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Cover Story

“Customers trusted us”
V. N. Dhoot feels that a simultaneous focus on quality and pricing paved the way for the company’s success
Issue Date - 16/02/2012
One of India’s rare success stories at manufacturing was Videocon (which emerged on the Indian scene in the late 1980s), and what made it even more spectacular was the fact that it is really the only Indian electronics firm that managed to stand up and thrive amidst the MNC onslaught in the sector post-1991. In this exclusive interaction, Videocon Founder & Chairman Venugopal Nandalal Dhoot talks to B&E about the environment in the industry back then and what made Videocon thrive despite the odds. Some excerpts:

Videocon launched India’s first colour televisions (CTVs) in the late 1980s. What prompted you to take the plunge into the sector and what initial efforts went into making it a sustainably viable business proposition?
When we launched our first CTVs in the late 1980s, we got technology from our overseas partner. Our investment was a few crores of rupees at that time. Since it was a new venture in the CTV segment in India with lot of scope to flourish, we coined word ‘Videocon’. We were quite thorough in our R&D prior to starting the Videocon brand and also invested significantly into its branding. Also, in the late 1980s, demand was tremendous, as the CTV was a new product for Indian consumer.

What have been the major changes in the sector between 1982 and today?
We see a drastically changed scenario between 1982 and now. There are a lot of options, price tags and technologies now involved to suit the budget of every customer.

Describe your first 100 days of starting Videocon? What were the major challenges that you faced?
The first 100 days were more challenging, but we were committed to making it a success. Hence, we worked round the clock for efficiency in shop floor discipline and supply chain management to ensure timely deliveries of the products. We faced a shortage of skilled manpower initially; however, we could get right people at the right time later on and tackled this issue.

With CTVs being the USP of the Videocon brand, among other branded CTVs at the time of their launch, how did Videocon manage to gain a competitive edge?
The confidence and trust shown by our first time customers and our success in maintaining best quality products at affordable prices has paved the way for us to gain a competitive edge.

Who was your role model as a leader? Also what were your most critical mistakes at that time?
Being the eldest son in the family and due to the leadership lessons obtained by me over a period of time from my father, I could manage the business well. My father was my best teacher. Our achievements can be summarised by looking at Videocon’s market position in India and abroad today. Yes, being a human being, I also made mistakes, but then I have never repeated them.

How is the global downturn affecting your business?
The global downturn has certainly had an effect on Videocon’s business. However, over a period of time, we have developed an in-built system to absorb such shocks.


Mona Mehta           

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