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Genlite Saga

Posted in Uncategorized by K P Ramachandran on September 6, 2019

The Saga of Genlite is synonymous with the business life of K P Ramachandran (KPR)

The 80s – Formation and consolidation.

The seed of inception of GENLITE started when KPR resigned from his esteemed Bank Manager’s position at a renowned private Bank on the 31st of March 1983. He was joined by a colleague MJ Tommy and jointly they became the Directors of Genlite Private Ltd (GPL), a private limited company, registered in Calcutta with Calcutta ROC during Sep 1982. The company made a strategic decision to expand its business into South India and opened its Chennai office (Corporate Office) in April 1983. KPR took over as MD of the company and managed entire operations at the Chennai Head office at 126, Thambu chetty Street in Georgetown area. Shortly thereafter in Jun 1983, another branch of GPL was opened in Coimbatore with MJ Tommy managing as its head. In May 1983, KPR’s brother K P Unnikrishnan (KPU) joined the company as a Management executive and in Feb 1984 when the Bangalore Branch was opened, KPU took over as the head of Karnataka operations. During FY’85, factory activities were started on leased premises at Mount Road, Saidapet in Chennai and simultaneously on rented premises at Bommanahalli in Bangalore. In Jan 1986, the Kochi branch was opened and then General Manager, V Ramachandran (VR), took over as Head of Kerala operations. On 1st April 1986 the corporate head office was shifted to more spacious premises on the ground floor of 19, Mooker Nallamuthu Street in Chennai.

During 1988 the Directors of GPL mutually decided to separate and start their own activities. KPR started Genlite Diesels, (GD) a proprietary concern – the parent organization of present Genlite Group. Mr. Tommy started Genlite Sales and Service (GSS). Both organizations agreed to work as separate entities, but as associate concerns. The other directors of GPL continued with activities mainly based out of Calcutta.

Thereafter, in the same year, Genlite Diesels purchased its own factory premises at B2, SIDCO Industrial estate and shifted factory activities to the newly acquired premises. After this reorganization, GD took over all the businesses of GPL at Chennai, Bangalore and Kochi. All staff members of erstwhile GPL were confirmed as permanent employees of GD effective from 1st Jan 1990. On 29th Jan 1990 a new company, Genlite Generators Pvt Ltd. (GGPL), was incorporated. That was promoted by KPR and Mrs. Valsala Ramachandran. Mr. K.Suresh from Vijayawada and KPU also joined as Directors in GGPL. Mr. Suresh focused on managing the business in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The factory activities were shifted to Pondicherry in the name of GGPL during 1990. During this period, Genlite had a network of 12 dealers operating in over four southern states.

The 90s – Period of Liberalization/Globalization

Under the able leadership of KPR, Genlite went on to become the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) for big brands such as Kirloskar Oil Engines Limited (KOEL), Ashok Leyland and Caterpillar. All the principal companies rendered their full support to the company and Genlite soon became the best Genset OEM (GOEM) for KOEL, Leyland and Caterpillar engine-powered Gensets.

The goodwill generated by the Genlite group of companies in the South has built its own trademark of professionalism and quality. During April 1990 Genlite started factory activities in Kerala. And during FY’91, the factory at Pondicherry was shifted to new premises with advanced facilities. From 1993 onwards, Genlite also started exclusive annual corporate meets (called ‘Sangamam’) that were basically family get-together involving the Principal (KOEL), Dealers and the Genlite team. The very first Sangamam was at Kochi – in Bolgatti Island in Jan 1993. These Sangamams continued as an annual affair thereafter, wherein the entire Genlite ‘family’ got the opportunity to unwind and rejoice.

In July 1993, the untimely demise of Mr. Tommy (31/07) lead to the staff of Coimbatore region joining GGPL. Mr. Tommy’s son, Joe Tommy, took over as senior manager to manage the Coimbatore region. During November 1993, K P Gopinathan (KPG) brother of KPR joined as an Executive Director in GGPL and took charge of Pondicherry works. Then in 1997 (15th Dec), a new partnership firm was incorporated (Genlite Engineering) with KPR as the managing partner and both his daughters (Maya and Hema) as the other partners.

