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Leaders Talk

The contagion effect…

R Thyagarajan, Founder Shriram Group

In the evolution of industrial investments, success breeds success. If one entrepreneur succeeds in a particular line of business, several others in the vicinity set up a similar business. This is exemplified by Sivakasi and Sathur. The success of one unit manufacturing fireworks has spawned dozens of others. Ditto for the mushrooming of printing units in that area.
The parallel can be seen in sectors across the industry. The pioneering work done by Sundaram Finance in funding commercial vehicle purchases was followed by several others like Shriram Group, Cholamandalam and others entering the field.
This can be extended to the flourish of investments in the automobile sector in Tamil Nadu. The advent of Ford in 1996 with generous government incentives proved the trigger for several other automobile giants like Hyundai, Renault-Nissan, BMW and Daimler to set up large production facilities in Tamil Nadu. This excellent base is sought to be utilised by Tamil Nadu through the Global Investors Meet. The support is indeed strong. The positive experience of the earlier investors is a sound invitation for many to follow.

Chennai, the backbone of IT and BPO

T T Srinivasaraghavan, Managing Director, Sundaram Finance

Mathematics and accounting seem to be in the genes of the Tamils. I see a considerable number of Tamils excelling in accounts and a whole lot of financial services. In seminars of senior executives, it is common to find a large number as financial experts. The enrolment for commerce degree and chartered accountancy courses is quite high. Qualified chartered accountants and finance specialists from Tamil Nadu in senior positions abound in institutions across the world. Just look at the IT and ITeS services in Tamil Nadu, keeping the books for large corporations across the globe! Even the World Bank has a back office in Chennai!
The IT and international BPOs in Chennai cater to some of the largest banks and insurance companies of the world. Chennai is probably the only metro with the strongest IT and BPO backbone. This, coupled with the work ethic of its people are among the most influential factors to attract investments.

Automobile always a sunrise industry…

Suresh Krishna, Chairman, Sundram Fasteners

I had a pleasant experience in China when Sundram Fasteners decided to set up a manufacturing unit in that country. A large contingent of senior officials welcomed and made me feel quite comfortable and offered a vast range of services through a single point.
Business woos a customer for selling its product, treating him as king. Likewise, there is a similar trend to service a prospective investor. It will be ideal to appoint a senior officer of the government to attend to every requirement of the investor taking it up with the different departments. Happily, I notice such an approach now being practised through Tamil Nadu’s single window clearance.
Such an approach practised by China when they opened up for investments a couple of decades ago was instrumental in Sundram Fasteners setting up India’s first engineering unit in Zhengzhou.
India is now producing around three million cars and 25 million two-wheelers. These can be expanded to 10 million cars and 65 million two-wheelers. It will be easy to build on this strong base we had already laid. It has taken 15-20 years for us to reach this stage of excellence in the automobile industry. It will be extremely profitable to build on this strength. This industry will always be a sunrise industry!

Repeat investments, the best testimonial

B Santhanam, President, Saint Gobain Glass India

The best assurance for promoting investments is seen in the high level of satisfaction and profitability of several large companies that had invested earlier in Tamil Nadu and in their making repeated investments for expansion and growth. Look at such repeated investments made by Apollo Tyres, Ford, Foxconn, Hyundai, MRF and Saint Gobain!
The state has a wide industrial base that encompasses traditional industries like textiles, automobiles, IT and telecom, to name a few. The state administration is competent, committed and highly supportive of industries. There is also extensive support from the government for training and imparting skills. Workers have the opportunity to learn even while they earn. The talent available is both extensive and intensive: it is possible to recruit talent in large numbers as also look for highly skilled category of expertise.
Tamil Nadu abounds in high quality consultants for legal, accountancy, management, operations… It is possible to engage these to take care of a variety of functions to cope with disruptive changes in technology and management. Such expertise is available even for special requirements like total productivity management. This enables companies to focus on their core activity; it need not hire talent full time for diverse expertise. There is a lot of saving in time to get operations started quickly.
Tamil Nadu is attracting a lot of investments for high-end research and development. Renault-Nissan, Ford, Valeo, Saint Gobain and other large multinationals have set up R&D centres in Chennai.

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