Bajaj Electricals Trains Users To Fight Attrition

by Amit Tripathi    Oct 18, 2004

When it comes to technology, people are still waiting for opportunities to fly to Silicon Valley. The mass exodus of IT professionals is a known phenomenon both in the IT user as well as IT vendor community. The issue becomes acute in case of enterprises using homegrown systems, where the general worry is to contain the IT dream of making it big amongst young techies, which most commonly is to gain expertise on branded applications and then move on to greener pastures.

Bajaj Electricals Ltd. (BEL), the electric appliances major, which uses a homegrown ERP since 1996, has countered the problem by grabbing it at its horn and has proved highly successful at it too.

Sharing his experience with CXOtoday, Pratap Gharge, senior general manager & head-IT, said, “We had faced the IT expertise migration more acutely during the Y2K period but as we use a customized ERP (since 1996), training new entrants had not been a problem unlike branded products, whose training itself is an expensive affair. Moreover, we had started training users from various departments on the ERP. Many youngsters of non-IT departments could, thus, expand their expertise and are with us since the days we started using ERP. Their understanding is in many cases better as compared to hardcore IT people as far as business practices are concerned. Besides this approach also results in effective utilization of manpower, especially when automation relieves some workforce from various departments.”

The company is at the moment engaged in integrating its business partners, namely the suppliers, the dealers and service franchisees to the enterprise Intranet. Of the 26 locations of the enterprise, 20 branch offices are connected over a 64 kbps leased line with ISDN backup, where as 6 locations (mostly godowns) uses Internet for connectivity.

Gharge informed that for a constant watch on realizing return on investment (ROI), an IT task force is also formed that is headed by the Chief Operations Officer and includes 5 department heads, apart from Gharge himself. He says, “An enterprise like that of ours need to monitor the ROI on a priority basis, we allocated a sizable amount initially on the IT infrastructure.”

Bajaj Electricals has 20 branch offices and 4 regional offices spread in different parts of the country besides being supported by a chain of about 600 distributors, 2500 authorised dealers, over 60,000 retail outlets and over 200 service franchisees. The hardware landscape comprises of Sun Solaris enterprise class servers with the clients on Windows 2000, as the front end Power Builder interacts with Oracle 8i at the back-end.

BEL has five major business units comprising of lighting, luminaires, electric fans, home appliances, and turnkey engineering projects. BEL’s export activities are supported through its international division. BEL has recently forayed into electric power generation through wind energy.