Strategic Management

02 Sep

Case I


The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is India’s central bank or ‘the bank of the bankers’. It was established on April 1, 1935 in accordance with the provisions of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. The Central Office of the RBI, initially set up at Kolkata, is at Mumbai. The RBI is fully owned by the Government of India.

The history of the RBI is closely aligned with the economic and financial history of India. Most cen­tral banks around the world were established around the beginning of the twentieth century. The Bank was established on the basis of the Hilton Young Commission. It began its operations by tak­ing over from the Government the functions so far being performed by the Controller of Currency and from the Imperial Bank of India, the management of Government accounts and public debt. After inde­pendence, RBI gradually strengthened its institu­tion-building capabilities and evolved in terms of functions from central banking to that of develop­ment. There have been several attempts at reor­ganisation, restructuring and creation of specialised institutions to cater to emerging needs

The Preamble of the RBI describes its basic functions like this: ‘…to regulate the issue of Bank Notes and keeping of reserves with a view to secur­ing monetary stability in India and generally to op­erate the currency and credit system of the country to its advantage.’ The vision states that the RBI ‘…aims to be a leading central bank with credible, transparent, proactive and contemporaneous poli­cies and seeks to be a catalyst for the emergence of a globally competitive financial system that helps deliver a high quality of life to the people in the country.’ The mission states that ‘RBI seeks to de­velop a sound and efficient financial system with monetary stability conducive to balanced and sus­tained growth of the Indian economy’. The corporate values underlining the mission statement include public interest, integrity, excellence, independence of views and responsiveness and dynamism.

The three areas in which objectives of the RBI can be stated are as below:

  1. Monetary policy objectives such as containing inflation and promoting economic growth, management of foreign exchange reserves and making currency available.
  2. Objectives set for managing financial sector developments such as supervision of systems and information access and assisting banking and financial institutions to become competitive globally.
  3. Organisational development objectives such as development of economic research facilities, creating information system for supporting economic decision-making, financial management and human resource management.

Strategic actions taken to realise the objectives fall under four categories:

  1. The thrust area of monetary policy formulation and managing financial sector;
  2. Evolving the legal framework to support the thrust area;
  3. Customer services for providing support and creation of positive relationship; and
  4. Organisational support such as structure, systems, human resource development and adoption of modern technology.

The major functions performed by the RBI are:

  • Acting as the monetary authority
  • Acting as the regulator and supervisor of the financial system
  • Discharging responsibilities as the manager of foreign exchange
  • Issue currency
  • Play a developmental role
  • Related functions such as acting as the banker to the government and scheduled banks

The management of the RBI is the responsibility of the central board of directors headed by the governor and consisting of deputy governors and other directors, all of whom are appointed by the government. There are four local boards based at Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi. The day-to-day management of RBI is in the hands of the executive directors, managers at various levels and the support staff. There are about 22000 employees at RBI, working in 25 departments and training colleges.

The RBI identified its strengths and weaknesses as under:

  • Strengths A large body of competent offers and staff; access to key data on the economy; wide organisational network with 22 regional offices; established infrastructure; ability to attract talent; and financial self sufficiency.
  • Weaknesses Structural rigidity, lack of accountability and slow decision-making; eroded specialist know-how; strong employee unions with rigid industrial relations stance; surplus staff; and weak market intelligence.

Over the years, the RBI has evolved in terms of structure and functions, in response to the role as signed to it. There have been sweeping changes in the economic, social and political environment. The RBI has had to respond to it even in the absence of a systematic strategic plan. In 1992, the RBI, with the assistance of a private consultancy firm, embarked on a massive strategic planning exercise. The objective was to establish a roadmap to redefine RBI’s role and to review internal organisational and managerial efficacy, address the changing expectations from external stakeholders and reposition the bank in the global context. The strategic planning exercise was buttressed by departmental position papers and documents on various subjects such as technology, human resources and environmental trends. The strategic plan of the RBI emerged with four sections dealing with the statement of mission, objectives and policy, a review of RBI’s strengths and weaknesses and strategic actions required with an implementation plan. The strategic plan reiterates anticipation of evolving external environment in the medium-term; revisiting strengths and weaknesses (evaluation of capabilities); and doing away with the outdated mandates for enhancing efficiency in operations in furtherance of best public interests. The results of these efforts are likely to manifest in attaining a visible focus, reinforced proficiency, realisation of shared sense of purpose, optimising resource use and build-up of momentum to achieve goals.

