Auto focus

Going forward, being ambidextrous is the best bet

Murali Gopalan | Updated on June 18, 2020 Published on June 18, 2020

While Covid-19 has had the world in a state of near paralysis, Rakesh Sharma believes that it is not as if all is lost. “Covid is an interruption for global markets but these volatility issues are not new,” says the Executive Director of Bajaj Auto. For instance, countries have earlier battled with challenges relating to foreign exchange, oil exports and so on.

While Covid has impacted most markets, he is confident that they will emerge out of it. Yet, things will not be the same going forward. “Being alert, flexible, agile and responding to contingencies will help. The whole emphasis has shifted from planning to responding,” says Sharma.

In his view, “the moment you are planning, it is about assumptions and anticipation. You are also saying that you know what the future is going to be like”.

On the contrary, continues Sharma, it is more important to shift planning capabilities to response capabilities. “It is better to be alert and plan only for a horizon which is clear and then respond to things,” he says.

This is by no means an easy task, especially in an arena like automotive where product development is a three-year job with a lot of planning going into customer tastes for the future. While this cannot be changed, on other aspects “you need to tell yourself that you are living for the quarter and month”.

As Sharma puts it, developing an ambidextrous approach is the best way forward where on certain aspects “you continue longer range planning cycles” while on others, “you should be prepared to respond” faster.

“You should keep an eye on the future for certain aspects and only on the current for others,” he insists, implying that there is no point getting distracted by less important issues.

Published on June 18, 2020
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