BANGALORE: Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) finally got a head to lead in R K Tyagi, ending all theories which suggested that he might not have a podium finish.
The man of the moment touched down in Bangalore on Sunday night pledging to script an inspiring chapter in Indian aviation. As he steps into the HAL HQ on Bangalore’s famous Cubbon Road on Monday morning, he might have made up his mind to forgo the honeymoon. For he knows, it is Q4, it is March and it is a month of madness!
While Tyagi needs to be given time, before he can be rated, he can expect trouble from the Indian Air Force (IAF), the biggest customer for HAL. For ages, the IAF was left with no choice but to succumb to HAL’s tantrums when it came to delayed deliveries and shocking production schedules. While the IAF always wanted less AOG (aircraft on ground) status, more often the story was different and now they will aggressively pitch in for deliverables and quality. They have more reason to prove to Antony & Co that Tyagi was a wrong choice and their man could have chartered a clear, sure and swift flight-path for HAL instead.
With multiple programmes landing at HAL’s doorstep, what probably ailed the company over the years was poor succession plan. Most men who captained HAL in the new millennium ran it according to their whims, which is hurting the company badly now.
India’s late-decision icon A K Antony wants HAL to realign its business processes for strategic alliances and joint ventures. He recently told a Parliamentary Consultative Committee on Defence that HAL should adopt best practices followed by the global leaders in the field of project management, quality control systems, vendor deployment and supply chain management.
While ‘Saint Antony’ always gets away with preaching, he can be attributed to HAL’s current mess, partly. His ministry treats HAL like a ‘guest house’ and for visiting foreign dignitaries HAL is a museum, which also makes planes.
Tyagi will take at least a year to bring in visible changes, if at all. He will have to first get a sense of ownership injected into his flock.
He will have to take his team forward by inspiring them not through quotable quotes, but being a practical man, always seen and heard at shop floor, and not inside air-conditioned comforts.
He will have to reward the performers and build a strong second and third line of leaders, who will take HAL forward.
Notably, no one was eligible from within the company to even apply for the top job last year. He will also have to pluck the fear factor from the minds of people, who are failing to take decisions, fearing vigilance action.
Tyagi’s stint will be a make or break era for HAL. He will be hailed as a hero if he turns HAL’s fortunes, if not he might be grounded mid-way through the flight.