In the union budget of 1991 when the union cabinet opened up the economy, many global players started establishing their presence in India. By end of the 90s, engine manufacturers started to adopt a system of polarization and started asking GOEMs to opt for brand exclusivity. By 2000, Genlite had opted to stay with the Kirloskar group and became a leading GOEM for KOEL in the South. In order to closely service customers in the south of Tamilnadu, the Madurai Branch was opened in May 2000.

METAMORPHOSIS

The first decade of the new millennium saw a major transition in the Gensets business. At this point, KOEL wanted exclusivity from its partners and wanted Genlite to operate only in Tamilnadu, Pondicherry and Kerala. Accordingly, operations were withdrawn from Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Correspondingly KPU and Suresh resigned from GGPL. During 2005 the Ministry of Environment, Government of India brought out a new regulation for Diesel Generators that restricted the noise level limits of Generators to 75db(at a distance of one meter from the generator).This regulation forced all DG sellers to start making acoustic enclosures to reduce the engine noise to within 75db. Since the manufacturing of acoustic enclosures in large numbers required the use of CNC controlled punch machine and folding machine in addition to other sophisticated welding and painting equipment; continuing this business meant that the Gensets equipment assemblers would have to make huge investments in order to become full-fledged manufacturers. While the investment for Gensets assembly was approx. 15 to 20 lakhs, manufacturing of DG sets with acoustic enclosure needed approx. 10 to 15 crores of investment. Anticipating a good business opportunity, Genlite invested around 10 crores in 2005 to establish a factory at F63, SIPCOT Industrial Estate at Irungattukottai, Chennai with the requisite CNC machines to manufacture acoustic enclosures for generators, in technical collaboration with the Kirloskar group. During this time, the company decided to shift its corporate office to a more central area in Chennai. On 31st August 2005, the corporate office opened at 42, Sterling road in Nungambakkam. The newly equipped factory started its production on 4th January 2006. In order to increase the sales and market share, Genlite appointed around 20 dealers in their territory. And on 25th Jan 2007, Genlite Engineering was converted into a Private limited company, Genlite Engineering Pvt. Ltd. (GEPL) with KPR, Maya, Hema, KP Gopinathan and Valsala Ramachandran as its directors. While KPR managed the total management of the company as MD, Maya took charge of HR and Administration. Hema took control of marketing functions. KPG took charge of manufacturing. Hereafter the entire business and activities of Genlite group centered at GEPL.  During this period the company formed three Zones at Chennai, Coimbatore, Down South and entrusted the management respectively to G.Sam, Joe Tommy and K K Jayakumar General Managers and Kerala Zone continued with VR as its head. In July of the same year, Genlite opened its factory at Puthencruz to facilitate the sales in Kerala. In the Gensets industry, Genlite became the market leader in Kerala and Tamilnadu and Genlite is Genset for many people in these zones.

And in May 2009, the Trivandrum branch was opened to cater to the business in southern Kerala which was brought under Down South Zone.. And as the overall sales increased, Genlite acquired additional factory space at F83 in SIPCOT Industrial estate to augment production (25th Feb 2013). Meanwhile, the corporate office was shifted to a more spacious place at 57, Officers Colony, Mehta nagar in 2014 (1st August). As Hema wanted to pursue higher studies overseas she left Genlite activities during FY17. Subsequently, she relinquished the Directorship. Accordingly the marketing functions were assigned to respective Zonal heads.

