Posted by V V RAGHAVAN with V V RAGHAVAN , On 5-Jan 2015

I joined M&M as a graduate engineer trainee on 14th September 1964 & was in machine shop till 1986. I was transferred to materials department as General Manager in that year. The materials team was simply superb & I was so eager to learn the nuances of the commercial aspects of transactions such as excise duty, sales tax etc. to make good savings for the company. After a year or two later, there came an announcement in papers that the truckers were going on strike as Government wanted the drivers to have some educational qualifications compulsory to handle perhaps documents properly. Most of the drivers employed by transporters never had any schooling at all.  So truckers were up in arms as talks with government failed. So a big Damocles Sword was hanging over our head on how to carry on production as in this strike, both sides were determined to “teach the other a lesson”.

                    We used to have a weekly session of sharing each one’s best practices & that helped executives to learn from each other on to do continuous improvements. Those days were such that vendors like MICO used to dictate what supply will be effected & when. One can at the most request them to make small changes [small change as perceived by us] like our need for 444 tractor pumps instead of 275 tractor pumps because of sudden demand etc. They will give what they wanted to give. Our officer in charge of MICO, Mr. Deshpande, used to know all the officers in the forward supply chain including the junior officers at the dispatch section of MICO, that with a phone call, he managed the changes to the schedule well. He understood the dynamics of the above team & manage their inter personal equations to get what he wanted. During our weekly meetings, such things were shared so that others can use these effectively wherever applicable.

                     During our meeting, I urged all of them that come what may, our production line should not come to a stand-still.  Immediately Mr. Sakhalkar, who was our best man at the computer dug out the shortages executive wise & we discussed what can be done. Quite a few were clear that they will get by train. Some vendors were in MIDC or other industrial areas in & around Mumbai city  & the transporters were guarding this area so as not to allow finished goods to be taken out thus to make their strike successful.  So some executives went at odd hours taking our company jeeps late in the evening when the strikers’ vigilance comes down & collected the material. Some other vendors from Vasai & nearer places brought material by bullock cart & we had to tell security to allow them as “they allow only trucks “. Another day, a bus turned up at the gate- full of crankshafts from Netalkar industries, Belgaum as sending by bus was faster. This bus after dropping all passengers was directed by one of our executive on how to come to Kandivli plant. Such was the team spirit that not one tractor was made less & even Mr. Devasia was wondering how we were managing to get material even as Auto division had come to a standstill quite a few days before.

                      It was such a pleasure working against the odds mainly because of noble intentions combined with fine team spirit of sharing knowledge & skills which continues to guide all executives even today. There are many more interesting ones & I will add them one by one.