Historically, the RBI adopted the time-tested technique of responding to external environment in a pragmatic manner and making piecemeal changes. The dilemma in adoption of a comprehensive strategic plan was the risk of trading off the flexibility of the pragmatic approach to creating rigidity imposed by a set model of planning.


1. Consider the vision and mission statements of the Reserve Bank of India. Comment on the quality of both these statements.

2. Should the RBI go for a systematic and comprehensive strategic plan in place of its earlier pragmatic approach of responding to environmental events as and when they occur? Why?


Case II


India is not known as the ‘nation of shopkeepers’, yet it has as many as 5 million retail outlets of all shapes and sizes. Some other optimistic estimates “place the number at as high as 12 million. Whatever be the number, India can claim to have the highest number of retail outlets per capita in the world. But almost all of these are small outfits occupying an average of 500 square feet in size, managed by family members, having negligible investment in land and assets, paying little or no tax and known as the kirana dukaan (‘mom and pop’ stores in the U.S or the corner grocery stores in the U.K.). These outlets offer mainly food items and groceries—the staple of retailing in India. Customer contact is personal and one-on-one, often running through generations. There are a limited number of items offered! often sold on credit—the payment to be collected at the end of the month. The quality of items standard, with moderate pricing.

There is great hype about the growth and prospects of organised retailing industry in India. It must be noted, however, that organised retailing constitutes barely 2 per cent of the total retailing industry in India, the rest 98 percent being under the control of the unorganised, informal sector of’ kirana dukaans. Market research agencies and consultants come up with encouraging forecasts about this segment of the retailing industry. For instance, AT. Kearney’s Global Retail Development Index ranks 30 emerging countries on a 100- point scale. Its 2007-ranking places India at number one for the third consecutive year, with 92 points, fol­lowed by Russia and China. The size of the organised retailing industry is estimated at US $8 billion and projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 40 per cent to US $22 billion by 2010. Overall, the Indian retailing industry is expected to grow from the current US $350 billion to US $427 billion by 2010 and US $635 billion by 2015.

The economic environment in the post-liberalisation period after 1991, has created several factors that have made this high growth of the organised retailing industry possible. India’s impressive economic growth rate of 9 per cent is the prime driver of increasing disposable incomes in the hands of the consumer. The growing size of the consuming class in India, in tandem with the entry and expansion of the organised sector players in recent years, has set the pace for corporate investment in retail business. Practically, every major Indian business group is looking for opportunities in the growing retailing industry. Among them are the big names in the Indian corporate sector such as the AV Birla group, Bharti, Godrej, ITC group, Mahindras, Reliance, Tatas and the Wadia group.

The international environment presently is replete with examples of the fast-paced growth of the retailing industry in many developing countries around the world. In the post-liberalisation period, there is more openness and awareness of the international developments among Indians. The ease of travel abroad and the exposure through television and Internet have increase the awareness of the urban Indian consumer to the convenience of modern shopping. The modern retail formats thus have gained acceptance in India. Carrefour, Tesco and Wal-Mart are the international players already operating in India, with several others like Euroset, Supervalue and Starbucks having plans to enter soon. These international companies bring to India the latest developments in the retailing industry and help to set up a benchmark for the domestic player.

