“Praise your employees in public if they perform well, but when they make mistakes, highlight that face to face”

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Praveen Madan, country head, Juki India Pvt Ltd

Born in Palwal, a small town in Haryana, Praveen Madan is now the country head at Juki India Pvt Ltd, one of the leading manufacturers of industrial sewing machines and SMT machines. In an interaction with Nijhum Rudra, he talks of his professional journey, his childhood and education, and the various challenges he faced in his career, which he successfully overcame to strengthen the business.

A few of my favourite things
Favourite music: Indian classical and any music that is soothing to the ear
Favourite food: Makki ki roti and sarson ka sag
Favourite books: ‘SMT Technology’ by Ray Prasad
Favourite actor: Akshay Kumar
Favourite actress: Madhuri Dixit
Favourite singer: Kumar Sanu

My parents migrated from Pakistan in 1947, during the Partition. My father was a school teacher and struggled very hard to educate his children. I did my primary and secondary schooling from a government school, and completed my degree in mechanical engineering from the Faculty of Engineering, Dayalbagh, Agra, in 1982.

Highlights of my professional journey
I began my career as an engineering graduate trainee in Escorts Yamaha’s motorcycle division at Noida, in 1986. In 1989, I joined HCL Ltd, an experience that made me decide to focus on electronics manufacturing in India. With the grace of the Almighty, I got my first exposure to pick-and-place machines at HCL. I subsequently got a chance to set up India’s first automatic SMT line in the Noida Export Zone. I was also associated with the core group in another big EMS setup at Altos India Pvt Ltd in Gurugram in 1992.

After this period, my career took a huge turn for the better when I got the opportunity to work for Philips India. I subsequently worked at Venture Corp, Singapore; Jabil Circuit; the Asys Group GmbH, Singapore, as the regional sales manager, and finally, I joined Juki India as the country head in 2013. I took up the challenging role of managing, developing and monitoring Juki’s Indian SMT business.

Key role in the organisation
I spearhead the sales operations and look after the company’s business in India. As you know, marketing and sales teams are always under pressure to meet targets and to assure profits in the business. That is where I use my years of expertise to keep the team members motivated and make them more competitive, by educating them about the market. I also look after the quality, innovation and development of our products, and always track the latest trends in the market, gauging what my customers want and what their challenges are.

The turning point in my career and my success mantra
Every entrepreneur, business person and member of the top management team in an organisation faces a turning point in his or her career – one that enhances their growth. My turning point was when I got a breakthrough in Altos, where I observed SMT technology in operation and developed a deep understanding of it. SMT technology is now extremely important in the electronics industry, and to develop an enhanced platform you need to go deeper to understand its impact, challenges, benefits, and most importantly, understand its business model. I applied all the skills I had acquired at Altos in Juki, which is now one of the leading manufacturers of SMT technology in India.

Electronics manufacturing services (EMS) is another important aspect in the electronics industry because it gives rise to companies associated with EMS design, manufacturing, testing, distribution, return/repair services for electronic components, and assemblies for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Hence, I have developed the skills needed for EMS factory management as well.

My core success mantra is that there is no shortcut to success. You will have to constantly work hard, and look for new and alternative ways to reach your customers and satisfy them with what you are offering. You will have to go deep into your field and develop strong analytical skills. Most importantly, you must have a professional and amicable attitude towards your job responsibilities.

Key management style
Every employee is important for the success of an organisation, as they are the key assets. Give your employees only guidance on time management and prioritising their tasks, but let them plan and organise their day-to-day activities. Praise your employees in public if they perform well but when they make mistakes, highlight that face to face, and not in front of everyone because then they feel demoralised. Set an example yourself. At Juki, we managed to improve sales by three times in the past five years, without increasing manpower.

My idol and my roadmap for Juki
My idol is my guru, Shri Shudhanshuji Maharaj, whose preaching and guidance have helped me handle tough situations in life and more important, to face them rather than run away from them. From him, I’ve learnt to always be positive and look for solutions.

As the Indian electronics industry is expanding rapidly, Juki also has a bright future with local Indian companies. My roadmap for the next five years is to expand the business 25-30 per cent on a YoY basis, and expand the market in the region. We will continue to support other countries from India, and to provide more innovative and cutting-edge solutions to improve productivity at factories.

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