ECC News, October - December

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ECC News, October - December From the Desk of SNS Dear Colleagues, Through this issue of ECC News, I thought of addressing a serious issue that has a very important bearing on the organization and
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ECC News, October - December From the Desk of SNS Dear Colleagues, Through this issue of ECC News, I thought of addressing a serious issue that has a very important bearing on the organization and our future growth. L&T Construction has been growing year on year and therefore, understandably, the numbers for the coming year are big and with a huge backlog, there is a need to be smart to perform, deliver and, in the process, improve profits. This is an important juncture in our growth. Presently, there are more than 15 mega projects that are being executed: some of which are in Rs. 8,000 Rs. 10,000 Crores range, some around Rs. 3,000 Rs. 5,000 Crores and a few critical sites of about Rs. 1,000 Crores each. In addition, there are another 4 or 5 projects that we have bid for of similar size and value and if they all come through, we, as an organization, Back to site will be stretching our existing capabilities like never before to execute them successfully. In the past, there have been ups and downs but always our sites have delivered. The site is where the action is, where progress is visible, where profits are made, where structures are built, were customers are delighted and where relationships with clients and consultants are forged, nurtured and built that we can draw upon even years and decades later. It is again at the site that employees bond by working and staying together with families, building relationships that stand the test of time. Therefore, for us, at this critical juncture, it is important for us to look at FY as the Back to Site year. The 15- odd projects mentioned earlier could either make or break us and with the pressure of other existing and equally important projects and the new ones we will undoubtedly win going forward, it is imperative to have senior people at all levels to volunteer to get back to site and take up critical positions as Task Force Heads, Project Directors or other relevant positions to make these sites successful. Things cannot happen at site on autopilot and sending other people to site and pushing them to do what seniors are better capable of doing is a recipe for disaster. This is the right time to be forewarned, to think ahead and to apply ourselves to take this organization to the next level. The seniors have built this organization and given it to us on a platter and hence it is our duty and responsibility to carry on that tradition and build on it. Many of them came up the ranks the hard way spending hours, days, years and even decades at site leading large, tough projects to success and now it is up to us to take it forward. There instances of people opting to stay in offices away from site for reasons of career movement or to fulfil personal aspirations but it is imperative to look at this objectively. While the OCization and ICization processes have helped specialization and increased focus, they have also resulted in multiple hierarchies that are not helping. For eg., if a client wants to reach out to me, he/she has to go through some 6-7 people before reaching me! This will have to change and it is something that I have been discussing with some of my senior colleagues and, at times, even with our Chairman and we have been able to address this in some places. With bigger and more challenging jobs ahead, it becomes even more critical that senior leaders look to return to site and I will do my best to prevail upon seniors to do so. Therefore, for us, at this critical juncture, it is important for us to look at FY as the Back to Site year. There are several sterling examples within our organization of seniors who have volunteered to go to site and successfully headed mega projects and I have the greatest respect for them. People like Niranjan Simha, Shyam Sundar, L K Joseph, Mukesh Raval, S C Satish, Sudhir Mahajan, Sanjeev Gupta, Mohan Ramesh, Sasisekar, Raja Dutta, Deepak Gupta, D K Nanda, Keith Levers, Adrian Brown, A L Sekar, T Srinivasan, Shashank Pachhade, V M Sundaram, Sanjay Sharma, Jyotsna Gautham, our first lady project head, have all taken it as a challenge to move to site and have taken upon themselves to lead large, challenging projects. There are others who as SBG heads have made a name for themselves at site like K Kannan, T Madhavdas, S Rajavel, to name just a few. All these senior people and many like them have answered the call of duty and often without batting an eyelid have agreed to move to site and take up challenging assignments. It calls for commitment, special skill sets and sacrifice and therefore such people are treated better with fasttracked promotions and superior rewards. Of course, we do need offices and several functions that cannot be at site with people who can think and plan ahead like