
management systems, explains Mr
Sharma. The personal computer
initiated a revolution in technology,
which paved the way for the use
of other technologies relating to
the computer, the web and the
smartphone.
The company was quick to
learn and leverage these newer
technologies. To do this TIS had
to work quickly to build up its
own skills, a difficult task in an age
in which the business was being
created out of nothing. There were
no skills that the company could
hire. Back in 1990, the knowledge
of graphics and design available in
India was not attuned to multimedia
or the digital space.
TIS hired some bright people,
and got them to start researching
and working in these areas. These
human resources were groomed
in-house, and encouraged to aspire
to achieve great things. That vote of
confidence resulted in TIS being able
to build a treasure trove of homegrown talent. Many of these veterans
have spent more than 10 years in the
business, and have become mentors
to the companys new hires.
Through their study, these
creative minds created the
discipline of instructional design
for TIS. This method of building
capacity helped TIS to respond to
challenges and trends.

The company is now gearing up


for the next wave of training.
Mr Sharma says, Most of the
web-based training now works on
personal computers and tablets. But
our phones are quite sophisticated
now and I see no reason why we
should not use their attributes to our
advantage. I believe that the shift
to smartphone-based modules will
happen quite dramatically by 2016.
The shift will require certain
changes in the kind of learning
modules on offer. As people are now
accustomed to game-like designs,
TIS will introduce elements such as
3D and animation into its mobile
design approach. The company is
already seeking to develop skills in
areas like flat design and card design.
The reduced attention span on
smartphones will necessitate shorter
micro-bits of learning.
A CLASS ACT
While TIS was actively pursuing
and completing projects in the
learning space globally and changing
the very dynamics of the business
it was involved in, it launched an
extensive product for schools in
the Indian market. Tata ClassEdge
covered 7,700 topics across the

syllabi of all subjects in classes from


kindergarten to class XII. With its
object-oriented design, ClassEdges
topics can be adapted to match
textbooks and the board curriculum
followed by individual schools.
Available in English, Hindi, Gujarati
and Marathi, Tata ClassEdge helps
teachers teach better and gets a
fantastic response from students,
too.
Having made a tremendous
difference to the learning business
in the first 25 years of its existence,
TIS is now looking forward to
the promise of the future with
renewed enthusiasm. Even as newer
technologies enable learning in faster
and more efficient ways, learning in
the future will be on smartphones,
as Mr Sharma emphasises, with
trends such as social media, microlearning, gamification, and 3D
printing, besides analytics and big
data, the evolution of the internet
and the hybrid cloud, influencing
development in a big way.
TISs committed efforts will
continue to make learning more
enjoyable and stimulating for
learners everywhere.
Cynthia Rodrigues

To download the app


scan the QR code
with your phone

Scan the image


using the app to
watch the video

Get a glimpse of Tata Interactive Systems learning


offerings, which cater to a wide range of sectors

July 2015

Tata Review

69

BUSINESS

Elixir on the menu


Tata Chemicals has hit the road running with its
nutraceuticals venture, thanks to a blend of
innovation and technology, passion and effort

ts a business opportunity
waiting to bloom big: the
benefits delivered to buyers
have everything to do with
healthiness, the market is all of
India and, indeed, the rest of the
world, the prospects for growing
fast are terrific, and it has a fine
nomenclature to it. Nutraceuticals,
put in this fashion, is an idea of
enterprise with the fragrance of
roses and riches. If only things were
that simple.
Tata Chemicals has found out
that they are not after diving into
the deep end with a venture that by
its nature is much different from
anything this storied company has
attempted in a history stretching
back 75 years. With a plant up and
running in Sriperumbudur, near
Chennai, since late last year, Tata
Chemicals sees the nutraceuticals
project as another milestone in the
pathway to a future far removed

70 Tata Review

July 2015

from the commodities business


inorganic chemicals and fertilisers,
in the main where it has made a
mark for so long.
The logic powering this
foray into uncharted territory
is straightforward enough.
Nutraceuticals are food substances
that have health-promoting and
disease-preventing properties (see
Nutra what? on page 72). It is a
market worth about $3 billion a year
in India and in excess of $150 billion
globally, and expected to reach $250
billion by 2018. Breaking into this
market is a statement of intent by
Tata Chemicals, a choice decided
by the sterling work undertaken at
the companys Innovation Centre
in Pune (see Creative hothouse gets
cracking on facing page) and a fair
bit of serendipity.
The ground had been laid
by the time that Tata Chemicals
decided, in 2011, to set forth on the

nutraceuticals trail. The science


had been developed in-house
and here was the chance to build
a business using the technology
platform rather than our historical
sources of advantage, which have
been access to natural resources,
says Arup Basu, president and chief
technology officer, new businesses
and the Innovation Centre. If that
was unconventional, what followed
was even more so.
We didnt go about it in
textbook fashion: understanding the
market, the dynamics of demand
and supply and the rest, explains
Dr Basu. Our scientists created
an initial version of a product with
potential to be taken to market.
Technology, passion and grit were
the drivers from here on. We figured
that the way to go about it was to get
the product right and then tune into
the market, the competition, etc.
What Tata Chemicals
discovered added to the allure of
what could be achieved in this
almost virgin sphere. Nutraceuticals
are made by a handful of
international companies based
mostly in the United States, Japan

BUSINESS

and Europe. The supply into India


comes from these sources and
from China. We set ourselves two
objectives: creating a product that
would match the best in the world,
at a cost lower than or at par with
what the Chinese were exporting,
explains Dr Basu.
It took Tata Chemicals a while
to find its bearings with the venture.
When you are a new player entering
unknown terrain, you want to do
as much homework as possible,
says Dr Basu. We realised that
and began elbowing our way in.
We got our pilot projects going, we
identified the site for this greenfield
project, and we got down to building
the plant from scratch. We were
working with ambiguity and starting
from zero. It was exciting and
challenging in equal proportions.
STEEP LEARNING CURVE
Trial and error, heartburn and
exhilaration followed. We operated
with the pipettes and burettes
during the testing period before
looking for a third-party pilot
manufacturing facility, says
Dr Basu. It took us nine months of
searching to realise that there wasnt
any third-party plant that could
do the job for us. Mercifully, thats
when we had some good fortune. Its
not a good idea to be always lucky,
but its handy when some of it comes
your way at critical points.
The luck Dr Basu refers to
happened when the Tata Chemicals
board gave the go-ahead in May
2012 to build a new plant. It was a
vital enabler for Dr Basu and his
skeletal team, comprising a business
manager and three scientists, to
begin in right earnest the task of
putting together the nuts and bolts
of the nutraceuticals project. It was a

Creative hothouse gets cracking


The Tata Chemicals Innovation Centre in Pune is the bedrock
on which the company expects to sculpt its future. Set
up in 2004, the centre started functioning with an interim
laboratory out of an apartment. There were stumbles before
it found purpose and direction, and a permanent home in
verdant environs.
The Centres agenda is now cast in certainty: to do
research in the fields of biotechnology and nanotechnology
and work on projects that can be tuned into business
propositions. This approach has taken in food additives and
nutrients, biofuels and speciality chemicals, and solutions in
water purification and catalysis.
Sustainability, a cornerstone of the evolving Tata
Chemicals, has been the central premise of the Innovation
Centre. This institution has to be viewed through two broad
filters, sustainability and green chemistry, says Arup Basu,
who helms the Centre. This was the logic that drove the
initial work in biotechnology and nanotechnology.
The Centre has matured a lot since the days when there
was a disconnect between the work the scientists did and
what could be translated into a business proposition. The
process of selecting projects has been rationalised, says
Manoj Gote, a lead scientist at the Centre. Scientists and
business development teams now jointly decide which ideas
can be pursued, based on market demand and technical
feasibility. We work together from inception to realisation.
The development of the nutraceuticals project is an
outcome of such collaboration. The business development
team was in on the project from the research stage itself,
says Dr Gote. Scientists are usually not fully aware of
business aspects, the market, customer needs and the
like. Thats the reason why collaborating with our business
colleagues has been crucial. It definitely has speeded up the
process of commercialisation.

journey of discovery from here on.


The Innovation Centre had
been working on nutraceutical
formulations from 2007 to
develop ingredients that could
be sold to food companies for
use in their everyday products.
The Sriperumbudur plant was

established to produce prebiotics,


fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and
galactooligosaccharides (GOS),
carbohydrates that are dietary
fibres consumed to improve gut
health. Sriperumbudur was picked
as the plant location for clear-cut
reasons: it is in a sugar-producing
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BUSINESS

Nutra what?
Let food be thy medicine, said Hippocrates, the big
daddy of modern medicine. Nutraceuticals are a help in
accomplishing just that.
A blend of nutrition and pharmaceutical, nutraceuticals
the term was coined by Stephan DeFelice, an American
doctor, in 1989 are additives that enhance the wellness
quotient of food items such as cereals, soups and beverages.
The best of this class of food products delivers a host of
benefits: boosting the immune system, improving gut health,
preventing chronic diseases, even delaying the ageing process.
Under the nutraceuticals umbrella are dietary
supplements and functional foods. Dietary supplements
contain nutrients derived from food products, and are
packaged in liquid, capsule, powder or pill form. Functional
foods incorporate foods that are enriched or fortified to
promote good health.
Prebiotics and probiotics are two distinct categories
of nutraceuticals. Prebiotics are soluble dietary fibres that
stimulate the growth and efficacy of good bacteria in the
digestive system. Probiotics are the so-called good bacteria
themselves; these are directly consumed to improve gut health.
Nutraceuticals were born of the science of microbiology,
through which microbes present in nature typically from
soil and plants in biodiversity hotspots such as the Western
Ghats in India are isolated and used to create food
additives with substantial health benefits.
Your scientific knowledge, your ability to extract, your
ability to grow and modify, these determine how far you can
go, says Arup Basu, the driving force behind Tata Chemicals
nutraceuticals foray. You can aspire to being this master chef
with molecules from nature, and you will be limited only by
your imagination.

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July 2015

zone (sugar is a raw material in the


making of FOS), it is near an urban
centre and infrastructure for export
is readily available.
Many talented young
people have moved away from
manufacturing because they have to
work in remote locations, says Dr
Basu. Being close to Chennai meant
that our people would have the
advantages of living in a city while
pursuing a career in technologycentric manufacturing. Also,
Chennai with its port helps with our
aim of exporting to Southeast Asia.
With Sriperumbudur, all the right
boxes were ticked.
The promise of success, wrested
by all means fair, was the magnet for
Tata Chemicals. The Indian food
ingredients industry is dependent
on imports and foreign technology,
says Anish Chowdhary, senior
manager, Tata Chemicals and a core
member of the nutraceuticals team.
HUGE MARKET BECKONS
The value-added Indian food sector,
estimated to be worth more than
$100 billion a year, is fragmented
and mostly unorganised, with a wide
diversity in local tastes. While there
are sugar-free and fibre-enriched
products in this market, they have
not tapped into the huge potential
of the processed food sector with
ingredients that are healthy, tasty, safe
and convenient to use.
On the health front, the stellar
calling card for Tata Chemicals
FOS formulation, the news is grim.
Edible oil consumption in India
has increased per person from
3kg in 1950 to more than 15kg in
2014, says Mr Chowdhary. Indians
consume almost 50 percent more fat
every day than recommended. We
also consume 15 percent of the sugar

BUSINESS

produced globally. Add to these


the deficiencies in micronutrients,
vitamins and proteins and you have
a death-by-food recipe. What we
need is scientifically proven, highquality products designed for India.
Exports had been the big ticket
for Tata Chemicals in the early days
of planning for the venture. That
tack has changed in order to focus
on the immediate, which translates
into carving out a market share
in India. On paper this may have
looked relatively easy, but there were
plenty of wrinkles to be ironed out.
We came to understand
that the export market would
take a few years to fructify, adds
Mr Chowdhary. Thats when we
realised that to survive we needed
to create a market for our product
in the Indian food sector. Since
the product was new, there was
no science or data available on
how to incorporate it into the
food chain. Moreover, customers
were unaware of this product and
wellness food products comprise less
than 0.5 percent of their revenues.
Additionally, our product was
several times more expensive.
Getting the sales equation
right with the customer base
involved conscientious effort for
Tata Chemicals. Over the last year,
the nutraceuticals team has reached
out to some 3,000 food companies
and concerns across the country.
They have converted about 20 of
these into orders. Thats the kind
of struggle we have gone through
and I think this struggle is going
to continue for another five years,
says Dr Basu. It will be worth it
because in business you must go
through the grind of understanding
the canvas bottom up. Now we have
the confidence and, additionally, the

We are listening ... Our interest is in


feeding Indians in India and 90 percent of
this involves the informal economy.
Arup Basu, president and chief technology officer, new businesses
and the Innovation Centre, Tata Chemicals

Tata name, which means we will be


trusted and taken seriously.
There is the formal and the
informal economy we have to
straddle, the big food companies
and the smaller sweetmeat makers,
bakeries and others. We are listening,
we are sharing and we are learning.
Our interest is in feeding Indians in
India and 90 percent of this involves
the informal economy. A formal
corporate structure like ours finds
it difficult to navigate this economy,
but we are getting there.
SWEATING FOR SUCCESS
The struggles are beginning to
pay off for Tata Chemicals. The
Sriperumbudur facility, which cost
`300 million to set up, is now capable
of producing more than 300 tonnes
of nutraceuticals a year. Revenues
from the venture were `13 million up
to March 2015 and this is expected to
rise to `80 million in the next fiscal
and then to `840 million a year later.
In the long term Tata Chemicals is
looking at a target of 10,000 tonnes a
year of FOS and GOS, and a turnover
of `1 billion by 2020.
Thats a giant bite to chew on,
but Dr Basu is certain it can be done,
particularly in the context of the
multiple challenges already overcome.
It has been a steep learning curve
for us, on the technology and with
the selling and the scaling up, he
says. One significant problem we
had to cope with is incorporating our
product into the customers system.

