Toyota will now have office space within luxury hotels

Murali Gopalan Mumbai | Updated on July 15, 2020

From the Japanese automaker’s point of view too, this is the ideal solution given that it was planning to cut down on office space anyway in these three cities   -  Bloomberg

Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru will be part of this win-win drive

Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) will have its new office space within luxury hotels spread across Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru as part of a win-win drive.

“We were doing business with most of these hotels in the past and the same brands came forward to offer space to us,” Naveen Soni, Senior VP, Sales & Service told BusinessLine. He did not divulge their names for “reasons of confidentiality” but indicated that they were in “absolutely ideal” locations.

It is only too well known that the hospitality industry has been the worst hit by the pandemic with occupancy levels at an all-time low. With losses mounting by the hour, getting into an agreement with a big brand like Toyota to use surplus space in sections like halls makes perfect sense, reckon industry experts.

From the Japanese automaker’s point of view too, this is the ideal solution given that it was planning to cut down on office space anyway in these three cities. It is quite logical to presume, add experts, that these hotel brands would have offered a “good deal” to TKM for using their otherwise unutilised space.

While Soni refused to get into specifics, he reiterated that it was important for the company to be responsive to market realities. “If it means reinventing ourselves, so be it. We can go ahead with something if it makes commercial and logical sense with locations being an added advantage,” he said.

Top priority

The top priority for TKM is to ensure that the selected space provided within these hotels is adequate for its limited manpower of sales and marketing teams across Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru. These are people who “are out on the field” even if Covid-19 has restricted their movements lately.

“Maybe not today, but once things open up, they will be able to travel a lot more,” said Soni. On a normal day, 20-30 per cent of them would always be on the move. More importantly, the last three months of Covid-19 and lockdown challenges has demonstrated to TKM that business has been “successfully done” working from home.

“This can be the norm going forward where 50 per cent can work from home while the balance come to work. More than sufficient space coupled with social distancing is made available for them by these hotels. With reduced manpower, this becomes a more commercially viable proposition,” explained Soni.

The exception to the hotel mantra is the Delhi corporate office which will continue in the existing setup with “reworked costs”. This property is a commercial complex located behind a mall.

“We have reinvented ourselves in the Covid era not only for space but for the overall basic direction of TKM,” he said. This came in as a new thought process from headquarters in Japan which essentially conveyed that it was critical to stop what is not necessary, change what needs to be changed and continue doing things that are relevant.

“Stop, change, continue was the trigger for each and every aspect of our business outlook,” said Soni. It was keeping this in mind that TKM decided to downsize regional office space in Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Delhi as part of a drive to optimise employee productivity. The futility of oversized offices became evident during the pandemic when productivity did not suffer one bit despite people working from home.

TKM also noticed that daily schedules continued uninterrupted with employees better focused during online interactions. This was true for dealers too where video conferences saw higher attendance levels without the burden of hefty travel and hotel bills. Going forward, the three-point mantra of stop, change, continue will be the TKM template post-Covid.

Published on July 15, 2020

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