Adventures in New Delhi

Thursday morning was planned for visiting one of the leading automotive suppliers in India called “Mahle Filter Systems India”. We started in our tour bus as usual. We were supposed to go to a
place call Gurgaon, one of the suburbs of New Delhi. Everyone was amazed at the volume of traffic near the toll booths and the tax that gets paid when a vehicle crosses from one state to another.

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After reaching the manufacturing plant of Mahle, we met with the COO of supply chain management and operations, Mr. Ramneek Jain. Mahle is a joint venture between Mahle Filter Systems
GmbH of Germany and Anand, India. The company specializes in air, oil and fuel filtration systems and is the biggest supplier in India for automotive and industrial OEMs. The COO was surprised
that none of the students knew Mahle before coming to India and mentioned that he needs to communicate this to the corporate communications group ! As Mahle is one of the major suppliers of Mahindra and Mahindra (our CAP project client), everyone was interested in knowing how Mahle thinks about Mahindra’s fluctuating demand forecasts.. We came to know that even though
Mahindra has wild demand fluctuations and Mahle has to take hits several times, still Mahle thinks Mahindra is a more open and trustworthy customer. As compared to other automotive
companies Mahindra is rated as one of the best customers by Mahle; getting 7.5 to 8 out of 10 in customer relationship, technology adoption, focus on quality and experimental flexibility.

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We visited the plant and saw how the air and oil filter elements are being made in the assembly line.

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It was surprising that all the notices inside the plant were written in English.We didn’t see any
notices in Hindi.

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We visited the office of Bharti-Walmart in the afternoon. This company is also located in Gurgaon. It was quite surprising to us when we came to know that Bharti -Walmart is a 50/50 joint venture in
equity holding; however Walmart has established all the backend supply chain systems as a Greenfield investment. We spoke with Mr. Hardeep Singh , manager of supply chain and logistics
department. Mr. Singh gave us a fantastic overview of the current challenges in Indian supply chain (physical infrastructure and complex tax structure) and how the distribution costs in India are
3.5 times more than US due to long haul road transport being the major mode of transportation (65%). We came to know that general trade accounts for 94% of trade in India where there is no
scanning using barcode. Walmart is bringing the modern trade concepts as part of its operations such as “inventory on wheels” and “single large distribution center”. We came to know that
Walmart has chosen to enter the B2B space more aggressively due to its competitive intensity in India.

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There was a big alumni dinner in the evening, unfortunately very few alumni were able to make it in time as it was a weekday and Delhi traffic is messy in the evenings. This was one occasion
where some students drank to their heart’s content and became the laugh and talk of the day.

Today’s “aha” moment of the day was a student running after a stray pig on the road to get a close up photo !
By the way, every place we have gone so far has offered us tea/coffee and lots of snacks. So on an average we have had at least three to four cups of tea/coffee every day. The funny thing is that if
there’s snacks in front of you on the table, you automatically start munching on them irrespective of being hungry. The situation could be either there’s too much work to be done and people start eating as they are stressed out or there’s not much work to be done and people start eating out of boredom.

Friday morning was a welcome change from our daily boarding school schedule. We had the leisure of getting ready by 10 AM instead of 8 AM. It was such a breather for all of us ! Our previous
bus rides were similar to what you see in the picture here.

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We went to see a Mahindra dealership in a place called Safdarjung Enclave. After going through few minutes of the meeting, one of the Mahindra managers from Mumbai came to the dealership
and received a warm welcome from all the students; it was almost like seeing an old friend after a long time ! Anyhow, we had a deliverable due in the afternoon, everyone pretty much was working
constantly, during bus ride, and at the dealership.

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We all took photos in front of the new and shiny Mahindra models at the dealer’s showroom.

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We went  for lunch to a Chinese restaurant called “Lotus garden”, however; after having breakfast at 10 , it was kind of impossible to enjoy the tasty chinese dishes at 12:30 PM!!

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We went to the hotel Radisson to meet with Mahindra area office managers for an interactive session. We came to know that religious and family occasiona are a big part of buying cars in India. The peak season for purchasing cars is between the months of September and December (most festive months). Purchasing a new car is the second biggest decision for Indian families.(first is buying house). Mahindra is famously known for being a strong Indian brand, ruggedness, toughness and low maintenance cost of vehicles as well as high resell value of the vehicles. Mahindra vehicles
are considered as high aspirational products in rural India. People go in groups of 10 to 15 to buy a Mahindra vehicle in rural regions.

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The  “aha” moment of the day was when one of the girls could not figure out the sign for ladies restroom and was about to enter the men’s restroom ! The pictures were slightly distortionary
as you can see here. Anyway, no damage was done.

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We wrap up our Delhi visits tomorrow morning and start for Agra. Trip to Agra will be exciting, fun, adventurous and with lots of “aha” moments. We are all eagerly looking forward to our next few
days together.

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