Getting There, Inch By Inch – Roy Devanjan – Best50 – Class Of 2017
I am a final year student in XLRI Jamshedpur’s PGDBM program. I am specialising in Operations and Marketing and have a PPO from Philips. I head the Operations and Supply Chain Committee of XLRI (AXIOM). Before joining XLRI I worked in Larsen & Toubro after completing my undergrad in Mechanical Engineering.
My journey has been a thriller, I have always thrived on finding another gear just at the right time to make it through. But that is just what Mumbai does to you, it renders a taste for perpetual success in a person. I have been brought up in Mumbai and I personify the spirit of the city. Grit and determination have helped my overcome every challenge, inch by inch.
I have been fortunate enough to have served in leadership roles on a regular basis since my school days. My stint as the school head-boy gave me an early start at learning effective communication and conflict resolution. I am trained in the western classical style of playing violin. The instrument has been an unwavering source of joy ever since I took to it. Football and music helped me maintain a sublime balance between academics and extracurricular activities through my formative years.
While pursuing Mechanical Engineering at Sardar Patel College of Engineering (SPCE), I won the National Championship for designing a Green Building. The experience is exceptionally close to my heart not because of the magnitude of the competition but because it was while working on the project that I became aware of my strengths. I was also the General Secretary of ISHRAE students’ chapter in my undergraduate college. By the end of engineering I had developed a keen interest in Operations and Decision Sciences and decided to pursue MBA after working for about 2 years in the manufacturing industry.
I joined Larsen & Toubro (L&T) as a GET in the company’s Process Plant and Nuclear shop-floor. I was responsible for analysing the production plan and delegating the work to a team of 25 skilled workmen. My greatest achievement during my time in the company was leading the team that executed L&T first attempt at welding inside 3 inch elbows. I was also a part of the six sigma project team that reduced the consumption of consumables by 10% in a process. When I joined XLRI after clearing XAT in my first attempt, I was already in love with operations management. I now head AXIOM which has been awarded the title of India’s best Operations & Supply Chain club by ISCEA. I am also a part of Team Services, one of the Placement Support Committees at XLRI that manages the Food, Hospitality and Infrastructure for the entire placement process.
I interned at Philips in a Supply Chain role and got a PPO based on my performance during the internship. My project was to develop a Supply Chain De-risking model for the incoming part of the Supply Chain. It was a live project and the support and ownership that I had during the project made it all the more enjoyable.
My biggest takeaway from MBA is developing the ability to look at an issue from different perspectives. I believe that I am ready to apply myself in the corporate world and am looking forward to the exciting challenges that await me there.
India does not have 1 hospital bed per 1000 persons. It is much below WHO’s average of 5. If you were the prime minister of the country, how would you solve this problem?
The solution can be broadly divided into three steps.
India currently has under capacity when it comes to hospital beds. Therefore the first step would be to exploit the available capacity to the fullest. To ensure that all the available capacity is used I would invest in IT infrastructure for Hospital Bed Management. The patients can then be directed to the nearest hospital with available capacity. The system would eliminate cases wherein emergency cases have to wait due to resource constraints. Hospitals like Narayana Health have displayed machine-like efficiency in healthcare. Incorporating lessons from such successful models wherever applicable should be the top priority.
The second step would be to increase the bed capacity. The increase in beds has to come from both government and private investment. Hospital bed density will have to be mapped against population density and government investment would have to be directed towards reducing the deficit in rural and semi-urban areas where the capacity mismatch is the greatest. Further, schemes will be launched to attract private investment in increasing hospital beds. Schemes such as accelerated depreciation and support in the form of single window clearance for expanding hospital bed capacity will be implemented.
The third step would be to ensure that healthcare sector is supported ably by skilled manpower and technology. Thus, I would also ensure that the growth in the number of doctors and paramedics graduating each year increases to keep up with the infrastructure investment. The job would not end at here and the next task would be to reevaluate the state of the available facilities and take measures to enter a cycle of continuous improvement.
What is the biggest risk that you have taken so far and why?
My initial plan was to go for an MBA after working in the manufacturing industry for about two years. However, a year and a half into the job I was doing very well and was on the fast track program. I was working in production and was thoroughly enjoying the day to day challenges that came along with the job. Quitting my job to join a B-school at that point is the biggest risk that I have taken so far.
I was unsure about the decision to join a B-school but my dilemma was resolved during a training program on Theory of Constraints philosophy of Eliyahu Goldratt. During the training, I realised there was a sound logic behind things that I was until then doing through instinct and got sensitised to the fact that production could be managed much better using various operations management techniques. I realised that instinct could only take me so far and to become a COO of a global giant one day, I would have to go back to a classroom first.
At that point of time I was in my comfort zone at work and becoming a full-time student again was a huge challenge. Also, I could not be sure of landing a job in operations domain after my MBA. However, my goal was clear and the path to it was through a proper course in management. Thus, I took the risk and fortunately things turned out perfectly.
Give us an instance when you failed miserably and how did you overcome that downfall?
In my job, our team was once given the responsibility of dispatching a high priority job for a very important customer. To speed up the work we set up two production stations side by side and introduced production monitoring chart to drive up output through competition between the workmen. As a result, the output went up but so did the defects. This only delayed the work further. In addition to the defects, we started facing storage issues and it added to the time required to move material around the production area. The plan had the exact opposite effect to what was desired. We were already under tremendous pressure and the unsuccessful implementation of our solution only added to it.
We immediately went back to the blackboard to do a root cause analysis of the issue. I realised that the measurements dictate performance and since we were measuring only the speed of output, the quality had suffered. We revised our strategy and I modified the chart to account for both, quality and quantity of production. The change in parameter pushed up the production by 25%. The experience taught me how critical the human factors can be to the success of any endeavour.