Vikas Khanvelkar, Managing Director, DesignTech Systems Pvt. Ltd. is a Bachelor of Engineering in (Electronics & Telecomm) from College of Engineering Pune (COEP), he has also pursued his Master’s in Business Administration and specialized in Marketing and Finance.
He has 40 plus years of Work Experience in the Industry. Prior to starting his own business DesignTech Systems Ltd in 1998, Mr. Khanvelkar was associated with HCL Infosystems for 9 years, where he was heading CAD/CAM Division as a Country Manager for 5 years. Mr. Khanvelkar is honoured by many prominent awards such as The Alumni Association of the prestigious College of Engineering Pune, Indira Super Achievers Award in the year 2009, as he has contributed immensely in the field of CAD/CAM/CAE with his innovative ideas and efforts.
Our Exclusive Interview:
1. What does Leadership mean to you?
For me leadership means inspiring the team to translate a shared vision into motivated action. When the team believes in the vision, and when you make them part of the vision, they too feel motivated to realise it. This inspires them to work together, put in congruous efforts, and play on each other’s strengths to achieve the goal. When they work together as a team and give their best shot, success seems achievable and within reach. And nothing motivates like success. When you taste success, you yourself ensure that you never fall short of efforts to continue to achieve your objectives in the future. Also for me leadership means leading from the front and leading through example.
2. How do you keep your team motivated?
You have to make your team believe in the vision – of the company, and trust that their own professional and personal growth will happen along with it. The team will grow in proportion to the growth of the company. When you make your team, partners in the success of the company, and share that success with them, they too will feel motivated to give it their best efforts. When the team believes in the vision and growth potential of the company, they can envision their future as a part of the organization. They trust that if they contribute in the company’s growth, their progress within the company and future will be secure. Besides the business potential, the team members have to feel valued, appreciated and recognized. They all want a working culture and environment in which they can thrive and grow professionally as well as personally.
3. What is the incident/ case study that comes to your mind when it was crucial to you to take the lead in solving it? How did you solve it? How did you ensure that it was implemented?
I promoted DesignTech Systems in 1998 for promoting Ideas Artisan 3D modelling software in India. We became the largest Artisan Distributor in the country and gathered great growth momentum, developed the dealer network for the same in West and North India. Within two years in 2001 SDRC was acquired by EDS and that was a big crisis and threat to the existence of DesignTech and our channel network. DesignTech had great recall with our customers and respect from our partners.
I took all our employees in confidence and assured them that we will find our way. I took all the channel partners in confidence and convinced them that if we remain together as a team we can fight this crisis I made a detailed presentation to the APAC head of new management about our strength in MSME market. I convinced them how DesignTech and partners are their best between for success in India.
Finally the new management agreed to continue with DesignTech and not only that they allowed us to handle additional product range giving us larger portfolio.
Moral of the story however serious may be the crisis, if remain calm, organize our thoughts and strategize well, we can come out of it successfully.
4. It is said that a leader is as good or as bad as his/ her team. Do you agree? Why?
I actually don’t agree with this. With foresight, proper training, and motivation, a leader can actually transform and build a great team that is driven, capable, and performance oriented. I can say this from my own experience. When I left a senior executive level role in an MNC and founded DesignTech along with my partners, we could not afford to bring on board professionals from IITs and IIMs. But I knew, that a degree from a prestigious institution is not the only key to achieving success. We brought in people who were sincere, hardworking, and with fire in their belly, and we built a great team with them. We met our goals year after year for all these years. We invested time and energy in vision building, strategies planning, sales trainings, technical upskilling, finance management, and all this while keeping our customer at the centre of everything. and then went after our objectives with all our might. And this helped us attain new milestones, and reach where we are today. Besides, the team also influences you to be a better leader. In my experience, what matters most is the – right attitude. We need a team that helps translate the vision of the company into reality, and the team needs a company that can take them on the higher growth path and together we influence each other and keep getting better.
5. How do you delegate responsibility? What is your mantra for making your team accountable?
Mere allocation of work and bossy attitude is not the right approach to delegation and accountability. You have to ensure that your colleagues or subordinates are prepared to handle the task that is being assigned to them. If not, a proper training or orientation must be arranged. All the doubts, questions or apprehensions that they may have should be addressed to their satisfaction. Only after that, they should be allocated the designated task or responsibility. And even after that, we need to be available for initial hand holding, mentoring, monitoring, guidance till the time they are confident of handling the new responsibility on their own. Based on the tasks being assigned, proper KRAs and KPIs should be defined and explained to them which they also agree on. With time, your intervention in the allocated tasks is reduced and the subordinates can manage on their own, but you have to always be available for any guidance required. And then their performance should be measured on the pre-set and mutually agreed upon KRA and KPI parameters.
6. How do you define your vision for your organisation?
Ever since our inception in 1998, we have promoted and popularised the latest and advanced product development technologies in the Indian mechanical and product development industry sector, and provided product design and validation services to the companies in India and overseas. Our Engineering services division has worked on many complex turnkey assignments that also include working on the prestigious and one-of its-kind Gama ray antenna project in India and ITER global project. We want to continue doing that with the new age technologies that will usher the new era in industrialization, such as – smart manufacturing technologies, Industry 4.0, Industrial Internet-of-things, Augmented reality and many more. We want to expand our Engineering services portfolio with new offerings such as Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality experience services to diverse industries in India and overseas. We want to become the preferred Technologies, and Services choice for the product development and manufacturing companies in India and abroad, helping them realise their digital transformation goals.
7. What matters to you the most – loyalty of your employees or loyalty to your customers/ clients?
This cannot be one or the other. Happy and loyal employees can ensure happy and loyal customers. You either get both or none. Our motto is to make employees and customers partners in our success, and make our every transaction with our customer a delightful experience for them. Happy employees will ensure that the customer is happy. They will make efforts to understand the customer requirements holistically and then suggest the technologies or services that are best suited to the customer’s needs and which can help them achieve their objectives and derive highest ROI. When the customer understands that the company or the representative they are dealing with have their best interest at heart, the customer will choose to work with you in the future too. Only a happy employee can care enough to keep the customer happy. So it is both or none.
8. Do you admire any leader? If yes, who? How has he/she influenced your life?
I admire Ajai Chowdhary who is Founder of HCL Infosystems as great leader. His focus on customer satisfaction is very strong and he is also a great thought leader and an excellent mentor. He believes in empowering his team and giving them full freedom to operate. At the same time he is very demanding in achieving results. All these qualities of Ajai have been immensely helpful to me in building and growing my company.
Know the Person
- Money to you is Resources; that can be invested to realise your goals-professional as well as personal.
- Your favourite film is Sholay
- Your favourite food is any Maharashtrian sweet dish.
- Your favourite film star (male) is Amitabh Bachchan.
- Your favourite film star (female) is Hema Malini.
- Your favourite holiday destination is Switzerland.
- Friendship to you is forever. I am still connected with my friends from school and college.
- The person you admire the most is Ratan Tata.
- Your dream is to make my company a world class professionally managed Indian MNC.
- Your best-kept secret is I am a good chess player and story writer.