EDRC, Corporate Centres, Quality, Safety, Supply Chain, Legal, Corporate Communications, and the like but 90% of the organization has to be at site. We are at a very challenging phase and timely completion of projects is critical because we are taking up projects at competitive prices and the bulk of our costing is time-related be it hiring charges, shuttering, staff or labor employed. Every time there is been a time overrun, not only is there a cost overrun but the job is not well done. Therefore, it is imperative to have a senior person at the helm at site who has the ability to think things through, to network within the organization, to draw resources, to deal with consultants and clients for quick approvals and clearances, to handle meetings and manage relationships, to monitor and maintain a healthy cash flow. From an organizational perspective, another extremely crucial role these senior leaders have to play is to drive the digitalization initiatives at site which is what will help transform us into a digital enterprise. It is nothing but change management and who better to handle it than seniors who are steeped in the L&T culture. Digitalization will make a difference only when the cost efficiency and productivity benefits start to accrue and I seek the support from across the board to make it a success. With bigger and more challenging jobs ahead, it becomes even more critical that senior leaders look to return to site and I will do my best to prevail upon seniors to do so. We cannot compromise on this. We have to break down hierarchies, reduce steps, simplify systems and look like an organization that lays emphasis on performance. So the message to all our 30,000 odd employees and the entire ecosystem including workmen is that the continuing theme from hereon will be Back to site - Performance! All the best! S.N. Subrahmanyan Deputy Managing Director & President Larsen & Toubro 2 ECC News, October - December 2016 ECC News, October - December Sometimes it s good to carry baggage especially if handled well! Adrian Brown Adrian Brown joined L&T in 2013 with loads of baggage the rich experience of nearly three decades in the construction industry. Having worked extensively on the Heathrow and Gatwick airports in the UK and he flags off having delivered the world s first advanced people mover at Heathrow as one of his major triumphs, almost predictably, Adrian s first project with L&T was the Abu Dhabi Airside Infrastructure (ADAC) Project. The most important reason for doing construction projects is to make money for which a project must demonstrate core values of safety and quality, says Adrian, opening up on his L&T experience thus far. At ADAC, my first critical challenge was to build a team. Though all projects are challenging in their ways, an airport project poses some unique ones like a demanding operating environment where HSE and understanding and meeting the programme milestones are crucial. Then there are the added demands of a short mobilization time, quick procurement and evolution of Quality and Safety plans. Basically, we had to hit the ground running which we did! He declares with a sense of achievement. I must say that the team rose to the challenges and has made us all proud because at the end of the day, successful construction is all about good teamwork. It wasn t easy building a team with people drawn from varied backgrounds and experience, L&T employees deputed from India and local recruits of different nationalities, but we blended and aligned well and with good support from the senior management, we came off with flying colors! Speaking about the building blocks that go to evolving a successful strategy, Adrian enumerates a host of them. At the outset, focus is on building a transparent plan to deliver the project always considering the handover requirements right from the start; drive engineering and procurement schedules, give ownership and accountability to the team and encourage them to develop their own knowledge and careers. He obviously holds Safety high on his priority list: Always hold monthly Safety Awards celebrations for all the staff and labor that not only motivates the Team but also drives a common purpose making everyone focus on planning and safety. Over time this will pay off and the team will become more committed. Adrian has walked the talk because the ADAC project has achieved over 11 million man hours without a reportable accident! All these came in handy when Adrian moved to drive the Al Wakra Expressway project which demanded a lot more out of him. When I joined the Project, I was confronted by many challenges internally and externally with many of the several external stakeholders holding up progress. The key driver was to get the team to work together and make them believe that they could achieve what was a very significant task. In addition I had to get the Client on our side. I am proud to say that the whole team has excelled and demonstrated L&T s professionalism to Ashghal. One of the most important aspects of infrastructure projects in Qatar is