No customer is going to change his


or her process because some Joe
has turned up with a spiffy new
ingredient, so we have to introduce
our products into it without causing
any disruptions. Its the same with
taste, which cannot be compromised.
Tata Chemicals flagship FOS
ingredient is called Fossence, a
naturally sweet prebiotic dietary
fibre with several wellness benefits.
Fossence can be used in every sweet
and bakery shop in India, says
Mr Chowdhary. The key to success
lies in fulfilling the customer needs.
Along with the bright spots,
the disappointments have also
piled high. We have endured many
low points caused by expected and
unexpected roadblocks, says
Dr Basu. In the end, success is an
accident; our challenge is to ensure
that the accident does happen.
That road will, at some time
in the near future, lead to Tata
Chemicals enhancing its bouquet of
nutraceutical offerings: in digestive
health, in boosting immunity,
in weight management and in
battling heart trouble. There is also
the opportunity to sell directly to
individual consumers Food is the
canvas and its a colossal canvas,
says Dr. Basu. The closer you are to
the end customer, the more the value
you command. Well move one step
at a time, and do whatever allows us
to capture disproportionate value.
Philip Chacko

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BUSINESS

Where the shoe fits


Tata Internationals affirmative action programme
has boosted women from the scheduled castes
and scheduled tribes by providing them with jobs
at the companys leather complex in Dewas

ho would have
imagined that the
fashionable footwear
on display on the high
streets of Paris, Milan and New
York is painstakingly handcrafted
in Dewas, a small town in Madhya
Pradesh, India? What is even more
incredible is that these shoes have
been crafted by women whose own
reality is far removed from the world
of style and glamour.
This is the paradox that plays
out on the production line that
Tata International (TIL) runs in
Dewas, which employs a large
percentage of women, mostly from
the scheduled caste and scheduled
tribe communities. The companys
Dewas journey began in 1975,
when a world-class leather complex
was established in a place that did
not at first have the supporting
infrastructure to further the business.
Initially, shoe uppers were
made in Dewas (in the late 1980s).
Manufacture of the full shoe was but

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July 2015

a logical extension. Says N Mohan,


global head, leather products, and
chairperson of the affirmative action
committee at Tata International:
When we started our footwear
journey in Dewas in 2006, we
faced three challenges that we were
determined to overcome. First,
Dewas had no industry, making it
difficult for us to find skilled labour.
Second, we had to match skill sets
with customer expectations. This
was particularly important as more
than 95 percent of the footwear we
create is sold in overseas markets.
Third was the challenge of womens
empowerment, since we had decided
that we would predominantly
employ women.
The reason for employing
women, Mr Mohan explains, was
their superior sense of quality,
besides the dexterity of their
fingers, making them more capable
of working on intricate designs.
The decision has had far-reaching
consequences. The entire community

has benefited from the labour of


these women. The hard work and
commitment demonstrated by them
in such ample measure has helped
lift the community and directly or
indirectly fuelled many dreams.
This is a far cry from the status
these women held just five years ago.
Today they are more confident about
themselves and their future. Many of
them dream of running the factory
themselves in five years. Others
aspire for a better life for their
children. A large number of these
women have spoken of the respect
that is accorded to them ever since
they took up employment with Tata
International. They are proud to be
Tata employees.
TOUGH BEGINNINGS
But it wasnt easy for the women to
traverse the distance between the
four walls of their rural homes and
the factory. Women in Dewas face
a lot of social pressures; household
chores and supporting the family are
seen as their core responsibilities.
Tata International actively
sought to reassure the families that
the safety and security of its women
employees was one of its priorities.
Towards this end, the company met
families and invited them to see the

BUSINESS

The Tata International team receiving the Tata Affirmative Action Programme 2015 award for their Navchetna
initiative (for best practices in the employability category), which has been a standout in empowering women
production facilities and the other
conveniences provided to the women.
From the very beginning we
had intended to give employment
to underprivileged women, says
Mr Mohan. We had to act in a
responsive manner towards them.
We needed to be a responsible
employer, almost like a parent, and
be conscious of this responsibility.
The company opened bank
accounts for the women and
provided them ATM cards, assuring
them of financial freedom. It also
held discussions to educate them
about financial literacy, and advised
them on where to invest, the
importance of saving money, etc.
TIL negotiated with dealers to
provide 40 women with scooters at
discounted rates and interest-free
loans. It was a small gesture but it
paved the way to real empowerment
for the women, and became a
symbol of all that they could

aspire to. For one of the women,


afflicted with polio in both legs, the
scooter spells freedom and ease of
movement. Besides the scooters,
some employees were given cycles at
a nominal cost.
THE BUSINESS CONNECT
The beauty of the companys
affirmative action programme is that
it is closely linked with the business.
If you want a business to grow, it
must be profitable before it can be
sustainable, says Mr Mohan. We
are not just in the business of selling
shoes; we are here to sell a concept, a
lifestyle choice, so each pair of shoes
we design and create must deliver
quality. It was not easy to produce
a fashion product in a place like
Dewas, but we were determined to
do it, and that became our unique
selling proposition.
Tata International spared
no effort in its attempt to make

its labour force competent. The


company created a brand called
Navchetna, in partnership with the
central governments Department
of Industrial Policy and Promotion
(DIPP), to train the women.
While the partnership with
DIPP was discontinued later, the
company continues to focus on
improving the skills of its people
through Navchetna. All of this has
been made possible, to a large extent,
by the unstinted support of Tata
Internationals board, which has
been a great enabler in balancing
business and societal imperatives.
Through Navchetna, Tata
International sought to help
traditional artisans and cobblers
understand modern ways of
shoemaking. The initiative also
enabled the company to hire people
who had a flair for working in the
shoemaking industry, and make
them employable.
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BUSINESS

We tell them [our customers] that they


are partners in our journey towards
improving the quality of life of people.
N Mohan, global head, leather products, and chairperson of the
affirmative action committee at Tata International

The new recruits are put


through an intense training
programme in Dewas. Once trained,
they are given gainful employment
at the companys units. Incidentally,
the Navchetna initiative has been
recognised by the Tata Affirmative
Action Programme jury for two
consecutive years in 2014 and
2015 as one of the best practices
in the employability category.
Tata International also
selects people and sets them up as
entrepreneurs. We have set up an
incubation centre through which we
select entrepreneurs, and give them
machines and orders that they can
fulfil, explains Mr Mohan. Where
there is no order, we make sure their
costs are reimbursed. We even pick
up the tab for the training costs.
What about the customers TIL
caters to? Our customers are aware
that the shoes are made by women
from deprived backgrounds, says
Mr Mohan. We tell them that
they are partners in our journey
towards improving the quality of
life of people. They appreciate that
effort and support our affirmative
action programme. They realise that
for us this is not just about doing
business. The easiest thing is to get
a mass order from a supermarket
and produce a product which is
commoditised. Our customers know
how proud our employees are of the
work they do.
Many of these customers, big
brand names in the West, have

76 Tata Review

July 2015

played a significant role in giving


a fillip to TILs commitment and
progress on the affirmative action
journey. They include names
such as the Brown Group in the
United States and Bugatti Gmbh
of Germany, which together
account for over 80 percent of Tata
Internationals footwear business.
The faith reposed by the Brown
Group in TILs operations, evident in
the manufacture of their Naturalizer
branded footwear, has gone a long
way in establishing the company
as a preferred partner and supplier
and helped it in its efforts to create
world-class products in Dewas.
GETTING INTO BOOTS
Mention must also be made here
of Fenili Calzature srl (leading
bootmakers in Italy) for helping
TIL create fashionable boots. The
boots made by TIL have since been
supplied to famous retailers like
Aldo, Next, A Jones and Dune,
and brands such as Steve Madden,
Bata Europa and Clarks. Similarly,
Bugatti has lent invaluable support
in creating excellent city shoes
for the European market. What is
heartening is that these customers
increase their orders year-onyear, proof of their faith in TILs
affirmative action initiative.
In FY15, Dewas made a grand
total of 900,000 pairs of shoes. This
year the employees are determined
to make at least 1.2 million pairs. The
efforts of its women employees have

contributed to helping the companys


business grow at an annual rate of
45.5 percent over the last five years.
TILs goal now is to export 10 million
pairs of shoes by 2018.
One of our priorities is to
make the business profitable and
then sustainable, and we have a long
way to go, says Mr Mohan. The
break-even target for the factory is
the making of 5,000-6,000 pairs of
shoes a day. Today we are at only
3,000-3,500 pairs a day.That said,
our people are fully supportive of
our business goals.
The company recently made
it possible for 40 of its women
employees to visit its units in
Chennai, and 60 more women will
soon benefit from this opportunity.
Mr Mohan wants to ensure that at
least 50 percent of the women can
avail of this learning experience.
Earlier, notching up another
first, a batch of 40 promising
women working at the footwear
plant in Dewas were selected to
undergo training in China. This
was a path-breaking initiative not
only in Madhya Pradesh but for
the footwear industry in India
as a whole. The experience was
transformational for the participants.
The exposure gleaned from
this learning exercise yielded rich
dividends as the women picked up
best practices and lessons that they
could imbibe in order to improve
their own productivity. They also
discussed the initiatives they would
like to introduce in Dewas to ensure
improvements and more efficiency.
Nor was the company content
to only achieve its business goals.
A survey commissioned by TIL
revealed that 49.5 percent of Dewass
population consisted of women;
of these 26 percent hailed from

BUSINESS

scheduled castes and scheduled


tribes, offering the company ample
scope to make a difference. TIL saw
the opportunity to work towards
ensuring a more inclusive society.
We wanted to be profitable;
we also wanted to create an inclusive
society, one where scheduled
caste and scheduled tribe women
can work with others, ensuring
successful integration, says
Mr Mohan. About 35 percent of
our workforce comes from these
communities. A strong business
linkage, encouragement and
mainstreaming are at the heart of
any successful affirmative action
initiative. The important thing is to
make a difference to peoples lives.
As we grow further, it will mean
more opportunities for everybody.
THE COMMON GOOD
Tata Internationals affirmative
action programme in Dewas,
which operates under the Utkarsh
brand, has over the years enabled
many young women to earn their
livelihood and support their families.
It has resulted in improved economic
conditions and social recognition.
Better standards of living and
awareness about healthcare,
hygiene and childrens education are
changing the lives of many women
for the common good and more.
In a country where large
swathes of the population are
still discouraged from working
outside the home, the TIL initiative
to employ scheduled caste and
scheduled tribe women offers a
shining example of how corporations
can achieve their business goals
while making a meaningful impact
on society.
Cynthia Rodrigues

Women from the scheduled castes and the scheduled tribes work at TILs
Dewas leather complex, stitching together shoes and their lives
July 2015

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PHOTOFEATURE

TATA AT HAY
Hay-On-Wye, a small village on the border between England and Wales, hosts Europes
premiere literary and cultural festival, described by former American president, Bill Clinton,
as the Woodstock of the mind and by British actor and writer Stephen Fry as a celebration
of the best of the written and spoken word. For the second year in a row, Tata was the
leading corporate partner at the Hay Festival.
Tata companies collaborated to contribute to the success of the festival, hosting talks
and debates in the Tata Tent and showcasing brand experiences over the ten days of the
festival. Tata Steel displayed its research project on carbon capture technology, while Tata
Global Beverages explained the intricacies of tea tasting. Tata Elxsi provided the signage
around the event to facilitate traffic flow and Jaguar Land Rover had the latest model of the
Range Rover Evoque on display, using it to explain their programmes that encourage women
to take up engineering. Tata Consultancy Services provided coding workshops for parents.
Tata was also a leading partner for Hay Levels, a series of free, inspirational online
micro-lectures given by the worlds leading academics.

