Gaar, by Its Very Nature, Has the Potential of Leading to Uncertainty and Litigation
CFO|February 2017

Jyotsna Sharma, CFO, Sandvik Asia, speaks her mind on crucial issues concerning the finance fraternity in India at the moment.

Sangita Thakur Varma

Q: Sandvik is a high-tech global engineering group active in a variety of industry segments. What are its interests in India?

Jyotsna Sharma: Sandvik is a global industrial group with advanced products and world-leading positions in selected areas like tools for metal cutting, equipment and tools for the mining and construction industries, stainless materials, special alloys, metallic and ceramic resistance materials as well as process systems. Sandvik group with representation in 130 countries and 45,000 employees is widely known for its innovation and pioneering technology in each area of operation.

Sandvik in India was established in 1960 and started with a moderate sized local manufacturing unit at Pune. Over the years, the company has expanded its base across five other locations within India, with an annual turnover of over ₹3,000 crore and providing employment to over 3,000 people. It is now a well-established major export hub for Sandvik, globally, with sizable export revenue. Sandvik’s interests In India include Sandvik Mining & Rock Technology, Sandvik Machining Solutions and Sandvik Material Technology.

Sandvik Mining operates in India as a developer of mining solutions including equipment and tools, for rock drilling, rock cutting, rock crushing, loading and hauling and materials handling. It also offers solutions for virtually any construction industry application encompassing diverse businesses.

We are a leading supplier of tools, tooling solutions and know-how to the metalworking industry with presence mainly in automotive, defence and aerospace sector. We have an application centre in India that supports special customer projects through component solutions and building prototypes. Sandvik Coromant recently unveiled its CoroPlus suite of Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) solutions aimed at helping manufacturers prepare for Industry 4.0. It provides visibility into manufacturing operation and gives access to connected tools and software to effectively monitor machining performance in real time. We offer expertise in aluminium machining through advanced cutting tool technology that aids aerospace manufacturers. This is extremely crucial since a number of different tool criteria need to be fulfilled in order to meet the increasingly stringent cost and quality demands associated with the successful machining of aluminum aerospace components.

We see significant opportunities in the O&G downstream segment where there will be investments in refining space as there is a government mandate to move to Euro 6 fuels which will spur capex here.

Q: You have been on board Sandvik Asia for the past couple of years. What are challenges you face as the finance head? What changes have you brought into finance operations? What are the core competencies CFOs require to work in global companies like Sandvik?

JS: I have been employed at Sandvik for over two years as CFO of Sandvik Asia and a Director on SECO, Walter and Dormer. Like most global companies, Swedish MNCs are highly matrixed organisations with business verticals with split authority and responsibility across business, locally and globally, and for the finance function it is very challenging to drive effectiveness and competency.

The IT systems in use are tailor-made to Sandvik, are legacy systems and sparsely used widely. Thus, the skill set to program them easily and quickly at correct cost is always a challenge. Also, they are owned globally and are thus cost effective, but understanding the need or India specific requirement becomes a deterrent. Sandvik is a decentralised organisation with non-integrated IT systems and common work practices under a legal entity.

The CFO at Sandvik needs to play the effective role of change management leader, with excellent people skill and also be business solution oriented. Stakeholder management is very critical and the CFO needs to have an end to end understanding of finance, accounting and tax matters.

A hugely decentralised finance function which had upset business expectations badly was brought to stability in all areas, including vendor payments, accounts and audit, customer reconciliations, budgeting process, cost control, indirect tax matters and legacy challenges. With me joining in, all these were systematically and sustainably built up to optimum performance and to provide respectable financial services to business.

I brought in a huge sense of ownership and responsibility to the teams – cross functional work environment, team building and skilling, recognitions and rewards – was all a part of the game.

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