For 33-year-old Anirudh Dhoot, the real exposure to business started 25 years ago when his father and uncles started making black and white televisions in a small tin shed (outhouse) under the guidance of his grandfather. Since then Videocon has achieved many milestones – acquisition of worldwide manufacturing facilities of Thompson, taking over Electrolux operations and its assets in India, diversifying the business into oil and gas, retail, hospitality, power, mobile services and mobile handsets. “It has been an uphill task but a valuable and enriching experience for the three generations of Dhoots in making Videocon a US $ 5 billion conglomerate,” says Anirudh Dhoot.
“My father once told me that running a successful business means being able to access many skills. As your business grows, the range and complexity of skills your business needs will grow too.”
Dhoot formally joined the family business at the age of 21. His first stint was to manage Videocon’s manufacturing unit. He then moved on to handling their Greenfield plant in Kashipur (Uttaranchal) right from its inception stage. After this experience, he started heading the sales and marketing activities of the Videocon Group. His 12 years of experience in varied roles have surely given him an insight into the different key activities. He recollects, “My father once told me that running a successful business means being able to access many skills. As your business grows, the range and complexity of skills your business needs will grow too.” His various roles helped him gather the skills like people management, leadership, team building and strategy setting required to head a business. “As the director of Videocon, I believed that it’s essential to identify and meet the core skills your business needs to be successful,” says Dhoot.
The first few steps
For Dhoot, managing Videocon’s manufacturing unit was a great opportunity to prove his abilities. A good manufacturing unit has all the qualities which enhance economic development, increase productivity of the manufacturing industry and face competition from the global markets. He started with a strategy to promote innovative steps to enhance the manufacturing unit. “I ensured implementation of all intermediate processes required for the production and integration of a product’s component in our system. My core focus was on overall manufacturing process management,” says Dhoot. Manufacturing concept planning, mixed model line balancing and economics of manufacturing were the main lessons for him.
In his current role, he ensures smooth functioning of overall operations of the company across India. It’s his responsibility to see what their competitors are doing and to be proactive in their approach. “My duties involve supervision, profitability and sales, reporting, purchasing, resale pricing, inventory, service and maintenance,” says Dhoot.
The change agent
When Dhoot entered the business, the organisation was about 15 years old and many good practices were already in place. However, he tried to improve in two areas – human resource management and training programmes. “I always believe training is important from the bottom to top level,” says Dhoot. He sends his employees for a 45-day executive education program at various management schools including the IIMs. There are interesting employee engagement focused training programs on offer. “The organisation spends a lot for the development of their various skills and due to this, we have a very good management team who have been with us for a long time now,” adds Dhoot.
The Group also believes that employees require challenges and growth potential more than money, and Videocon ensures it provides its employees with both. Dhoot has learnt from his grandfather and father that true leaders have to encourage team work and the achievements of the team. “Perhaps because of all these, or otherwise, Videocon has managed to enjoy one of the lowest attrition rates in the industry,” shares Dhoot.
Strategies for growth
“The current players in consumer durable industry are global players,” says Dhoot. And thanks to the multitude of brands across price points, today, consumers have a wide variety of choices. This, along with increased consumer awareness, has led to a discernible shift in the consumer’s preference in favour of higher end, technologically superior branded products. “And to counter this global image pressure, we are addressing key growth factors like market positioning and branding, product technology, distribution and service network,” says Dhoot.
“Within the next five years, we would like to further strengthen our existing position as India’s number one consumer electronics and durable company by introducing innovative products, increasing our reach and distribution, and through trade partner’s growth program,” says Dhoot. The company plans to introduce superior technology products at the right prices, supported by high quality and service to ensure market leadership in its various product categories. It is looking at launching new products such as digital TVs with bigger screen sizes like 70”, 58”, 55” and 46”. This will have digital reception, H.264 decoder, dual core CPU with 450 MHz and 14 bit video processing to give very high quality of picture. The company also plans to launch SMART LED with Android platform and also a new range of air conditioners, washing machines and refrigerators.
Distribution and penetration are also key focus areas for them. The organisation aims to target the emerging middle class. “We have a robust distribution network across Tier II and Tier III cities. This year, our aim is to reach the remotest location of India,” adds Dhoot. The Videocon Group also wants to support its trade partners. Its business model is such that it helps the trade partners to grow with the company.
In the coming years, the Group will focus more on BTL (below the line) activities, which will be customised based on different market needs. “We also will be focusing on the demonstration of all our high end products, which enables our customers to experience the products before they make up their mind to buy it,” concludes Dhoot.
As the new President of CEAMA:
I am obliged to be associated with CEAMA (Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association) for the interest of consumer durables Industry as a whole. It will be in my continued effort to garner support from all members as well as the Government, and highlight relevant industry issues at appropriate forums and times .The core focus will be to cope with the rising prices of the imported components of high end products due to the respective rise of the value of dollar. Ultimately, the price rise of the products affects the pocket of the masses at large.
In order to provide a positive growth trend in the consumer durable industry, I would suggest government to engage in additional dialogue with the industry and deliberate on developing Indian standards for electronic products, specific to Indian conditions of power, climate and handling.