Interview with Mr. Niranjan S. Nayak, Delta India Managing Director
Text by David Nakayama, DET Corp Comms
Photos by Delta India Corporate Communications
Bangkok, Thailand, April 29, 2021- Since establishing in 2003, Delta India has quickly risen to be a major growth engine for our Delta Group with rapid expansion in its business, R&D and manufacturing capabilities. Yet Delta India’s remarkable growth story is only possible with the dedication of our outstanding Indian leaders and talents, who constantly overcome all challenges to expand Delta’s footprint across the subcontinent.
In this email interview, Mr. Niranjan S. Nayak, Delta India Managing Director, shares his fascinating journey from pioneering new businesses in Delta India’s early days to his current role leading country-wide operations. He also gives valuable insight into Delta India’s strategic role, keys to successful COVID-19 business recovery and how Delta successfully acquires new business and talent in the hyper-competitive Indian landscape. Finally, he shares useful tips to help leaders instill the Delta corporate culture across our diverse teams and how we can all find purpose in our daily work.
Can you please share with us about your life and your path to leadership of Delta India?
I joined Delta India in 2004 as a South India Regional Sales Head for TPS when Delta India had less than 30 members. Over the next 2-5 years, Delta India introduced various lines of business like UPS, IA, Display etc. and I had the opportunity to set up our organization and business development in southern India.
I identified the opportunity for components, DC fans and desktop power supplies with local customers and initiated sales activities for these BU/BG in India. Subsequently, I got an opportunity to lead as a Project manager to the Magnetic Factory set up in Pondicherry, which gave me immense knowledge in setting up greenfield projects.
In 2010, when the Government announced the National Solar Mission, I was asked to incubate the Solar Inverter Business Division. The initial five years were quite challenging due to intense competition from major European brands, our new team’s small size, and Delta lacking brand prominence. Further, the market was not big enough, and we experienced major setbacks, but those were good lessons to learn on how to stay strong and still be persistent during tough times. Our business became better post-2016, and for the next three years, Delta was leading the rooftop solar market with a 40% market share in string inverters.
I have been fortunate to work with colleagues across multiple BUs from Taiwan, DET, and DEU to build the business strategies for different segments and assisted India management on multiple projects and strategies. Personally, I keep looking for challenging opportunities and have been lucky enough to get various assignments.
What is the strategic importance of Delta India for Delta Group, and how is DIN working with DET to drive the Delta brand in South Asia and Southeast Asia?
India is the fastest-growing economy and is slated to grow manifold in the next 10-15 years backed by a huge emphasis on infrastructure, digitization, manufacturing, urbanization and favorable Government policies. Several multinationals are targeting to set up their manufacturing base in India to cater to the exponentially growing domestic market and also to become an export hub. India’s great strategic importance cannot be ignored, given its large scale of the economy and the business opportunities.
I’d also like to mention that the Delta in India is still at a nascent stage, but we have firm plans to leverage its full overall potential in the next couple of years. Further, it is important to note that India is a very price-sensitive market. The customer has vast expectations in terms of products and solutions offerings that DIN, DET, and corporate are striving continuously to meet for better results.
The Government is very bullish to attract more foreign investments into India with frequent announcements of fiscal incentives, which we collaboratively analyze with DET and corporate to leverage any potential benefits for Delta.
Lastly, I’d like to mention that a skilled workforce, software, solution, and service-oriented approach can help Delta group as a whole to have a strong footprint in the Indian market.
In a market as vast and diverse as the Indian subcontinent, how is Delta India so successful in expanding the Delta footprint and elevating the brand amid intense competition?
The base foundation laid by Telecom Power Business was quite strong, which helped us to create Delta’s footprint across the nation in cities and hinterlands alike. Telecom business offices in different parts of India facilitated other businesses to have the ready infrastructure and realize growth quickly.
Further, we have competent and experienced business leaders leading respective businesses who could independently drive their businesses to increase our market reach, channel penetration and brand visibility. Delta entered the businesses with the right GTM, suitable business model and right partners, which further helped to grow the business.
As a result, today we are the pioneers in Telecom Power, Video Walls, some segments of Industrial Automation, PVI and EV. It’s also imperative to mention that marketing also played a crucial role in amplifying Delta’s brand visibility in the market.
Last but not the least, none of this could have been achieved without the great leadership of Mr. Dalip Sharma, and the support and confidence of Corporate and DET management.
COVID-19 has been a big challenge that Delta India has risen to overcome. What were the biggest impacts to your operations and what were the keys to your remarkable recovery to profitability within such a short time span?
COVID-19 is undoubtedly a force majeure situation that has impacted businesses across nations. India is currently undergoing a second wave of COVID-19, which is more rampant and aggressive than the first one. Many states are now imposing local lockdowns and night curfews to curb the spread of the disease.