The market environment is one of the most significant in terms of the growth and prospects of the retailing industry in India. In terms of geography, the reach of the organised retailing industry has been growing. In addition to the mega-cities of Mumbai and Delhi, cities such as Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Chennai are also witnessing a boom in organised retail activity. Retailers are now trying to focus on smaller cities such as Nagpur, Indore, Chandigarh, Lucknow or Cochin. There are interesting possibilities regarding the re­tail formats. Traditionally, street carts, pavement shops, kirana stores, public distribution systems, kiosks, weekly markets and such other formats unique to India, have been in existence for a long time. At present, most organised retail formers are imitations of those used abroad. These include hyper and supermarkets, convenience store, department stores and specialty chains. Among these formats, a notable trend has been the development of integrated retail-cum-entertainment centres and malls as opposed to stand-alone developments. Besides these, there are some attempts at indigenous formats aimed at the rural markets-such as those by ITC’s Choupal Sagar, DSCL’s Hairyali Kisaan Bazaar and Godrej group’s Godrej Aadhar. Pricing is an important issue in the retailing industry. Generally, the bulk buying yield lower costs of procurement for the big retailers—a part of which they pass on to the customer in the form of lower prices. In food retailing, for instance, there is a clear trend of low prices being the determining factor in purchase decisions by the cost-conscious Indian consumer. But, lower prices may not be a major issue with the higher-income groups that may place greater emphasis on the quality of products and retail service, store ambience and convenience of shopping. For the majority of Indian consumers however, price is likely to remain a significantly important issue in the purchase decision. Competition has already accelerated with many Indian business groups having entered or likely to enter this booming industry.

The political environment in India is ambiguous! in terms of its support to the organised retailing industry. This is obvious as the unorganised sector employs nearly 8per cent of the Indian population and is widely spread geographically. The whelming presence in terms of 98 per cent of the total retailing industry also is a significant political issue. In a democracy, the politics of numbers makes it imperative for the political class to adopt an ambiguous stand. In some cases, politicians have acted in favour of the unorganised sector by disallowing the setting up of large retail some states. Overall, however, there is ambiguity as there are several environmental trends in favor of the development of the organised retailing industry.

In the regulatory environment, there has gradual easing of the restrictions albeit at a slow pace, in view of the ambiguous political stance as indicated above. Interestingly, the retailing industry, is still not recognised as an industry in India, Foreign direct investment of up to 100 per cent is not permitted though it is possible for foreign players to enter through the routes of agreements, cash-and-carry wholesale trading and strategic licensing agreements. Another problem area is of the real estate laws at the level of state governments that are yet to be clear on the issue of allowing large stores. Restructuring of the tax structure for the retailing industry is another regulatory issue requiring governmental action. However, tariffs on imported consumer items have been gradually aligned to meet the prescribed WTO norms and reduction of import restrictions are likely to help the growing organised retailing industry.

The socio-cultural environment offers many interesting insights into the changing tastes and references of the urban and semi-urban Indian consumer. There is a large rural market consisting of nearly 720 million consumers, spread over more 600,000 villages. India’s consumers are young: 70 percent of the country’s citizens are low the age of 36 and half of those are under 18 years of age. These people have deep roots in the local culture and traditions, yet are eager to get connected with and know the outside world. According to a DSP Merrill Lynch report, the key factor providing a thrust to the retail boom in India the changing age profile of spenders. A group of seven million young Indians in their mid-twenties, learning over US$ 5000 per year, is emerging every year. This group constitutes people who are enthusiastic spenders and like to visit the new format retail outlets for the convenience and time saving they offer. Malls are also being perceived as just places for shopping, but for spending leisure time and as meeting places. There has been an emergence of a combination of the retail outlet and entertainment centres having multiplexes, with food courts and video game parlours.

But there are some pitfalls too. For instance, organised retailing in India has had to deal with the misconception among middle-class consumers that the modern retail formats being air conditioned, sophisticated places are bound to be more expensive.

The supplier environment probably offers the biggest constraint on the growth of the retailing industry in India. Reaching India’s consumers cost effectively is a distribution nightmare, owing to the sheer geographical size of the country and the presence of traditional, fragmented distribution and retailing networks and erratic logistics. For instance, the apparel segment that is one of the two top segments, the other being food, have had to invest in back-end processes to support supply chains. Supply chain management and merchandising practices are increasingly converging and apparel retailers are establishing collaborations with their vendors. Another area of concern is the severe shortage of skills in retailing. Human resource development for the retailing industry has picked up lately but may take time to fill the gap caused due to the shortage of personnel.

The technological environment for the organised retailing industry straddles many areas such as IT support to supply chain management, logistics, transportation and store operations. Some global retailers have demonstrated that an innovative use of technology can provide a substantial strategic advantage. The large number of store items, the diversity of sourcing and the gigantic effort required to coordinate actions in a large retail context is ideal for using IT as a support function. For instance, an innovative use of IT can help in a wide variety of functions such as quick information processing and timely decision-making, reduction in processing costs, real-time monitoring and control of opera­tions, security of transactions and operations inte­gration. The availability of supply chain management, customer relationship management an merchandising software can help much while performing activities such as ordering and tracking inventory items, warehousing, transportation and customer profiling.

