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Small Steps To Big Success

Bringing changes in ERM and better focus on working capital and resource allocation helped Ravichandran take the big leap

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After serving for more than a  decade at Honeywell’s Middle East operations, R. Ravichandran came back to India to take up the role of CFO at Honeywell Automation India (HAIL) in 2016. Over the couple of years, HAIL has managed to achieve double digit growth in its topline and bottomline along with a solid cashflow performance. This was further bolstered by a robust internal control and a governance mechanism in place. HAIL has also performed very well in terms of earnings per share (EPS) and share owners have reaped a very strong growth of over 500 per cent in the last five years and over 60 per cent in the year ending 2018.

Ravichandran says, “We have witnessed major changes and development in the country such as demonetisation, GST implementation, Companies Act 2013 getting fully implemented, major reforms on corporate governance with significant positive moves by the government of India such as ‘Make-in-India’ and ‘Smart City’ projects in several cities in India. It was very exciting being part of a team that successfully embraced these changes and produced solid results. Going forward, we are well positioned to participate in the growth story of India, especially in the Oil & Gas and infrastructure sectors.”

When Ravichandran retured to India, he faced major challenges in the area of indirect taxes, especially in the wake of GST. At the same time, it was necessary to strengthen the internal mechanisms while also ensuring synchronisation with external stakeholders and their system. This also posed challenges of continuously upgrading the knowledge levels of the entire team to ensure minimal errors and corrections. To streamline the whole process, Ravichandran and his teammates brainstormed with business heads in various areas on operations, working capital, margin expansion, resource allocation and overall strategic planning to support long term growth. For this, his team looked at the annual and five-year strategic outlook, risk assessment and mitigating measures to achieve long-term goals.

Ravichandran is a commerce Graduate from Delhi University and an associate member of the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India. Prior to Honeywell, Ravichandran was with UTC Carrier for 12 years in various roles including CFO of a distribution business in Abu Dhabi UAE, FP&A manager in the EMEA region (Paris) and chief accountant in Saudi operations of Carrier.

“Some of the key changes that my team and I have brought about are in the areas of enterprise risk management  (ERM) and compliance, indirect tax process streamlining in the wake of GST, working capital focus, resource allocation, periodic reviews to enable quick decision making and corporate governance and internal audit.  These measures have been supported by eminent board members with strong business and governance background and a fully-engaged management team,” adds Ravichandran.

HAIL has also undergone restructuring (factory consolidation) and innovation by way of new product introduction and undertaken large project management including public-private partnership projects with the government.