Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Guest Lecture: Mr. D. J. Syam (Retd. AGM, BHEL)

Investment in R&D is the need of the hour

DoMS is never short of interaction with industry leaders. And we again had such an opportunity on 22nd Jan 2013 to meet Mr. D. J. Syam, retired AGM, BHEL. Mr. Syam has over 39 years of vast industry experience with around 32 years in BHEL. He has authored three books and fourth is in the press, on various business topics. 

The session started with welcoming Mr. D. J. Syam by Dr. Rangnekar, HoD, DoMS and Prof. J. L. Gaindhar, president of alumni association, IIT Roorkee. Then a brief profile was introduced to him. Mr. Syam was particularly interested in department magazine and also exhibited enthusiasm for contributing to it. The speaker began the conversation with a note that it is better to have pre-exposure to industry. Fresh starters would need more mentoring and in the current environment where people and organizations have less time for providing training, it would be a difficult situation for the beginners.

He then went on to discuss various aspects of business such as salient issues in industrial administration, management processes and basic operational system in an industrial organization and globalized competitive business environment. He gave some real life examples related to operational challenges and suggested ways to avoid them. He also talked about the challenges India faced in 1970s its pursuit of technological advancement. He describes what issues India faced, how Siemens lent a helping hand and then GE followed the suit. Additionally he cautioned that no technology is evergreen. Like a product, a technology too has a life cycle and hence focus should be on optimization.

Mr. Syam also touched upon the corporate governance. He explained deviation from ethics is one of the main reasons behind the failures. The cases of Satyam and Adidas were referred to substantiate the point. Mr. Syam also spoke about lack of R&D and particularly the less participation of the private sector. He appreciated the positive role of public sector companies in this regard. He however agreed that there is a need for more investment in R&D area. He compared the R&D expenditure between Indian and global companies as well as research and innovations outputs. According to him, R&D is directly related to the investment.

He then explained the various support functions such as material management, quality management & control, marketing and sales or commercial coordination, finance and accounts, IT and lot more. He discussed the roles and importance of these areas. Lastly he concluded with a discussion on industrial organization structure.

Towards the end of the session, a note of thanks was delivered by Prof. J. L. Gaindhar to the speaker. Overall it was an insightful session and covered several topics. The real life example and views would definitely be helpful for the future leaders.

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