Overall, the Indian scenario offers an interesting mix of possibilities and challenges. A successful model of large-scale retailing appropriate for the Indian context is yet to emerge. The modern retail formats accepted globally are in the process of implementation and their acceptability is yet to be established.


1. Identify the opportunities and threats that the retailing industry in India offers to local and foreign companies.

2. Prepare an ETOP for a company interested in entering the retailing industry in India.


 Case III


The developments in medical sciences—the lowering of mortality rates and the increase in life expectancy—have ironically led to a situation where there are increasingly, a larger number of aged people in the society. The situation in most countries of the world is that the number of ageing people is increasing. India too, like other developing countries, experiences a rapid ageing of the population, with estimated 80 million aged people. Almost eight out of ten of these aged people live in rural areas.

The challenges that the elderly people in society face are many. For instance, a report in the Indian context indicates the following challenges:

  • 90% of senior citizens receive no social se­curity or medical care.
  • 73% of senior citizens are illiterate and can only earn a livelihood through physical labour, which is possible only if they are healthy in their old age.
  • 80% of senior citizens live in rural areas with inadequate or inaccessible medical facilities; many are unable to access the medical facilities because of reduced mobility in the old age.
  • 55% of women over the age of 60 are widows with no means of support

The elderly people, or senior citizens, are the fastest growing segment of the Indian society. By 2025, the population of the elderly is expected to reach 177 million.

Unlike many developed countries, India does not have an effective security net for the elderly people. There have been sporadic attempts by governments at the central and state levels to pay old age pensions, but like most government schemes, there is a lot of leakage of funds and inefficiency. There is also a lack of post-retirement avenues for re-employment.

Socio-economic developments such as urbanization modernisation and globalisation have impacted the economic structure and led to an erosion of societal values and the weakening of social institutions such as the joint family. The changing mores of society have created a chasm between generations. The intergenerational differences have created a situation where the younger people are involved in education, career building and establishing themselves in life, ending up ignoring the needs of the elderly among them. The older generation is caught between a society which cares little for them and the absence of social security, leading them to a situation where they are left to fend for themselves. It is in this context that institutions such as HelpAge India play a positive role in society.

HelpAge India, established in 1978, is a secular, not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation, registered under the Societies Registration Act of 1860. Its mission is stated as ‘to work for the cause and care of the disadvantaged older persons and to improve their quality of life’. The three core values that guide HelpAge India’s work are rights, relief and resources. HelpAge India is one of the founder members of HelpAge International, a body of 51 nations representing the cause of the elderly at the United Nations. It is also a member of the International Federation on Ageing.

The organisation of HelpAge India consists of a head office at New Delhi, with four regional and thirty-three area offices situated all over India. The governing body of the organisation consists of ten distinguished people from different walks of life. Besides the governing body, there are three committees: the operations committee, the business development committee, and the audit committee. The CEO, Mr Mathew Cherian oversees the planning and implementation of policies and programmes, with the support of five electors. The regional directors are responsible for their own regions. The program division at the head office chooses the partner agencies to provide the services to the elderly people.

HelpAge India raises resources to perform three types of functions:

  • Advocacy about policies for the elderly persons with the national and local governments
  • Creating awareness in society about the concerns of the aged and promote better understanding of ageing issues
  • Help the elderly persons become aware of their own rights so that they get their due and are able to play an active role in society

The major programmes undertaken by HelpAge India include mobile medicare units, ophthalmic care for performing cataract surgeries, Adopt-a-Gran, support to old-age homes, day care centres, income generation and disaster relief.

