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Motivating managerial excellence

A significant differentiator has been the ability of MMA to enlist talent from the luxurious pool of ex-defense personnel. MMA has been lucky in getting highly motivated and brilliant officers

L Ramkumar has rich and varied experience serving Ashok Leyland, Murugappa Group, Sterlite Optical Technologies, Fenner India Ltd… For the longest period, he was with TI Cycles, part of Tube Investments. He strove to build capacity continuously and helped the company emerge the third largest bicycle producer in the country. During his tenure production zoomed from 12 lakh to 26 lakh per annum in a low growth market.

Coffee meets and Town Hall chats…

Ramkumar helped look at opportunities for exports even while expanding the domestic market. Like TVS Chairman Suresh Krishna, he believed in regular, frequent and close interactions with managers and other employees. He points to the informal knowledge meetings that were regularly held on Saturdays and also organized town hall meetings on Tuesdays: “these provided the opportunity to hear every section of the employees. On their suggestions, a unit was set up in Nashik (Maharashtra) which helped save on transport costs as also on production costs compared to the mother unit at Ambattur. Another interesting fallout was the visits we organized for production-line managers to the dealers. These helped the line managers to understand the problems and costs involved in assembling the bicycles sent in semi-knocked down condition.”

Ramkumar, along with a brilliant secretarial team, headed by Gp Capt R Vijayakumar, has been helping MMA offer a rich variety of programs designed to promote managerial excellence. MMA, now on its 64th year, has been endeavoring to promote management education, training, thought and development. With the close involvement of business leaders of Chennai, MMA has been continuously expanding its reach and effectiveness.

A role model for LMAS

Affiliated to the All India Management Association of which MMA is the lead promoter, the association has emerged a role model for other local management associations. Look at its record: MMA has been adjudged the best management association in India ten times in a row including in 2017-18. “A crowning achievement is an association acquiring a new building at the heart of the city,” said Ramkumar. With state-of-the-art infrastructure, the 24,000 sq.ft building has lecture halls, a seminar hall, board room and a modern library that have further enriched the range and number of activities.

Look at the progress from 2006-07 to 2018-19: the number of programs expanded from 101 to 692 and participants from 8509 to 66,889. Revenue has been growing through donations, delegate fees, and sponsorships. For 2018-19 these were around Rs 5.22 crore. Fixed assets amounted to Rs 30 crore by March 2019. The significant costs incurred on the acquisition of land and construction of the building were met by the association’s own resources.

These were built on total membership of 7908 (including the 8 chapters spread across the state). MMA’s vast range of activities is getting further expanded. These include awards for managerial excellence and innovation; centers for continuing education, family business/SME, management development, a board for major events like conferences, conventions and forum activities, women managers’ forum, young managers’ forum… Major calendar events include the Annual Management Convention, Women Managers Convention, and Management Students Convention.

The MMA Going Beyond Chennai initiative led to setting up eight chapters spread across the state and extended to Puducherry. MMA Webcasting, Voice of MMA and the in-house magazine Business Mandate have been significant initiatives that reach a large number of programs to much wider audiences.

President Ramkumar points to plans to open more chapters in various towns of Tamil Nadu. “We plan to work on a 5-10 year plan looking at the future of MMA. In this education will be a niche activity. We will strive to get managers updated on current and emerging practices. We present thought leaders from across India. With the state-of-the-art digital and communication systems installed, we can access speakers from overseas. We would endeavor to popularise concepts like artificial intelligence,” said Ramkumar.

A significant differentiator has been the ability of MMA to enlist talent from the luxurious pool of ex-defense personnel. MMA has been lucky in getting highly motivated and brilliant officers like Wg Cdr V Ramadurai, Major Lakshman, Col R Hariharan and now Gp Capt Vijayakumar and Gp Capt R Venkataraman. Their rich experience, discipline, vision, and commitment have been at the base of MMA’s phenomenal growth and contribution.

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