78 Tata Review

July 2015

PHOTOFEATURE

Dr David Landsman, executive director, Tata Limited, Europe (second from left); Anil Dharker, founder and director, Tata Literature Live!
The Mumbai LitFest; and Dr Mukund Rajan, member, Group Executive Council, and brand custodian, Tata Sons, with the Tata team at the
Tata tent, which showcased Tata brand experiences at the festival

Jaguar Land Rover employees (from left) Nicci Cook, Lynne Palmer and
Harriet Vickers beside the Range Rover Evoque WISE Scholarship display, which
encouraged women to take up engineering

An invitation to visitors at the festival to try their


hand at tea blending and tasting

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PHOTOFEATURE

Dr Alla Silkina and Mark Fisher of Tata Steel give a demonstration of their carbon capture research project

Visitors waiting to enter the Tata tent

80 Tata Review

July 2015

PHOTOFEATURE

Tea buyers Helen Hume and Paul Jefferies at the Tetley display, waiting to explain all about blending, brewing and tasting

Hay Festival visitors enjoying a rare moment of Welsh sunshine

July 2015

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81

PHOTOFEATURE

The Tata crest with the gentle Persian words, humata, hukhta,
havarshta, which translates as good thoughts, good words,
good deeds, adorns the main gate of Esplanade House

THE HOUSE
THAT JAMSETJI
TATA BUILT
Esplanade House, the Tata residence in
Bombay for almost half a century, is an
enduring tribute to the grand vision and good
taste of the groups Founder, Jamsetji Tata.
The building, which today houses the offices
of the RD Sethna Scholarship Fund, has
undergone extensive restoration by a team
led by well-known conservation architect
Vikas Dilawari.
The project, which took a decade to
complete, won for Esplanade House the
2014 Unesco Asia Pacific Award for Cultural
Heritage Conservation. Mr Dilawari writes
here about the challenges faced during the
course of the restoration, while RD Sethna
Scholarship Fund chief executive Farrokh M
Rustomji dwells on the history of the building.
82 Tata Review

July 2015

PHOTOFEATURE

Esplanade House as it looked in the


early years of the 20th century

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PHOTOFEATURE

The restoration
It was an honour to be chosen to restore
Esplanade House. The mansion, one of the
finest built on the stretch overlooking the
Esplanade, was built by Jamsetji Tata in the
1880s for a princely sum.
Among the remarkable features of Esplanade House was
the atrium, with stained glass windows admitting sunlight
and providing a private sit-out area. The stone benches in
the garden, the terracotta urns, the cast-iron railings, and
the curvilinear awnings with zinc sheets are amazing, as is
the grand staircase with double-height ceiling, from where
the Robert Adam-style ceiling was visible, and the fireresistant, bomb-proof vault under it. The architecture and
design of Esplanade House are a tribute to the good taste
and attention to quality of Jamsetji Tata and James Morris,
the architect who gave shape to his grand vision.
The restoration was done in four phases over 10 years.
I consulted three structural engineers for the complex
structural issues and three different agencies executed the
work. The restored building reflects its past grandeur, with
tasteful interiors and rich use of the best materials.
The challenges were many. There were major concerns
on the structural front. The building was designed as
a lightweight timber floor structure with a tiled sloped
roof and an atrium in the rear. This was demolished and
floors were added in the void. The original tiled roof was
sacrificed in the 1930s to add a floor with waterproofing,
lifts and water tanks. The massive weight led to cracks in
the load-bearing arches, which had to be strengthened.
The worn-out slab was strengthened by adding
reinforcement and grouting it with micro concrete.
The availability of craftsmen was another problem.
Esplanade House is ornate and bears the imprint of an
array of crafts stained glass, cast iron, terracotta,
plaster of Paris, gilding, specialised carpentry and
masonry. We could not find an artist to restore the brass
and ivory inlay work, or the Roman mosaic tiles and
terracotta panels. We had to match the originals with
new materials in such cases. We went for the nearest
look-alike material, such as aluminium sheets for the zinc
awnings. But it was a pleasure to see that we still have
craftsmen who can restore treasures from the past.
The restoration of this mansion is a remarkable example of
how the revival of traditional skills, coupled with modern
technology, can help conserve our heritage.
Vikas Dilawari

84 Tata Review

July 2015

PHOTOFEATURE

The majestic double-flight open staircase in marble, with a cast-iron palisade and newel posts,
that leads up from the porch to the first floor. This staircase with its double-height ceiling
from where the Robert Adam-style original ceiling was visible reflected Jamsetji Tatas love
for space and detail. Under the staircase was a fire-resistant and bomb-proof vault.

Embellishments such as moulded stucco panelling, delicate traceries, murals, frescoes and
little cherubs adorn the ceiling of what was the Louis XVI drawing room in the Founders
times and is the current office of the RD Sethna Scholarship Fund on the first floor.

PHOTOFEATURE

The history
Esplanade House derives its name from the road it
fronted, the Esplanade in Bombay (now Mumbai). It
is one of the finest residential buildings architecturally
and historically, representing the neoclassical style
of the 19th century with its columns, pilasters and
quoins, and an intriguing baroque faade.
This imposing mansion was built by Jamsetji Tata in the 1880s, and
the family moved into the house in 1887. Mr Tatas instructions to
the architect, Mr Morris of Gostling & Morris, were to design a house
in the classical style, with a glass roof-covered central courtyard,
an elevator, and effects similar to those created by patios in Spain. It
was the first building in Mumbai to have concealed electrical wiring.
Within the expanse of the buildings compound is a memorial to the
favourite one of a couple of Saint Bernards that Mr Tata kept to ward
off thugs. He still sits, poised and alert, atop the watchmans cabin
with a wooden keg around his neck.

Originally the picture gallery, the present day first-floor


lobby, with its ornate cast-iron railings and cantilever
stone steps, is one of the highlights of the building.

In his characteristic, thoughtful manner, the grand visionary of Indian


industry built quarters for his servants just behind the house, with a
series of sleek wrought-iron flying stairs dividing them from the main
house. Beautiful fountains, statues and other artefacts graced almost
every part of the garden. Notable among them was a drinking water
trough, six feet in diameter and made of marble, that exists to this
day. This was for the use of horses, indicative again of Mr Tatas love
for animals. The wrought-iron gates, so decoratively cast, sport the
Tata insignia with a hand holding aloft a bar of iron, inscribed with the
gentle Persian words humata, hukhta, havarshta, which mean good
thoughts, good words, good deeds.
After Jamsetji Tatas death in 1904, his son Dorabji lived in Esplanade
House till he passed away in 1932. The house was purchased in 1934
for `437,500 by the late Rustomji Dhanjibhoy Sethna, founder of the
RD Sethna Scholarship Fund. The trustees of the fund engaged the
services of Vikas Dilawari to renovate the building and restore it to its
original glory.
Farrokh M Rustomji

86 Tata Review

July 2015

Poised and alert, with a wooden keg around his neck,


sits a terracotta statue of a Saint Bernard dog that
Jamsetji Tata kept to ward off intruders.

SPECIAL REPORT

Positive prospects
The Middle East and North Africa region has
traditionally been a strong and substantial part of
the Tata groups global operations. A diverse set of
Tata enterprises have found success in the multiple
country markets of the geography, and now
with business sentiment and economic prospects
looking up a deepening of the relationship
between the region and the group is underway.
Interviews by Christabelle Noronha and
Kalpana Shah

July 2015

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87

SPECIAL REPORT

An enriching relationship
Sunil Sinha, resident director, Middle East region, Tata Sons, explains
why the MENA geography holds special significance for the Tata group

he Middle East and North Africa


(MENA) region is a critical market
for the Tata group, which began
expanding its operations there nearly
25 years ago. Over 15 Tata enterprises have
a substantial presence in the region and
they operate in a variety of industry sectors,
including automobiles, information technology,
communications, infrastructure, steel, power,
shipping, retail and hospitality. Robust
foundations have, over the decades, enriched the
relationship between the group and the countries
of the geography.
It is impossible to overstate the importance
of the MENA region to the Tata group and its
constituents. This is the fourth-largest market
for Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) in the world; Voltas
has had a dominant position here for close to
three decades; and Tata Motors, Tata Steel, Tata
Communications, Indian Hotels, Tata Global
Beverages and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)
have plenty of business interests in the region.
What enhances the allure of the MENA
region is that it is one of the few places in the

88 Tata Review

July 2015

world where economic growth is a continuing


reality. Forthcoming big events like the Fifa
Football World Cup, to be held in 2022 in Qatar,
and the Dubai World Expo 2020 are certain
to further improve economic prospects and
outcomes, and provide more opportunities for
Tata companies to participate in and benefit
from the regions progress.
Tata companies involved in infrastructure
and allied businesses are particularly likely to
view the years ahead as full of promise, but there
are good tidings to come for a slew of others
too. JLR may consider manufacturing in the
region, and Tata Motors, its parent company, will
find more than one country here an attractive
destination for the assembly or manufacture
of vehicles. Its not just about manufacturing,
though, as TCSs game-changing all-women
business process outsourcing operation in Saudi
Arabia is proving.
There are about 30 countries in the
geography, which is by way of topography,
history and culture extremely diverse.
This diversity is so vast that the region can be

SPECIAL REPORT

segmented in many different ways. In this mix,


two of the defining characteristics of MENA
countries stand out: oil resources and the size of
native populations.
There are problems to be dealt with, for
sure, if businesses are to find solid ground in
the region. There is a shortage of talent, which
results in rampant poaching, and the drive to
localise the workforce, while well-intended and
necessary, has worsened the situation. Then
there is the rising cost of operating in cities
such as Dubai, ever-increasing competition,
and the falling price of oil, which could affect
governmental policy on spending.
The scale of, and future potential for,
business in the MENA region remains immense
despite large swathes of land being blighted
by conflict and violence. Political change,
sparked by events such as the Arab Spring, has
brought with it hope and despair in almost
equal measure. Change and upheaval of this
nature have delivered multiple challenges,
slowed economic growth and worsened human
development imbalances. Many countries have
sidestepped these difficulties thanks to political
stability and the riches of natural resources, but
problems like unemployment and undiversified
economies are a threat to the region.
The positives, however, far outweigh the
negatives and that is one reason why Tata Sons,
the holding and promoter company of the Tata
group, established a representative office for
the MENA region in Dubai in July 2014.The
objective of this office is to further strengthen
the Tata engagement with all stakeholders in
the region and to facilitate business growth for
Tata companies, especially in the focus sectors
that are crucial to development here and to the
strategic interests of the group.
The key goals of the Tata Sons
representative office are:
Supporting and expanding existing businesses
and identifying opportunities for new
businesses through various public affairs
activities, stakeholder mapping and outreach,
and messaging and communications.

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means to Tata and the Tata companies operating there

Creating greater synergy among Tata


companies and playing the role of enabler, from
the group perspective, in further cementing the
Tata presence in the region.
Developing a better understating of the MENA
geography and the countries here in terms of
economics, politics and culture.
There are a bunch of other considerations
that the office has to immerse itself in, among
them helping manage customers and consumers,
and handling media and brand responsibilities.
In this context, the newly formed Tata Network
Forum for the MENA region will play a crucial
role in developing internal synergy, in learning
and sharing, and in bringing to the fore the Tata
way of doing business.
I took charge as resident director, Tata
Sons, for the MENA region in July 2014 and
it has been an exciting journey since, one
of understanding the region, its history and
culture, and its ways of doing business. I was
apprehensive that the Tata name would not
be familiar in this region but, to my surprise,
everywhere I went the brand was known and
respected. That said, there is more to be done
before the Tata group becomes truly well-known
in the MENA countries.
Tata enterprises present here have unique
strengths, unique stakeholder relationships and
unique experiences. There is a huge opportunity
in combining these singularities to craft a much
stronger and more widespread Tata group.

July 2015

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89

SPECIAL REPORT

A business of gender

90 Tata Review

In January 2014, Tata Consultancy


Services (TCS) launched a
first-of-its-kind all-women
business process services (BPS)
centre in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.
The centre is expected to create
jobs for up to 3,000 women and
will initially serve anchor clients
Saudi Aramco and General
Electric (GE). Michele Lemmens,
BPS centre director, Saudi Arabia,
TCS, explains the different facets
of the operation: the idea behind
it, the challenges faced by the
team, the collaboration with
clients, and more.

skilled workforce. In July 2013, GE and Saudi


Aramco selected TCS to set up and launch the
all-women BPS centre in Saudi Arabia TCS
and GE, respectively, own 76 and 24 percent
equity in it to initially serve Saudi Aramco
and GE as anchor clients.
The depth and breadth of TCSs experience
in setting up new delivery centres globally and
also the knowledge of operating in the region
for 13 years were invaluable. One of the positive
outcomes has been the sourcing of talent. We
found that Riyadh has a great pool of qualified
women keen to take up the roles and careers
we were able to offer. There were challenges, of
course, and one of these was managing growth.
Our initial business plan outlined 100 contracted
associates each from GE and Saudi Aramco,
but at the end of the first year we had in excess
of 450. This was a good problem to have, but it
did mean a lot of work around the number of
transitions and trainings required.

