In an interview with Ambar Singh Roy,Mr B. Muthuraman, Managing Director of Tata Steel, speaks of the company’s aspirations, focus on employee engagement, ongoing projects, manpower challenges facing the steel industry, the imperatives for co-operation between industry and academic and research institutions and the need for adopting new technologies in the steel industry. Excerpts from the interview: Business Line Sunday, Aug 26, 2007
How does it feel to be at the helm of affairs of an institution called Tata Steel when the company is completing a hundred years of its existence?
Our journey through the last 100 years has been a story of corporate governance; customer delight, creation of wealth and sustaining the well being of our society and nation. Tata Steel, India’s first integrated steel company has achieved numerous landmarks and accomplishments following the principles laid down by the founder and will strive towards reaching greater heights in the years to come. To constantly grow and evolve was the dream of our founding fathers when they started their journey of steel making for the first time in India. I feel honoured as we celebrate 100 years of following the enduring values propounded by Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata.
How would you describe the company’s existence in the last 100 years, and what vision do you have of the company in the global steel firmament in the next 50 years or so?
More than a chronology of events, the Centenary of Tata Steel is a celebration of enduring values as propounded by our founder, Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata. It is a story of a global citizen, committed to embracing common cultures based on sustainability. In 1907, Tata Steel undertook a groundbreaking journey into unknown and uncharted territory. It succeeded beyond all expectations, due to the all-encompassing vision and philosophy of our founder and those who followed him. As Tata Steel was the first steel company to be set up in India, everything from manufacturing to the process of steel making had to be learnt and developed from scratch. Spurring this pioneering effort was Jamsetji’s dream of building modern India through industrialisation and putting it firmly on the road to development. As a mark of its unprecedented efforts to excel in steel making, World Steel Dynamics has ranked Tata Steel as ‘No. 1’ steel company in the world, for three consecutive years. The company has also achieved the EVA positive status in 2003 and since then, has continued to be an EVA positive company. The company was declared the ‘Lowest cost producer of steel in the world in 2001. Today, Tata Steel has completed 100 glorious years of its existence; this is a momentous occasion and we take pride on our performance and take stock of the challenges that lay ahead of us. As Tata Steel, sets off on another 100 year journey, it is well placed to reap the benefits of the domestic as well as the global steel sector with its gigantic spread across the globe from European countries to South East Asian countries. With a substantial hold on high technology Long products in South East Asia to a considerable hold on the high quality Flat products in Europe, Tata Steel is in a favourable position to take up the challenges arising in the next 100 years. We are currently ranked the 6th largest producer of steel in the world with a capacity of over 28 mt. By 2015, Tata Steel will have over 50 mt annual capacity. At the same time, we will simultaneously draw out the road map with key milestones to realise our dream of becoming a 100 million tonnes company in the near future.