Cyient: Communicating a successful strategy

A clear, focused strategy is critical to business success. More so, when your goal is to redefine market dynamics.

Cyient, a provider of engineering, manufacturing, geospatial, network, and operations management services, prides itself on creating robust growth strategies that have far-reaching effects for clients and its stakeholders.

The Hyderabad-based company’s strategic focus saw it record its highest revenue of $1,150.1 million in Q2, 2017-18, an increase of 10% year on year.

Cyient designs products across aerospace, rail transportation, telecommunications, utilities, medical technologies, oil and gas, navigation, and several other vital industries. As CEO and Managing Director, Krishna Bodanapu oversees the strategic direction of the business across each of these sectors.

Krishna is currently steering a company with many accolades to its name including 2017 ACOMM Award for Services to Industry – Professional Services; Leaders in Corporate Innovation Award  by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) in 2017; Pratt & Whitney 2016 Supplier Innovation and Productivity Savings Awards; and Boeing 2015 Supplier of the Year Award.

That is just a handful of its awards, which leaves  little wonder as to why this company with 14,000 employees and $538 million in revenue has attracted the attention of many  major global companies, not to mention expectant shareholders.

Much of Cyient’s success is due to its  strategic  focus,  evidenced by its recent acquisition of Connecticut-based B&F Design. This family-run business founded in 1965 has built a reputation for its high-quality design and tooling capability.

Suffice to say, US-based B&F Design, founded in 1965, is a complementary acquisition which gives Cyient high-quality designing tools and capabilities to further expand its growing list of accomplishments.

B&F’s capabilities are far ranging with expertise covering design and manufacturing of precision engine assembly equipment, repair tooling, machining of fixtures and gauges, and engine factory modernization services.

The acquisition was part of Cyient’s strategy of Design, Build, Operate and Maintain.

“Building on our  strategy of Design, Build, Operate and Maintain, Cyient Defence Services Inc. signed a definitive agreement to acquire 100% equity shares in B&F Design Inc.,” said Krishna.

“This acquisition adds to our tooling design and manufacturing capability.”

Interestingly, this was Cyient’s sixth acquisition in the last three years.

Cyient also signed an exclusive software licensing agreement with Elpis, a start-up software company from Portland, Oregon in the USA. “Elpis provides an innovative machine learning meter and voltage signature technology that brings significant benefits to the electric utility.

Through this agreement, Cyient and Elpis will jointly pursue utility business opportunities by leveraging our complementing solutions and technology respectively.”

Another sector that has been key to the company’s growth is rail transportation.

‘MUCH OF CYIENT’S SUCCESS IS DUE TO ITS STRATEGIC FOCUS, EVIDENCED BY ITS RECENT ACQUISITION OF CONNECTICUT-BASED B&F DESIGN.’

“We do a large amount of work for Melbourne Metro including working on the rail signaling systems and rail rolling stock. This has driven the growth of the company, including creating a successful sales arm,” Krishna adds.

Cyient aims to improve efficiency through innovative rail engineering solutions, while bringing about significant savings. The company has experience on more than 200+ major rail transportation projects around the world and over the  past decade has developed processes that help global rail organizations manage their projects efficiently, whether in rolling stock, signaling, or rail electrification.

Key to Cyient’s success is  to drill down to the root cause of an issue and examine why a solution is required—not necessarily what solution is required.

Companies should ask why they do what they do, not what they should be doing As in all facets of life, in business and entrepreneurship too, answering the ‘why’ outlines the purpose of your actions. “Changing the question  from what we are doing to why we are doing it has helped us evolve,” Krishna says.

WE’VE ALWAYS LOOKED INTO THE FUTURE AND ASKED WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO. FROM THAT, WE CAN ASK OURSELVES HOW WE SPEND TIME, MONEY, AND EFFORT TO PREPARE FOR WHAT IS COMING.”

Cyient evolved from a mapping business found in 1991 into a network design business.

“We’ve always looked into the future and asked why we do what we do. From that, we can ask ourselves how we spend time, money, and effort to prepare for what is coming. Business is about changing its narrative in a way that benefits the industry. If a company can do that, it evolves from being a run-of-the-mill service provider to something bigger.”

