Alleviating the Business Intricacies: Ramphal Nehra
ASME NIT Rourkela Chapter hosted its first-ever version of EFx, witnessing some of the best keynote addresses. Mr. Ramphal Nehra, Senior General Manager at Tata Cummins Private Limited, had an interactive session with the students of NITR at the Bhubaneswar Behra Auditorium on September 8th,2018. On a tranquil Saturday evening, team Monday Morning had an opportunity to know more about his journey and to gain an insight into his professional life. Here is an excerpt from the same.
Monday Morning (MM): Please let us know where do you hail from, and a little about your childhood.
Ramphal Nehra (RN): My native place is in Karnal which is very close to Kurukshetra, Haryana. It's a very booming region with an amiable populace. I belong to a family of farmers, although my father was a teacher. Most of my childhood was spent in the village. I went to a government school till matriculation. And as the village education was not up to the standard, I decided to move to the nearest town. As far as the quality of education is concerned, I was fortunate enough to be the son of a teacher as I got special attention. I always used to be in the top three of my school and I did reasonably well.
MM: Please share with us about your life at BITS Pilani, where you pursued your B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering Technology.
RN: The environment one finds at BITS Pilani is that of Gurukul. Apart from infrastructure and other facilities, the beauty of the college was that they stressed more on experimentation. As compared to other professional colleges, attendance was not mandatory at BITS Pilani. They emphasized more on self-study. The hostel environment was also very good and the quality of faculty was phenomenal there. So I enjoyed my time to the fullest there.
MM: You are a post-graduate in Executive Management Programme, Business Administration and Management from S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research. So how do you see MBA as an important perspective for one's career?
RN: It depends on what one wants to achieve in his/her life. One should not go with the herd mentality. MBA certainly adds value to one’s career. It helps someone in understanding business and can shape your career in entrepreneurship. It gives a lot of insight in understanding the business intricacies, how the business functions, market research, etc. So it starts from product conceptualization to attracting the customers. Although I did my Masters from S.P.Jain, from the core, I knew that I was an engineer. MBA helps to think rationally. It gives many concepts about doing business. And common sense and some framework are what makes MBA much more valuable. In an engineering programme, there are certain courses related to management like operation research, engagement with people etc. So basically MBA is not mandatory to run any business model.
MM: You served as an engineer at Eicher Tractors for a period of six years. How was your experience working there?
RN: Eicher which is an Indian company is a benchmark when it comes to professionalism. And the kind of freedom and scope that Eicher gives to its professional management is exceptionally good. And that brings accountability among the employees. Eicher used to be a benchmark in HR practices for professionals. So it was a very enriching experience for me working with Eicher.
MM: Please elucidate your role as a general manager at Tata Cummins.
RN: I started with operations at TATA Cummins. I was a part of the transition from BS II (Bharat Stage II) to BS III. A lot of engineering sources had to be deployed to get ourselves fit for market technologies. Also, a lot of investment and development goes into the process. We were traveling to the suppliers and working in the field, which gave me much insight. In today's scenario, most of the value addition is done by the supply chain. In an engineering organization like Cummins, 80% of the value added comes from suppliers. So the suppliers are major stakeholders for our success. I emphasized on managing supplier, understanding their perspective. So I was very much involved in understanding how to run a business, supply basis for business which also gave me an opportunity to engage with a lot of external people; which helped me to grow over the profession. Now I feel very confident about the launch of any new product, its design, and how the supply base needs to be ready.
MM: What were some of the strategies adopted by you as a Business Unit Leader in executing the operations at Cummins?
RN: When will talk about big organizations, normally the smaller units are a part of it. And all actions taken are in alliance to achieve bigger goals at the corporate level. So when it comes to operations or heading a business, I think about technology. And we can buy technologies by investing money. But we cannot buy people nor their capabilities. When we assess people in an organization, maximum weight goes to attitude. Attitude is something which creates all difference. As an organization, we look for people who have a positive attitude towards life, work and this helps them to stand apart from others. So in an organization like Cummins, we need to invest in people to develop those capabilities. We also have to spend a significant amount of time in mentoring and coaching the team members, to gain their speed, develop their skill set and boost their confidence. So I was very passionate about employee development. And I feel very privileged to have worked with many people.
MM: How has technology been a driving factor for you as a Sourcing and Supplier Quality leader?
RN: Technology is something which makes all the difference and in India, we lag in this respect. We don’t think about bigger opportunities. The typical mentality of people is to put an infrastructure and manage everything. They don’t think about capabilities. We will be wasting additional skills, effort and investment the nation does if we don’t exploit technology.
MM: How was your overall experience at NITR and interacting with the students?
RN: I am in the awe of the campus. It is rightly placed in the lap of nature. The greenery and infrastructure facilitate the learning process of students and provide them with a good environment. While interacting with the students, I found the NITR junta quite enthusiastic and full of life. There is a great sense of teamwork among students, which is highly essential in every sphere of life. It feels great to see that the youth is so full of talent and our nation has got a storehouse of energy in the form of you people.
MM: On a concluding note, what message would you like to give to the readers?
The most important thing I would like to tell people is that never give up on anything. There is no one in the world who does not fail. And failure is the stepping stone to success. We may fail once or twice or numerous times, but if we keep on trying harder, we will definitely succeed. This success after repeated failures would be worth taking pride in.