President, JP Research, Inc.
Jeya Padmanaban is a member of:
When a product or a component fails in use, there is often a need to determine the cause of the failure or accident. Also, there is often a disagreement over where the responsibility for the failure lies. In many instances a law suit follows. Where databases are available on such accidents or failures, there is opportunity to statistically assessthe root cause and in essence who or what caused it. We specialize in the statistical analysis of product failures or accidents/injuriesthat occur, and providing consulting advice and/or testimony representing automotive and various consumer product manufacturers. Last year, we were one of the key expert witnesses involved in the largest class action suit in the world. With our statistical expertise and rapid response capabilities, we are a vital resource to manufacturers for performing product design research for future productsand to their attorneys involved in product liability cases. We also dostatistical and economic research studies for governmental agencies and trade associations.Our services include statistical and engineering analysis in the areas of accident/injury risk associated with a product, risk assessment of product design, economic valuation, failure ratepredictions,survey, sampling, warranty/consumer complaint analyses, and we offer expert testimony in the fields of automotive and consumer product safety, both domestically and internationally.
I started JP Research in 1995as a sole proprietorship, after leaving a large consulting company in the Bay Area. In 1995 we began to receive more and more calls from the attorneys I had worked with previously. Slowly we began to add staff first as contractors then as employees. By 2003 we incorporated and moved into our offices in Mountain View.
My way to connecting the right dots
At JPR "connecting the dots" is critical. Obviously, one person doesn’t succeed in a business like ours without the assistance of key employees. Our firm is fanatically disposed to Quality Control, communicationand attention to details. Everything is thoroughly checked and re-checkeddue to the nature of my business. We have set up organizational tools and procedures that allow us to handle multiple, constantly changing deadlines with efficiency. Our staff are constantly reminded of the need to ensure that all key data analyses are performed competently and the results can stand the scrutiny of challenges posed by other experts or attorneys.The documentation is methodically assembled. Accuracy and completeness are everything for us; and through our internal processes we “manage for quality” and continuously check for completeness and accuracy. This can make or break an expert witnesses’ testimony. And, we are constantly communicating with clients to make sure that we are serving their needs with competent, ethical research.
My way of motivating troops
Our business is anything but routine…it is organized chaos and highly charged and loaded with stress factors. It takes a special type of employee to function and succeed in the research/litigation-consulting environment. I offer professional growth through having them publish research papers, attend technical conferences and expose to clients. We also offer creative freedom for my employees so that they can develop ideas for problem solving on their own. We also bring in several highly accomplished statistical and engineering experts from various fields to mentor, train and work with young and new employees. At JPR we are frequently operating at or near capacity and our staff works very hard to ensure success. Motivating people is always a critical element in success.In this kind of environment we tend to compensate well through both salary and bonus, and we provide a liberal personal benefits program. We also try our best to maintain a “family” perspective toward our staff and treat each person’s needs individually. Obviously, constant communication is also vital to Team bonding. At the end of the day “motivation” for the talented professionals that are part of our team, comes mainly from within. The type of employee that succeeds in our business tend to be a self-motivatorwith tremendous drive and pride in doing simply excellent work—both technical and administratively.
Way to start from scratch again
I’m not sure I’d do anything differently. We seemed to be destined to be who and what we are. Attorney clients called and we simply strived to meet their needs… as the calls increased we grew to meet those client’s needs. Good clients begat other good clients. Excellent work creates demand and repeat business in this business area.
Most critical decision
I’d have to say our most criticaldecision related to whether to expand our expertise into India for a social entrepreneurship idea. As an automotive safety expert, I was watching the tremendous economic growth in the past decade and the rapid increase in road accidents and fatalities that were happening in India. My husband and I frequently talked about what we could do to mitigate accidents in our native India. A few years back we decided to create an Indian corporation with primary focus to addressthis major problem area for Indian roadways. The first step of accident reduction is to understand what is happening on Indian roads and why or how it is different from the developed countries. This can only be accomplished through accident data collection resulting from In-Depth crash investigations that include gathering data on road, vehicle, victim and environmental factors. In the US and Europe, auto manufacturers, policy makers and researchers have the benefit of such standardized accident data bases that provide data on the causes of automotive vehicle accidents. This helps to determine remedies that lower morbidity and mortality. As you may know, India now has the highest number of traffic-related fatalities in the world—a statistic that, tragically, is growing exponentially. Yet no such accident data bases exist in India.
So, Ajit and I decided to transfer our company’s research and IT expertise to India. So we set up JP Research India, Pvt Ltd in 2005. Currently, the JPRI employees are trained crash investigators who use a state of the art computer system (based on systems used by developed nations(US/Germany))but uniquely tailored to reflect Indian conditions.
Thankfully, we have been able to attract the interest of some large worldwide automotive manufacturers to join us in expanding the data collection activities. The system, which is the first one of its kind for Asia, is called Road Accident Sampling System–India, or “RASSI.” It isnow operational in two Indian states, with Data Centers in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.A third Center is in the planning stage now. My vision is to expand RASSI data collection centers across India to facilitate a national crash data base that would help implement knowledge based traffic safety laws, road infrastructure, vehicle design and emergency responses to mitigate road accidents and fatalities in India.
Advice to young entrepreneurs
I can only say that starting a business came out of something that I am passionate about. That is the first principle… you must love what you will probably spend most of your waking hours doing! Between my statistical expertise working in the automotive arena and my husband’s computer science skills we developed both the clientele and the infrastructure, i.e. IT system, to succeed in this area. So in essence we ended up doing what we BOTH enjoyed and we were able to make a living from it. The other take-away for entrepreneurs would be… take calculated risks and always have a back of the envelope calculations about your company ready. Even if it is not a ripe business plan, you need to have an insight into what your goals are and have plans B,C and D just in case plan A does not work out. Third, don’t rely on yourself for the administrative piece. Get the right operations help to run your company. This includes IT, HR and accounting. We were fortunate to have Ajit to oversee all these areas. It allowed me to focus on the business.
Key thoughts about Entrepreneurship
I feel that the business area I am in, litigation consulting services, is markedly different from product development area which many Silicon Valley companies share. I strongly believe that repeat business is the best form of marketing which requires earning the clients trust.An essential element of this practice is to provide consulting servicesthat excel and exceedyour client’s expectation always and the rest will take care of itself.