What was the idea behind setting up


the all-women BPS centre in Riyadh?
How challenging was it?
As part of Saudi Arabias focus on developing
a diversified economy, the government has
invested significantly in education, especially for
women. Taking this to the next stage demands
the creation of employment opportunities for
women, which in turn will develop a more

What have been the highlights?


My background is in transformation and
change; complexity is a given in that equation.
But this has been one of the most rewarding
and challenging things I have ever done. Our
team has put in tremendous efforts to get us to
the stage we are at. The ongoing contributions
and support of management across all the
three organisations involved have been vital in
ensuring our success.

July 2015

SPECIAL REPORT

We are creating something


unique that not only makes
business sense and offers
personal growth, but also
adds a social angle that is
exceptional.

The memories that stand out for me have to


do with seeing the progress of our associates and
hearing about their ambitions. We are creating
something unique that not only makes business
sense and offers personal growth, but also adds a
social angle that is exceptional.
What are the expectations from such
a centre? How do you see it helping
Saudi businesses?
We believe the model is unique not just to
Saudi Arabia; we believe it is a first-of-its-kind
venture in the world. The centre takes advantage
of an untapped talent pool of women while
also establishing a sustainable new industry.
It supports Saudi Arabias diversification and
localisation strategy and also enables businesses
in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation
Council countries to improve their operating
efficiencies. Alongside, we want to create 3,000
skilled jobs for Saudi women.
This venture has always been about much
more than business. The model provides qualified
Saudi women an opportunity to realise their
potential while working in a competitive and fair
environment, and, by doing this, effects changes
in perceptions of the family. The environment is
such that it provides women with the chance to
excel and grow while not compromising on their
cultural and traditional beliefs.
The centre delivers services in finance and
accounting, human resources, supply chain

management, information technology and


enterprise data management. These services were
originally planned to be delivered only in Saudi
Arabia and a few countries of the region, but are
now being delivered globally for GE. Further
growth has been evidenced with a major Saudi
telecommunications company joining GE and
Saudi Aramco in November 2014 in supporting
the growth of the centre.
What are the challenges of operating
an all-women centre in Saudi Arabia?
Understanding employment processes, laws,
and the talent base in the region was the first
step towards establishing the centre. The norms
governing womens employment had to be
considered so as to be able to set up a business
that would adhere to legal as well as cultural
requirements. For example, the constraint
of not being able to include photographs on
identification cards was addressed by adopting a
biometric system of access control.
The women-only setup plays a critical
role in the success of the centre; many of our
associates would not be able to work in a mixed
environment. This is an important distinction
for the families of our associates. Also, some of
the nuances of operating in Saudi Arabia include
restricted working hours, mothers and fathers
being heavily involved in the decision to take up
the job, as well as managing certainty of delivery
during religious holiday breaks.

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91

SPECIAL REPORT

How many employees did you


start with and what is the strength
currently? How many jobs will the
centre create down the line?
Three of us from TCS arrived in Riyadh in
September 2013 to kick things off. In January
2014 we employed the first lot of 20 Saudi
women. The centre currently has 450 associates,
with around 350 of these being Saudi women.
The immediate target we have is 3,000 women,
but Im sure that number will get much bigger.
What sort of training are the women
provided with?
Given the nascent stage that womens
employment in Saudi Arabia is at, availability
of skilled resources was a known challenge. We
adopted a model of hiring fresh local talent with
little or no experience and investing significantly
in training them. Our associates commence with
an initial learning programme that introduces
them to a corporate working environment and
focuses on developing their communication,
teaming and solution skills. They then undergo
specific domain training, followed by rolebased training to seed the required skills. Since
commencement we have run 14 initial learning
programmes to induct and coach new associates
and we have delivered more than 97,000 hours
worth of training.
What are the qualification criteria for
those who want to apply?
Initially the centre focused on employing
university graduates to ensure successful delivery
of the services being offered. We also have a fair
number of associates who are postgraduates
and others who have studied abroad. Good
command of written and spoken English is also a
prerequisite.
Tell us about the outlook of the
women working at the centre.
There are a couple of factors that have enabled
us to attract talented women to the centre: the
nature of it being a womens-only business and

92 Tata Review

July 2015

the in-depth training associates receive before


starting on the job. Our associates understand
that the environment allows them to develop
their skills based on potential and aspirations,
without the constraints and competition of a
mixed environment. Our goal is to have Saudi
Arabian women progressively become part of
the leadership team at the centre. In this way
we can work together to develop and grow the
organisation and the business.
How does the collaboration with
GE and Saudi Aramco work to your
advantage? What role does Saudi
Aramco play, apart from being an
anchor client?
Integral to the success of the venture has been
the collaboration among the three parties
involved. This is a fantastic opportunity for
all three organisations to assist one another in
realising our respective strategic goals. For Saudi
Aramco this opportunity is, more than anything
else, about promoting employment of women in
Saudi Arabia.
What is the significance of this
centre to TCS?
With this new venture TCS has established
a platform to deliver business growth in the
region, one that is aligned to our new growth
markets business strategy. The venture also helps
realise the TCS vision of collaborating with key
partners in establishing the BPS industry in
Saudi Arabia and promoting the employability
of the countrys women. Finally, this deepens
our ties with one of TCSs longest standing
customers, and now partner, GE, which is fully
committed to this venture.
This initiative also strengthens TCSs
corporate social responsibility foundation by
encouraging and enabling women to make a
greater contribution to the Saudi workforce and
economy. The centre will help young women
to achieve their potential and will influence the
lives of current and future generations of women
in Saudi Arabia.

SPECIAL REPORT

Increase in investments
bodes well for us
TCSs Ravi Viswanathan,
president, growth markets, talks
about the companys operations
in the Middle East and Africa
geographies, and the prospects
and challenges of doing business in
the two regions..
Could you tell us about TCSs
presence in the Middle East and
Africa regions?
TCS has been operating in the Middle East
and Africa for the last 30 years. We have 11
offices and one delivery centre here, and some
3,800 employees from 28 nationalities working
on various assignments for a cross-section of
customers. One of our operations deserves
special mention: our all-women business process
centre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where we employ
around 450 women.
Which are the major verticals that
you cater to in these geographies?
We have a strong presence and standout
customers in the banking, finance and insurance,
telecom, and government sectors.
What is the contribution of these
regions to TCSs revenues?
In the financial year 2014, revenues from the
Middle East and Africa accounted for 2.1
percent of TCSs overall revenues.
Are you planning to explore other
countries in the region for business?
We are exploring the feasibility of expanding
into other parts of Africa. Also, we plan to

We see good
traction among our
customers in the
energy, resources and
utility sector.

leverage the all-womens centre in Riyadh


to expand operations in this space for other
customers in the Middle East.
With huge amounts being invested
by many governments in the
infrastructure and energy sectors, do
you see potential for growth in these
verticals?
The increase in investments in the government
sector, in the areas of education, infrastructure
and several e-governance initiatives especially
in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates
bodes well for TCS in terms of the opportunities
that have opened up to partner governments.
We see good traction among our
customers in the energy resources and utilities
sector, where they are undertaking important
transformation programmes. We are also seeing
increased interest and adoption of digital
technology in many sectors.
What are the challenges you face?
Some of the challenges that could prove to be
growth deterrents are the slump in oil prices,
which may lead to a reduction in discretionary
spending, and the localisation and regulatory
policies of different countries in the region.

July 2015

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93

SPECIAL REPORT

We are the envy of


our competitors
The MENA region is one of the
largest markets for Jaguar Land
Rover (JLR) in terms of global
sales, and it is poised to become
even more important for the luxury
carmaker in the years ahead. That
explains the thought, care and
commitment being lavished by
the company on a geographical
spread in which the Middle East
stands out, and where it sees
plenty of potential to further
entrench the appeal of its two
sterling automobile brands.
The responsibility of turning
such potential into performance
currently rests with Bruce
Robertson, a JLR veteran of
19 years who has been the
companys managing director
for the MENA region since April

94 Tata Review

July 2015

2014. An executive vice president


with JLR in China prior to this
appointment, the South Africaborn Robertson a 44-year-old
sports fanatic who served as a
semi-professional rugby referee
for a decade speaks in this
interview about the companys
achievements and prospects in
the Middle East and the wider
MENA expanse.
Where does the Middle East figure in
JLRs business matrix?
MENA is the fifth-largest region for JLR globally.
We operate in 18 markets, we have 43 dealerships,
we have a regional office in Dubai, and we have
a testing and engineering centre where product
development takes place. We made an investment
of $1.5 million a year ago to ensure that the
products we engineer are right for our markets
and customers, here in the Middle East and
globally. We have a training academy where we
train the staff at our dealerships we ask them to
present and welcome the brand in a manner that

SPECIAL REPORT

We remain firmly committed to


the Middle East and North Africa.
Our dealerships will rise from 43 to
60 in the next two-three years and
we expect to create employment
for nearly 2,000 people.

is befitting a luxury vehicle and we have a parts


distribution centre.
What are the challenges of doing
business in the Middle East? Are
these unique to the region?
I think, first of all, there is the regional instability.
There are challenges in terms of geographical
location and political uncertainties, but as an
organisation committed to the region we have
made significant investments here, as have our
partners.
From JLRs point of view, we are going
to continue to grow and we remain firmly
committed to the Middle East and North Africa.
Our dealerships will rise from 43 to 60 and we
expect to create employment for nearly 2,000
people in the next two-three years. We have
a footprint within the region that allows us to
expand our business.
Which of the two brands, Jaguar or
Land Rover, is more popular here?
Land Rover is a heritage brand in the Middle East
and many of the sheiks would have known it from
the time they were children. Many of their fathers
would have seen their lands from the Land Rovers
of the 1940s and the 1950s.
I should add that we have some established
Jaguar dealers in the Middle East. The Jaguar does
well for us but it does not sell in the same volumes
as the Land Rover. With Jaguar we have a broad

product range the XJ, the XF, the F-TYPE and


the recent F Pace that we believe suits our
clientele in the Middle East and enables us to
reach a large segment of customers.
As for the Land Rover, we do very well with
the Range Rover and the Range Rover Sport. The
Evoque has continued to grow since its launch
in 2010 and the Land Rover Discovery remains
popular in the region.
Within MENA, which are your major
markets? In how many countries in
the region do you sell your products?
We sell our products in 18 markets within the
region, the big ones being the Gulf Cooperation
Council [GCC] countries. North Africa, too, plays
a key role for us in terms of future development,
as do counties like Iraq and Azerbaijan, where we
are starting to see an opening up of the market.
How have Land Rover and Jaguar
fared in 2014?
We are going from strength to strength in the
Middle East; thats one of the reasons why it is
the fifth-largest market for us. Land Rover sales
increased by 6 percent in 2014 and the story was
similar with Jaguar. We are proud of what we
have been able to achieve on sales growth, which
has been driven by product investment. We have
products that are relevant for the market, we are
an important player in the luxury automotive
sector, and we outsell our competitors.