managing both the expectations of the Client together with the requirements of the other government and private stakeholders. These were achieved by delivering on our commitments. Changing tracks to pick up a little bit of his personal life, Adrian admits that Work life balance has been tough! My wife, Melanie, has always supported me well but like in a lot of construction projects, my work meant that I was away from home for long periods. She is an excellent sounding board and gives me a lot of wise advice about how to approach and deal with difficult situations at work. She is a qualified solicitor but stopped her practice after we had children and now has started her own cosmetics business operating from home making and selling soaps, body butters and lip balms. About their three children, Sarah, Simone and David, Adrian shares, We took a decision, albeit a tough one, that the children finish their education undisturbed in England. Yes, we miss each other very much but we make up for all that during the holidays; sometimes they come across to Qatar to see me which is nice, he says with his voice tinged with nostalgia but then brightens up to add, These days, I play most of my sport with Melanie and the children and they always want to win! He laughs. We play cricket, rugby and with the girls netball and chess. I also like cycling, golf and reading. The key driver was to get the team to work together and make them believe that they could achieve what was a very significant task. Working on site and delivering projects for L&T has reinforced my belief that you should never stop learning and developing in life and my career with L&T has been a great part of this process. I have had the privilege to lead and help build a great future based on the proud past of L&T. I have had opportunities that I never even thought of working with this great company, he signs off on a self-assured note. 4 ECC News, October - December 2016 ECC News, October - December L&T is driving the metro boom and he is piloting the drive! A H Khan It is almost predictable that A H Khan s designation is Project Director & Task Force Leader L&T STEC JV Mumbai for the Mumbai Metro project. After all, he has been involved in almost every major metro project that L&T has lent its mite to. AHK, as he is affectionately known, is truly L&T s metro man. His first brush with metros was in 1998 with the Delhi Metro and since then there has been no looking back - Hyderabad Metro, Chennai Metro, Lucknow Metro, Kochi Metro, qualifying stages of the Ahmedabad Metro and now at the helm of two packages of the tough Mumbai Metro project. We have the people and the capability to handle elevated projects but our strength to manage underground works are limited and therefore both the Chennai and Mumbai projects are difficult, concedes AHK, recruiting new people for Mumbai is proving to be a challenge; getting the right kind of tunneling talent will be the key, he says. Having joined L&T in 1988 as a GET, he started his career as a Planning Engineer with his first project being the Temple Tower on Mount Road in Chennai. I worked on mega projects like the Durgapur Steel Plant and in those early days, I worked on an irrigation project in Nepal with FIDIC Conditions of Contract & MS Project for Scheduling that were new to the organization and helped me build my capability in project execution, he recalls. I have worked across almost all the businesses of Heavy Civil and as Segment Head was managing as many as 14 metro projects across the length and breadth of the country! he laughs. And yes, we are still talking about AHK and not E Sreedharan! Failing to plan is planning to fail. Working at site comes naturally to me having spent 21 years there and therefore I am aware of the challenges at site, he shrugs nonchalantly. A strong believer in team play, he says, Success at site is all about team work. A team comes out a winner when every member of the team contributes and supports each other. Every member of the team is important, he stresses, and the team is for everyone to prosper. Apart from team work, other qualities that he attributes to his success are, Belief in my ability, my openness to keep learning every day, always anticipating trouble by being ready with Plan B, my clarity in communication, being consistent, having integrity and the desire to try and do things differently. He pauses for a moment, gathering his thoughts and adds, Of course, planning has to be spot on. As we say, failing to plan is planning to fail. And perseverance is the key. You must have the spine to face difficult situations and these difficult situations, I believe, iron you out and make you successful. He flags off his tenure and the work he did at the Hyderabad Metro as one of the highpoints of his almost three decade long career with L&T. When we started, more than 75% of the staff were new recruits. Bringing them into our system and making them understand L&T s way of working was a huge challenge. In fact, a few of our seniors had to put in several extra hours to bring in