Driving Positive Change

Little drops of water make a mighty ocean’- Julia Carney

This is the story of a young man, a believer who wants to make a positive impact on the world. Mr. Ishwar Bidve, working as an office assistant at Mahindra Systech hails from a small village in India. A man with dreams that extend beyond the universe, he is an efficient and enthusiastic member of the team and is always ready to take up any task by the horns.

When Mr. Sanjay Joglekar, Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Systech Sector recognized Ishwar’s potential and realized that he could do a lot more, he encouraged him to enroll for a graduate course. Ishwar took up a bachelor’s degree in Arts, in which he received a first class in the first year itself!

He has also received a lot of support from all the department members. Ms. Sangeeta Sawant often helps him to learn and improve his English language skills. Due to his enthusiasm and the motivation from his department, Ishwar plans to continue pursuing the graduation course in English as the medium of study since it is a universal language. He has had very little exposure to the language but is confident that he will be able to cope.

While working and studying, he also likes participating in extra-curricular activities. Recently, he participated in a debate competition in his college and spoke on the recent, tragic ‘Nirbhaya case’. He strongly expressed how the laws needed to become more stringent so as to prevent such misfortunes. It is encouraging to hear such thoughts emerging from such a young mind. Needless to say, he was victorious and was awarded!

Ishwar aspires to complete his bachelor’s degree in economics and politics. He also wishes to study to become a lawyer, so as to help bring criminals to task while amending our lenient laws. Ishwar is truly an epitome of ‘Driving Positive Change’. It is very inspiring to hear such noble thoughts from the youth. They are the future of our nation!

This is story on 'Product development', with photograph of chairman

during launch of 'Bolero' prototype in 1999 at R&D Nashik.

In late 90s, Mahindra Armada was an ageing model. The idea came up to freshen up by giving new look for the front of Armada.

Accordingly a handmade mock up for front look was prepared.  This mock up was shown to chairman Shri. Keshub Mahindra, during his visit to R&D Nashik in 1997. This front look had flat windshield since Armada cowl was suited for flat one.

Chairman did not like the new front look with flat windshield and questioned why we cannot have curved windshield like all modern cars and SUVs. Our reasoning of design and manufacturing limitation due to use of existing cowl of Armada, was rejected outright by him. Chairman insisted that new look must be with curved windshield only.

This was a challenge for design as well as manufacturing. The team accepted and with help of Cad Cam, modern die shop and ancillary support new look Armada was worked out, based on flat cowl.

The final tooled up prototype was shown to chairman in 1999. He was satisfied; he drove the proto and also gave some suggestions.

There was continuous follow up and guidance to the team by seniors;  Anand Mahindra , Alan Durante and Pawan  Goenka for success of this project.

This new look vehicle with new features like independent front suspension, power steering, AC , Power windows , improved NVH etc  was christened as ‘Bolero’ and launched in 2000.It was a great teamwork.

This model has proved to be a big success in market, even today.

The chairman’s foresight and vision for styling and modernizing the products then has proved to be a guide post for development and launch of subsequent Mahindra models; Scorpio, Xylo and XUV 500 which could compete with contemporary models in the market.








In the year 1991 I was transferred from Jaipur to Chennai as Area Manager. To me it was a sector shift from the Automotive to Farm Equipment, a cross country movement and an exposure to a new culture. Reminiscing now; a colleague even joked ‘your speed reduces and torque increases.’ And a barrier beyond ‘torque’ was also the local vernacular ‘Tamil language’ that was utter Greek to me and my palate, not so akin to the local culinary in all frankness. And so I felt, overall, it was a dim, losing proposition for me. I landed in Chennai draped in apprehensions not knowing fully the local ball game yet oozing with some valid convictions and arrived procedures as springboard.

To control I had Tamilnadu (TN) Kerala and the Andamans and to sell and service, the rugged Red Mahindra Tractors rubbing shoulders with Tafe the local giant. I was told we had an effective network of well laid ebullient dealers and officers. The HO mandate was to become Market leader in two years; more pronounced and reminded periodically by M&M icon Mr Alan Durante, then President and Head of Marketing AD & FES.

If my memory serves me right TN market was then on an upswing and hovering around 8k-10k annually between 1992 -1996. TAFE were market leaders followed not so closely by us and the gap ever widening. As I landed in Chennai I decided to do three simple things as area audit and stock taking:

1.     Took a whirlwind tour of all Dealerships basically to establish an effective interpersonal rapport with the owners and employees which was required as a force multiplier more so because I hailed form the North. Bought a Tamil-English translation book to know and remember some key words required for day to day business.

2.     Took a complete inventory of Dealer infrastructure- (hardware, software, systems and processes) of all our Dealerships and branches and did a similar exercise for competitors, to understand where we stood. It was an eye opener.

