NextGen Summit 2023: Young Turks call for partnering mindset

NextGen Summit 2023: Young Turks call for partnering mindset

Change in leadership style, focus on innovation, increased collaboration, and improved ratio of women employees among top priorities

  • By Rahul Koul | August 08, 2023

The youth leadership from topmost companies of Indian chemical industry recently shared their insightful thoughts and futuristic ideas at the twelfth session, ‘NextGen Leaders: The New Face of Manufacturing’ of NextGen Chemical and Petrochemical Summit 2023 organized in Mumbai by the Indian Chemical News on July 13-14, 2023.  The session was moderated by Pravin Prashant, Editor, Indian Chemical News 

Sharing his experiences and learnings on the leadership style, Meghav Mehta, Director, Deepak Phenolics said: “During the Covid-19 pandemic, I realized that both middle and senior management leadership roles share stages on how hard things can be. In the last 2-3 years, the biggest concern has been the change management including changing our working styles and changes in how our teams are managing the people. Bringing in new technologies, phasing out projects that are not working requires a high level of agility, a good amount of understanding to move teams along with you to deliver on various projects.

“Another important thing that is required for strong leadership is the partnering mindset. Designing and developing ecosystems for your supply chains, not to look at customers and suppliers separately but as partners. The leaders who are succeeding at this have a good amount of empathy and self-awareness to lead teams and this partnering mindset.”

“We have been globally recognized for women empowerment. There are female engineers working in our plants and we have a women workforce in R& D and other areas. Generally, we seek the best talent irrespective of gender and in the longer run there will be a significant number of women who will join all the ranks. We have to collectively raise ourselves to global standards such as punctuality, quality, and services as these aspects can’t be compromised. Our fathers and grandfathers went through many challenges after independence to seal the foundations of our businesses. Now to take India to the next level but we have to change our habits and culture to meet the global standards. Looking at innovation, Meghmani has to do a lot of work in R&D. As it is a continuous process, there are two aspects to R&D, one is to work on a breakthrough molecule and second is to do the in process improvements. On the ESG front, we have to follow the norms as there is no short cut. We as a company have already set on this journey. On the digitalization front, most of our plants are DCS compliant. We are also on ERP that takes care of non-plant activities. However, I feel that it will take some time to change the mindset for adoption of digital technologies on a full scale,” said Kaushal Soparkar, Managing Director, Epigral Limited (Formerly known as Meghmani Finechem).

“In our company, women have been assigned the roles in R&D and finance where the travelling is less as they have other responsibilities. We have a ratio of around 35% women in our company and is the best standard in the industry. We at Sauradip have a customer centric approach as we are into performance chemicals. We first understand the needs of the customer and reverse engineer the products as per their feedback. Innovation is a routine and not just that we have to develop it suddenly. There are three kinds of innovation: product, process and marketing innovation. Typically, we focus on the first two things but marketing is necessary to compete at global levels. In terms of sustainability, we must not just focus on products and people but also on giving back to society. On the digital front, especially the adoption of AI and ML technologies, we may be in initial stages but it is the way ahead. Next is empathy and human relationships. This needs to be prioritized. The trust factor is important just like we have on Japanese brands. It will take time but can be achieved,” said Rajive Shah, Managing Director, Sauradip Chemical Industries.

“A recent report from Mackenzie has compared the Indian chemical manufacturing industry with global standards. From India’s perspective, there are two parameters on which the country was lacking, the dearth of skilled talent and lack of timely land and environmental approvals. As an industrial land developer, we have around nine industrial parks. In Dahej we have a 3500 acre park. So if I can give you an option of putting your Capex in a staggered manner for the future expansion, just imagine the cost advantage indust can have. The infrastructure including power, water and effluent besides waste management is easily available. Instead of putting up their own industrial park companies can avail the benefits at cost effective plans. This way they can save their Opex also goes down. We are laso building the entire ecosystem. The industry can invite their key suppliers to build a complete value chain. We are working on all the pain points that the industry is facing,” said Virendra Kumar, Group Marketing Head, Payal Industrial Park.

In his concluding remarks, Pravin Prashant, Editor, Indian Chemical News said: “Chemicals are often considered bad in terms of public perception, therefore, we need to create awareness that without chemicals, it is not possible to survive. We need to do a lot of education from a B2C perspective as the medicine and pharmaceutical pharma industry cannot survive without it and in turn affecting our chances to stay healthy. Through collaborative efforts, the chemical industry has to educate the end consumers. Though there are hazards, we must learn to live with them.”

 NextGen Chemical and Petrochemical Summit 2023 themed, ‘Innovation, Self-reliance and Sustainability’ witnessed attendance by a huge number of stakeholders from the chemical and petrochemical industry across India. 

The Summit was supported by the Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers and co-partnered by DCM Shriram. The Gold Partners of the event were Premier Tech, Ingenero, Rieco, ABB, PIP, Deepak Nitrite, Dassault Systemes, Moglix and Siemens. Associate Partners were Tata Chemicals, Anupam Rasayan India, Sealmatic, Godavari Biorefineries, Huntsman, Tranter, Source.One, IPCO, and Aeroflex. The Lanyard Partner was Jakson Green.

Industry Association Partners were AMAI, Gujarat Chemical Association, CropLife India, Chemicals and Petrochemicals Manufacturers Association, India and, AgroChem Federation of India. 

Register Now to Attend Navigating the Path to Net-zero in the Chemicals Industry on Friday, 26 July 2024

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