During this period Koel wanted to give more thrust on the higher HP segment (200 KVA and above). Genlite developed an exclusive HHP team for all Zones and selected experienced personnel to handle this business. Mr.Pramod Kumar, General Manager, was appointed to head this segment. Genlite was the first among all the GOEMs to take this step. From FY’17 onwards, Genlite’s HHP sales have grown by leaps and bounds. Understanding the capability and competence of Genlite’s team, KOEL annexed the state of Telengana also to Genlite, effective from FY’18. A branch was opened at Hyderabad on 3rd Dec 2017 to manage the sales in Telengana. And in order to have a better control of management activities, the directors of Genlite decided to form a top management committee comprising of all working Directors, Zonal heads, HHP head and CFO in Dec 2017. This committee was asked to conduct meetings (either in person or via digital means such as Skype, teleconference, etc.) once every 45 days to discuss and decide on marketing, production, human resources and finance/accounting matters. The committee was empowered to take policy decisions on these matters in these meetings and to minute them.

During these three decades Genlite got many reputed customers like Railways, APSRTC, NTPC, IOCL, BPCL , HPCL, IBP, SBI, AIR and DD, CPWD, BSNL, KINFRA, Tuticorin Port Trust, NPCL, CMC; private companies like Tata, L&T, Nestle, Ramalinga group of Cotton Mills; telecom companies like Airtel, Idea, Vodafone; various colleges and educational institutions like the Jeppiar Group and many leading corporate customers like ESAF Bank, Equitas Bank, Flipkart, Curefoods, BITS, Kalyan Jewellers, and the Hatsun group.

A look at the numbers will show that while Genlite was manufacturing and selling around 2158 gensets (worth 108 crores approx.) in FY’09; Genlite has produced and sold 5841 Gensets in FY’19 achieving a turnover of 256 crores and also becoming the No.1 GOEM in India for selling the maximum number of DG sets. Genlite has got the maximum number of dealers (27 dealers) covering over four states and has also conducted 22 Sangamams over the years in various destinations both in India and abroad.

(Genlite is a registered trade mark of the group of Genlite concerns owned by KPR)

 

 

 

My Memoirs at Federal Bank – Part II

Posted in Uncategorized by K P Ramachandran on June 11, 2019

Tumultuous seventies, in a spree of socio-political reforms Indira Gandhi was toying with the idea of nationalising private Banks. Fear of take over seized the Federal Bank too. Our MD made a pre-emptive strike by confirming all trainees as clerks. On January 1970 I became a permanent staff on the payrolls of Federalbank. My monthly salary was around Rs.200/. It was a lot more huge a sum than now. For a comfortable sustenance covering boarding and lodging , Rs.100/ was enough in those days in Trivandrum. I still had another 100 for personal indulgences. My salad days! Federalbank was expanding its network base at incredible succession. Not a week passed without a branch being opened somewhere in the State. A branch was opening at Poochakkal too – 3/4 kilometres from my home at Thycattusserry. Obviously I was one of the first to be counted for the branch. The prospect did not attract me. The image of a bank  clerk- that too a scheduled Private Bank- would not fit into the expectations of our village folk about me. My father commanding a status and respect of an upper middle class family his son was destined to occupy a position above the clerk in social reckoning in those days. Banking job has appreciated phenomenally since then and today a banking job is a dream job for even professionally and academically brilliant youth. Hence I requested our MD to reconsider my posting to Poochakkal. But the MD in his characteristic persuasive tone asked me to clear away my misconceptions and get ready for the new assignment. I was going to be posted there as what would appear to be the second in command. I would be able to play a much bigger and responsible role than anywhere else as a clerk. He assured my father who was sceptical from the very beginning, that he won’t have to regret long, for his son would be senior manager not long before and that bigger prospects awaited him. He made it a point to invite my father as a dignitary at the inaugural function of the Poochakkal branch.

MD’s words were prophetic. They were not mere propitiatory promises made to please a father who was not impressed with his son’s banking job. My term at Poochakkal opened for me a field of experience that involved me at the entire gamut of banking from seed to fruit. Poochakkal was a typical rural Bank. It was to be the trusted financial institution of a whole village community for all their needs. The style of functioning was more personalised than institutionalised. Each customer wanted to feel that it was his Bank and a personal warmth underlay all dealings. The manager Joseph Maveli himself a native forged links with customers appropriate to their standing and worth. During those formative months at Poochakkal I became unconsciously morphed in to a banker. I had been customised as a full fledged banking professional by the time I was promoted and posted at Alleppy as Accountant.

