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“Nostalgic reading the book and reliving all that you and Rajeshree went through. But what comes out loud and clear is that you made a very positive life changing impact on so many people and this book is a testimony to that. I think you both should be proud of what you did.
This book traces the often tumultuous journey of a remarkable individual, Ramapati Singhania, who through an unexpected turn of fate finds himself with his wife, a medical doctor, in an industrial town in the heartland of Rajasthan. The young professionally qualified and deeply motivated Singhania is sent to turnaround a massive industrial complex that was once one of the --- largest companies in the country.
Now in dire straits faced with wrenching competitive forces, outdated management practices and far away from the more dynamic urban centers, Singhania finds himself caught in the middle of a perfect storm of challenges. Deregulation is bringing new competition from leaner companies with new technology and imported products while legacy companies, like JK Synthetics, are saddled with high cost structure, paternalistic and unproductive management policies and government regulations that make restructuring difficult. In addition, Singhania faces labor disputes, a devastating flood and a huge and unsustainable debt burden.
The book candidly describes the challenges faced and the ground realities of internal politics and management intentions that are suspect. It describes the measures taken to transform the culture by introducing quality circles, margin sharing and other initiatives that succeed in changing the culture and empowering the team giving them the confidence to build their careers in ways that they, possibly, never imagined.
More powerful is the example set by Ramapati and his wife Rajeshree as they touch the lives of the employees breaking down cultural barriers by "walking the talk" and being part of the community in every way. The transformation journey has many components which can serve as a template for companies that need to make drastic changes in their business model but undoubtedly the major take away is the importance of integrity, honesty, transparency and communication at all levels.
The book can also be the basis of a case study for students of Indian business to debate the pros and cons of strategies followed. The goals that were achieved and the trade offs that were made. At a broader level, the book provides insight into the herculean effort needed to transform companies that face existential threats from competitors and structural impediments.
Almost every company will face a trans-formative environment - technology change, environmental change
The book also vividly describes the idea of life in an industrial town on the
border of the great Rajasthan desert - with no airport and an overnight train journey from the nearest major city. J K Synthetics with its large legacy costs and structure, had to deal with imports and new companies with the new equipment and financing.
This is a story that has both integrity and unwavering intention and has captured an incredibly interesting part of Indian industrial history where legacy industries were faced with the wrenching changes of partial deregulation - creating challenges which were unique to India's attempts at increasing the pace of industrialization. These vestiges remain today and may account for the fact that there remain major challenges in creating a dynamic modern industrial climate.
With this backdrop - Ramapati braved the tremendous challenges and he and his team worked to reinvent themselves and their industry with primarily HR skills.
In a larger sense this book is a reflection of what readers at many levels - as students of management, HR and leadership may want to know from a policy point of view on how policies impact industries and stakeholders, by financial institutions and by business people who may see themselves facing situations similar to these…”