Maintaining a strong work culture has assisted Samir Choudhry in spearheading a good development and building a 1500 crore dealership company over the previous 20 years.
Some people believe that no matter how far you go, you should never forget your roots. Samir Choudhry, the dealer principle of Trident Automobiles, who hails from an army family, believes that implementing army culture has helped him develop a strong business. In 20 years, he established a Rs 1500 crore firm and employed over 3000 employees, a significant increase from 30 individuals in 1998.
Samir had passed the tests to become an officer, but decided to pursue a career in business on the advice of his father. He began his career by producing a minor auto component and eventually went into the dealership sector. Samir, a big believer in army ideals and culture, began the dealership enterprise with a former officer as his first hire. The plan was to instill regimental principles and discipline in the organization.
There is a unique sight at Trident shops, where all workers would be seen assembled in one area in the dealership premises at a specified hour for prayer, followed by warm up exercises leading to chanting of the national anthem before they walk to their separate work stations.
Adopting the severe time regulation of the army, Trident dealerships have very stringent standards on start and end of work, which is 9:30 AM to 6:30 PM. Fixed timings, according to Choudhry, are critical for ensuring staff productivity. We are really intolerant if someone do not do their task on time. I want folks to leave on time and spend time with their families. I don't like it when staff stay late after work.
Choudhry has developed a firm 9-hour workday policy that includes lunch breaks. Extending working hours doesn't make much of a difference since the same results may be obtained if time management is effective, he says.
Another strategy that the dealership follows is aligning all personnel in one direction with the captain, exactly as in the navy. This indicates that all employees must be on the same page when it comes to work and training. Choudhry went on to say that the organization works and teaches its staff based on their particular requirements. "Training is dependent on the task that a person is assigned. While OEM concentrates on mass training, it is understandable that individual problems are not always addressed. Thus, at Trident, people are trained based on their strengths and shortcomings," Choudhry stated.
According to him, one of the most important lessons he has learned in his more than 20 years in business has been to empower people in whatever manner the firm can. He further emphasized that once the objectives are communicated to the workforce, there is no intervention from management. "We have a system of checks and balances in place, as well as periodic evaluations, but if you ask me how much time I spend with the head of sales for a brand, it's roughly 6 hours a month", he stated, saying that the system is working extremely well for the firm.
From the beginning, he and his brother had insisted on owning a home rather than renting one in order to reduce future risk. All of the proceeds from the sale of the manufacturing firm (small components) were utilized to purchase a large showroom and service center for Hyundai. Trident now owns more than half of the properties.
Apart from Hyundai, Trident Automobiles has added five other manufacturers throughout the years: Renault, Bharat Benz, Chevy, Honda, and Isuzu. Sales used to be simpler 20 years ago, when Maruti and Hyundai were the sole players, according to Choudhry. With other companies entering India, competition had intensified, necessitating a new set of strategies. To combat this, the corporation studied demand from various locations and expanded with these brands appropriately.
Choudhry's life hasn't always been a bed of roses, as he has also had to suffer and close down a store due to a disagreement with the manufacturer. Even today, we're dealing with a manufacturer that isn't clear on the goal, which has an influence on the business. We grew aggressively a few years ago, which did not go well for us, and we had to close operations in five places, he noted, adding that he would redo the choice if he could.
However, the recent sales slump has had no significant influence on this dealership, since sales have remained stable. In FY19, the company's entire turnover declined to 1514 crore, down from 1522 crore in FY18. While the profit margin stays at 2%. The corporation claims to have made 40% of its earnings from sales of supplementary instruments such as finance, insurance, and accessories.
Contrary to the general consensus in the retail industry, Trident claims to be on the verge of greater expansion. The firm presently has 41 locations and plans to launch at least five new locations this year. Hyundai and Renault each have one showroom, whereas Bharat-Benz has three. In order to mitigate the impact of the slowdown, the firm has implemented austerity and efficiency measures. The corporation has begun to restrict the purchasing patterns of utility items such as coffee mugs and so on. The majority of these are now purchased in bulk.
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