From Get To Gm In An Automobile Company
April 07, 2017
Engineers are the set of people responsible for the dynamism in each and every aspect of the world. Right from making a pencil for writing to exploring the space and beyond, there is engineering involved in every moment of our existence. And rightfully, there is a 24 hour period in every year as a tribute for all those marvellous minds, who are trying to eradicate the word ‘impossible’ – the ENGINEERS DAY. Since Engineers Day is around the corner (it falls on 15th September), Mr. Ramesh, General Manager – IT, Ashok Leyland, lays out his insights on his being an actual ‘engineer’ rather than a mere engineering graduate.
During our student days, Ashok Leyland was one of the coveted industries Mechanical Engineers aspired to work for. We used to hear from our seniors about the work profiles in the various departments of AL. The Industrial visit to AL during my final year added to my interest in the company. The very sight of large Machine and Assembly shops with a variety of Machine Tools and Assembly equipment only boosted my resolve to get employed in AL which I eventually did by clearing the Written Test, Interviews etc.
2) 30 + years is a long period of experience. When you look back, how do you sum up these 34 years?
I joined as a GET. After general training for 6 months we had to take up specialization in a Department of our choice which would ultimately become the placement area.
The option of working in the Systems Department (the IT of those days) was available; Computers were rare in those days and I was quite interested in working on them; however I wanted to apply the Engineering Knowledge I had acquired in College. Hence I chose the Project Planning Department which deals with Process Planning, Design of Jigs & Fixtures, Machining trials etc. During the course of my work at Project Planning, the department got a Personal Computer and I worked on the same creating small applications and programmes for engineering related work. I completed my Masters in Production Engineering during this period.After a seven year stint at PP, when the Product Development department set up a facility for Finite Element Analysis, I got myself transferred to PD, so that I could use Computers for solving Engineering problems. A long stint of around 20 years at PD followed; I rose to become the Head of CAE. I was also responsible for CAD implementation, Product Data Management, providing Infrastructure facilities for Testing, etc.
"The option of working in the Systems Department (the IT of those days) was available; Computers were rare in those days and I was quite interested in working on them...
Around 8 years ago, the Management division wanted a person with exposure to the Engineering area in the IT Division. On transfer to the IT department, I managed Infrastructure procurement & installation, Operation of Data Centres WAN etc. For the past 4 years, I handle the Engineering IT & Technology projects.
Looking back, I feel that the experience has given me a good overall exposure to the business and I am comfortable in handling most of the business processes.
Hence I chose the Project Planning Department which deals with Process Planning, Design of Jigs & Fixtures, Machining trials etc.
3) What are the skills that are normally looked upon from a new employee?
Good Engineering knowledge, communication skills, and the willingness to be a team player are the most important skills expected in a new engineer. If one aspires to work in the Product Development or Process Engineering areas, he/she needs to be strong on engineering fundamentals
4) Can you brief us about what would be the topic of your talk during the Engineers Day function at CEG?
I would be part of a panel discussion which will discuss about Digital India. We would be discussing the various aspects of Digital Transformation that is taking place around us in various spheres; how they can be leveraged to make peoples’ life better and also on how ‘Budding Engineers’ can help in carrying this great initiative forward
5) What were the challenges you faced before rising up the ranks?
Our GET batch had a strength of 60 Engineers. After our induction training we were allocated to various departments; hence there used to be competition between peers in achieving project targets. Sometimes the level of recognition for similar tasks would vary between departments; this would alter the rate at which our batch mates grew in different departments.
On the whole it was hard work & dedication that has brought me and my batch mates to where we are today.
Sometimes the level of recognition for similar tasks would vary between departments; this would alter the rate at which our batch mates grew in different departments.
6) What does it take to be an engineer and how does it feel to be one?
Engineers try and get as close to perfection, even when they are aware that 100% perfection is not possible. An Engineer should be a good observer, must reason out & understand the behaviour of the various systems he comes across. A good base on fundamentals and the ability to analyse are important traits.
An Engineer should be a good observer, must reason out & understand the behaviour of the various systems he comes across.
In fact (as a Mechanical Engineer with little exposure to Electronics) I have been applying this basic reasoning, questioning & understanding approach to understand new Technologies in software, servers, storage & networking equipment and selecting the ones best suited for Ashok Leyland.
It feels great to be an Engineer – with a flair to learn new things and work out ways to putting them to use.