We at Delta are constantly trying to make our office/factory premises a safe place to work for our employees, ensuring minimal impact on our operations. Nonetheless, we did face a two-pronged challenge last year due to countrywide lockdown and demand-side sluggishness for at least one quarter, but we rebounded in Q3 due to many underlying factors. First and foremost is strict adherence to all the safety operating procedures.
Of course, this comes through persistent and collaborative teamwork of all the functions like business, operations and support functions to perform in challenging times and take Delta to newer heights. A huge emphasis on austerity measures, business hygiene factors, and agility also played an important role in bringing us back on the recovery path and sustaining our profitability levels.
Many of the best engineers and executives in global MNCs hail from India. So how can Delta India grab a slice of this talent pie and attract world-class talent and leaders to drive growth?
Good work culture, clear career roadmap, employee engagement, work-life balance, appropriate feedback mechanism are some key attraction factors that help talent stay with an organization. I am glad to share that we at Delta continuously work towards all the above-mentioned focus areas. As a result, our attrition rates are pretty impressive compared to the competition with the average span of an employee in Delta better than the industry average.
Moreover, Delta is a growing organization, and hence it offers considerable opportunities for talent to take more significant assignments, apply their past experiences and innovate to excel. For example, we have a world-class manufacturing facility coming up in Krishnagiri, which will be a leading marvel in terms of process and quality. Employees can have a huge learning curve working here.
Further, we are striving to make our Research and Development department a knowledge center for Delta global. Our vision is to grow it multifold, which again gives immense learning opportunities to our talent pool. We are determined to establish the Delta brand as an “Employer of Choice” brand that will help us to attract and retain the finest talents.
How do you instill the Delta corporate culture among such a large and diverse workforce, and what do you think sets your management style apart from other leaders?
I always admire how Delta Corporate Culture is communicated in the form of corners of a pyramid, capturing all the important values and with customer satisfaction at the center. This is a powerful and effective way to communicate and instill the same vision among the diverse workforce as it is easy to understand and follow. It’s of paramount importance that leaders make these values ingrained in their behavior because, as they say, “People follow what you do more than what you speak.”
All our business or function leaders are great in their own areas, and I may be grossly wrong if I believe that I can try to tell them how to do their job better. My primary focus is to see how I can engage all of them together as a successful team to amplify our growth.
I spend time understanding the possible gaps in achieving the team goals and then inviting them to work together to overcome those gaps. As a manager, I also believe in identifying the needs proactively and create an environment for my team to overcome with enough support from the required function.
Who are some of the most memorable people you have worked with at Delta, and why?
My list is quite long as Delta has given me an opportunity to closely work with many senior leaders and colleagues in India and globally across Region and BU/ BG.
I am thankful to Mr. Dalip Sharma for believing in me and empowering me to start quite a few challenging projects despite my several mistakes. Mr. James Ng always inspires me with his futuristic vision and strong values.
I tried my best to learn lessons on building business strategies from Mr. Henry Hsieh, how to conduct business operations at review meetings from Ms. Sherry Wu and how to think big from Mr. Dick Hsieh. I continue to learn from Mr. Jackie Chang on business analytical skills and capturing the minute details while conducting the overall business operations.
What are some ways you enjoy time off work, and can you share any tips for having a good balance between career and family?
As we increase our responsibility and area of operation, it is vital to learn to create a work-life balance that will help to balance one’s quality of life. Each one of us may have a different way, but I try to unwind by engaging in reading literature, Indian mythology, and watching different types of theatre. I like to travel a lot but am unable to devote enough time to this.
“Healthy Body, Healthy Mind” is a key to success for everyone, and each one can identify their own way to work towards keeping ourselves healthy. Spending time with family, friends and nature more than with gadgets can help us live a quality life.
Is there anything you would like to share with your Delta colleagues around the world?
During my initial days, I used to question myself on what could be the bigger purpose while I continue to be a part of Delta, but soon I realized that every bit of our work, in one way or another, is contributing to help society stay “Smarter. Greener. Together.”
Delta has given us such a wonderful opportunity to contribute to society, the nation, mother earth, and future generations. This could be the best responsibility anyone could carry.
Irrespective of the region, function, department or level each one of us is in; every action we take while we do our daily job will make all of us realize our mission “To provide innovative, clean and energy-efficient solutions for a better tomorrow.”
Stay Safe and Stay Healthy!
About the Author (Editorial Team)
If content is king, there must be a kingmaker. And the universal theme in my favorite stories is our innate human desire for freedom. I have a master’s degree in Chinese education and experience spanning industries and countries. As the Comms guy at DET, I’m obsessed with the stories behind our products and people. Share your stories with me @ https://www.linkedin.com/in/yushi-david-nakayama/