3.     Launched a local ground level tactics “To be the best in each activity”  such as paid up stock, availability of spare parts, Dealer finance, Manpower training, Showroom display, Field contact, Tractor workshop record, Downtimes, Dealer branches and service points for doorstep service etc.

During my first year of office in Chennai we did not get significant results to establish ourselves as market leaders. On realising our level of activities TAFE too pulled up their socks and started doing aggressive wholesale in districts of Chengalpet, Madurai and Tirunelvelli. I still remember the stinkers I then used to get from Mr Alan for not becoming market leaders.

The crafty tempest of TAFE did not deter us and we continued with our sincere efforts in programming and monitoring the market almost on a daily basis.

And then on a particular month of F-93 if I remember correctly we were Market Leaders for that month beating TAFE in their home ground. For a couple of months we played this big achievement down to let any fluke pass. Our efforts were beginning to manifest and soon we became market leaders in all 25, 35 and 45 HP categories.

Chennai office was also adjudged runners-up, winners and runners-up in financial year’s f-93, f-94 and f-95.

And, today I realise. That was a true ‘Mahindra rise moment’ for me.


Kamlesh Tripathi

[email protected]


Posted by Mahindra Remembers with On 10-Jun 2014

Mahindra’s Automotive sales executives are familiar with the vegetable market map of India as they believed that pick-ups had the potential to be much more beneficial to their customers. In order to tap this potential, the team travelled extensively across the country, to understand the customers and their needs.

They observed that the pick-ups offered several advantages compared to Light Commercial Vehicle(LCV) .The first advantage was that it could easily cross state borders and LCVs are not optimum carriers for perishable products as they need to be immediately transferred to the market. Interestingly, the company's sales executives found that many farmers already owned pick-ups to transport goods on their own instead of depending on LCVs.

The team got into action right away! Ever since then Mahindra pick-ups have dominated this segment, whether it is to carry vegetables from West Bengal, fruits from Nashik, grapes from Hyderabad or cotton garments from Tirupur.

In West Bengal, the marketing team went a step further and interacted with farmers to get in-depth information on vegetable and fruit cultivation practices in India and the route used by farmers to send their produce to neighbouring states. Innovation was the mantra to sustain dominance in this segment.

Posted by Mahindra Remembers with On 10-Jun 2014

A unique scheme of employing Diploma Trainees for a fixed employment period of 3 years has been in operation since 1998 in Nagpur who are solely responsible for handling lines of engine and transmission PGs.

Today, there are 860 diploma trainees working at the Nagpur Plant, starting from an initial strength of about 30.

This scheme was doing well and there were a limited number of Diploma Trainees to handle daily production. In the last 3-4 years, their strength escalated as well as organizational dependability on them increased multifold. With the changing scenario, some issues increased, like production loss by 20%, absenteeism more than 35% and high attrition to the tune of 65-70%.

High rates of absenteeism and attrition took a toll on production and quality. When the HR team analyzed the problem in detail, they came across some very strong concerns like non-engagement and ownership of diploma trainees, scarcity of technical skills, unavailability of platform to upgrade the educational values and utilization of trainees for lower grade jobs.

The HR team brainstormed and decided that M&M should be a stepping stone for all Diploma Trainees towards bright careers and not just an employment opportunity. The focus would be on improving technical skills, employability and providing career opportunities for trainees.

HR took the necessary steps for initiating and implementing Earn and Learn YCMOU and SETHU programs. Earn and Learn Programs have an arrangement with YCMOU (Yashwantrao Chavan Mah Open Univ), where YCMOU offers B. Sc (Industrial Science) degrees recognized by UGC. With the Earn and Learn program, HR hopes to keep attracting more Diploma Trainees, and add value to their careers.

Damoh, Madhya Pradesh, is a tribal region that has 65% of its land covered by forest, and 20% of its land under cultivation. The population relies on subsistence farming, collecting Tendu leaves from the forest, and making bidi. Availability of water is a challenge in the region.

In order to solve the water problem, the Strategic Planning Team and the Mahindra Samriddhi Team, Farm Division, Madhya Pradesh, collaborated with the state government in their Integrated Watershed Management Programme. The objectives of the project have been to ensure availability of water, environment sustainability, better living standards for farmers, and to create livelihoods. In spite of several obstacles, the team has ‘Accepted No Limits’ and has overcome several challenges. At present, the following has been achieved: [a] planning on the basis of inclusive decision making, [b]conducting a baseline survey, [c] forming self-help groups, and [d] building trust with the community through construction and renovation projects.

