Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Subramanian 'Gopi' Gopalan

Meeting today 1-30...

"We have become the most materialistic in the world..."

November 27, over lunch


Murali said...

Gopi's bio...

Gopi, a native of India and a Naturalized US Citizen is currently consulting in Asia and USA and is residing in Tampa, Florida. He has an extensive knowledge of North America and Asia, especially China, Taiwan, Korea and India and he has implemented many programs in the Quality and Leadership areas using Six Sigma concepts and in Sourcing area using E commerce. Gopi received his undergraduate degree in Physics, Mathematics and Chemistry from Madras University, India. He then went on to receive his Graduate degree in Automotive and Manufacturing Engineering from Madras University, India. Later he received his MBA in Operations Management and International Business from University of Detroit, Michigan. He is also a Certified Quality Engineer as well as Certified Manufacturing Engineer.

Gopi had worked for various multinational corporations in their start-up phase in India. Working with TAFE (Massy-Ferguson), Perkins Diesel Engines and later with Telco (Mercedes Benz), he led different project teams and developed localization efforts, designed and built operations to manufacture Diesel Engines and Tractors and also developed Quality and sourcing strategy for various operations.

In 1976, Gopi was granted a green card by USA by virtue of his education and experience. Moving to USA, Gopi started his life again with Massey Ferguson, Detroit. He started their Purchase Material Quality program which reduced bought-out material scrap by 30%. As their Chief Engineer, Gopi was a key member of the Program Team that built a new Transmission Plant in Canton, MI. He played a major role in cost cutting at that operation when Massey was going through major difficulties in USA. He was one of the very few Engineers who successfully implemented Group Technology in late 1970s when Unions were very much against anything new. In addition to this, he successfully started and ran the customer care center – one of the first ones to begin in late 70s.

Gopi joined Ingersoll Rand in Texas and was instrumental in implementing Cellular Manufacturing, Lean Manufacturing and Total Quality Management which resulted in reducing manufacturing cost by 50%. He started his GE career in 1984 with the Refrigeration Plant in Indiana. He held many assignments there – Advanced Manufacturing Engineer, Manager Shop Operations, Materials Manager – and held key role in Plant expansion, Cost reduction, Quick response, Lean manufacturing and Continuous Improvement. Joining the GE International team in 1992, Gopi has traveled widely and lived in Mexico, and most of the Asian countries, conducting due diligence studies, starting new plants, training local nationals, implementing SCM and Six Sigma methodology, starting customer care centers, sourcing from low cost poles using E commerce, implementing Project Management and above all conducting training programs for senior executives. Some of the ideas being new, it was hard to get a buy-in from the employees. The implementation called for diplomacy, persuasion, detailed follow-up and constant reviews. This made Gopi conduct lot of programs in Cultural mindshift and Change Management. The E commerce effort in Asia was achieved in record time of 6 months and nearly 100 Suppliers making close to 3000 parts have come on stream resulting in 45 to 55% deflation as a start. All this was reached with a team of absolutely new employees who needed lot of training in hard as well as soft issues. After retiring from GE, as the MD of the Team Progress Inc, USA, Gopi has been consulting with different major corporations. He has been helping them to develop and implement Total Quality Management and Business strategy. He has also been training senior management of various corporations in TQM, Six Sigma, Leadership, Change Management, Supply Chain Management and CRM. Gopi has helped many Indian companies to open sourcing offices in USA, China, Taiwan and Korea. For the past two years Gopi has been helping a few Corporations in their renewable energy source projects. Currently Gopi is in the Board of two corporations, one in USA and the other in India.

In his 45 years career, Gopi has been instrumental in starting and implementing several manufacturing operations and projects with a total investment of 400 million dollars. He has implemented many off-shore development programs, and also designed and implemented quite a few quality programs especially in the area of Transactional Quality that resulted in major reduction in PPMs (from tens of thousands to hundreds range). He has conducted hundreds of training programs in quality, sourcing, leadership, change management, operation management and employee motivation to all levels of Management employees as well as Suppliers and Distributors. Gopi has earned many management awards and was also awarded stock options for number of years for his contribution to GE.

Murali said...

