“Inculcate the concept of ownership in your employees and make them more accountable

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He hadn’t planned his life out or made calculated decisions. He accepted things as they came along, took them on as challenges and overcame them successfully. Due to sheer hard work and dedication, he has achieved success at the age of only 46; yet, he is hungry for more. A man, who believes stability and consistency is the route to success, had the courage to pursue a career path that was not a part of his family business. Meet Shiv Bhambri, CEO, RS Components and Controls India Ltd, as he takes Richa Chakravarty of Electronics Bazaar down memory lane, recounting his journey at RS, the growth of which he cherishes the most

Hailing from an entrepreneurial family and yet opting out of being a part of the family business was a tough decision to make. However, I was lucky to start my career with big names like Schneider, which I had joined in 1994 as a management trainee. Back then, Schneider was called Telemechanique & Controls, which was a joint venture between Schneider and the Indian company Controls and Switchgear (C&S) Group.

Shiv Bhambri, CEO, RS Components and Controls India Ltd
Shiv Bhambri, CEO, RS Components and Controls India Ltd

Wednesday, 04 October, 2013: I have always liked to take up challenges; hence, despite having a non-engineering background, I had participated in many engineering projects and gained knowledge of technical aspects of products. As a trainee in Schneider, I worked in the R&D, quality control and vendor development departments, which gave me hands-on experience in product engineering. With dedication and hard work I acquired the knowledge of these departments and within one year, I was promoted to a senior position in the materials, production planning and vendor development. I spent eight years in Schneider, and left it as the head of procurement and production planning. The experience of working in various departments laid the strong foundation of my career.

Joining RS was a turning point in my life

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Our educational qualifications can help us start out in a career, but to continue in it successfully and climb the ladder, requires a lot of passion, hard work and an aggressive approach. In 2004, I was assigned the responsibility of auditing various processes of RS India as an external auditor. This exercise revealed a lot of areas for improvement within the company. Observing my ability to find loopholes, my eye for detail and my working style, the management offered me a senior position in the organisation. I accepted the offer as a challenge and joined RS at a time when it was undergoing teething problems.

Within a year, I’ve had an opportunity to head RS components operations in India and was promoted as CEO in 2006. That was a turning point in my life.

Choosing a particular field was never my agenda; I took up a job as and when it came my way. With my 18 years of experience in this industry.

My mantras for success

When I took over the leading position in RS, I had no fear, as I believed that the concept of ownership makes a person more accountable, and hence, more responsible. I am more concerned about my customers, and meeting their requirements well in time.

I believe that if you can inculcate this concept of ownership in your employees, the productivity of the company would be much higher, as everyone will feel responsible and accountable for their own work, and they would not need any other motivation. If you give them the role they want for themselves, they will be motivated, and you have won half the battle.

I prefer to hire and work with people who are better than me because you get to learn from them. I also like to work in a challenging environment with people who are passionate and have a common objective.

Shiv Bhambri
Shiv Bhambri family photo

Hard work is another key to success; hence, when I choose my employees, I take extra care to see that they are hardworking and dedicated. Then only will the success of RS go to the next level. Stability is another factor for success, and I also achieved success in my career due to stability. I believe one does not succeed with age; you succeed on the basis of what you contribute to the organisation. Owners never leave the organisation; so if you work in an organisation as an owner, your productivity will be 10 times more and this is the only way to succeed.

Last but not the least, I always believe in being different from others. If you have that edge and you can communicate that to your customers, you will definitely create a market and position for yourself.

My contribution to RS and the industry

My first commitment is to RS, and through it to the industry. There are not many companies like RS that cater to electronic design engineers, maintenance engineers or any other such buyers with value addition. Online selling of engineering components, delivered in five days anywhere across the country on an e-commerce platform with a product basket of 500,000 products, is the value we have added to the industry.

RS India is growing by 20 per cent year on year. We aspire to achieve Rs 1000 million turnover in the next 3 years and we are constantly working towards this goal.

My values were imbibed in me

I was born in 1966 into a family of entrepreneurs. My father, Subhash Bhambri, was an engineer and looked after our family business of stainless steel rolling. My parents, grandparents and cousins are all well educated and professionally successful.

Although I was born in Mumbai and stayed there for six years, I belong more to Delhi as we shifted to this city when I was six years old. I went to St Xavier’s School in Delhi and I owe a lot to it. The foundations of my value system were laid at my school. Actually, what you are taught in the early days is what you become later in life. I have had a good academic background and a lot of values have been ingrained in me by my parents. I have a younger sister, with whom my bonding has grown stronger and better with age.

I have a bachelor’s degree in commerce from Delhi University. Later, I pursued my MBA degree from Amity University along with many professional enhancements through short term training programmes from IIM-Ahmedabad, ISB-Hyderabad, etc.

I was also into a lot of sports during my college days. I used to play inter-state cricket and have been a left-hand fast bowler. I am a fitness freak and go to the gym five days a week. I also play, squash.

Shiv Bhambri, CEO
Shiv Bhambri with his family

My family is my backbone

I met my wife Sonali during my college days. She did her graduation in English (honours) from Miranda House, Delhi University, and is now a successful entrepreneur. She has introduced the UK-based salon chain, Toni and Guy, in India, and has been into this business for the last 10 years. We are blessed with two sons. Raghav is 18-year-old, while Rishabh is 13-year-old. I believe the best way to inculcate values in your children is to be friends with them. I make sure they are comfortable enough with me to speak about anything. I give them the freedom to make their own decisions as I made mine. In fact, my family is my backbone, and its happiness is my success.

I have no role models

I like simple, open, honest, fun loving people who remain always positive in life and do not crib or complain. I have no ideals in life as such, but I have learnt a lot from different people—be it my parents, colleagues or my children, and I continue to learn. You just need to keep your ears and eyes open to pick up good and positive things in life rather than following one or two role models.

I very strongly believe that there is a very close link between building a great company and building a great life. Nobody is going to gift me a great life, so the more I contribute to my company, the better my life will be. Success is a very broad term that means different things to different people. Some measure it with money, some with growth. I feel successful as I could balance my life and work successfully. My success is in my company’s growth and in the happiness of my family.

Future plans

My biggest challenge in the next three to four years is to achieve a Rs 1000 million turnover for RS India. We are heading towards that phase and we are already a market leader in maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) portfolio. But right now, we are committed to making RS the No. 1 distributor in India in the electronics domain.

A willingness to take risks and the thrill of doing things my own way keeps me going. Life is short, but our wishes are many. There is a lot more to do in the future; hence, for me, there’s no stopping or looking back.

One thing I would like to change
In this world: People should be more considerate to each other
In the country:  There is no respect for human life—we need to change the way we treat each other
At the work place:   I would like to see even better growth for the company
In society:  More respect for women
In yourself:  I need to calm down a little. My passion to drive things tends to make me impatient. I think I need to control that because sometimes it is tough for others to cope with  

 

These are a few of my favourite things…

Music: 

Anything that is soothing to the ears
Food: Sea food
Movie: 3 idiots, Rocky series
Book:  ‘Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t’ by James C Collins  
Hobby/pastime: My salt water aquarium, Gym, Squash  
Holiday destinations: London and Ko Samui in Thailand
Political figure: None
Actors: Aamir Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Sylvester Stallone
Actresses:  Madhuri Dixit, Lara Dutta
Role model: None

Electronics Bazaar, South Asia’s No.1 Electronics B2B magazine

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