a kind of synergy which yielded fantastic results, he smiles with a thumbs up! His smile slips when he talks about his success or lack of it at achieving work-life balance: Many a times I have had to cut down on my family expectations to manage project requirements. Although they have been supportive of all my endeavors, Work life balance is one area where I have failed badly be it when I was at project sites or at HQ. My son, has been following me very closely but has no inclination to become an engineer, he laughs. Now in his Class 9, he wants to be a physicist. AHK s wife, Mahejabeen, a M.Sc. (Hons.) in Biology and an MBA in HRM, is a home maker and with a wife with such a romantic sounding name it is really no surprise that one of AHK s passions is to listen to nostalgic Hindi songs of the 60s and 70s! I used to play hockey and cricket in my school and college days and even for a while at our sites but now it is only watching recordings of matches on TV. Looking ahead, AHK says, I always believe you have ample scope to grow in this organization. Ups and downs are a part of life. When your success/failure gets discussed, it shows you are doing something, he grins. Our top management has been demanding as well as supportive in my growth story in the organization. At the end I would like to say that L&T Construction lives in its project sites. Any process which enables sites to perform better in terms of both top line and bottom line should be encouraged and I am convinced that digitization is going to simplify many aspects of construction. We must whole heartedly support and implement it, he sums up with vigor. 6 ECC News, October - December 2016 ECC News, October - December Create or add value. Doing neither is sounding a death knell! A.L. Sekar This ace design engineer and business leader has also many interesting facets to his colorful personality. He is a poet who pens down his thoughts on a wide range of subjects which have earned the appreciation of many, including his colleagues. He is also a philanthropist who supports many charitable initiatives especially empowering youngsters through education. He has also released two audio CD albums incorporating his lyrics and donating the proceeds to charity. At the time of joining as a GET, cement plants and building projects formed a major chunk of ECC s business mix, shares ALS, tracing his career path Joining as a design engineer in the civil design department, now EDRC, provided opportunity for developing my skills in structural design. This is when I got the opportunity to work on construction methods for the iconic Bahai Temple project which eventually was my first site posting. After a successful stint as a planning engineer and site in-charge, ALS moved back to engineering, to build and nurture a new department to deliver Construction Methods and Technology for various sites. For 7 years, ALS steered this 100-member unit to create efficient and economical construction methods including customization of foreign technology for domestic projects. Having assumed the leadership mantle, ALS stepped out into business for Ports and the Harbor - Infrastructure, subsequent to which he also headed the business in Residential and Factory Buildings. In a quick span of time, he donned different roles and moved up the organization ladder - from a Manager-Special Initiatives to Business Unit Head and then on to Strategic Business Group Head and finally as IC Head for Heavy Civil Infrastructure. His roles may have changed over the years from being a planning engineer at Bahai then to now being the L&T leader at the helm of prestigious A.L. Sekar (ALS), Senior Vice President, Special Projects (International), has been aligned to this principle for more than three decades which has been his mantra for many triumphs in his career and life at large. While acknowledging that many challenges have been unique with demanding schedules, he specifically attributes to this principle as the success factor that has given him the impetus to deliver and succeed. international metro rail Joint Venture projects. But, ALS assures, that the focus has always remained the same. Value addition is the key to gain success, be it project execution, client and consultant management or stakeholder management. This also helped me, as a young design engineer, to gain acceptance among stalwarts at site such as foremen and chargehands. There were many examples where a nugget of an idea was converted successfully and implemented with my technical skill. For example, two conflicting requirements for concreting an uninterrupted 22 m tall concrete shell gave rise to unworkable and uneconomical solutions, whereas combining them and using 3D design solutions ensured economical and construction friendly results. Soon I was the man to go to for idea conversion. Later in my career, being in the management, it was the same. Adding value by working to maximize billing and minimizing cost. A firm advocate of team play, ALS avers, You are as strong o
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