 

 

My memoirs at Federal Bank – Part I

Posted in Uncategorized by K P Ramachandran on June 5, 2019

What you turnout to be after the age of 25 will be decided by the three or four things you do or don’t do in the closing years of your teenage. My academic performance at SMSJ High school and Sacred Heart College, Thevara would suggest that I was heading to a top professional destination in Medicine. The BSc (special) Zoology – supposedly equivalent of BSc (Honours) – was deemed to be a corridor to a profession in Medicine. ( My best friend and companion in the college Sashi retired few years back from AIIMS as a Professor of Medicine.) But time  condemned it as an utterly ill-conceived educational experiment that sacrificed a whole generation of promising adults. I was fated to be one. After BSc I joined the Trivandrum Law college in 1969, not with any compulsive ambitions in judiciary. I was just joining a course that would not block or disqualify me to take up some decent job in future. Options for a law graduate were as open as any other baccalaureate. Any degree was a threshold for any job in the sixties and in the seventies with the exception of engineering and medical profession. I took the plunge and moved to Trivandrum .in. The year was 1969. When in doubt play the trump – as elders would advise at card play. Similarly ‘ if you can’t decide what is best for you , move to Trivandrum.’ The city will decide what’s best for you and groom you for the same. I had no apprehensions, nor my family had any. There was Kuruppuchettan ( PNS Kurup of Local funds) who used to be the acknowledged patron for all who migrated to Trivandrum from our village.The grandear of the capital city,the incessant regularity of cultural events , theatres, visits of dignitaries, the homeliness of the circle of friends, the evening walk from Palayam to East fort that would cover all that  was to be seen and known in the city in those days….Life fell in to settled routine.

I had not gone far in to Law before I chanced upon an advertisement by Federal Bank inviting graduates for graduate trainees in the Bank. I was not too eager to take up a banking job, nor was I too desperate to divorce Law. It was a casual decision to try my luck with the Bank. During the interview MD of the Federal Bank gave me two options- either to join Bank immediately as a trainee and seek promotion as officer after 2 to 3 years or to proceed with law degree and join the Bank as an officer on completion. I opted for immediate recruitment bracing to face destiny as it came on its own terms. I was posted as a graduate trainee at the Palayam branch of the Bank. At the prime age of 21 I became an employee of the Bank and joined the inmates of Cochin lodge where my patron PNS was staying along with his friends.

GENLITE is All India No.1

Posted in Uncategorized by K P Ramachandran on May 21, 2019

The FY19 saw stagnant growth for most of the industries all over the world due to economic recession. It was bad year for genset industry also. However, FY19 was a landmark year  for Genlite as they could achieve 13% growth in number of gensets sold and in the process reached No.1 position among all GOEMS in Koel domestic genset sales. As against the sales of 5170 numbers made in FY18, Genlite achieved a sales figure of 5841 in FY 19 which was the highest sales figure by any GOEMs for sales in India. It is also noteworthy to mention that Genlite could increase Higher HP genset sales thereby increased gross value sales by 15 %. In the sales of Higher HP gensets Genlite could register 24% growth. I consider the following factors as the Genlite’s strength for reaching the no.1 position.

  1. Sales team of time tested professionals catering to the needs and expectations of customers.
  2. Strong Goodwill backed up with Growing customer base.
  3. Dedicated Dealer Network spread over four states.
  4. Rapport with KOEL nurtured over last four decades based on convergence of interests and common goals.

We keep our Goodwill unimpaired and well fortified against all odds and treacherous undercurrents in this highly competitive market scenario. Our motto is building trust and a lifetime bond with our customers.

SMILE

Posted in Uncategorized by K P Ramachandran on February 19, 2019

Many leaders fail to win the situations.

