Of Conviction and Credence
Each time I spot a car with the trademark “T” the symbol by default expands to read as “TRUST” and not “TATA”; this is in essence of what the global conglomerate stands for me and other millions of Indians. Founded by Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata in 1868, as a young visionary entrepreneur and a nationalist with philanthropic mind set, the company’s core ethics was based on “people before profit”.
The legacy of the Tatas has grown over the years and adapted to the changing business environment but still remains firmly rooted to the same moral values and principles. From Jamshedji to Sir Dorab to Naval to Ratan, the journey of the group has been meteoric and spectacular with 100 companies spread over 100 countries having staggering revenue at around 109 billion dollars.
The Tata companies include Tata steel, Tata Motors, Tata Consultancy services, Tata power, Tata chemicals, Tata global beverages, Tata tele services, Titan, Tata communications and Indian Hotels. Despite this phenomenal growth in diverse fields, the enriching convention of being an industry and not a business, with a conscience to improve the quality of life of the community it serves, lies active and at the core of its operations.
The wealth gathered by Jamsetji Tata and his sons in half a century of industrial pioneering formed but a minute fraction of the amount by which they enriched the nation. The whole of that wealth is held in trust for the people and used exclusively for their benefit. The cycle is thus complete; what came from the people has gone back to the people many times over- J R D Tata.
Striving towards excellence in every field of activity is a continuous process at the Tatas and has developed the Tata business excellence model that incorporates the key elements ranging from strategy to leadership. Even the change of guard at the helm is a planned process where the new incumbent is trained on the job for more than a year to be eligible for the top post. Professionalism is part and parcel of the Tata industry irrespective of the scale of operations. The company has embraced a plethora of social initiatives such as health, education, species protection with the WWF and protection of the whales in Gujarat, art, sports and a whole lot more, working shoulder to shoulder with Government campaigns and initiatives like educating the girl child, Swachha Bharat Abhiyan and Make in India.
The fundamental belief of social equality with opportunities for all and committed to employability, entrepreneurship, innovativeness and future thinking are the corner stones of this mammoth organization with whom we have all grown up. A century of business with principles of honesty and integrity is no mean task and the underlying strong values which form the bottom line, are the plumes of this vibrant and colourful industry.
Employing over 600000 people worldwide, the house of Tata has been adding value to its employees, staff and workers, shareholders, customers, the community, the Government, environment and to the nation!
When Ratan Tata unveiled the Tata Indica, in 1998, India’s first indigenously developed passenger car, I remember listening to his speech which had the unmatched tone of humility, and the grace of accepting the strengths of cars of other manufacturers which he his team had blended and fused into his baby. He remarked that he was wearing the enormously large shoes of J R D and so there were huge expectations from him. He also said that the Indica, in that segment had the body of the ambassador, the space of a Zen and the comfort of a jaguar!
The Indica in its first year did not match the expectations and Bill Ford, Chairman of Ford group insulted him further by asking him as to why did he ever venture into the passenger car segment. Ratan took it in his style to emerge stronger and within a span of 10 years, acquired the luxury brand, Jaguar-landrover from the Ford which was on the verge of bankruptcy. Ford seems to have told Ratan that the latter was doing a great favour to the former by clinching this deal!
The people’s car Nano was a pioneering effort from the stables of Tatas to provide an affordable four wheeler to the lower strata of society so that they could graduate from a two wheeler for the sake of safety.
When terrorists devastated the Taj hotels in Mumbai in 2008, the never say die spirit of the Tatas rose to the occasion and they stood shoulder to shoulder and rebuilt Taj with determination. All categories of employees, even if it was their first day of work were compensated on the loss, the salaries for the period the hotel was closed was sent by money order to all its employees, the relief and assistance was given to the surrounding vendors such as Pav baji and pan stalls, psychiatric help was provided to the traumatic patients and Ratan visited each and every victim personally to offer help and aid.
Now with the launch of Zica, Tata has set newer and higher bench marks by putting their hearts and souls in the production which is designed on the impact philosophy. The car looks tall, proud and peppy among its adversaries in the hatchback class and is real value for money.
A standing ovation to the Tata Enterprise for being a revelation in India and the world and I am taking a bow!!!