S.R. Subramaniam – Head L & T Machinery
"Work is worship" is an old proverbial phrase which means that there might not be a better way to worship God except to be hardworking and follow the path of karma yoga. All greatness is possible as a result of hard work over extended periods of time.There is no substitute to hard work. That on which you invest time grows and on which you don't perishes. "God helps those who help themselves" is an other old proverb which could mean that one has to be hardworking, diligent, sincere and honest. Success is sweet but it does not come by itself unless hardwork is involved. Extremely happy to meet Mr S.R. Subramanian (1976 M) - Member - IC Board, Executive VP and Head of Larsen & Toubro Limited - Machinery and Industrial Products Division who by sheer hard work, genuine interest in work, sincerity, determination and dedication topped with leadership and managerial qualities has reached this elite position. Above all he is a people's man and therefore a natural leader.!!
SRS hails from Othapalam village which is near Palghat. His father Late Mr Ramakrishnan worked with EID Parry and as a result of his father's transferable job in the geological deparment the family with the parents and grand parents, his two sisters and one brother, SRS and his siblings had to do their schooling in coimbatore, Trichy and Velur (near Salem) SRS did his PUC from St.Josephs college, Trichy. The campus life in EID Parry helped him/his family develop long term friendship not just with individuals but as families, enjoying brotherhood within the fraternity, and connecting with all his father's colleagues who worked for the company. Apart from that there were a few more important aspects of living within a colony - it helped in developing discipline, get knowledge about politics, education, employment, finance, health, sports and many more besides learning to be more tolerant all of this which shaped the personality of SRS. There were tennis courts, table tennis tables, coaches and he thrived in the colony life - a family within a large family. He had then represented the school level in the state Billiards championship. With freedom and harmony prevailing the atmosphere in the house was just great. In 1971 SRS joined Annamalai University and did very well to pass out with distinction from the Mechanical engineering faculty in 1976. He was also the University captain in tennis. He has great reverence to his teachers, both at school and University who were just not just parting with data, information and knowledge from the books but some of them were instrumental in shaping his mind as well !! When one has reverence and respect to "that" source of knowledge the knowledge would ever be available at the time of need. This one aspect alone would take him places and which has...
In 1976 SRS joined Hindusthan Motors Ltd (EED) Earth moving equipment division in Thiruvallur as a Management Trainee. The products manufactured by the Earth Moving Equipment Division is used in the construction industry to shift large amounts of earth, dig foundations and landscape areas. Earth moving equipment include excavators, bulldozers, compressors and loaders. After the training period SRS was absorbed as a General Foreman in the Production department. Studying is one thing, seeing it in action is something else and SRS loved action. 2 years out of college and when his professional life was slowly getting set he had an emotional setback when his father died. His role model and the person whom he adored and emulated a lot fell as a victim to lung cancer. Years of smoking had taken its toll on his father and for SRS this one habit of his father he wouldn't emulate. His father was his role model since he was loving, kind, gentle and a very hard working person. He would go to work very early in the day and perhaps would be the last person to leave back from work. Children learn from the parents not from what they say but from what they do and SRS has taken this characteristic trait of working hard and being a good team man after his father. After performing well as a General foreman he was promoted as a Superintendent when he improved shop efficiency by over 20% and asset availability by 96%. When he became the Production Manager he introduced zero defect program and also reduced warranty cost by 20%. He built excellent labour relationship, improved quality levels significantly, actively promoted the Juran program (Organizational health check) and also trained extensively in U.S and U.K. Simultaneously he was made Product support Manager and Sales Manager and he showed results by improving the market share among private customers by about 14% over 3 years, brought in a system then to monitor product availability, extensively involved in Dealer development in Eastern and Northern Zone and increased sales by 7% in 1989. SRS was also instrumental in making the dealers open additional branch offices and made a special team on application study to help customers in decision making process for better ROI.
Between 1989 -1993 as Marketing Manager at the Hosur plant SRS expanded the application of products to cover material handling area, increased sale of transmissions with new applications by 10%, expanded sales in spare parts by 25% through additional dealers, addition of New OEM's and sales touched 1000 transmissions and improved the sales by 22%.
Between 1994 - 1997 as AGM Operations SRS built the new facility at Pondicherry, in record time right from buying the land, making the blue print for the factory to construction, to recruitment to completion of the project up to P & L that went into production in September 1994. This milestone got him the recognition from the Chairman Mr----------------.. The new facility built 300 loaders and sold them in 1996 and this translated into a big jump in the turnover. Simultaneously he was building a team of all new employees and set an example of great team work with highest value addition per employee and excellent culture. It was then the new Fermee backhoe loader with a high local content was introduced in 1996.
Between 1997 - 1999 as General Manager Hindusthan Motors - Earth moving equipment division at Thiruvallur he played a pivotal role in clinching business to the value of $ 20 Mn from Coal India and also paved way to clinching orders from Bokaro steel. He played a vital role in improving profitability with increase in prices drive with value selling. The Market share for Dumpers increased to 55%, Loaders to 70%. The major focus in Dealer support from a strong factory team earned him laurels from major customers who supported in increased business. At this time 3033 Tractor was launched.
Between 2000 - 2001 as Vice President Hindusthan Motors, Thiruvallur - EED with about 1200 employees managing the profit centre played a vital role in the DDR study undertaken by Caterpillar Inc for taking over Hindusthan Motors, Earth Moving Equipment Division.
