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Arvind Deshpande
Arvind Deshpande

Arvind Deshpande

Head, Quality Assurance Regulatory Affairs at Larsen and Toubro Limited, Medical Equipment business unit

Retired from L&T

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Important decision
I was open to job rotation within the company framework. Working in different SBUs and functions really helped me gain a better perspective about the business and the external environment.
While gaining domain expertise in the 70s and 80s important decisions were w.r.t value engineering for clients. In the 90s while honing man management skills and ERP learning, key decisions were w.r.t optimal utilization of people and systems including completing automation projects. In the post 2000 era it was utilizing leadership skills to increase market share AND achieve regulatory compliance to meet US FDA norms and EU requirements without sacrificing ethics. There was no RECALL by US FDA or EU regulators - which was a testimony to compliance decision making.
Just for comparison, in 2013, US FDA regulators have held back or recalled products of 13 firms in India, consisting of Indian and MNC firms. This is 20 per cent of their world wide recalls.
Ensuring success
Post retirement in 2012, I am in touch with the student community and giving back my learning from experience. I am assisting a training centre in their efforts to streamline and standardize processes. I actively read about healthcare issues in the USA and compliance guidelines in India.
Degree that I recommend
Yes. One will benefit if you complete CQE or CQA from American Society for Quality (ASQ). One must be qualified ISO 9001 ad ISO 13485 internal auditor as also qualified to audit processes as per EU and US FDA guidelines.
A TQM program will greatly benefit a professional at a senior level in understanding how to improve processes using automation, people and external resources.
An understanding of Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing is a must.
In Marketing, an MBA is helpful. Even if you do not have an MBA qualification you can hire a person with MBA but have the patience to listen to that person. Otherwise, both the person and you will be frustrated with each other and the organization.
Initiative to develop a country
1) Participate in internal discussions of the company where the company's growth will lead to our country's growth.
Our Medical SBU was partly responsible for bringing down the prices of the medical devices in India, which in turn led to growth of the number of hospitals. Hospitals also increased in number due to government policies and tax benefits. Consequently, healthcare became more affordable for the middle class and healthcare contribution to GDP increased.
2) Increasing awareness about issues thru internet, web sessions, CII industry seminars, etc are equally important.
3) If you have the inclination you can set up an industry in cutting edge areas. Today we have drug generics or Bio-pharma companies who are Indian and do business world wide. Yes, it is a matter of time before they themselves establish their own Brand in the world, like Infosys or Cognizant have done in the software area.
Influenced by
First my parents, in their simple approach to life. Next people like JRD Tata, NR Narayan Murthy and Sachin Tendulkar who despite all their achievements in their area continue to be the most humble people.
Our public sector units also have gems among them, without which we would not have seen a Managalayan mission.
Our Armed forces are another example of self less service.
There are many examples to emulate, including our RBI who are smart and can hold their own w.r.t developed economies.
Thoughts on Education system of our country
Prior to education, we need to value dignity of labour. This will diminish the false need of degrees for the purpose of prestige, for dowry or marriage or public glorification.
Autonomous institutions may not be the answer. In India, we have not been able to control quality of education even with institutions like AICTE. Hence, we need independent third party bodies - petty much like Notified Bodies who certify companies for ISO 9001, etc. Try it out and see what other improvements are required.
Interference from politically connected agencies must go away. If a political person has an interest commercially in any educational institution then he must relinquish his charge if he desires political positions and vice versa.
The number of colleges accredited must be in line with growth aspirations of the country and also in line with quality staff and infrastructure availability.
Institutions must develop infrastructure like roads to their premises, etc before being accredited.
Qualities needed to become a successful leader
Integrity, domain knowledge, business sense, human orientation and diplomacy are some key qualities.
My achievements
On a personal level, known for integrity and transparency in dealings. Focus on cost or expense control vis-a-vis business reality is another trait that I am proud of. Use of automation, carrying people along and standing by them in their hour of need also makes me proud.
A clean chit from US FDA and the EU regulatory authorities for the Medical SBU - is also an achievement which I am proud of.
Even post retirement, being called for social engagements related to SBU, the people and suppliers makes me feel proud.
More about myself
I would like to thank Silicon India for giving me an opportunity to express my views and opinions.
As usual, feedback from readers is valuable. Hence, I invite readers to share their thoughts.
Brief description about me
I have a total of 36 years of experience. Out of 36 years, my initial 4 years were at Tata Motors, Pune in their state-of-the-art-electronics maintenance section.
The balance 32 years are with L and T. Out of 32 years, 4 years were with their Control and Automation strategic business unit (or SBU) in Systems Engineering and Production, Planning and Control functions.
The balance 28 years were with their Medical Equipment and Systems SBU. Due to beneficial job rotation, I have been responsible for Technology transfer, Production, Product development, SAP implementation, Sales,Marketing and Service as Country Head India and finally Quality Assurance and Regulatory Affairs till I retired in 2012.
An all round experience in an environment of freedom with responsibility is what I have cherished with a lot of learning and lot of giving back of my learning to the younger generation
Couple of years from now
I am nearing 60 and would like to see first our country on the way to be a respected developed country, irrespective of the political party ruling it.
I would like to be apart of this country development process and progress.

There are some personal commitments now. Some ideas are there in my mind which I have given about a years' time to fructify.
My role model
1) JRD Tata. For his various achievements but with humility.
2) From my erstwhile company, of course it is the tireless Mr A M Naik, who has taken the company from Rs 3500 Crores to Rs 65,000 Crores in about 12 years.
Important lesson learned
One, be a human being first. Then a family person because it is they who take care of you. Then a professional where you take care of others.

No short cuts - they cut you short !
My family background
I have a wife, a son and daughter-in-law and a daughter. My parents stay with me at Mysore, where I am based, since 1989, except for two years in between when I was at Mumbai. My wife is a home-maker who has completed PG in Clinical Psychology and loves animals and beings from new-borns to centenarians. My father was in teaching and retired as HOD, at Mumbai Veterinary College. My son and daughter-in-law are at Bengaluru, working for different software companies. My daughter is at London working with a Publishing company.
I am an Electronics graduate from NIT, Nagpur though my schooling and PU happened in Mumbai.
My strongest skill
Good domain knowledge, man management skills, asking questions when curiosity or doubt arises, genuine appreciation of people and their performance, being honest with people even when you have to convey unpleasant things to them are some of the skills and attributes which I am known for.
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