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SPECIAL REPORT

Is there a different marketing strategy


for MENA, or for certain countries
within the region?
In terms of marketing, we follow a global
strategy; we take the lead from the centre. I
will say, though, that we have to localise, make
our products appropriate for the people we are
selling to. We recently launched the new mile
end campaign for Land Rover and this has been
well received by the local population. Its a story
about the history and the relationship that Land
Rover has in the Middle East; it has struck a
chord with our customers.
On Jaguar, we have the same policy as we do
with Land Rover. We have a number of marketing
campaigns and we make them work for us. If you
look at brand awareness, there has been a definite
improvement for us over the last two years.
Could you tell us about your
engineering test centre in Dubai?
Does this centre cater to the entire
MENA region or only to vehicles
destined for the GCC nations?
Our engineering test centre is one of five test
centres that we operate globally and this is a
crucial component of future product development
at JLR. We will run 20,000km of durability testing

96 Tata Review

July 2015

every single week in the MENA region this year,


of which 2,500km is done off-road, and we will
test nearly 17,000 lines of data on our products.
Our engineering test centre is basically
working 24x7 at the moment to ensure that our
standards are met and the desired technology
that comes from the United Kingdom is fit
for the purpose. A vehicle wont go to market
anywhere in the world without the required
sign-off from the test and engineering centres.
Any vehicle that can withstand the heat of
testing in the Middle East can stand the heat
anywhere else in the world.
JLR had signed a letter of intent for
an automotive partnership in Saudi
Arabia. Does the company plan to set
up a facility in the region?
JLR continues to globalise and expand its
footprint around the world. We now have a
plant in China and we have recently announced
that there will be a plant in Brazil. We are
in discussions with the Saudi government
regarding opportunities for the JLR brands. We
believe that the Middle East is critical to the
future success of the organisation.
Could you describe the extent and

SPECIAL REPORT

depth of the companys sustainabilityrelated activities, especially on


the environment, in combating
climate change and with community
initiatives?
JLR is committed to sustainability activities,
whether it be in the way we manufacture and
operate our vehicles, or through the end-life of
our vehicles. For example, we recently opened an
engine plant (in Wolverhampton in the United
Kingdom) which has a solar panel roof that is
one of the largest of its kind in the world; we are
using natural resources to provide power for the
plant there.
In our vehicles in the Middle East, we
continue to use start-stop operations to
minimise emissions and we have committed
to certain governments in the region that
we will fulfil our emission standards. We are
looking at every opportunity, whether through
hybridisation or smaller, more efficient engines,
to ensure that we have a sustainable business.
What about JLRs future plans and
aspirations for the Middle East?
We will grow our dealer network, as I said, and
create employment for more people. Just as
importantly, we have a new product coming up
shortly in the Jaguar range and in Land Rover,
both of which are tailor-made for this market.
The Jaguar F Pace, for instance, is a car that will
be broad spectrum in terms of its approach. Its a
performance motor vehicle and the Middle East
loves performance motor vehicles.
On the Land Rover side, the Range Rover
remains strong for us and the Land Rover Sport
competes superbly in a segment where we
werent necessarily represented very well earlier.
The Evoque has opened up further opportunity
and the Discovery Sport will make us more
competitive in the days ahead.
We are excited about what the future holds.
And its not just us; our importers are excited
about the future and they will be investing $5-10
million per site over the next few years to upgrade
their facilities, to train and educate their people,

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long and profitable relationship with the MENA region

and to work with us as partners. There is a


tremendous amount of investment being made
by JLR and by our importers.
How would you define JLRs
commitment to the region?
Our performance in the Middle East since 2010
has been unrivalled in terms of the competition
and we are justifiably proud of it for a number of
reasons. One, with regard to our investments in
future products, I think we are the envy of a lot
of our competitors in the motor industry. Two,
we have committed and profitable dealers, and
profitability breeds loyalty. Three, JLR is about
people and the partners we work with. For us,
choosing the right partners has been absolutely
vital. Their passion and investments have ensured
our success in the Middle East.
We are a part of the Middle East and we
are a part of the development here. One of
the imperatives is that we involve ourselves in
helping and working with local communities.
We are involved with the Red Crescent and the
Red Cross throughout the region.
Recently we undertook a programme to
help educate children within the United Arab
Emirates. It was a programme funded by us
in conjunction with local governments and it
showed our commitment on social uplift, on
working with communities to enhance their
living standards and the educational ability of
the people in those communities.

July 2015

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special report

Being asset light has


worked in our favour
Incorporated in 2004, International
Shipping and Logistics FZE
(ISL) commenced operations in
exclusivity, shipping the captive
cargoes of its parent company,
Tata Steel. Those days are long
past for an enterprise that offers
transport solutions to customers
worldwide while carrying more
than 20 different types of
commodities across global waters.
The Middle East is of critical
importance to ISL, which gets up
to 60 percent of its business from
this region. The companys chief
executive, Capt SR Patnaik
who hails from a family of mariners
and had a 16-year career with the
merchant navy speaks here
about the companys presence in
the Middle East.

98 Tata Review

July 2015

Could you tell us about ISLs


operations in Dubai?
ISL is into dry cargo shipping; we operate ships
that are generally more than 20,000 deadweight
tonnes in size.We carry major bulk, minor
bulkand some amount of break bulk.Major
bulk includes coal, iron ore and grain; minor
bulk includes cement, limestone, gypsum and
fertiliser, and break bulk includes logs and
steel.In 2013-14 we booked about 9 million
tonnes of cargo: 60 percent minor bulk, 35
percent major bulk and 5 percent break bulk.
We have been growing by almost 1 million
tonnes a year since our inception. Considering
that the shipping industry has remained
depressed since 2009 and financial year 2015
has been the worst we continue to fare well
despite the market. The main reason for the
market being down is the overcapacity of ships.
Shipping is a cyclical industry and we hope the
market will recover sometime in 2016-17.
Our strategy of being asset light has
worked in our favour in the ongoing depressed
market. We contribute 50-60 percent to our
parent company TMILLs turnover (TMILL is
a subsidiary of Tata Steel) with an employee
strength of 25. The nerve centre of our operation
is in Dubai, with marketing offices in Mumbai,
Chennai and Kolkata. We have plans to expand

Special report

Considering that the


shipping industry has remained
depressed since 2009 and
financial year 2015 has been
the worst we continue to fare
well despite the market.

our business into areas such as offshore, liner


and project cargoes the Middle East region
is quite vibrant in terms of offshore business
and we will be focusing on these sectors.
What are the busiest routes for
your vessels? What would be the
contribution of the busiest route to
overall turnover?
Our major trade lanes are Persian Gulf to
India; within the Persian Gulf; Southeast Asia
to India; and Australia to India. Although we
operate across the globe, our focus has always
been east of Suez.The percentage of turnover
from these lanes has been about 80 percent.
Who are your large customers?
Our large customers are traders, manufacturers
and end users. We have a core customer base in
the range of 20-30 and a floating customer base
of 50-60. Some of our big customers are JSW,
Bhushan, Coalnergy and Gimpex.
Is Tata Steel one of your customers?
Yes, they are one of our customers but not
on a large scale anymore. They supported us
during our fledgling days thats where all
the learning happened but now we have
fanned out. It used to be 100 percent Tata Steel
when we started out but this tapered off with
an increase in business from our non-Tata
customers.

How many ships does ISL operate?


About 25 ships during peak times, and during
the lean season about 20 at any given time.All
of these are chartered ships; we dont own any
ships. In a year we do about 150-160 fixtures.
Are you looking to start operations
west of Suez?
We do business west of Suez on a small scale. We
have carried agri-products from South America
to China, coal from the United States to India,
fertilisers from the Continent to India.
Any plans to diversify?
Yes, we have diversified into the liner-container
business. Having gained a strong footing in the
dry bulk trade, we felt a need to diversify into
other shipping verticals in our main geography
of operations.

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International Shipping and Logistics grows by 1 million tonnes


a year in the MENA region. Watch the video to know more

July 2015

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99

SPECIAL REPORT

Arabian retreat
Opulent luxury blends with a dazzling
contemporary aesthetic at the Taj Dubai,
which sits sumptuous in the downtown
business district of the Middle Easts most
glamorous and cosmopolitan metropolis

Stress is eased
away with
age-old Ayurveda
practices at the
Jiva Spa

100 Tata Review

July 2015

SPECIAL REPORT

The presidential
suite in all its
grandeur

The Byzantium
Lounge, an
ideal setting for
meetings and
get-togethers

July 2015

Tata Review

101

SPECIAL REPORT

Our primary asset is


our intellectual capital
Voltas has had a presence in
the MENA region, through its
international operations division,
for more than 45 years. The
company has come to be seen as
a preferred contractor for a range
of engineering projects. Gavin
Appleby, the companys chief
operating officer for the MENA
region, talks about the nature of
these projects and about the road
map for the decade ahead.
Tell us about Voltass engagement
with the MENA region. How has the
journey been?
Voltas made its foray into the overseas project
market in 1968, when the international
operations division [IOD] was formed. This was
done because the Indian heating, ventilating,
and air-conditioning [HVAC] market had little
growth potential, since high taxes made air
conditioning a luxury. Furthermore, the Indian
economy was slowing down. Anticipating better
opportunities for growth in export markets, the

102 Tata Review

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company forayed into new overseas geographies.


In its first couple of decades, IOD executed
HVAC projects in more than 30 countries, in the
MENA region and elsewhere.
In 1973, IODs execution of air conditioning
for the royal palace of the Sultan of Muscat (as
a subcontractor to Shapoorji Pallonji) laid the
foundations for its growth in the MENA region.
Subsequently, in the 1980s, the company was
awarded a major project in Tabuk in Saudi
Arabia to provide turnkey electromechanical
works. We then made significant inroads into the
MENA electromechanicals market with projects
of considerable scale, scope and value.
Over the next few decades, our
international operation successfully made the
transition from HVAC provider to engineering,
procurement and construction [EPC] contractor,
offering comprehensive electromechanical
solutions. The company has also coped with
the challenges of local markets and business
environments, and built the necessary
knowledge base and human resource strength.
Voltass IOD now enjoys the status of
preferred EPC contractor in the Middle East,
and is known for its dependable quality and
adherence to timelines. Its record includes
successful and iconic projects in varied segments
and verticals, including hospitals, hotels, towers,

SPECIAL REPORT

Voltass international
operations division enjoys
the status of preferred EPC
contractor in the Middle
East, and is well-known for
its dependable quality and
adherence to timelines.

commercial complexes and malls. Our notable


efforts in the Middle East include the work we
have done in the Emirates Palace, Hotel Yas
Marina, the F1 Circuit, Yas Water Park, the
Ferrari theme park, the Burj Khalifa and the
Mall of the Emirates. Along the way, the IOD has
earned the appreciation of eminent clients and
won several prestigious awards.
To sum up, our overseas venture has been
a rewarding journey. Although we have faced
our share of setbacks and challenges such
as the present economic downturn there is
considerable promise of growth ahead.
How has Voltas fared in the MENA
region in 2014?
The business environment in the MENA region
in 2014 did not show much improvement over
the sluggishness of previous years. Of course,
one can look forward to renewed investment,
driven by the announcement of the World Expo
in Dubai in 2020 and the Football World Cup
to be held in Qatar in 2022, but these have not
made any noticeable difference in our presentday reality. New project enquiries showed a
further drop due to falling oil prices during the
second half of the year.
Fortunately, we were busy reorganising
our operations from the top down, putting
new leadership in place, strengthening our
commercial function, and setting out a screening
process to evaluate new project prospects. The

idea was to secure our margins and minimise


risk. Consequently, our new approach put
greater focus on more modest jobs, with a
preset completion schedule that carries lesser
risk. This has helped us to bag fresh orders
amounting to `10 billion. Among these was the
Qatar Handball Associations Lekhweya stadium,
built to be an international sporting venue. The
project was profitable and was delivered on time,
despite a tight schedule.
Which are the major markets for
Voltas in the MENA region?
The projects business is necessarily very
adaptable; it operates in environments in which
levels of investment and opportunity keep
changing and shifting. Such flexibility is possible
because there is no financial commitment
in hard assets; there is usually no need for
manufacturing plants and distribution networks,
or a spread of branch offices.
IOD maintains a presence and a posture
suited to opportunities that have been foreseen
for a reasonable period ahead. Manpower and
branch offices are committed to developing and
servicing such potential markets. For example,
our international headquarters was in Dubai for
a long time but was shifted to Abu Dhabi when
Dubais economy began suffering from the effects
of the financial crisis in 2008. At that point we
also began cultivating our Qatar and Saudi Arabia
markets and established a presence there.

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SPECIAL REPORT

Now that Dubai is once again showing good


potential, we have moved our headquarters back
there, with branch offices in Qatar, Oman, Saudi
Arabia and Bahrain. Our largest markets are the
United Arab Emirates [UAE] and Qatar, where
we have eight projects under execution.
Could you tell us about your
subsidiaries and joint ventures?
Voltas manages quite a few joint ventures and
wholly-owned subsidiaries across the Gulf
Cooperation Council [GCC] countries. Many
of these entities are strategic partnerships with
reputed local sponsors. Such arrangements
give us much-needed local support to smooth
out official matters relating to regulatory and
administrative issues, like, for instance, the
procurement of visas. The local sponsor also
helps us in managing language and other
cultural matters, freeing us to focus on getting
orders and executing them.
Among our subsidiaries and joint ventures
are Universal Voltas (UAE), which executes
special projectsin HVAC refurbishment,
operations and maintenance across the country.
Universal Voltas has established its credibility
primarily in the oil and gas sector, and is a
preferred subcontractor for government tenders.
Then theres Weathermaker and Universal
Weathermaker, which specialise in
manufacturing equipment accessories in
Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The Dubai facility
also manufactures prefabricated mechanical,
electrical and plumbing [MEP] modules for
large projects.
Olayan Voltas (Saudi) and Voltas Oman
execute projects in the MEP space. Olayan
Voltas is a departure from the usual family-run
concerns that are the norm in these regions: it
is professionally managed and has a system of
values very similar to that of the Tata group.
LalVol, also operating in Oman, has
diversified into related MEP services such as
water and wastewater treatment, well drilling,
irrigation and landscaping, and refrigeration
services.Saudi Ensas is an HVAC specialist

104 Tata Review

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company that undertakes projects similar


toUniversal Voltas.
How many manufacturing units do
Voltas and its affiliates have in the
MENA region?
Our primary assets are our intellectual capital
and human resources; materials and capital
equipment for use in projects are outsourced. In
such a scenario, in-house manufacturing would
be justified only if it somehow enhanced our
service and project capabilities or benefited our
bottom line.
This is the justification for the only
two facilities that Voltas owns in the MENA
region; both Universal Weathermaker and
Weathermaker are dedicated to manufacturing
ducts and their associated accessories, serving all
ongoing Voltas projects in the GCC countries.
However, Weathermaker (Dubai) is also
equipped with the necessary personnel and
technology to manufacture pre-fabricated MEP
modules. Prefabrication is a robust methodology
that enabled us to improve our job quality, while
saving more than 50 percent time on execution.
It gives us an edge in terms of safety, speed,
precision, customisation and cost savings.
The international operations division
recently won three orders worth over
`10 billion in Qatar and Oman. Do
you see more such opportunities,
especially with renewed activity in
the construction and infrastructure
sectors in the region?
All our operating geographies show good
prospects and there are investments in the
pipeline for at least another 10 years. It is quite
likely that several states especially Qatar and
Saudi Arabia will spend on infrastructure,
transport and social benefits in order to ensure
a high quality of life for their citizens. In Dubai,
real estate and tourism are picking up and there
is also the 2020 Dubai Expo to prepare for and
Qatars Fifa World Cup in 2022.
These are foreseen as part of a long-term

SPECIAL REPORT

Abu Dhabis Yas Water Park, the largest and most energy-efficient theme park in the Middle East,
was set up with mechanical, electrical and public health services from Voltas
future; the short-term challenges have to be
overcome. Our endeavour is to acquire orders
that can help demonstrate our capabilities, while
managing the various risks associated with the
projects and delivering reasonable profitability.

