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Preparing For The New Normal

Parag Shah, Managing Partner, Mahindra Partners, talks about fighting the corona pandemic, and business revival.

As we sit through this national lockdown, hoping like the rest of the country that it will soon come to an end, I see hope in the most recent address by our Prime Minister.

We have seen a profound level of collaboration across public, private and civil society to deal with the pandemic. Even in India, people are showing their solidarity in fully supporting the prime minister's message. While the recovery is going to be slow, we all need to do our bit as individuals, as businesses, and as a group. We need to ensure that people and companies that are most affected by this can come out of the situation.

The Mahindra Group is playing a tremendous role in seeing our country through this crisis. The Group’s effort in manufacturing ventilators and sanitizers are commendable. Our engineers have ingeniously built models applying their expertise to create ventilators from scratch. We are proud of the teams who are working tirelessly at the shop floor level to realise the vision of the Group in such challenging times.

We saw Mahindra Logistics' launching free emergency cab services with Alyte, and Mahindra Tractors leading the sanitisation drives in Mumbai. It is moments like these that give us the perfect opportunity to Rise, and we indeed have done our nation proud by being an active participant in this movement of change. This crisis is the biggest test yet, of responsible capitalism.

At Mahindra Partners, we spent the first couple of weeks in accepting the problem and focusing on how to get work done from home successfully. This happened just as the leadership team was also ensuring that all companies have sufficient funds to survive through slightly long-term recovery from the current crisis. We are happy to report that on both these fronts we have had a successful transition.

In a Black Swan event such as this, companies will have to relook at their business models and strategy. There is a need to build resilience in every aspect of the operations, right from our cash flows to our supply chains. We need to mobilise our war rooms to protect our employees and customers (while we work from home) to ensure business continuity and create centres of excellence for knowledge management.

Another imperative is to build agility into every aspect of our businesses as we reimagine them for the new normal. More companies will go digital-first. Even in the businesses, we plan to launch like Mahindra Healthcare; we are looking at digital business models.

Taking a step back to view life before the Covid situation, we did start our new financial year with some changes. As the Group strategically re-aligns itself, we bid adieu to Mahindra Logistics which is now part of the new Mobility Services Sector. We have had a fulfilling journey with MLL, with one of my proudest moments being the company’s IPO. At the time it was brought into Mahindra Partners, we were reconsidering its future. But over the next three years, it rose like a Phoenix from the ashes. With capable leadership and dedicated employees, the company pulled itself out of the shambles that it was in and was re-built with an influential culture of Mahindra Rise woven into its very fabric. We are delighted to celebrate MLL as it joins the big boys. We welcome Waste to Energy as we partner with them to take the company to new heights and we also welcome Aquasail, our latest investment.

In 2009, when we were discussing the idea of Partners and the role it would play in the Group, we came up with a unique formula. One where we would nurture existing businesses, invest in companies and incubate them. In the past ten years, we have navigated through different stages, addressing each one of the goals set out for us. All our companies have grown to become formidable entities within the Mahindra Group. We are more than proud of this juncture because it is evidence that we have served our purpose successfully.

In conclusion, while we prepare for business to get back to 'usual', we are also making way for a 'new normal’. This new normal is going to bring with it a host of opportunities and we need to Reboot, Reimagine and Reignite as we wait on this new face of business to take shape.

Read more stories from Mahindra Partners in the latest edition of Partners Post.

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  • Which of the following do you enjoy the most?
    Working from home
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    Spending time in both spaces equally