Introducing Rajiv Bajaj, Managing Director of Bajaj Auto and one of the speakers at the Leadership Forum. The elder son of Rahul Bajaj, once labelled as the “comeback kid”, in more ways than one, represents the new India. Cool, unflappable and ambitious. Inspite of the fact that his company holds 32 – 33 % of the market share in the two wheeler segment, yet there is a burning desire to inch closer to 40 % and regain the number one position.
The Bajaj Group, since the time of Jamnalal Bajaj in 1926, has pursued growth with a nationalistic zeal. In many ways, it is similar to the evolution of the Indian Software industry – built on indigenous strength based on value creation. The company’s early roots can be traced back to the days when it imported scooters and three-wheelers from Italy and sold them in India. Subsequently, having procured the production license in 1959, the company commissioned its own manufacturing facility in Pune in 1961 – 62, and never looked back, to emerge as one of the top players in terms of market capitalisation and revenue. The way it transformed itself from being a mere trader to the manufacturer of the Bajaj line of two wheelers, is in many ways similar to the transformation of Indian IT sector based on cost arbitrage and value.
The Indian software industry centres on the abilities of the pioneer firms to transform the programming skills of their labour force into firm-specific capabilities. This intrinsic strength, helped Indian IT companies become credible rivals to the Accentures and the IBMs of the outsourced software market. Also noteworthy, is their ability to assemble teams of talented engineers and deliver a technical, outsourced service to exacting and different customers anywhere in the world. The Indian IT companies, also leveraged their capabilities for maximum economic value through the adaptation and perfection of new business models.
The domestic market, currently pegged at US$ 26 Billion (2008 figures) is expected to increase four-fold and touch US$ 100 Billion or thereabouts in the next ten years. A CAGR of 11% would largely be fuelled by the burgeoning Indian economy and the rise of the middle class. Sectors such as Healthcare, BFSI, Telecom and Retail would significantly contribute to this growth. The potential of the domestic market has been well documented and this blog is not really about throwing up facts and figures that you are already aware of. It is about drawing a parallel. The Bajaj Chetak – named after the legendary steed of Rana Pratap Singh- was for decades, the flagship brand of Bajaj Auto. Originally based on the Italian Vespa, it served millions of families, as a means of transportation. And, how well it did so, for decades on end, is now legendary folklore. Finally, this year, it was phased out. Like the Chetak, the Software Industry also grew from strength to strength, absolutely rinsing the traditional markets and existing business models. In spite of recession, it didn’t stop growing, albeit a lot slower, but riding largely on its ability to reinvent itself. Time tested strategies have now been put on hold, as managers struggle with negative growth. This recession taught us how to reset our priorities and take a more realistic view of things.
Register for the NILF 2010, and participate in topics such as, Growth through value creation. Rajiv Bajaj will talk about innovation and his experience at the top, as he takes you through the journey. It is about reinvention, it is also about perseverance and not resting on one’s laurels. As they say in Zen – the journey is the reward. It sure is an exciting one that you don’t want to miss.