Life can get rocky some times; unplanned detours can waylay even the best laid plans. It is easy to get caught up in the stress and misery of our world. Something simple as smile can change the world and win the situation. There is a saying;

“Use your smile to change the world; do not let the world change your smile.”

Charlie Chaplin once said, ‘you will find that life is still worthwhile, if you just smile. ‘But, true smile will come only if you are humble. For this you should expel the anger, ego and jealousy from your mind permanently. If, due to anger, if you shout at anybody only dissent and discord will result.

Once my best competitor asked me ‘Tell me KPR, how to make you angry since I cannot fight with you when you keep smiling.’

Smiling leads to happiness which in turn, creates a positive contribution to society. And happiness, studies show, increases your productivity.

Smiling stimulates our brains reward mechanisms in a way that even chocolate, a well regarded pleasure inducer, cannot match. Mother Teresa told: ‘We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do. ‘

It is told that Monalisa became one of the most famous paintings of all time possibly because of her unique smile.

Bless those around you today, with your smile.

 

 

Trembling incidents

Posted in Uncategorized by K P Ramachandran on January 1, 2019

First such incident happened when I was in my teenage. In my village we used to have pond where we used to take bath. The pond used to have stone steps and bathing shelter for privacy. It was peak monsoon time. I went for bath with my eldest and youngest brothers. Eldest brother was taking care of us as the pond was in spate due to heavy rains. I took a swim for a few yards and the youngest was guided to swim a little by my eldest brother. Once I finished I came to the upper step and was changing my dress after drying my body. The youngest one was sitting on one step above water waiting for my eldest to come and wipe his wet hair. He was short and was only 7 or 8 years old. As I was on my job I saw the young one was under water and his two arms were only above water level. He wanted to move to one lower step to stand in water but slipped to lower level and was sinking. On seeing this I rushed to him quickly and lifted him out of water. Even though he drank some water he was out of danger. The eldest brother was swimming to the middle of the pond and was not seeing this. This was a shivering experience in my life.

Another jittery incident occurred when I was in my first year degree in SH College, Kochi. My father came to Kochi to visit his doctor. He wanted me to join him at the clinic. After the work was over we went for some refreshments in the coffee house. Then I accompanied him to the bus stop. The buses were crowded and he had to run along to board the bus.  As the bus started before he could get hold of the rod above, in the impact he started falling backwards almost out of the bus through the open door of the bus. On seeing this I ran fast along, stepped on to the foot board, got inside the bus and held my father. All the passengers sighed in relief since it averted a tragedy. I could not sleep that day as this incident shook me.

 

Solitude

Posted in Uncategorized by K P Ramachandran on November 22, 2018

 

In the advancing years of life, people long for solitude. In solitude their mind gains strength and learns to lean upon itself. Solitude is refreshment for their souls and creativity’s best friend. People of advanced age normally likes to keep low profile. This may be due to the bone of contention with younger generation. At this stage solitude will be a bliss. It is the joy of being alone and empowering.

I love solitude.

In my present age when I am partially getting off from work , the few hours of freedom I get  ( solitude ) gives me opportunity to introspect. In solitude I can talk to my soul and listen to my heart. Mostly, I find the answers.

I am sure that meeting and chatting with my old friends definitely gives me refreshment. But due to the exigencies of today’s life it is difficult to achieve this. The digital platform definitely helps me to chat thru media and helps me to some extent . In solitude, I am able to bring to my mind and visualise those days I spent with my friends . It is relaxing and helping to bring relief from the effects of tension, anxiety etc.

Attitude

Posted in Uncategorized by K P Ramachandran on November 10, 2018

ATTITUDE

I recollect a Panchathantra story I read years back.

