Re-imagine: the new mantra for success
With a diverse experience of consulting with some of the iconic businesses in India, Vijay Menon’s
interaction at B-HIP 2018 was insightful. Read and know for yourself…
Vijay Menon, key-speaker for B-HIP 2018 presented business ideas through inspiring presentations of stories from
India’s iconic business successes to a humble and inspiring teacher from Dakshin Kannada.
BMPA’s annual general meeting is always a purposeful learning and social event; never a mere business transaction to meet the compliance requirements. Popular among the members as High Point, this year it was branded as B-HIP 2018 – short for BMPA High Point 2018. Young and hip indeed it was thanks to the fantastic venue at The Club Mumbai, the food and the drinks but what really made it lively was the critical speaker Vijay Menon’s remarkable
storytelling through his fast-paced yet impressively detailed and thoroughly engaging yet sharp speech about reimagining business to achieve new heights of excellence and success.
We are a product company into service
Wait! Did I read it right? You read it correctly. Sharing the story of Bhavarlal Jain, the maverick founder of Jain Irrigation Systems, Mr Menon said, “I met Bhavarlal Jain when he was 86. I asked him a straightforward question to understand the fundamentals of his successful life. His answer was simple: refusal to accommodate anything less than excellent in my personal life. Moreover, when you replicate it in the professional life what you create is not a company but a movement. Jain Irrigation, operating from Jalgaon in Maharashtra, is the second largest micro irrigation systems manufacturer in the world. Interestingly enough, over 17% of the company’s revenue is today generated out of the servicefocused agricultural commodities trade business. This is the result of a complete re-imagination of the microirrigation systems business.
The greatest and the most enduring capital is the world is ‘thinking’. One becomes a great thinker not because one is intelligent but because one understands the fundamentals of life and living.
– Vijay Menon
Jain Irrigation found out that the input cost of the farmer varies between 26% to 33% for power. Second greatest hurdle the farmers face is the shortage of finance from the organised sector due to poor farming outcomes, the uncertainty of returns and many more issues. With such high costs and inadequate financing, if farming is not sustainable, why would the farmers buy irrigation systems? This question sparked a thought at Jain Irrigation.
Vijay Menon’s remarkable storytelling through his fast-paced yet impressively detailed and thoroughly engaging yet sharp speech gripped the B-HIP audience.
“Now we look at the person who buys our product. Our efforts are now focused on empowering the farmers, supporting farming so that they generate business to invest in our products,” Mr Menon shared what Bhavarlal Jain told him. Jain Irrigation started a cooperative to trade in agricultural commodities. The members are those who have purchased the Jain irrigation system. The produce of the farmers is stored in the warehouse, Jain Irrigation becomes the conduit for selling the produce, and because of it, farmers get much better price than a minimum support price defeating the agro-price fluctuations. This has improved the farming revenue for the farmers, and with the support
from Jain Irrigation, the banks are after the farmers for offering finance.
A rustic Bengali man in Amul summed up the fundamentals of success at Amul when he said, “we are taught here that you would first have to be defeated by yourself to be defeated by others. Your failure is your decision.”
While interacting with speaker Mr Menon, Bhavarlal Jain highlighted the thought behind the success of the
AGM proceedings: BMPA’s annual general meeting is always a purposeful learning and social event; never a mere business transaction to meet the compliance requirements.
376 and 377: Meritorious students from GIPT, Mumbai; SIES, Navi Mumbai and Maharashtra Mudran Parishad’s IPTR were felicitated at B-HIP 2018 at the hands of key-speaker Vijay Menon and Nitin N. Shah, President, BMPA.
Jain Irrigation System’s agricultural commodities trade business. Mr Jain said, “I was looking at the customer profitability, not my profitability. This is how my customer looks at me as a partner and not a profiteering business.”
Amul: a vision to change India through dairy
“At Amul, I asked an open house audience: who is your greatest competitor? Their answer was an eye-opener. The milk vendor who delivers milk from door to door on the bicycle is my biggest competitor,” Mr Menon continued explaining the amazing confidence and the culture of servitude that backs the success of Amul across the nation and the precise reason behind the intriguing answer at Amul.