What are your expansion plans for


the region in terms of investments
over the next few years?
Our focus is on maximising growth in our
operating geographies, particularly the United
Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia.
Any investments in developing these markets
will be on expanding our human capital base
and sharpening our competitive edge, to
the point where we are preferred over other
contractors in the GCC. One such performance-

enhancing investment has been in prefabricated


MEP modules, which are making a tangible
difference in project outcomes, from the clients
point of view as well as our own. We are already
producing modules for all our new projects and
we plan to move into modular wiring to further
improve our cycle time. The ultimate goal
would be to manufacture ready-made pods for
bathrooms and kitchens for some of the state-ofthe-art projects that have sprung up here.
We also expect to invest in cultivating joint
venture project partners for large-value jobs,
while deepening our penetration and enhancing
our presence in our target geographies. Overall,
we will be governed at all times by our guidelines
for project selection, risk management and
margin enhancement.

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SPECIAL REPORT

We have a broad reach


Tata Communications has had
a presence in the MENA region
since 1996 and has continually
enhanced its presence and
the strength of its services and
solutions in the region. In this
interview, Radwan Moussalli,
the companys senior vice
president, Middle East, Africa and
Central Asia, speaks about Tata
Communications growth in
the MENA region and how it is
being managed.

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106 Tata Review

July 2015

Could you tell us about the nature


of your operations in the Middle
East and North Africa?
Tata Communications is a global leader in the
telecommunications business and we also offer
unrivalled local expertise. We have a broad reach
across countries in the Middle East and an everincreasing footprint through our owned global
infrastructure and our partnerships. We offer a
wide range of interconnection options, respond
faster to service requests and recovery, and
provide cost-effective bandwidth and flexible
service provisioning. In the unlikely event of any
disruption, our full network visibility means we
can act instantly to get things back on track.
We have invested more than $250 million
in cable systems and networks in the Middle
East to connect the region with the rest of the
world. Our infrastructure includes the only fully
protected ethernet ring in the region; two private
cable systems; three consortium cable systems,
and a dedicated, multi-service backbone built for
the Gulf countries.
Our core network is a mesh of terrestrial,
cross-border and new subsea links. This ensures
unparalleled speed, redundancy and scalability,
all at a cost-effective price. Whatever be the
requirements, our high-quality solutions and
services mean we can help deliver. Customers
can count on Tata Communications to act as a
single point of contact for all solutions, network
management and trouble resolution.

SPECIAL REPORT

We have invested more than


$250 million in cable systems
and networks in the Middle East
to connect the region with the
rest of the world.

You operate five cable systems that


crisscross the Gulf. Are there plans
to develop more such systems?
We believe we have decent coverage for the
region, the required diversity, and enough
capacity to serve the needs of our customers.
Our 100G technology gives us ten times more
bandwidth to grow, compared with the initial
design capacity when these cables were built.
Do you plan to expand your dozen
points of presence (PoPs) to places
such as Kuwait, Bahrain and Jordan?
Yes, we are always growing, especially in
emerging markets and in markets where
multinational companies need services. In
addition to our dozen points of presence, we
have recently deployed a PoP in Bahrain and
we also serve the Kuwait and Jordan markets
through partners.
Besides being a wholesale service
provider, are you also looking at
catering to the needs of enterprise
customers and other service
providers in the region?
Our enterprise enablement initiative is one of
the pillars of our strategy. We work with strategic
partners, enabling them to serve their enterprise
and business customers by providing solutions
and services using our subject matter experts
and support staff. We are already providing

solutions and services to major business and


enterprise customers in the region.
What are the challenges of doing
business in the MENA region?
Regulatory issues are a challenge since some
of these markets are not fully deregulated. In
addition, there are market dynamics; pricing is
usually higher than in developed markets. Also,
there is the difficulty of having a limited number
of last-mile providers in certain countries.
Could you tell us about the revenues
generated here?
The Middle East, Central Asia and
Africa represent about 20 percent of Tata
Communications GCSs (global carrier services)
revenue in just data services, and we do sizeable
business with voice services in the region. Our
revenues from the region have been growing at
5-10 percent year-on-year.
We do see growth opportunities through
initiatives like partner enablement (in the
enterprise business), by expanding beyond the
wholesale business, and through solution selling
and transformation services.
What are your growth projections for
the region over the next five years?
Capacity demand is growing at around 25
percent a year, but revenue is growing at a lower
rate due to price erosion and other factors.

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SPECIAL REPORT

The Gulf region is a key


regional market for us
Anil Jhanji, Tata Steels director
of regional market development,
sounds an optimistic note in this
interview about the companys
operations in the Middle East
and the opportunities available
for further growth in the region.
What is the nature of Tata Steels
business engagements in the
Gulf region?
We have a prime site in the Jebel Ali Free Zone,
Dubai, which was opened in 2003. That said, the
companies that make up todays Tata Steel have
been functioning in the region for decades. The
Jebel Ali operation comprises a 30,000 square
metre waterside facility with the flexibility to
be used for both import and export activities.
The site is managed by Tata Steel in Europe but
through it we sell premium steel products from
the groups worldwide operations. Sales from
Europe include strip and rail products, and from
India we sell products that are manufactured by
Tinplate Co of India and our wire division.
We see the Gulf region as a key regional
market for us. We have in recent years refocused

108 Tata Review

July 2015

our attention on the sales of products that we


ourselves make, and in boosting the technical
support we offer customers in the sectors where
we have the potential to support their success.
Could you tell us about the two
recent Tata Steel projects: the supply
of steel to Dubai Metro and for a new
railway line in Saudi Arabia?
Infrastructure, be it transport or construction,
is a crucial sector for our products. The Dubai
Metro is officially the worlds longest fullyautomated metro network, spanning 47 miles
and with two operational lines. It is quite a feat
of modern transport engineering. We supplied
more than 60,000 square metres of our ComFlor
composite floor decking for the footbridges,
walkways, platforms and all elevated public areas
of the metro.
ComFlor is a profiled steel deck specifically
designed for rapid installation of flooring in
lightweight buildings with large spans. Its a
product with an excellent reputation. The floor
decking we supplied had to meet the demands
of complex architectural design and cope with
the footfalls generated by the 200,000 passengers
who now use the metro system daily.
Also, we are midway through supplying
60,000 tonnes of high-quality rail for a new

SPECIAL REPORT

We succeeded in securing
the prestigious [MeccaMedina rail] project thanks to
the strength of the Tata Steel
brand ... and our ability to
demonstrate that we could
deliver the required volumes of
high-quality rail on time.

high-speed line linking the cities of Mecca


and Medina in Saudi Arabia. This new railway
will allow millions of pilgrims to cross the
444km between the two cities at speeds of up
to 200mph. The line will cross desert land,
withstanding temperatures ranging from
freezing to 50OC, as well as sandstorms and flash
floods. We succeeded in securing this prestigious
project thanks to the strength of the Tata
Steel brand in the rail sector and our ability to
demonstrate that we could deliver the required
volumes of high-quality rail on time.

With huge infrastructure projects


expected to be taken up, especially
with the 2020 International Expo
in Dubai and the 2022 Football
World Cup in Qatar, what kind of
opportunities do you see?
With the World Expo and the Qatar World Cup
on the horizon, wesee opportunities in the short
to medium term in these projects. The region
also continues to invest heavily in its transport
infrastructure and willremain a global power in
the oil and gas industry.

Which are the other sectors that Tata


Steel caters to in the Middle East?
Rail and construction are two of the key
sectors for us, but we also supply products
and servicesto other sectors that play to our
strengths. We see great potential in the energy
sector, which is huge in this region. We serve
the geographys growing packaging industry;
domestic canning start-ups are creating new
demand for our packaging steels.
Our strip products sell well in general
sectors such as tube-making, re-rolling,
drums and barrels, and office furniture. Again,
localisation of manufacturing is creating new
demand in these areas. In addition, we supply
high-value special and alloy steels from our
speciality steels business in the United Kingdom
and electrical steels for power generation and
electrical motors from our European sites.

Do you have plans to set up a


manufacturing facility in the region?
What would be the likely investment
in such a facility?
Our site at Jebel Ali in Dubai is not just a sales
office; it is also a manufacturing operation. We
run two production lines for ComFlor composite
floor decking. This product has fast-growing
sales and is providing a useful opportunity to
add value to our strip products range.
Is Tata Steel involved in the larger
Central Asia and North Africa
markets from Dubai?
The primary focus of the Jebel Ali facility is the
Middle East, but we do supply to other regions
through this office. We recently completed, for
example, a construction project in Nigeria using
ComFlor from our Dubai operation.

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SPECIAL REPORT

This region holds


immense promise
Tata Motors has been operating
in the Middle East since 1971
and the company has built a
reputation for reliability and ease
of maintenance. That explains why
there are more than 10,000 Tata
Motors automobiles in the region.
Asif Shamim, Tata Motors
regional manager, Middle East,
opens up in this interview about
the nature and challenges of the

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become a full-range player in the MENA region

110 Tata Review

July 2015

business in a region with plenty of


potential for growth.
Could you tell us about your
operations in the Middle East: the
countries where Tata Motors sells
its products, its dealer network,
revenues generated, etc?
Tata Motors has a presence in all the Gulf
Cooperation Council [GCC] countries and in
Iraq and Turkey. Our distributors have invested
in sales and service infrastructure and we have
a network of sales and service points that covers
the entire region. Our network is equipped
to sell and service all models sold here and
adequate spare parts availability is maintained by
our distributors.
What are your expansion plans for
the region?
We are pursuing business interests in Iraq, but
the geopolitical environment in some parts of
the region is not conducive to business growth.
Thats why we are concentrating on consolidating
our presence in our existing markets. We are
working on securing a leadership position in
key segments such as buses, which are primarily
used by schools to ferry children and by

SPECIAL REPORT

We take pride in offering


the most competitive total
cost of ownership for all our
commercial vehicles and that
makes us a brand of choice.

companies for movement of staff. There is a lot


of work to be done and a lot to look forward to.
Which are the fast-moving products
in the Middle East?
The fastest-moving Tata Motors products in the
region are our buses (in the medium commercial
vehicles category). We have been selling buses
here for more than 40 years and we have proven
products in this segment. Ruggedness, reliability,
ease of maintenance and comfort are the
primary considerations in the purchase of buses,
and our products meet the criteria.
While buses are our largest-selling product
line, we are also seeing growth in our pickup
and truck volumes. The Xenon pickup is a new
model launched in the region and we are seeing
a healthy growth in its sales volumes. Our latest
introduction in the region is the Prima range of
heavy trucks, which we have been launching in
a phased manner. Qatar and the United Arab
Emirates have been the lead markets for the
Prima and we have had good initial feedback on
the product range from customers.
Are there plans to launch Tata
passenger cars in the region?
Our portfolio of passenger car models matches
the requirements of markets such as Algeria,
Morocco and Egypt, but not the large GCC
markets; we will be in a position to address
these markets when we have suitable offerings.

Iran is another big market that we are watching


for a possible entry in the future, contingent on
political developments in that country.
What factors have made Tata
commercial vehicles popular in the
region, considering the competition
from manufacturers from the United
States, Europe and elsewhere?
We offer our customers the best total cost of
ownership, which is critical in most commercial
vehicle buying decisions. Our value proposition,
consequently, strikes a chord in the local
market. That has been crucial in sustaining and
enhancing our longstanding presence.
How do you see the business
panning out over the next few years?
This region holds immense promise for
business in the long term. Saudi Arabia is the
largest market in the region and has a large
young population that promises to keep local
consumption high. The GCC countries continue
to build or upgrade infrastructure to keep in
step with the best in the world and industrial
investments are on the increase.
With infrastructure being created to cater
to upcoming global events, there is plenty
of potential for growth in the region. But we
cannot overlook the geopolitical environment
in some parts of the region. Peace is going to be
important to ensure that growth spreads.

