Ex: What are the changes that you have seen in the technology world in India in the last 25 years?
Shashi: 25 years is a long period and one of the most prominent changes everyone has observed is the smartphone. While it is a cliche now, everything we once had around us has merged in the smartphone. Another thing is the IoT (Internet of Things). So all that we do and all that we have will gradually become a part of the smartphone.
Ex: As a brand what are your learnings from the pandemic? What are the changes you have witnessed in the business plans?
Shashi: First and foremost I have learnt that these “black swan” events that happen once in a lifetime cannot be expected or prepared for. While these events have a lasting impact on any industry, there is nothing we can do to preempt
these situations. Talking about our business, April is the time when our business peaks. So naturally, we were considerably affected by the pandemic. So it was only in June that we looked at the hindsight and figured out what we should do. We figured that we need to diversify our categories of air conditioners and refrigerators, to cater to a wider range of customers. Most importantly, all of our products are Made in India!
Ex: Apart from TV, refrigerator, which new product launches are on your charts?
Shashi: Lloyd was recently acquired by Havells, which is an electronics giant. Since it is already well-established in the electronics segment, Lloyd’s priority is to establish itself further n the consumer durables segment. Alongside ACs, we are also into LED TVs, washing machines and we have also expanded full-time into refrigerators. We realised that the need for convenience products has shot up post lockdown, after which we also entered the dishwasher segment.
Ex: What is the one subject that you think aspiring leaders should learn?
Shashi: If you’re talking to youngsters, Data Science is one topic they should learn about. As we talked about IoT, the fact is there is a lot of data around us and to make meaningful sense of that data is important. Whether you consider Amazon or
Google or any other example, you can get a lot of consumer insights. But making good sense of that data and to derive useful analytics out of it is important. Talking about elder entrepreneurs, it is important for them to learn and understand digital marketing. The reason is that the individual need for marketing is gaining prominence rapidly. The need for targeting is becoming important, as individualism is becoming significant.
Ex: Share any leadership quote you live by?
Shashi: One of the top ones that come to mind is “Leaders don’t do different things, they do things differently.” After all these years in the industry, I have realised that the more things change, the more they remain the same. Whatever you may be selling, the principles remain the same. Another one I like is “Together Everybody Achieves More.” It is even better for me as it is an acronym for “TEAM.” So I abide by the quote since I thoroughly believe in it.