The business model of HelpAge India is based on revenue generation through grants and donations from international and national source. Nearly half of the donations come from international donors. About a fifth of the donors are individuals. The sources of contributions come from fundraising activities that include direct mail, school fundraising corporate fundraising, sale of greeting cards, acting as corporate agent for insurance, organizing event and establishing a shop-for-a-cause that sells gift made by disadvantaged people. A review report on the activities of HelpAge India enumerates its strong points as below:

  • Wide Reach and Impact HelpAge India has been able to impact the lives of a large number of elderly people and their families by adopting a holistic approach that provide immediate relief as well as long-tern sustainable improvement.
  • Effective Partnerships in Development HelpAge India has evolved as a development support agency through creating partner agencies, that is funded to implement the projects.
  • High Degree of Charitable Commitment Typically non-profit organisations spend a loft; on overhead and administrative costs. But3 HelpAge India is able to put nearly eighty-five, per cent of the funds towards actual project implementation.
  • Focus on Efficiency and Transparency The partner agencies are chosen carefully and monitored thoroughly. This results in increased efficiency and low overheads. Project implementation through partnerships increases efficiency and cuts down on 3overhead costs.
  • Quality of Management The management; quality of HelpAge India is good and there are a lot of committed people. New employees are also trained to be sensitive to the mission of the organisation.

With a wide spread of activities and being a non-governmental organisation having limited funding, HelpAge India has adopted modern means of information technology and networking. Most of the HelpAge executives work in the field and have no direct access to the office network. They have to use e-mail in order to maintain contact with their regional or area offices. They use cyber-cafes or handheld devices for sending and receiving e-mails. HelpAge has installed a secure connection at an initial cost of Rs. 4 lakh and annual upgradation cost of Rs. 75,000 to access e-mail from anywhere, with a high level of security and protection of data and contents.

The nature of non-profit organisations demands certain requirements. Among these, transparency of operations and funds management is a major one. There are many NGOs that are accused or suspected of misappropriating funds for personal benefit. HelpAge India is conscious of this fact and gives high priority to information disclosure. The audited financial statements and the annual report are available on its website. The financial statements give a detailed account of the expenditure on individual projects. The expenses on travel and salaries of its employees and CEO are also mentioned. The individual donors are provided information regarding the use of the funds donated by them.

The functional approach at HelpAge India consists of developing projects based on the assessment of the needs of its target community rather than on implementing them directly. The implementation takes place through the partner agencies. Rather than outright grants, it supports income generation projects for the elderly people. The success of implementation critically depends on the identification and appointment of partner agencies. The officers of HelpAge India physically inspect the proposed agencies and check on their management to ensure that they are not family-run set-ups established for personal gains. HelpAge India works presently, with nearly 400 partner agencies. These include, for instance, about 150 charitable eye hospitals that act as partner agencies for the ophthalmic care programme.

HelpAge India with its slogan of ‘fighting isolation, poverty and neglect’ moves on its mission of providing ‘equal rights, dignity for elders’. It foresees its future activities in the area of rights based advocacy for a better life for the elderly people by bringing them into the mainstream of society rather than being marginalised to the fringes.


1. In your opinion, what is the distinctive competence of HelpAge India?

2. Prepare a strategic advantage profile for HelpAge India.


Case IV


Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) is India’s largest engineering and manufacturing enterprise, operating in the energy sector, employing more than 42000 people. Established in 1956, it has established its presence in the heavy electrical equipments industry nationally as well as globally. BHEL is one of the navaratnas (lit. nine gems) among the public sector enterprises in India. Its vision is to be ‘a world class enterprise committed to enhancing stakeholder value’. Its mission statement is: ‘to be an Indian multinational engineering enterprise providing total business solutions through quality products, systems, and services in the fields of energy, industry, transportation, infrastructure, and other potential areas’.

BHEL is a huge organisation, manufacturing over 180 products categorised into 30 major product groups, catering to the core sectors of power generation and transmission, industry, transportation, telecommunications and renewable energy. It has 14 manufacturing divisions, four power sector regional centres, over 100 project sites, eight service centres and 18 regional offices. It acquires technology from abroad and develops its own technology at its research and development centres. The operations of BHEL are organised into three business sectors of power, industry and overseas business. Besides the business sector departments, there are the corporate functional departments of engineering and R&D, human resource development, finance and corporate planning and development.