Make every employee feel like a star
What is motivation? “It’s an internal drive that causes people to do certain things or act in a certain way,” defines Bob Nelson, author of ‘1001 Ways to Reward Employees’.
“It is said that you can’t motivate others, they can only motivate themselves, but a manager and organisation can provide a motivational environment that can make a significant motivational impact,” he adds, during the course of a recent e-mail interaction, taking on questions I sent to him through Gopi.
Bob quotes Bill Hewlett, co-founder of Hewlett-Packard, thus: “Men and women want to do a good job, a creative job, and if they are provided the proper environment, they will do so.”
Excerpts from the interview.
Are there metrics of motivation? How can we assess or measure the level of employees’ motivation, and also the effectiveness of rewards?
Being an internal construct, the best way to measure motivation is to ask people about what does and does not motivate them.
This process serves to quantify their subjective responses, which can then serve as a baseline that can be used to show improvement or deterioration of the variables indicated by employees to be of greatest importance.
If you also combine a measure of importance (the ideal) with a measure of the current frequency (the actual) you are able to establish a “gap” analysis, which can help you to determine where best to focus the organisation’s time, energy and resources.
The same process can be done regarding rewards, that is, the incentive that will be provided if desired behaviours or results are achieved.
How expensive is it not to reward the employees right? Do we have any estimates or studies on the subject?
Yes we do! The latest research about the total costs of replacing a professional employee done by the Society for Human Resources Management indicates the costs of losing and replacing an employee at 1.5 times that person’s annual salary.
Even if you divide this cost into classes of workers (e.g. hourly vs salaried) the loss in productivity, as well as the time it takes to recruit, select and train an employee’s replacement is extensive.
Robert Half International, the staffing firm, has found from its research that the #1 reason why employees leave their current positions today is “limited recognition for the job I’m doing.”
And The Gallup Organisation has found from interviews with over 2 million employees that the #1 predictor of tenure (how long someone stays in his/her job) on the part of any employee is the relationship that person has with his/her immediate supervisor.
For most people, if you have a good boss, you have a good job; and if you don’t, you are quick to consider leaving.
There is also much research that directly links recognition with almost any area of performance or desired behaviour an organisation might want.
In short, that’s why “You get what you reward” is considered ‘the greatest management principle in the world’.
Incidentally, most managers consider money to be the primary if not the only motivator, whereas my research indicates that many other factors are as important if not more important to today’s employees -- most of which have little if any financial cost!
Are there differences between the developing and the developed countries w.r.t. what works in motivation? Do cultural factors come in the way of motivation?
Certainly there are, but the important point to realise is that we are ALL now in a world economy, so that for any country to be able to best compete internationally with goods and services they must be the best at delivering performance that most matters to the customer.
If they are not, the business will go someplace else. As my professor the late great Dr. Peter F. Drucker once observed: “The dominance of the US is already over. What is emerging is a world economy with no one centre. India is becoming a powerhouse and knowledge centre very fast.”
India currently has a golden opportunity on the world stage -- what you make of it will be a function of your collective ability to harness the power of proven concepts of management. On top of this list is the ability to tap into the value and contribution of each and every employee by making every employee feel like a star on his/her own stage.
Can rewards and therefore motivation be automated? Similarly, can there be auto alerts to managers about the need for motivation among the staff?
Yes, automation -- as with most technology -- can serve to help managers to be more efficient, such as the use of e-mail praise or the ability to send someone “points” electronically that can be redeemed for merchandise, gift certificates, or electronic gift cards, but it can not replace the importance of the “here and now” interpersonal connection that managers have with those people they directly support and depend upon for their success.
As John Naisbitt pointed out in his classic business book ‘Megatrends’: “The more high-tech we become, the more high-touch we need to be able to assimilate that technology.” Without this assimilation, the meaning, value and motivation of work become greatly diminished for employees.
How should an employee tackle a dilemma situation - where work content is good but the boss is not?
My bias would be for the employee to take a leadership role in helping define a better working relationship with his or her manager. For example, I know one General Manager who told me he had a new employee come into his office and say: “I’d like to meet with you once a month for 20 minutes to tell you about all the great things I am doing for you.” He told me he thought at the time “What’s this all about?” and asked the employee “Why?” The employee said: “I’m charged up to want to do my best work for you right now, but in order to be able to continue to do my best I need feedback from you as to what I’m doing well and what -- and how -- I could improve. This is so important to me that I don’t want to leave it to chance to have happen or not.” The manager went along with it and once a month they had a 20-minute meeting. At the end of their 4th meeting the employee announced: “You’re really getting good at this!” The manager confessed the employee was right: the meetings were very useful and it made it easier to improve performance all around -- so successful, he even started doing similar meetings with other employees. The moral of the story: Your manager is trainable!
Bob, a BA in communications and an MBA in organisational behaviour from the University of California at Berkeley, received his Ph.D. in management from the Peter F. Drucker Graduate Management Centre of Claremont Graduate University in Los Angeles, where his doctoral research was on ‘Factors that encourage or inhibit the use of non-monetary recognition by US managers.’ He is the founder and president of Nelson Motivation, Inc., a management training and consulting firm based in San Diego, California.
“Bob is also co-author of the best-selling books ‘Managing For Dummies’ – which has sold more than 5,00,000 copies worldwide – and ‘Consulting For Dummies’, as well as 15 other books on management and motivation,” as www.nelson-motivation.com informs.