A merchant who was doing lending business in his town wanted to go for pilgrimage . He asked his son to manage the business in his absence. He asked his son to see the past records for necessary guidance. But, the young son was a conceited person who thought he knew better than his father. He thought he would use his wisdom to do better business to prove his mettle. In the first week of his business a small vendor came to him for a loan for his small business. As he was a pavement vendor and was not having any security to offer other than his personal assurance the young merchant refused to loan him. The vendor told him that his dad used to give him money as and when required. He also added that he was prompt in repayment. But the young Banker was not convinced and returned the vendor disappointed. This happened with other small traders as well. The young merchant approached big clients like jewellers, textile showrooms etc offering loans. One diamond merchant opposite to his shop asked for a large amount. The Banker was happy to lend him money even without any security as he was having a large shop. After few years the old merchant came back and took over the business. On verification of the accounts he found that large amount was receivable and repayments were in defaults. He has also noticed that the son has advanced to unreliable people. After assessing the position as a whole the old merchant called his son and told that he did not heed to his advice and financed to bad clients. He told that the small  vendor used to repay the loan promptly . The jewellery merchant was not reliable and was a defaulter in the market. He added that a trader used to become creditworthy  by paying promptly to his creditors. He told that the small vendor who was refused loan was always prompt and was having an attitude to repay his debts on time and was dependable.

The young person learned from his mistake.

The Transformation

Posted in Uncategorized by K P Ramachandran on September 5, 2018

I fondly remember and cherish the pubescent days of my life in the native village. That was around  50 to 60 years back. Life was more enjoyable and delightful compared to todays. Digital inventions or artificial intelligence were not heard of on those days. Even though telephones and electricity were not available people were happily living together. People were in general empathetic towards fellow citizens. They used to help each other. I have seen the following features on those lives compared to today’s nuclear families.

People used to do odd jobs freely for their needy neighbours   like painting, changing of thatch palms, cleaning of the ponds/ wells Etc. Houses were kept open during day time for neighbours to frequent. Even the walkways to other parts  used to pass through various houses. Well water used to be pure and sweet like mineral water. Ponds used to be there in most houses which were kept clean for bathing. Children used to swim in the ponds. Fruits and vegetables were totally free from pesticides as those were grown organically in house yards. People used to gather together in the evenings to chat. Children used to play in the play grounds or temple grounds. Most of the people used to be busy in their farm works or trades and were doing their jobs honestly. People used to walk miles to go to neighbouring places. This has kept most of the people healthy. All the festivals were celebrated jointly by all. Religious harmony was much better than today. While brooding over the depressing state of mind in the old age I used to remember those childhood days to delight my mind. But, today those things are foregone in my village also. Wells and ponds are rare today. The advancement of digital life has taken away all those advantages. The temple grounds are empty. The remaining few ponds or wells are not usable. Roads have come connecting all houses. The village walkways passing thru  houses are not there today. Many people do not know each other. Today, while we can make video calls to people living in other continents we do not know our neighbours. Digital advancement has made man more self-centred.

Genlite’s Performance in FY18

Posted in Uncategorized by K P Ramachandran on April 4, 2018

The financial year 2017 – 18 was very special for Genlite. During the second part of the year Genlite was appointed by KOEL as an additional GOEM for Telengana state mainly to augment growth in that state in addition to TN/Kerala and Pondicherry. Genlite has proved this right by performing well during the four months after their inception in that State. Genlite sold 5170 gensets in their territory during the report year as against 4583 sold in the  previous year registering 13% growth. Genlite has also registered 18% growth in value sales mainly due to increase in higher HP genset sales. While they sold 239 HHP sets in the previous year, their sales jumped to 324 HHPsets in FY 18. They could also sell 17 nos CRDI sets ( 750 KVA and above ) as against only 3 nos in FY17. It is also noteworthy to mention here that all these CRDI sales were achieved in a market dominated by Cummins for many years. Genlite could also become only the second GOEM in the country to surpass 5000 numbers. I feel this achievement , at a time when most of the GOEMs were struggling for growth , was due to the dedication and hard work  of Genlite team and their KGDs. I have to add here that the support they received from KOEL made the  work easier.  I request all  Genlite team mates to draw inspiration from this sterling performance and work for more achievements in FY19.

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