BHEL’s turnover hit an all-time high of Rs. 18,739 crore, registering a growth of 29 per cent, while net profit increased by 44 per cent to touch Rs. 2,415 crore in 2006-07. The company has a comfortable order book position of Rs. 55,000 crore for 2007-8 and beyond. The company booked ex­port orders worth Rs. 1,903 crore in 2006-07. It is looking toward to US$10 billion exports by 2012 from the present US$ 4 billion. The capital investment plan of BHEL for the 11th National Plan period envisages an investment of Rs 3,200 crore, mainly to enhance its manufacturing capacity from 10000 MW to 15000 MW.

BHEL has formulated a five-year strategic plan with the aim of achieving a sustainable profitable growth, targeting at a turnover of Rs. 45,000 crore by 2012. The strategy is driven by a combination of organic and inorganic growth. Organic growth is planned through capacity and capability enhancement, designed to leverage the company’s core are s of power, supported by the industry, transmission, exports and spares and services businesses. For the purpose of inorganic growth, BHEL plans to pursue mergers and acquisition and joint ventures and grow operations both in domestic and export markets.

BHEL is involved in several strategic business initiatives at present for internationalisation. These include targeting the export markets, positioning itself as a reputed engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor globally, and looking for opportunities for overseas joint ventures.

An example of a concentration strategy of BHEL in the power sector is the joint venture with another public Enterprise, National Thermal Power Corporation, to perform EPC activities in the power sector. It is to be noted that NTPC as a power generation utility and BHEL as an EPC contractor have worked together on several domestic projects earlier, but without a forma partnership. BHEL also has join1 ventures with GE of the US and Siemens AG of Germany. Other strategic initiatives include management contract for Bharat Pumps and Compressors Ltd. and a proposed takeover of Bharat Heavy Plates and Vessels, both being sister publics enterprises

Despite its impressive performance, BHEL is unable to fulfil the requirements for power equipment in the country. The demand for power has been exceeding the growth and availability. There are serious concerns about energy shortages owing to inadequate generation and transmission, as well as inefficiencies in the power sector. Since this sector is a major part of the national infrastructure, problems in the fibwer sector affect the overall economic growth the country as well as its attractiveness as a destination for foreign investments. BHEL also faces stiff competition from international players in the power equipment sector, mainly of Korean; and Chinese origin. There seems to be an undercurrent of conflict between the two governmental ministries of power and heavy industries. BHEL operates administratively under the Ministry of Heavy Industries, but supplies mainly to the power sector that is under the Ministry of Power. There has been talk of establishing another power equipment company as a part of the NTPC for some time, with the purpose of lessening the burden on BHEL.


1. BHEL is mainly formulating and implementing concentration strategies nationally as well as globally, in the power equipment sector. Do you think it should broaden the scope of its strategies to include integration or diversification? Why?

2. Suppose BHEL plans to diversify its business. What areas should it diversify into? Give reasons to justify your choice.


Case V


The Kalyani Group is a large family-business group of India, employing more than 10000 employees. It has diverse businesses in engineering, steel, forgings, auto components, non-conventional energy and specialty chemicals. The annual turnover) of the Group is over US$ 2.1 billion. The Group is known for its impressive internationalisation achievements. It has nine manufacturing locations ad over six countries. Over the years, it has established joint ventures with many global companies such as ArvinMeritor, USA, Carpenter Technology Corporation, USA, Hayes Lemmerz, USA and FAW Corporation, China.

The flagship company of the Group is Bharat Forge Limited that is claimed to be the second largest forging company in the world and the largest nationally, with about 80 per cent share in axle and engine components. The other major companies of the Group are Kalyani Steels, Kalyani Carpenter Special Steels, Kalyani Lemmerz, Automotive Axles Kalyani Thermal Systems, BF Utilities, Hikal Limited, Epicenter and Synise Technologies.

The emphasis on internationalisation is reflected in the vision statement of the Group where two of the five points relate to the Group trying to be world-class organisation and achieving growth aggressively by accessing global markets. The Group is led by Mr. B.N. Kalyani, who is considered to be the major force behind the Group’s aggres­sive internationalisation drive. Mr. Kalyani joined the Group in 1972 when it was a small-scale diesel engine component business.