Between 2001 - 2003 as Vice President of Caterpillar India, Thiruvallur and reporting to the CMD, SRS brought in major organizational changes for aligning with CAT Model, drive on cost reduction, efficiency improvements, launched CAT branded product 424 Backhoe launched with a high local content of 60% launched all over India as well a big export order to Algeria.
Between 2003 - 2006 as Director - Global sourcing Asia Pacific covering India, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand and was responsible for all spends in those regions with a total spend value of $ 260 Mn. He was also Director in CAT India Board. SRS brought in Major changes in supply chain - Class A. In recognition of his contribution to the company SRS was invited by the Chairman Mr Jim Owens in 2005 to the U.S at Wharton along with Global CEO's to participate in a special Leadership program for 2 weeks. This was a top Management program and SRS benefited a great deal for managing a large scale enterprise. SRS was also responsible to introduce SPM, QCLDM (quality, costs, logistics, development and Management), SPQ introduction in India for their company and was extensively traveling in Asia and U.S for enhancing business.
Between 2006 - 2010 Dec SRS was Chief Executive of L & T Komatsu Limited. operating out of Bangalore. A 50/50 JV between the Indian Giant Engineering company Larsen and Toubro and the Global Leader Komatsu engaged in the manufacture of Hydraulic excavators and was responsible for overall P & L.
From 2011 Jan SRS is a Member IC Board and Executive Vice President of L & T Machinery and Industrial Products Division (MIP) which are the two strategic business groups (SBG). The Machinery SBG consists of construction and mining machinery, Rubber Processing Machinery and Foundry Business Units. The construction and mining machinery equipments manufactured by L & T construction equipment Limited (formerly L & T Komatsu Ltd) include the entire range of Equipment available from Komatsu worldwide. Hydraulic excavators and hydraulic components (through L & T Construction equipment Limited, in Bangalore), dozers, dumpers, wheel loaders, motor graders and tipper trucks are their products. The manufacturing unit of the rubber processing Machinery is set up in Manapakkam (in Chennai) and Kancheepuram that meets the needs of the tyre and rubber industry worldwide. L & T (Quingdao) rubber machinery company Ltd China is a subsidiary company that develops and supplies tyre curing presses and other rubber processing machinery. L & T Kobelco Machinery Pvt Ltd a joint venture with Kobe steel of Japan manufactures internal mixers, and twin screw roller-head extruders for the tyre industry. L & T's Foundry a state of the art casting manufacturing Unit is in Coimbatore with an annual capacity of 30,000T, they manufacture castings in the weight range of 3 T to 28 T.. The Industrial product (SBG) consists of business related to Industrial valves, welding equipment & products and cutting tools.
"Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life"
is a quote by Confucius although there is a big difference between a job and a career. In a career no matter how many hours you work you do it because you find it satisfactory and is also paying. SRS's career was smooth and steady and although he travels a lot and invests so many hours at work he is not enervated at the end of the day. Behind every successful man there is a woman is an other old proverb and SRS's wife proves just that by being the backbone of the family. Harmony in the house was a major factor for his undivided attention at work and SRS's wife who worked with SBOA school in Anna Nagar, Chennai left her career as a teacher to take care of their 2 sons. Now both the sons are happily working in the U.S and there is so much fulfillment for the mother. SRS treats both his sons as friends and complete freedom has been given to the sons with only one advice of being responsible for their actions.
When I asked SRS about his approach to Business he replied saying," Every Business Unit has its products, Technology in Process and Product and the Market.To improve the business in this highly competitive world it would be imperative to bring in innovation in the complete business process. From where you are to where you want to be you need the support of people. The team of employees and the top Management have to work together on continous improvement on all spheres of business and lay a well defined solid path for the future to take the Business Unit forward. The 3 P's - People, Performance and Profitability are the prime areas which need a 360 degree alignment with the vision and CSF's - Critical success factor for the organization. SRS would score high in the "Robin scale" a multidimensional scale for measuring business ethics. His advice to youngsters is to be patient and not get frustrated, persevere, listen more, talk less which is precisely the reason God has given us two ears and one mouth. SRS is passionate about teaching and when he retires he wants to work in a school or college. His extensive traveling locally as well as globally for many years has taught him to be temperamentally better and increase in flexibility which are life skills. He says talent in India is so much that has not reached their potential but would soon reach. While dealing with any critical issues he would ask people for their options and also tell them to think if they were in his shoes what would have been the best choice. This got him many ways os solving the problem and enabled him to chose the best of options.
During his recent visit to address the students at IIT Trichy he said that the manufacturing sector could record tremendous growth if there was a synergy between engineers and Managers which would bring in innovations. He added that several Global companies have set their design units here, global designs are taking place and innovations would take place with manufacturing sector as the backbone with value added manufacturing in place in a few years from now. His talk at PSG Coimbatore early this year was also well received. SRS told me that the best place to test oneself is to talk to bright students which would assess ourselves since students ask good questions. It is also good for the students to share our experiences which would help them in their career growth.
For a man who is almost all the time a transit passenger still manages to find time to walk on the roads/parks or treadmill and ensures that he sweats after the workout and is very careful about his diet and takes it at the right times for SRS strongly feels that perhaps Good Health is the Best Wealth.
At the end of the interview i thanked Mr S.R. Subramanian (1976 M) for his valuable time parting with so much insights from his experiences which would be useful to all of us as well as our children. He is a peoples man and always asks himself if he has created a value for the organization, if he has made people comfortable, if he has done done something differently. Glad to have met SRS to whom "Success is a journey and not a destination".