Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Book Review #99: Taking Wings And Winning By K.V. Subramaniam

Title: Taking Wings and Winning
Author: K.V. Subramaniam
Publishers: Rupa Publications India
Genre: Startup Stories/Management/Non-Fiction
Pages: 230 (Hardbound)
Source: Advance Review copy from Publishers

In today’s competitive world, setting up a new company is a tedious and challenging task. There are many parameters, aspects, ideas, processes exists that one should follow diligently in order to succeed. The unflinching determination and an innovative idea should be the focus of any startups. What this book might offer is not a regular mumbo-jumbo of how your startup should be setup or what are the guidelines should be followed. Rather, it is the story of a company that has been setup with a zero experience in the particular field and yet, the company has passed all the hurdles and established a name in the business arena.

This is the story of a company called “Reliance Life Sciences” authored by its very own President K.V. Subramaniam. The author was the person who took the responsibilities of setting up this company from ground zero. Given his background, he was more of a management expert, expertised in energy and utilities sector and little or no knowledge about Biotechnology or any clinical research medical industry. But still, with an enormous support from the Reliance group head and chairman, Mukhesh Ambani, this company took its birth as a novice in the industry and today it is one of the top contenders in the field of Biotechnology, Stem cell research and other medical based products.

The book gives us a clear and a detailed explanation of how this company has been conceptualized at the first place. Author has described his inspiration of taking the responsibility of setting up this company with his own personal traumas in his family in his younger years. The need of advanced medical equipments, medicines and other related products are the need of the hour in a country like India as per the author’s assessment. So, he started off with the basic plan of understanding the industry in the first place.

As we read through the book, we get to read a lot of initial planning that has been put to set up this company. What was the management decisions made, how the team has been recruited, how the real estate has been procured, how the plant came into existence, what was their action plans on the crisis management, how they managed their finances, what are all the pitfalls they had to face, how they overcome the resources issues, how they strived for the top notch quality in their products and finally how did they sustained in the race, is all well documented and an inspiration to read from the book.

Having the backing of a huge organization like Reliance doesn’t necessarily proves that a new company can be managed without any bottlenecks. Each company has its share of pains and pleasures. So does the Reliance Life Sciences. In terms of working as a team, they had to endure lot of adverse situations from the likes of industry experts who are hell bent on working in a specific way and would not budge to the rules and regulations of a new company. This is true in terms of any startup. Once we recruit people that claim they are experts in some of the core areas, we cannot ask them to tow the line, but it doesn’t mean that, they are allowed to work on their own accord. This is precisely what happened with Reliance Life Sciences too. Especially when it comes to research experts or scientists, they work like they have all the time in the world. So, how did they manage to make people to work for them?  How their people management system was was effectively put in place? These are the grey areas that a startup is more concerned, and this book provides a clean and simple explanation on how to manage that kind of egoist personalities.

There are also a few examples of money laundering cases in Reliance Life Sciences where they had to take drastic measures on top officials in order to stay clean and work with utmost morals and ethics. This is one area where a startup should focus on disbursing their funding. If too much of money spent on the extravaganza of few people, then the company is bound to answer their investor for the amount of money they are spending.

Overall, I guess this book is a step by step guide to establishing a new company and how to make it a success. It has great lessons on people management, finance management, property management, quality control, human resource, administration, logistics, procurement, contracts, micro managing, etc... I would definitely encourage readers to buy this book and read. It will surely give you a fresh perspective on the task that you’re ready to take up.

My Rating:

Note: This book was given to me by the Publishers in exchange for an unbiased review. 

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