The corporate strategy of the Group is a combination of concentration on its core competence in its businesses with efforts at building, nurturing and sustaining mutually beneficial partnerships with alliance partners and customers. The value of these partnerships essentially lies in collaborative product development with the partners who are the original equipment manufacturers. The foreign partners are not intended to provide expansion in capacity, but enable the Kalyani Group to extend its global marketing reach.

In achieving its successful status, the Kalyani Group has followed the path of integration, extending from the upstream steel making to downstream machining for auto components such as crankshafts, front axle beams, steering knuckles, camshafts, connecting rods and rocker arms. In all these products, the Group has tried to move up the value chain instead of providing just the raw forgings. In the 1990s, it undertook a restructuring exercise to trim its unrelated businesses such as television and video products and concentrate on its core business of auto components

Four factors are supposed to have influenced the growth of the Group over the years. These are mentioned below:

  • Focussing on crore businesses to maximize growth potential
  • Attaining aggressive cost savings
  • Expanding geographically to build global capacity and establishing leading positions
  • Achieving external growth through acquisitions

The Group companies are claimed to be positioned at either number one or two in their respective businesses. For instance, the Group claims to be number one in forging and machined components, axle aggregates, wheels and alloy steel. The technology used by the Group in its mainline business of auto components and other businesses, is claimed to be state-of-the-art. The Group invests in forging technology to enhance efficiency, production quality and design capabilities. The Group’s emphasis on technology can be gauged from the fact that in the 1990s, it took the risky decision of investing Rs. 100 crore in the then latest forging technology, when the total Group turnover was barely Rs. 230 crore. Information technology is applied for product development, reducing 3 production and product development time, supply-chain management and marketing of products. The Group lays high emphasis on research and development for providing engineering support, advanced metallurgical analysis and latest testing equipment in tandem with its high-class manufacturing facilities.

Being a top-driven group, the pattern of strategic decision-making within seems to be entrepreneurial. There was an attempt to formulate a five-year strategic plan in 1997, with the participation of the company executives. But not much is mentioned in the business press about that collaborative strategic decision-making after that

Recent strategic moves include Kalyani Steels, a Group company, entering into a joint venture agreement in May 2007, with Gerdau S.A. Brazil for installation of rolling mills. An attempt to move out of the mainstream forging business was made when the Group strengthened its position in the prospective business of wind energy through 100 percent acquisition of RSB consult GmbH (RSB) of Germany. Prior to the acquisition, the Group was just a wind farm, operator and supplier of components.


1. What is the motive for internationalization by the Kalyani Group? Discuss.

2. Which type of international strategy is Kalyani Group adopting? Explain.


Case VI


On 16 April 1853, a locomotive pulling 14 carriages and 400 people left what was then Bombay, to a 21-gun salute, and shuttled to Thane, 34 km away. The journey took about 75 minutes. That was the way Indian Railways was born. Some estimates consider the Indian Railways as the world’s largest commercial enterprise in terms of the number of employees.

Indian Railways is a departmental undertaking of the Government of India. The Central Ministry of Railways oversees the policy making for the Indian Railways and is headed by a union minister. There are some ministers of state holding specific responsibilities. The administration of Indian Railways is done through the Railway Board headed by a chairman and having six members.

There are 16 railway zones, each headed by a General Manager who reports to the Railway Board. The zones are divided into divisions under the control of divisional railway managers. There are 44 functional departments, including those of engineering, mechanical, electrical, signal and telecommunications, accounts, personnel and operating, commercial and safety branches. At the operational levels, there are station superintendents and station masters who control individual railway stations. Apart from the Indian Railways, the Ministry also has a number of public sector enterprises under its administrative control. There is an autonomous organization called the Centre for Railway information System, dedicated to developing specialized application software for the railways.

The financial matters of the Indian Railways are dealt with through an elaborate system involving the parliament of India down to the accounts departments at the divisional headquarters. The Railway budget is presented every year and passed by both houses of the parliament. The budget is based on the expected traffic and the projected tariff and capital and revenue expenditure. Dividends are paid to the Central government on the capital invested. Indian Railways is subjected to the same audit control as other government ministries and departments.