The fact that Amul operates in a sector in India – dairy and food products – where their most significant competitor
is the largest of the sector global Fortune500 company, Nestle, besides over half a dozen other companies spread across India. Some, like Mother Dairy, loosely modelled after the milk cooperatives that fuel Amul.
The Amul employees, however, believe and live up to the trust of the ordinary Indian consumer and the farmer in India. Amul employees know that milk is a matter of trust and a symbol of love and care, especially in India. Through the company’s journey, Amul has ensured that they keep the trust of the farmers, the suppliers of milk by paying them fair and on-time, and of the consumers by maintaining the best quality standards through the production process and the supply chain of the products.
“The worst thing you can do to yourself is tolerated, justify, legitimise, eternalise and glorify a mistake. That is an eternal recipe for disaster.” Andre Agassi
Mr Menon concluded the Amul story with a compelling fact that he was told by an employee of Amul working in Bardhaman (erstwhile Burdwan), West Bengal. “The employee handed over a handout to me,” Mr Menon shared, “and he told me, you add the revenues of the biggest five multinational corporate players in India in our sector in India, and yet we beat them. They add up to roughly about ₹14,000 crore while we are alone at ₹37,000 core.”
“The greatest and the most enduring capital is the world is ‘thinking’. One becomes a great thinker not because one is intelligent but because one understands the fundamentals of life and living.” Vijay Menon
Amul’s growth and success in India is quite a remarkable feat because, at the time of Independence of India, we
imported over 80% of our dairy products from Denmark, New Zealand and Switzerland. With the birth and growth
of Amul, a milk cooperative started by Tribhuvandas Patel in pre-Independence Gujarat, India not-only gained the selfsustainability in milk production but has achieved production surplus. Amul brought professionalism to cooperatives in India and brought dairy revolution in the country one farmer at a time.
On a mission to eradicate preventive blindness
“I am personally interested in how small ideas turn into great growth stories and lead the change. Aravind Eye Hospital is one such example from India,” said Mr Menon when he elaborated on this unique institute that bewilders the best business management gurus with its unique business model that marries free eye surgeries to the needy with enormous scale of operations with less than 10% patients paying the full cost of their treatment. It is the world’s largest ophthalmic service provider; India’s 1-3% eye surgeries and 0.7-1% of the daily global eye surgeries take place in Aravind Eye Hospital. The average productivity of a surgeon at Aravind is 18 times the surgeon in India, 35% higher than a surgeon in Europe and 65% higher than a surgeon in the USA. The volume does not compromise the quality of service to the patients: Royal College of Ophthalmology report says that Aravind’s quality performance in 18 of the 20 parameters is better than Harvard, one is on par and one is ‘intolerable levels.’ The Hospital operates at an unimaginable business model of high volume, low cost and high quality. The founder Dr G. Venkataswamy explained the almost impossible business model in his words: I never lost the imagination of a child. I find happiness by creating happiness. Learning from the standardisation of McDonald’s, Dr. Venkataswamy changed the ophthalmic surgeries in India and the world forever.
Aravind Eye Hospital was founded in 1976, by Dr.G.Venkataswamy, a man known to most of us simply as Dr V. In an eleven-bed hospital handled by four medical officers, he saw the potential for what is today, one of the most extensive facilities in the world for eye care. Over the years, this organisation has evolved into a sophisticated system dedicated to compassionate service for sight. The Aravind Eye Care System now serves as a model, for India, and the rest of the world.
“My professional excellence never came in the way of respectful listening to other person’s idea.” Dr G. Venkataswamy, Padma Shri recipient and founder of Aravind Eye Hospital.
Through the talk, Mr Menon shared the most inspiring stories of great leaders including India’s most loved President in the recent years, Late APJ Abdul Kalam; Chairperson of Godrej Industries Adi Godrej; Tennis champion Andre Agassi, and many more. Bringing home the message, Mr Menon cautioned, “At times our success is the cause of our failure; success brings both, money and ego. It is the ego that fails a thinker.