STRATEGIC EVOLUTION IS ABOUT CHANGING THE NARRATIVE

As a company heavily involved with telecommunications in Australia, Cyient is looking closely at what is happening with the industry. It is doing so, to create better solutions for the telecommunications companies and their clients.

In effect, it is looking to change the industry narrative. That is no simple task, but for Cyient it is less of a task than it is a mission.

Take voice technology for example.

“While we are trying to address issues around voice  technology, we must pause to consider that 20 years from now voice technology might become  irrelevant,” Krishna says.

Cyient must look to change the narrative and bring new, efficient, and cost-effective services to the end customer.

Looking at the telecommunications industry more broadly, Cyient has developed a market-leading mobile application called FOMS (founded on emerging iOS and Android applications) for managing field asset information.

With telecommunication companies facing challenges in managing their growing infrastructure footprint, Cyient could have the perfect solution.

FOMS provides design capability in the field, thus helping to bridge the gap between field visits and powerful Geographic Information System (GIS) platforms. Not only that, it aids telecommunications and utility companies to enhance efficiency and delivery experience by reducing operational expenditure and turnaround time to facilitate on-time delivery of projects.

“FOMS offers utility and telecommunication  operators the capability to update network geometry in real-time and while in the field.”

FOMS was developed in-house and was designed to reduce the time for  field  visits,  eliminate the need for re-entry of data, and increase data accuracy.

“It also reduces operational expenses and  turnaround  time and facilitates on-time delivery of projects,” Krishna says.

“MANY HOSPITALS TODAY HAVE SOPHISTICATED MACHINES THAT COST HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS, IF NOT MILLIONS, OF DOLLARS. HOWEVER, THERE’S ONLY A FRACTION OF PEOPLE THAT CAN AFFORD TREATMENTS, AND THESE PROBLEMS ARE AMPLIFIED IN DEVELOPING NATIONS.

The medical industry is another sector in which Cyient hopes to make a narrative impact.

“Many hospitals today have sophisticated machines that cost hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars. However, there’s only a fraction of people that can afford treatments, and these problems are amplified in developing nations.

“With the spiraling cost of healthcare, the key question is around bringing efficient, low- cost health care to the masses. What Cyient looks at is not how to design an MRI or ultrasound machine. That’s just one part of the solution. The real problem is in bringing affordable health care to the five billion people globally who suffer from the lack of it.”

“WHEN I TOOK OVER AS CEO, MY GOAL WAS TO DEFINE WHAT WE WERE GOING TO DO AND WHAT WE WOULD AVOID DOING. I FELT WE COULD GROW BIG BY GROWING SMALL.

Cyient works with MedTech companies to provide smarter manufacturing solutions for medical devices. Here too, cost- efficiency, quality, and speed to market are of paramount importance.

When you consider that the healthcare industry is undergoing rapid changes and developments due to an aging population, cost- effective healthcare, and high patient volumes, there is a need for evolution that is borne of strategic focus.

“When I took over as CEO, my goal was to define what we were going to do and what we would avoid doing. I felt we could grow big by growing small. That means our focus would be on a small number of service offerings and a small number of clients. As it turns out, this has been the key to our success.”

STRONG STRATEGIES POSITIVELY AFFECT CLIENTS

Having a strong internal strategy and focus manifests itself in what a company does for its clients.

Understanding the market, including what clients want, and where that fits into the business framework, is crucial to ongoing success. A company must articulate a strategy that makes sense to the market.

“There is no point in building a product, service, or solution that the market does not need and is not willing to pay for. I believe  the key to  a  successful  strategy is taking into account where the market is headed, and what the market dynamics are.”

In essence, strategy is about foresight: asking the right questions to find the right solutions to a range of problems that fit a particular business model.

If a business has foresight, it can often change a narrative in a positive, meaningful way.

The business that gets its strategy and focus right, and understands its purpose within the broader market dynamic is the one that thrives.

Cyient has proven its strategy for success many times over.



Business First is a peer-to-peer magazine: written by CEOs and other high level executives, with interviews with some of the country’s best leaders.