Auto focus

M&M has young transporters queuing up at IIM-A

MURALI GOPALAN | Updated on January 23, 2018

Nalin Mehta, MD & CEO , M&M’s Truck and Bus Division

India’s top management school has specific case studies for this programme

Nalin Mehta looks positively charged when he speaks about the Mahindra & Mahindra initiative with IIM-Ahmedabad. MPOWER, which kicked off in January 2013, is targeted at young truck entrepreneurs.

School on wheels

Mehta, who is Managing Director & CEO of M&M’s Truck and Bus Division, says this drive is part of the focus on youth transporters who have attended MPOWER since it began over two years ago. There are seven and 14-day capsules with nearly 18 students in each batch. Thus far, nearly 140 youngsters have attended this program.

“They are all on WhatsApp groups together and are heavily networked,” says Mehta. Thanks to MPOWER, these Gen Next transporters are exposed to new thinking in fields such as human resources, business development etc. M&M spent two years preparing the curriculum for the programme with IIM-A.

MPOWER is by invitation to those youngsters who have worked with their parents for at least two years in the transport business. Case studies are tough and involve 19 hours of strenuous work everyday. As Mehta says, every case study is based on India to make it more relevant.

In an amusing aside, MPOWER imposes a fine of ₹500 for those who come late to class. The money collected goes as a donation to Project Nanhi Kali, an M&M initiative to support underprivileged girls.

“Even though nobody has come in late so far, they have still donated to Nanhi Kali,” recalls Mehta, a clear indication of its strong emotional connect.

Students who have already gone through MPOWER are now contributing to case studies for future programmes. Some were recently invited to check out how much they implemented these in real life as part of an initiative called MPOWER War Room.

The classroom sessions, although brief in their tenure, still created a strong bond among students. Mehta says they are already collaborating (even while being competitive) through WhatsApp. “They are talking of buying tyres and lubricants together,” he adds.

All in the family

There were some hiccups though. While these young transporters enjoyed every bit of the stint at IIM-A, it was a different ballgame with their fathers who did not understand what they were talking about. Based on this feedback, the company carried out a Mentors Summit where the dads were told what their kids had learnt.

“This was a two-day programme and you should have seen these veteran transporters behave like school children. They were so kicked and are now determined to support their kids in their new drive,” says Mehta.

From M&M’s point of view, this drive with IIM-A will continue in the time to come. It is also open to any truck owner beyond the Mahindra family. “You may not have bought a single Mahindra truck but are welcome to join the programme,” he adds.

On the business side, M&M is still a marginal player in trucks business but the mood is upbeat thanks to the gradual revival in the heavy duty space. “It will take another six to eight months before real change happens,” says Mehta. The company has a three per cent share in heavy commercial vehicles and about nine per cent in the light segment.

“We came in when the industry was declining and the transport community not willing to take a chance with new products. Today, tippers are growing at 19 per cent while we are seeing 70 per cent. Cargo is growing at 40 per cent and we are at 50 per cent,” says Mehta.

The company used the lull period of the recession to launch new products, spare parts and train nearly 1,400 mechanics. It is in now the process of appointing authorised service centres. Another benefit is access to the M&M spare parts business unit where distributors who deal with truck spares can be tapped for the bazaar trade. Likewise, says Mehta, Mahindra Research Valley is an important support pillar for new products.

The M&M board recently approved ₹600 crore to expand the range into intermediate commercial vehicles (8-13 tonnes) which Mehta says is proof of its faith in the business. “We are present in 3.5-6 tonnes, 25 tonnes and above and are now going to develop a brand new series of ICVs,” he adds.

Published on May 14, 2015

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor