Tata Group seems to be on the cusp of a transformation. What is it all about?
When I started in 2017, I had said that brand, trust, standard and heritage are the biggest strengths of the group. And whenever you have a group which has such a large presence and strong history of more than 150 years, you should expect that there will be complexity. So, I had proposed a strategy of simplification, synergy and scale. We evaluated the number of entities and their businesses. Besides, we focused on balance sheet fitness and financial returns.
Simplification resulted in the creation of 10 clusters. Then we started taking the cluster-specific approach and brought in synergy. We looked at how coming together of group companies can create significant capabilities in products and services and generate value for shareholders. Then we decided the core business and on scaling the core.
How do you plan to pivot the group?
There are several key trends that are going to be very important as we go into the future. The first one is ‘Digital Everywhere’. Every company, whether it is a manufacturer or a services firm, B2B or a B2C, will be driven by AI, data analytics, Cloud computing and machine learning.
The second is sustainability. Every company will have to be sustainable. They will have to go beyond zero net debts.
Third, every business and industry is becoming an ecosystem. It is not that you can create a product and then try to sell it. You have to stop with the customer to understand his/her needs.
And the fourth, the supply chain globally is getting rebalanced. In the past, supply chains used to focus on efficiency, but now they have to be resilient, which means tough and elastic.
Another key trend is changing consumer aspirations. Tata Group, through its various brands, has a very large number of consumers. They love the brand and want to do business with the group. But we need to offer them products and services that not only meet their requirements, but also simplify their lives. The best way we can simplify lives is to build a digitally connected enterprise, which will bring together products and services and all other needs of consumers so that we give them what they deserve, require and desire.
How does the new strategy play out in the traditional businesses of tata Group?
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WE NEED TO REACH OUT TO MILLENNIALS GLOBALLY
Bata shoes are an integral part of almost every school-goer’s life in India. That is why most Indians believe that the brand — founded in what is now the Czech Republic in 1894 and headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland — is local, despite operating in over 70 countries. The company, which does a ₹3,500 crore business in the country, recently appointed India CEO Sanjiv Kataria as its global head. Kataria, who had taken over as India head in 2017 and under whom Bata India’s profits rose 46 per cent, tells Ajita Shashidhar how India’s diverse footwear consumption habits have given him a unique understanding of customer needs across the globe. Edited excerpts:
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