In addition, collaborations with universities, conducting seed replacement and production programmes, offering soil testing services, implementing innovative-farming techniques, and consulting subject-matter experts have assisted the farmers. Hence, the teams are ‘Driving Positive Change’ owing to which our farmers have started to Rise. And, when their lives will change, a new Damoh will certainly emerge!

Posted by Mahindra Remembers with On 10-Jun 2014

The incentive settlement for cell members in Plant-1 of Swaraj division was due after six years. In January 2007, it was found that the incentive policy was based on the components of individual performance versus business performance. The union was keen to continue with the abovementioned traditional approach; however, the management was uncomfortable with it. Negotiations started with the union on this issue but they stopped, leading to a dip in performance in Plant-1.

In order to compensate for this and to ensure that sales were not impacted, the production in Plant-2 was increased. After a year, the union members started asking for alternative schemes. The management wanted to align the cell members with the performance management system, and they proposed several permutations and combinations. They offered to protect the existing levels of income and to payout the incentive as performance pay through the balanced scorecard concept. After several meetings and awareness sessions with opinion makers and union leaders, it became clear that this was an opportunity for blue collar employees to become a part of management.

The series of negotiations led to the introduction of an innovative performance-based and customer-focussed culture for the cell members.

Posted by Mahindra Remembers with On 10-Jun 2014

The Haridwar Plant, with a vision of producing quality vehicles in the three-wheeler segment, started production in December 2005 with manpower of 15 officers and 42 non-officers, to cater to a small production volume and an initial capacity of 8000 Champions. The Alfa Load Carrier and Bolero were transferred to the plant in 2007 and 2008 respectively.

Team Haridwar geared up for the massive task and new challenges. Several critical improvement areas were identified to level out the growth of infrastructure and employee care facilities with the heavy influx of manpower and volumes. The major parameter of measurement was the mechanism of customer feedback on basic issues. Interdepartmental communication and collaboration was given utmost importance. The employee care team become more empathetic and responsive.

This led to improvements in office infrastructure, canteen, hygiene, employee care, customer-centricity, and basic service quality of Admin, which were addressed one at a time.

'Fun at work' initiatives took on a new dimension with HR organizing regular events while the employee care team organized family get togethers on special occasions. An ‘Employee of the month’ award was initiated to recognize outstanding workers. Officers became insightful with the ‘Coffee with Plant Head’ initiative. Themes on Safety, 5 S, Quality, Fire Prevention, ESOPS, Mahindra Hariyali, and Auto passion were displayed all over. A major facelift was given to the workplace, thus ‘Driving Positive Change’.

It is only by providing the right environment to employees, that we can seek to get the best out of them!

Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself’- John Dewey. As a result of inspiration from various philosophers including Dewey, several individuals and institutions have worked incessantly to actualize such beliefs and to make a difference in the lives of people. For instance, the HR team at MVML is shaping the destinies of the local youth by establishing quality systems in its two Tribal Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) located at Manikdoh and Ghodegaon, Maharashtra.

By acknowledging the socio-economic realities there, MVML has worked strategically to develop infrastructure, build capacity of the faculty, improve the standard of education, and acquaint the students with industry standards. After the need-gap analysis, several technical and holistic development workshops and programmes were planned.

A total of 52 students from these ITIs are presently working as Associate Trainees at MVML. Several companies have also recognized these ITIs for their potential and are employing the students in their apprenticeship training programme. Also, MVML has imparted apprenticeship training to 184 students from both ITIs, and it will continue the initiative to ‘Drive Positive Change’ in the region. This moment of change will be apparent through the impact! So, stay connected to witness it!

Posted by Mahindra Remembers with On 10-Jun 2014

How do you address the problem when employees come out with the concern that they need to be heard? They need to feel safe and secure in bringing out their innermost concerns. Employee communication is the most important touch for driving engagement and employee wellness. In FES, since this was a key issue, the team decided to come up with a novel way of challenging this concern, and the concept of ‘Reach Out’ emerged.

It was declared that a special employee connect point was created –a mailbox which could only be accessed by the President AFS. Anonymity and speed of issue resolution were the highlights of the scheme. If the president needed further clarification on the issue from a process owner, identity disclosure permission had to be sought from the concerned complaint owner. Also, the senior management came to be involved in the resolution once the complaint had been escalated to the top level. This served as an effective measure to communicate to the employees that things were moving ahead as the common concerns were shared at the end of every quarter. With time, it came to involve bigger things like a high importance platform for workers called ‘Khula Manch’ which was a forum where they could voice their concerns openly and speak their minds. This was only possible because the ground work had been done with Reach Out.

It was clear that thinking big about initiatives, keeping in view the objective of bringing about positive change, works wonders in the lives of people. Reach out was a grand success, not because it was positioned from the top down, but because it was an outstanding example of a true bottom - up initiative.