Mr K.S. Jayaraman – Autotech Industries

Mr K.S. Jeyaraman an alumnus of the 1971 batch of our Annamalai University is a Mechanical engineer. He hails from a village called Kalakkad in Tirunelveli district, his father was a teacher and his family had a number of teachers and most of them were musicians as well. He had his school education from Kalakkad and did his PUC from Paramakalyani college at Alwarkurichi another village in Tirunelveli district.

After completing his engineering from Annamalai University Mr Jeyaraman joined Rockweld electrode manufacturing company at Ambattur and worked for about 4 1/2 years. He then joined a company called Selvinds where he worked for about 10 years. Selvinds was offloading a lot of works like machining, turning, grinding to outside companies His sincerity, honesty, dedication and hard work made Mr Ramanathan Palaniappan (an other alumnus of Annamalai University and a member ofAUETAA and the managing director of Selvinds) take notice of this and came forward to tell Mr Jeyaraman something which not one in a million would tell !! Mr Ramanathan told Mr Jeyaraman to continue to work at Selvinds besides starting their own company where they would be offloaded with works from Selvinds !! This made Mr Jeyaraman get salary from Selvinds as well as profit from his company between the year 1984-1986. This was the greatness and magnanimity of Mr Ramanathan Palaniappan says Mr Jeyaraman who has such an amount of gratitude to his role model, mentor and a good samaritan. With security from the job as well as being an entrepreneur made Jeyaraman work with enormous zest, zeal, enthusiasm and confidence and that was how a company called Autotech industries Pvt Ltd was started. With his investment of Rs 10,000 (given by his father) Rs10,000 given by his partner Mr Rajarathinam and Rs 80,000 given by SBI and with Rs 1 lakh capital Autotech Industries was started.

Autotech Industries initially did job works of making automobile engine components like rockerarm (which is the core product even today), front mounting casting of starters for Lucas TVS and then for Tata Motors (Telco). Lucas TVS gave all support to develop and manufacture the product in all ways from finance to producing the end product. Tata Motors and Cummins joined together in 1994 as Tata Cummins and set up a plant in Jamshedpur and in 1995 started production. Autotech started supplying auto parts to them. Due to a huge dip in the auto industry in the year 1998 and because the plant was idle there was a thought that some of the products manufactured at Autotech could be used in the markets in the U.S. In those years when engineering exports were not common a bold decision was taken to export auto components particularly Rocker assemblies to the automobile manufacturers in the U.S. It took them about 2 years to get their product approved the result of which Mr Jeyaraman told was a turning point in his business. Clients in the U.S were very happy with the quality and since delivery schedules were also maintained business flourished. The clients included Volvo, John Deere, Scania, Iveco.

Process planning, Mr Jeyaraman said was very vital particularly while dealing with overseas clients since any early life failure would result in warranty claims and the trouble free distance expected for the fitment is 2 lakh Kms. Autotech exports about 80% of their manufacture and 20% catered to the domestic market. Overseas clients were happy because of the product consistency, delivery schedules and stocks maintained to cater to the needs in 2 ware houses in the U.S, 1 in Italy, 1 in Sweden with 9 week inventory schedule and 6 months sales forecast. With such a good quality product manufactured in their company Autotech did not need a marketing setup since the clients recommended them to more customers. When we asked Mr Jeyaraman about the setup which caters to such a large clientele he said that they have about 900 people working for them in 7 factories located in the Ambattur Industrial Estate. A notable point is that 40% of the people working are women who work on the CNC machines. Autotech has received a best of the best supplier award from Cummins and best quality supplier award from General Motors, U.S. Autotech became the pioneer in exporting engine parts.

For a business to be consistently successful and a steady progressive upward graph there has to be a strong set of underlying principles and values which determined a happily successful organisation and some of the factors which we have been able to gather are:

The Mission (the fundamental purpose of the organisation - what it wants to achieve, Vision (how the world should view Autotech), the values which drive the organisation culture and priorities which provide a framework on which decisions are made and the strategy's or road maps where a combination of end goals are set and policies which are the means by which it is seeking to get there made Autotech Industries move up consistently. Clarity is power and confusion is weakness. In a Formula racing car you hit what you see (road and the other cars and not anything else), For Mr Jeyaraman and Autotech Industries, Goal setting, Focus, Discipline, commitment, business ethics were the keys followed by loyalty, sincerity and many hours of time at work made has made Autotech Industries a leading manufacturer and exporter of automotive components. Mr Jeyaraman further said that his job is very simple: He takes care of the customers by supplying consistently quality products, delivered within time frames, taking care of all the employees - 90% of the employees have started with Autotech and still continue with them and there is very little man power turn over. Mr Jeyaraman's patience, teaching skills and interactions with all the employees helped this most important factor. His commitment to all the employees is that he would not send out anyone on his own accord except when the employees character has become bad. Any business would require finance and because Autotech Industries was able to maintain transparency and honour commitments they were only pleased to extend their helping hand. Transparency with the customers as well as employees helped in taking the business in top gear.

Autotech manufactures engine components, Transmission components, Hydraulic components, Axle components and fuel pump components. They are certified for TS 16949:2002 and ISO 14001. They have a flexibility in production system for low/high volumes. They have a single piece flow rocker arm assembly line with online washing upto packaging and having capacity to produce over 4 million/annum. They have the capability to prototype developments.

Mr Jeyaraman’s son Mr Suganth is a gold medallist from Anna University who went to MIT, Boston, U.S to do his Masters has joined Auototech. Mr Jeyaraman’s wife who used to work in an insurance company is a home maker. When we asked him about the ways he handles stress he simply said that there is no stress at all for him since he is always there in the “Present”, being proactive and responding to any situation the result of which keeps him energetic and looking forward to life.

When we asked him this question, about his message for the youngsters who would like to become entrepreneurs he said that there are plenty of opportunities in the industrial sector and anyone with real capabilities and a good Godfather/mentor could make it big in life. Mr Jeyaraman helps the really needy, helps in the restoration of temples, supports an old age home in Ambattur, participates in vedic chanting and he sponsors 3 students every year in engineering. In the year 2008 – 2009 when the AUETAA club building was being re-constructed, we requested him to give us Rs 5 lakhs as loan, he readily obliged and last year he told us to consider the loan given as his contribution to AUETAA club !!

At the end of the interview Anbalagan and I were so happy to have met a Great person in Mr K.S. Jeyaraman whose humility stood out, his transparency, focus, commitment, clarity of thoughts, discipline and business ethics has made Autotech a Great company.