Terming the coronavirus pandemic as an unprecedented challenge, Mahindra & Mahindra MD Pawan Goenka on Tuesday said the present scenario is an opportune time for industry verticals to re-invent itself.
The auto industry leader, while speaking at a covocation ceremony of a post graduate institute here, said that businesses that will redefine themselves will be the ones to survive the current scenario.
"The past few months have taught us a lot, it has made average person rethink, businesses rethink and the government rethink," Goenka said in a webinar to mark the 22nd convocation ceremony of New Delhi Institute of Management.
COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly thrown greatest ever challenge to all industry verticals but it may also be an opportunity for every business to rethink, redefine itself, he noted.
"There are some businesses which will emerge stronger out of this crisis while there will be others which will vanish," Goenka said.
Frequently Asked Questions
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Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Citing example, he said the lockdown period has pushed boundaries of verticals like e- commerce.
Describing the current situation as unprecedented, Goenka said that the narrative has changed in the last three months.
"World has turned upside down, optimisim has given way to despair... there is huge economic impact. Going into financial year 2021, we are staring at negative GDP growth, first time in over 40 years and an uncertain future," he noted.
Goenka said this is the time to think as how do we transform manufacturing to be globally competitive and achieve scale as well.
This is the time to upgrade technology, look at sectors like affordable housing, agriculture growth and healthcare services, he added.
"In fact every sector of the economy will require to be rebooted and this will require some very innovative thinking and approaches of scientific management," Goenka said.
Comparing the current situation with 1991, when economic reforms were initiated, Goenka said the next 3-5 years will be "something similar to modern context of geopolitics and new economy where the world order is changing and global value chains are getting redefined".
On his own experiences of dealing with slowdowns in his long career, Goenka said that the current situation is much more difficult than any of the challenges he faced anytime earlier.
"Seen many slowdown in many career but nothing like this. What are the learnings? most important is to manage the present without mortgaging the future. To manage the present you need to conserve cash, manage cost but you need to prepare to sprint when growth returns and it always does," he noted.
"You have to make systematic changes for the future, should not cut down investment for the future," he added.
Difficult periods are also time for the leaderships to to build teams, to make relations with dealers, customers and the society at large, Goenka said.
"And no compromise with core values of the company," he noted.
He acknowledged that there is strong focus of the government to become self-reliant across various sectors.
"What does it mean? It is leveraging our own strengths and global expertise together to create India a source of distinct value add and be globally competitive," Goenka said.