Thursday, April 03, 2008

A World Power will Emerge from Across the Border

Early morning on Sunday 16 March 2008 I woke up with a call from my colleague with a bad news. The factory of one of our client Partners in Pakistan, Dawlance had a massive fire, which was still raging. Their Manufacturing and Operations Director had just arrived the previous night in India to meet with potential suppliers from India and next day their Marketing and Service chiefs were supposed to land in India with the objective to learn, benchmark and probably outsource a few functions to India like CRM and communications.
For a few seconds I was numb but quickly regained control and called the Manufacturing Director. The first thing to be put in place was the return schedule for him. He had reached Nagpur – within an hour that was put in place. I gave a call to the Finance Director who was on the spot to learn the latest. Both of them seemed fully under control of their emotions and that in fact calmed me down too. I had by then spent enough time with myself and called Mr Bashir the Promoter, who was in Dubai at that time. He picked up the phone at the first ring and in a self-assured tone said he was trying to work out the schedule of reaching back from Dubai. Then almost simultaneously both of us said that the first objective is to get the production back within a week. The reason was simple that with the season of refrigerators round the corner and Dawlance being the leader, there was no way that we could let our consumers and employees down. Mr Bashir was completely calm and in control. I have never considered our client in Pakistan as business partner alone and after keeping the phone down I called up the Marketing Head. We talked about the need to manage the internal and external communications and about their impending India visit. He also was under control and reassured me. Of course all this was easier said than done. I spent the rest of the day thinking and worrying about 2 things. How much would have been the damage to the factory, equipment, raw materials and how would the Dawlance employees rise to the occasion. On top of that was the morale of our own team which was working on Dawlance. On Monday early morning we took stock of the damage, shortage on finished goods and raw materials and urgent tie-ups required. While Mr Bashir and his most dedicated team were managing the ground and the contacts they had, we started to contact India, China and Thailand suppliers we knew. I myself spoke to Mr Gulu Mirchandni of Onida and Mr Pradeep Dhoot of Videocon to seek their support and both of them responded very positively. Within 3 days the plan of sourcing was put in place and a team of Milagrow and Dawlance flew into China. Mr Bashir in the meantime himself flew to their Thailand supplier of gaskets and sorted out the last issue on component supplies. Within a week the production could start.
To express our solidarity I extended to work the next few months without any charge which Mr Bashir gracefully refused but that small gesture in fact had an amazing impact on the team at Milagrow. They knew with this small gesture that Milagrow is not just after money but works as a partner in happy as well as difficult times. Dawlance is more than a client ! I trust it will be one of our major milestones when we look back a couple of years later.
The unity, calmness, clarity and speed with which the Dawlance team overcame the setback, I am sure will go into building Dawlance into a much greater force in the appliances not in just Pakistan but the whole world.
In this entire episode I drew from not only my own heart and mind but also from the leadership which Mr Sonu Mirchandani had demonstrated in a similar fire at Onida in 1990-91. I was also inspired by the speech which Mr Robert Guiliani had made a couple of years ago just after 9/11.

This incident gave me and my team a better understanding of Dawlance & its inner steel. It also gave us a chance to actually walk the talk of our 'values' which we hold dear at Milagrow.

I only wish that the business procedures between Pakistan and India become a bit easier so that the benefits of this 'high people to people goodwill' can be converted into economic gains for not only India, Pakistan but rest of SAARC as well.

Thank you Bashir Bhai for being a role model, I wish you peace and success always.

1 comment:

iamkachi said...

Dear Rajeev Bhai.

We appreciate very much for your support and cooperation in Dawlance factory blaze. As you are aware Dawlance is our partner too, therefore we thank you for all your efforts to get the factory operations back to normal in impossible time frame and business keep on going as normal.

Good Luck always !!!

Thanks & Regards
Kashif Manzoor
Daewoo Electronics