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SPECIAL REPORT

We are targeting
aggressive growth
The Middle East is an important
piece in the global expansion plan
Tata Global Beverages (TGB) has
been pursuing. The companys
products have been selling in this
region for more than 30 years and,
confronted with stiff competition,
the endeavour to enhance
revenues has been considerable in
recent times.
TGBs managing director for the
Middle East region, the 39-yearold Danny Finney a Tetley
veteran of 15 years who took on
the responsibility in 2013 has
his job cut out and he knows it. In
this interview, he talks about TGBs
projects and prospects.
Tell us about the TGB journey in the
Middle East.
Tata Tea and Kanan Devan Tea, targeted at 5
million or so Indian expatriates in the region,

112 Tata Review

July 2015

have been sold in Gulf Cooperation Council


[GCC] countries since the 1980s. More recently
Tetley has been launched in the GCC and this
brand is aimed at affluent Arab consumers.
Which markets in the Middle East
does TGB operate in?
We are currently focused on six countries
positioned in the Gulf peninsula: Saudi Arabia,
the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar
and Bahrain. Saudi Arabia is the biggest of them
and the toughest market to crack.
Which are the major TGB brands
available in the Middle East? How do
they compare with the competition?
We are selling three brands of tea at the moment.
Kanan Devan is a favourite with the large
Keralite population and Tata Tea Premium
is targeted at the rest of the Indian expatriate
population. Global and Indian brands constitute
the competition in this segment. The bulk of
our business is loose black tea packed in cartons
and pouches. Our brands are present wherever
Indians buy or consume tea, including modern
supermarkets, grocery outlets, wholesalers
and, of course, the many Indian-style teashops
scattered across the region.
Tetley is being positioned as an upmarket

SPECIAL REPORT

Our goal is to reach the


No 2 position in five years.
Its a big challenge but
the Tetley brand has the
potential and TGB is capable
and has the intent.

international brand. To start with, we have


launched the innovative drawstring format,
which is more convenient for tea drinkers. Our
distribution focus is on modern hypermarkets
and supermarkets owned by large international
and domestic retail chains such as Carrefour of
France and Panda from Saudi Arabia.
What are the challenges of doing
business in this region?
The tea market is currently dominated by one
player, who has about 70 percent market share.
This is a bit of a double-edged sword for us. It
offers an opportunity for a strong challenger
to come in and take market share using a
differentiated product proposition. It also means
we have a dominant competitor with scale, high
investment levels and an entrenched position to
make it difficult for new entrants to cut through
to consumers. We have to punch above our
weight and challenge what can be considered
normal tea brand behaviour.
We are doing this by, for example,
engaging consumers in places like petrol station
forecourts, where our teams of promoters
serve hot cups of Tetley tea to motorists while
they wait for their vehicles to be filled up. That
activation has gone down a storm, with eager
locals honking away to catch the promoters
attention in order to try a Tetley cuppa.
What kind of brand promotion

works here?
Price-off promotions, free extra tea and free
gift promotions are popular here. Since we are
a relatively new brand, we focus our efforts on
building partnerships with leading brands in
complementary food categories (in order to
stimulate trials and sales). We have just run a
successful promotion with Luna, Saudi Arabias
No 1 evaporated milk brand.
I think innovation is in our DNA at TGB.
Tata Tea in India has always been a pioneer
across the marketing mix and Tetley has a long
history of innovation, too. It is a perfect fit for us.
Do you expect rapid growth in sales
over the next few years, especially in
the Gulf market?
Yes; we are targeting aggressive growth for the
Tetley brand in the GCC region. Our goal is to
reach the No 2 position in five years. Its a big
challenge but the Tetley brand has the potential
and TGB is capable and has the intent.
Are there plans to set up
manufacturing or processing units in
the region?
For the moment, most of the tea we sell in
the region is packed in India, with a small
proportion also coming from the United
Kingdom. We will need to reach a level of
critical mass before considering a switch to local
production.

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SPECIAL REPORT

A time for success


Titan Company has been among
the preferred timekeepers in
the Middle East for over two
decades. After getting the initial
push from the Indian diaspora,
which helped the brand gain a
foothold in the highly competitive
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)
market, Titan has expanded its
appeal to become the preferred
choice of many consumers.
The numbers reflect Titans
success story. In the UAE, it
has 19 exclusive outlets, and 11
kiosks in top malls across Qatar
and seven stores in Bahrain.
Titan retails its watches and other
timepieces from more than 900
multi-brand establishments across
the GCC countries and also sells
through e-commerce sites.
The companys growth,
spearheaded by its marketing

114 Tata Review

July 2015

initiatives, has paid off in spades


and localised sales campaigns
have helped. Titan is now aiming
to enhance its presence in the
Middle East and use this as a
launch pad for a play in Africa.
HG Raghunath, chief executive
officer, watches and accessories
division, speaks about Titans
growth trajectory and its ambitions
in the MENA region.
In terms of sales and profits, how
does the MENA region compare with
other geographies for Titan?
We have registered double digit growth in the
region and profits are also in double digits. Our
business turnover has doubled in the last six
years and, in value terms, the MENA regions
contribution is about 10 percent. But this
geography has a greater qualitative impact, since
the Middle East, especially Dubai, is a highly
competitive market. We have to compete with
international brands; we have to be different and
better. The quest for excellence is ingrained in
the companys ethos and customer expectations
teach you a thing or two about design and

SPECIAL REPORT

precision. Its similar to what we experience and


have to deal with in India.
Are the sales high because Indians in
this region are buying your products?
While its easy to assume that only Indians buy
Titan watches which was true for a long
period the preference for a brand is a wellinformed decision and not simply based on
loyalty to the country. We did surveys to find out
why Indians bought Titan despite being spoilt
for choice. The surveys revealed three reasons for
the brand loyalty: strong design, excellent quality
and outstanding value.
Over the last eight years or so, locals have
started buying Titan too. When locals start
buying, it is a sign of the success of the brand
in the region. The value of products also keeps
going up. Where earlier we were selling for $2030, the average price of a Titan timepiece today
is $80-90; thats a good sign for the brand. We
have a portfolio of sub-brands and all of them
are doing well.

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using the app to
watch the video

Find out why spoilt-for-choice customers in the MENA


region choose Titan over other brands

last few years we have been among the top three


brands for our price cluster and category.

Has the emphasis on retail paid off?


Retail excellence in this region is the principal
reason for Titans success. Like in India, in the
Middle East too we have multi-brand outlets
and stores in malls. In recent times the mall
culture here has grown at a terrific pace, and the
quality and size of the malls have also increased
exponentially. You have to have the merit and
you have to earn the right to be in the malls.
Also, it is important to make the right choice
of distributors.
Consumers are appreciating our watches,
and our superb after-sales service has played a
critical role in our success. If a watch is broken
or is not working, we work fast to mend three
things: the watch itself, the hurt feelings of the
buyer and the reputation of the brand.

Are there any designs or product


specifications that arose out of a
unique demand from the region?
Yes; while our design studio is strong and of
international quality, it is important for us to
layer the studios capability with global design
requirements. Each consumer has a specific need
and demand, depending on the local context
and the fashion trends that operate in any given
country. We send our designers to various
countries to interact with the locals and to
understand their culture, preferences, attitudes,
trends, etc. Our designers study, make specific
designs, return to the respective countries, and if
80-85 percent of the people approached like the
designs, we launch the collection. One such is
the Raga Henna collection, which was a runaway
success when launched.
Similarly, we keep communications and
advertising in the region very local. One theme
was based on the Arab Spring, with the tag line
Its my time; that made it relevant to the local
people. Another watch, with the Garden of Eden
design, was totally sold out.

Who is your biggest competitor in the


Middle East?
We have different competitors for different price
points and the competition is strong. Over the

The Raga range of watches is


popular in the Middle East region.
Can you tell us why?
Just like sunglasses, earrings and necklaces,

July 2015

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115

SPECIAL REPORT

The Middle East, especially


Dubai, is a highly competitive
market. We have to compete with
international brands; we have to
be different and better.

Raga is another accessory that gives women


an opportunity to express themselves. The
collection is as unique as it is sensual, modern
and feminine, and it has a new theme every year.
Globally, womens watches are a smaller version
of mens watches, but Titan has launched a
special brand only for women.
Which is the highest-selling Titan
watch in the region and what are the
reasons for its popularity?
There is no particular watch model thats most
popular. We have the Edge, the worlds slimmest
watch at just 3.6mm thick and that has
sold phenomenally well here for the last 15 years.
Our designers came up with a skeletal look for
the Edge, which made it even lighter, and it won
the Red Dot design award, the international
product and communication design prize, for
two consecutive years.
We have also created a slim watch in
titanium, a difficult material to work with. It is a
high-technology, self-energising (HTSE) watch
and runs without a battery. This model needs
just sunlight or even your room light to charge
up. HTSE, Raga and Automatics are our bestselling watches.

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July 2015

How are Titans youth and childrens


categories of watches faring here?
Our Fastrack brand, for the 18-24 age bracket,
has become one of the biggest brands in its
segment. Fastrack has around 8 million followers
on Facebook. It sells well in the Middle East and
we plan to launch it soon in other international
markets. ZOOP is a brand for kids in the 4-7
age group. It is the age when they learn the habit
of timekeeping and, we believe, the right age to
introduce them to a brand that they will be loyal
to in the years to come.
The Tata group has a strong
presence in East Africa. Will Titan
piggyback on the loyalty of Tata
customers there?
Sure, we would like to leverage the Tata equity,
which is strong across the continent and not just
in East Africa. But it is important to evaluate the
equity and go about the business scientifically.
We already have a presence in Kenya, the
gateway to East Africa.
Is there a smart watch in Titans
future portfolio?
Yes, we do believe so.

COMMUNITY

Lifted by learning
The Doosra Dashak initiative, supported by
the Tata Trusts, devotes attention to providing
adolescents from poor communities in Rajasthan
a second chance at crafting a meaningful future

ighteen-year-old Sakharam of
Malera village in Rajasthans
Pindwara block heads Yuva
Shakti Sanghathan, a local
youth group in his community. He
has won the last three elections
for the top post, testimony to his
leadership qualities. Neatly dressed,
outspoken and brimming with
confidence, Sakharam and a few
others like him are eager to explain
how they have taken the initiative to
solve the social and economic issues
their community faces.
Sakharam and his friends
belong to the Garasia scheduled
tribe, among the most disadvantaged
and marginalised communities in
the state. Thanks to the life skills
and value education training camps

of Doosra Dashak (DD) which


means second decade that
they attended some years ago,
Sakharam and his friends have
gained confidence and realised the
importance of working together for
the betterment of their people. Liferelevant education along with basic
literacy and numeracy skills, which
were taught during the camps, has
proved beneficial not only to them,
but also to the community at large.
INTEGRATED EDUCATION
The DD project, started by the
Foundation for Education and
Development (FED), aims at
providing holistic and integrated
education for those aged 11 to 20.
FED is a public charitable trust

started by five educationists under


the guidance and leadership of the
late Anil Bordia, who served as a
secretary in the Indian governments
Ministry of Education.
Adolescence is a critical stage
in the development of an individual.
It is fraught with physical and
psychological changes and is a time
of great upheaval and inner turmoil
for both girls and boys. Of the 1,200
million adolescents in the world
today, close to 250 million are in
India. Education plays a central
role in influencing development
indicators in this age group, but a
significant number of adolescents
in India are reported to be out of
school. This has been a cause for
concern among policymakers,
educationists and others.
Realising the importance of
working with adolescents, the Tata
Trusts supported FEDs pioneering
programme, which was launched in
2001 in two blocks in Rajasthan
Bap and Kishanganj and extended
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COMMUNITY

to two more blocks by 2003. Over the


years, DDs holistic education model
has proved extremely successful and
has been replicated in other blocks
of Rajasthan as well as in other states
of India. A four-month residential
education training camp, conducted
separately for the kishoris and kishors
(adolescent girls and boys), forms the
core of this learning programme.
SHORTFALLS GALORE
For the Garasia community of
Pindwara block, which has benefitted
from the DD project the most,
surviving has been an uphill task.
Development has bypassed the
community. Inhospitable terrain and
a near drought-like situation over
the last few years in the areas they
inhabit has exacerbated the situation
of this poverty-ridden community.
Despite their proximity to
Udaipur, villagers in Pindwara and
nearby blocks survive without any
electricity. Most of the villagers here
do not own any agricultural land.
Those who do cannot officially claim
ownership as they do not have the
proper land records. Many Garasias
are not aware of their rights or
government welfare schemes, and
dont even possess ration cards. Some
of them work in the construction
industry, some others in the cement
industry. All of them are exploited
and work in conditions that are
hazardous to health.
Prevalent among the Garasias
is a custom called kheench (or pull),
which allows men to physically drag
and claim women as their wives. This
has stigmatised the community and
proved detrimental to the well-being
of young women.
Sakharam and his friends are
attempting to help the community
deal with such socioeconomic issues.