The Indian Railways is Asia’s largest and the world’s second largest rail network under a single management. It is a multi-gauge, multi-traction system covering over 60,000 route kilometers, with 300 railways yards and 700 repair shops and covers most of the country’s vast geographical spread. The rolling stock fleet of the Indian Railways comprises 7,566 locomotives, 37,840 coaches and 222 million freight wagons. With a workforce of around 1.4 million, it runs more than 11,000 trains daily.

The Indian Railways has evolved into a vertically integrated organization. Various units are engaged in designing, manufacturing and maintaining the rolling stock, running institutions such as hospitals, schools, housing estates and hotels and catering. It issues licenses to a large number of uniformed porters and authorized hawkers. These are only some of the major activities that the Indian Railways perform.

There are many problems facing the Indian Railways. Among these, the major ones are:

  • Cross-subsidisation of passenger and freight tariff
  • High energy and fuel costs
  • High accident rate
  • Antiquated communication, safety and signaling equipment.
  • Ageing infrastructure including rail tracks and bridges.
  • High establishment and personnel costs.
  • Emerging competition from low-cost airlines.

Many areas of the Indian Railways are in need of improvement. Several actions have been taken over the years that include:

  • Upgrading technology, especially the application of IT
  • Improving the quality of railway services
  • Production of better quality locomotives and
  • Introduction of fast long-distance trains
  • Addition of value-added services such as introducing banking facilities on trains.

A Status Paper on the Indian Railways was issued May 1998, followed by another in 2002. These status papers underlined issues confronting the Indian Railways and possible options. The Status Paper-1998, for instance, focused on the strategies related to honing the marketing capability for bulk and non-bulk freight and passenger services, reducing operating costs, evolving a financial strategy, bringing about cultural change and addressed issues of concern in areas such as research and development and IT. Similarly, the status paper of 2002 presented several issues and posed several questions related to its functioning.

A report published in 2001 by a government appointed group chaired by Rakesh Mohan, now the deputy governor of Reserve Bank of India, called for a radical restructuring of the Indian Railways. The main thrust of its recommendations was on shedding the non-core activities such as catering and manufacturing not related to its main activities of passenger and freight transportation and becoming a focussed organisation.

Freight has been the key revenue earner for Indian Railways. The target for 2007-08 is at 785 million tonnes. The market share of freight traffic had been on the decline over the last few decades, owing to improvements in road infrastructure. To arrest this decline, it became imperative to: enhance customer responsiveness through cargo visibility and information dissemination, reduce operating expenses and improve asset utilisation. In order to achieve these aims, the Indian Railways installed a computerised Freight Operations Information System, with the assistance of CMC Limited.

There is much hype around the financial turnaround of the Indian Railways. Here, the major achievements have been in the areas of improved freight and passenger earnings, gross traffic revenue, higher cash surplus, higher net revenue, better operating ratio and return on capital. For instance, the Indian Railways is proud of its achievements in terms of an above 78 per cent operating ratio and a 20 per cent return on capital in 2006- 2007.

Overall, the Indian Railways have benefited from several managerial initiatives taken over the recent past, such as corporatisation of many of its activities and hiving off, separate companies to perform functions performed in-house earlier. For example, the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation took over the non-core activities of catering while Rail Tel Corporation was formed to create the optic fibre network for communications. Another subtle manner of change seems to be the creeping nature of privatisation of non-core services and adoption of modern business methods of marketing and human resource management to improve operational efficiency. These seem to be working though critics say that the increase in the general economic activity and overloading of wagons is the cause of this improved short-term performance.

Certain inherent issues have become a part of the Indian Railways heritage. Among these are: overdependence on freight business, much of freight business arising from a select few commodities, passenger traffic being concentrated in low-yield suburban traffic and high density of traffic in the certain areas coupled with under-utilised assets and facilities in others. The fundamental issues of the dilemma whether Indian Railways is an organisation in the nature of a public utility, designed to discharge social obligations, or is it a commercial orgarnisation for which financial performance and operational efficiency are imperative still remain.


1. Comment on the steps taken to reduce the extent of vertical integration at the Indian Railways. Suggest a few more measures that could be taken.

2. Discuss the measures taken for corporate restructuring of the Indian Railways, in your opinion, are these adequate for dealing with the problems faced? Why?

3. Propose the basic elements of a corporate turnaround for the Indian Railways.


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