118 Tata Review

July 2015

Narrating an incident, he says, We


hold regular meetings to find out the
problems of the villagers. When we
came to know about irregularities
at the public distribution shop, for
example, we approached its owner
and threatened to complain to the
authorities. The threat worked and
the villagers could get their quota of
government-sanctioned rations.
While earlier such cases would
have gone by without any action
being taken, thanks to the DD
project youth like Sakharam are
being mobilised to become active
and productive citizens with a voice.
In fact, three youths who received
education from DD have been
elected as heads of the local selfgovernment institutions in Lotana,
Valoria and Mandwarakhalsa.
Another issue that the villages
have managed to curb is alcoholism.
Alcohol shops in some villages have
shut down following protests from
youth and womens groups. In some
other villages, they have installed
solar lamps with help from the forest
department.
SUPPORT FROM
TATA TRUSTS
In the first phase of its
support to DD, the Tata Trusts
granted financial aid for direct
implementation from 2001 till 2015.
Going ahead, in the current phase
and the approved project plan from
2015 to 2018, the Trusts have granted
FED `95.78 million to act as an apex
resource organisation and to train
and prepare local youth as facilitators
for imparting literacy, life skills and
value education.
The resource group will provide
its support in eastern Uttar Pradesh,
Orissa, Jharkhand and Bundelkhand.
It aims to reach about 61,000 out-

of-school adolescents over a threeyear period and 44,000 community


members and youth, covered by
42 organisations and projects. The
goal is to transform the lives of
adolescents and children who are not
in school. The resource group will
not only serve as a training unit, but
will also be involved in monitoring,
evaluation and research work.
Tara Sabavala, associate
director, Tata Trusts, has been
working closely with the DD project
since its inception in 2000. It is
important to adopt a life-cycle
approach and focus on all the
development and education needs
of children and youth, she explains.
It is not enough to merely focus
on early childcare and primary
education. In 2000, when we began
backing the DD project, most donors
were not interested in supporting
adolescents. Statistics had, however,
shown that there was a high
incidence of illiteracy in the country
amongst this age group. We felt there
was huge potential to channelise the
high energy levels of adolescents
and facilitate and empower them to
contribute to society.
A NEW SOCIAL ORDER
DD envisages the creation of a new
social order through community
participation, based on the values
of equity and justice. Its objective
is to provide a second chance at
qualitative and holistic education
for unschooled adolescents. The
field-level initiatives of DD include
a residential education through
four-month camps, follow-up
camps and need- and issue-based
training for young girls and boys
from disadvantaged communities,
continuing education through
centres known as Ikhvelos, life-

COMMUNITY

Clockwise from top left: A study session at a follow-up camp for girls; a yoga programme at a residential camp for
adolescent girls; participants of a residential camp picking books to borrow; and a group of teachers and staff
skill training camps, mobilisation
of women and youth groups, and
working with service providers.
The four-month residential
camps are one of the core activities
of the DD initiative. The uniqueness
of the programme lies in the
fact that these camps not only
help strengthen the literacy and
numeracy skills of adolescents, but
also cover issues such as health,
maternal well-being, information
about diseases, sexuality, gender
sensitivity, and democratic
governance. The emphasis is on
imbibing constitutional values and
acquiring life skills.
Youth from various castes
are encouraged to enrol for these
camps. OP Dwivedi, the DD project

director for Pindwara block, explains


the importance of the residential
programme: It is only when the
youth live, work and play together
that they begin to shed the age-old
prejudices of caste and class. The
environment at our camps is such
that the youth feel comfortable. They
are treated as equals by our teachers
and others.
Many of the students who
complete the residential training
camp and reach a certain level
of education are absorbed into
mainstream schools. One such
school for girls the Kasturba
Gandhi Balika Vidhyalaya has
been very supportive of DD and
has enrolled several girls from the
programme, and these kids have

gone on for higher studies. An


example is Seema Garasia, a talented
student from Siyawa village, who is
currently doing her graduation in
Udaipur. Seema speaks English, uses
a computer and aspires to appear for
the Indian Administrative Service
exam. Earlier I didnt know the
importance of education, she says,
and Im grateful to Doosra Dashak
for giving me this exposure.
Follow-up and need- and issuebased camps of shorter duration are
also conducted in order to monitor
the progress of those who have
completed the residential camp;
this is to ensure that the concepts
taught are not forgotten. Managing
residential camps is a job fraught
with responsibility as the organisers
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COMMUNITY

have to ensure that the girls are in a


safe and protected environment.
Says Saroj Joshi, one of the
teachers at the follow-up camp in
Pindwara: Its a 24-hour job. After
the regular work sessions we need to
be alert and keep an eye on the girls,

but I enjoy it in spite of the hard


work. Subject matter experts have
crafted a bespoke curriculum for the
teachers at the camps and DD has
published several books on various
subjects, ranging from mathematics
to health and sexuality.

No brakes on education here


Continuing education centres or Ikhvelos at the village
level are an important aspect of the Doosra Dashak (DD)
initiative. Ikhvelo comes from the Zulu and Khosa languages
(spoken in South Africa) and literally means collecting people
by blowing the whistle.
DD has adopted this term to refer to continuing education
centres which are conveniently set up in close proximity to
the villages to facilitate a culture of reading and learning
among adolescent youth. These centres are multidimensional
in nature and serve as an open learning centre where youth
of all age groups come to study, play games, read books,
perform science experiments, art and craft activities, theatre,
sports and much more.
The centres usually stay open for the entire day and
provide an informal environment for the youth to learn and tap
their creativity. Currently there are 67 continuing education
centres operational in all the nine blocks where DD has a
presence.

DD also organises life-skills


training camps for in-school
adolescent boys and girls, and for
those who have dropped out of
school. An important part of the
programme, it teaches youth to
deal with problems that they may
encounter later in life. It empowers
them in matters such as self esteem
and leadership, relationships,
reproductive health and sexuality,
problem-solving and effective
communications.
Additionally, the project
supports youth and womens groups
within various communities.
Currently there are 17 such groups in
Pindwara block, and they have a total
of 228 members.
REACHING FAR
Since 2001, the project, through
the support of the Tata Trusts, has
reached 741 villages in six blocks
and has affected the lives of about
17,000 out-of-school adolescents and
20,000 school-going adolescents. The
programme has been responsible
for forming and training 519
community-based groups, and has
trained 15,000 service providers
(teachers, childcare workers and
local self-government members)
to sustain the movement and bring
about the social change led by
adolescents. School drop-out rates
have significantly decreased.
DDs vision to prepare a cadre
of committed adolescents and youth
equipped with relevant life skills
and democratic values has borne
fruit as can be seen from the lives of
Sakharam, Seema and others, who
now work towards building a society
where the mind is without fear and
the head is held high.

Children at a continuing education centre


Jai Madan

120 Tata Review

July 2015

TECH TALK
Emerging science
l
l
l
l
l
l

Genomics
Connectomics
Artifical intelligence
Chaos theory
Cloud computing
Social computing

Emerging materials
l Graphene
l MOFs
l Meta materials
l Rare earths
l Composites
l Nano materials
l Superconductors

Energy sources
Digitisation

Manufacturing
techniques

Emerging need
l Near-zero carbon energy
l Wireless power
l Predict and prevent
l Augmented reality
l Precision farming
l Connected machines

Current need
l Affordable renewable energy
l Diagnose and cure
l Accessible water
l Predicting natural disasters
l Immersive entertainment
l Scientific farming
l Connected consumer

A sniff yesterday,
at the core today
Keeping tabs on emerging technologies and disruptive trends
with market potential may be difficult, but this is crucial for
businesses, says Dr Gopichand Katragadda

nderstanding technology trends gives


a competitive edge. While technical
trends seem to move too fast to
track, the lead indicators of science
and materials are easier to track. The model
in the graphic above works on the principle
that a market breakthrough happens when a
consumer or a business need is met through
evolutionary trends in science and materials,
coupled with strategies around energy,
digitisation and manufacturing.One of the
approaches to track trends in science and
materials is through university collaborations.
Recently, technology leaders from
several Tata group companies visited leading
American research universities, including the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard,
Yale, Stanford and the University of Southern
California. In addition, we have had significant
interactions with Tel Aviv University and Ohio
State University, among others. While we have
ongoing research engagements and identify
future collaboration areas, these interactions
also help us identify key technology trends with

imminent market potential:


Commercial drones: When interacting
with Vijay Kumar of the University of
Pennsylvania, it is interesting to see his
research in cooperative drone swarm (http://
www.ted.com/talks/vijay_kumar_robots_
that_fly_and_cooperate?language=en). While
regulations are still to catch up and enable
the commercial potential of drones from
agriculture to film making, the technology
itself has gone beyond the inflection
point.Todays drones are a result of composite
material structures, rare-earth magnet
motors and nanotechnology batteries.Drone
parts can be 3D printed, controlled using
tablets and have a battery life of 10 minutes
to 30 minutes.In combination with cloud

Dr Katragadda, group chief technology officer, Tata


Sons, is responsible for technology at the Tata group
level, managing R&D operations, leveraging crosscompany synergies, creating technology strategies
for white spaces, and acting as an evangelist for
innovation across Tata companies.

July 2015

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TECH TALK

computing, artificial intelligence and chaos


theory, these drones are opening up a myriad
of applications.
Aggregator apps: A $50-billion valuation
for an app?That is Uber.Connecting sellers
and buyers directly for a fee of 20 percent
could be a pretty lucrative business. The
technology core to enable aggregation is the
low-power Bluetooth-based beacon.Beacons
use Bluetooth connections to transmit
messages or prompts directly to a smartphone
or tablet.Another technology being used
by Uber is cloud messaging, which is also
the technology which pushes messages and
updates to your smartphones. Beacons and
cloud messaging are set to revolutionise
the retail, transport and social businesses,
and enable the first consumer examples of
the Internet of Things.At Yale, Nicholas
A Christakis demonstrates the ability to
use social networking sciences for human
health benefits. As an example, Nicholas
demonstrates how to enable better adoption of
polio vaccines by identifying influencers in a
social network.
Genetic design platforms: Designing
an electromagnetic sensor, as an example,
involves utilising finite element or analytical
simulations of the sensor and varying
the sensor parameters until the design
specification is achieved.Imagine being
able to do the same with the DNA of a plant
and create a new plant that glows in the
dark or is optimised to produce hydrogen
fuel.This is exactly what is possible with
genome compilers such as http://www.
genomecompiler.com/.However, the challenge
of designing a specific outcome in something
living is not trivial.Also, biosafety tests and
regulations are evolving in various regions
to leverage the benefits of such technology,
while still maintaining the overall health
of the environment.As an example, Iftach
Yacoby and his team at Tel Aviv University
are working on the biotechnological design
of algal strains for increased hydrogen
production (http://www.tau.ac.il/~iftachy/
Welcome.html). Of course, gene editing

122 Tata Review

July 2015

for human benefit will also be eventually


possible.Immediate applications could include
a better understanding of genetic diseases.
Digital assistants: Microsoft has Cortana,
Apple has Siri, and then there is Google
Now.Even without an explicit digital personal
assistant, your smartphone keeps track of
your appointments, flight details, location,
traffic, and advises you when to leave for the
airport. The key is to let apps loose on your
privacy and let them have access to all your
data. The University of Michigan has launched
an open source computing platform, Sirius,
that has the potential to unleash the power
of digital assistants (http://ns.umich.edu/
new/multimedia/videos/22734-build-yourown-siri-an-open-source-digital-assistant).
The combination of cloud, smartphones and
wearables opens up applications from health
to speed-dating to a know-it-all consultant.
Immersive design and entertainment: 3D
TV has not taken off, nor have the numerous
heads-up virtual reality (VR) sets in the
market.The most recent developments of
VR headsets are from Samsung, Oculus Rift
(acquired by Facebook for $2 billion) and
Sony. The key word is presence.Presence is a
window into another world that heightens the
emotions gamers experience as they play.With
ultra-HD, wide-angle viewing, immersive
audio and low-latency response movement,
the promise of immersive gaming is big. I
myself would bet bigger on augmented-reality
social gaming which does not cut off the player
completely from the real world. In addition
to entertainment, immersive environments
play a key role in design. At Stanford, as an
example, an immersive environment is used to
design the automotive driving experience and
get feedback on the human-machine interface,
which has become a differentiator.
For each one of our businesses, it is
critical to figure out the disruption that can
be caused by commercial drones, aggregator
apps, genetic compilers, digital assistants and
immersive entertainment in our businesses.It
would be better to utilise these technologies to
drive profitable growth.