Ratan Tata’s accomplishments and the story of success he has penned over the past decade are quite remarkable that he doesn’t need an ornamental description or explanation. The man has left such a lapidary mark in the business world that its sheen is hard to overlook. However, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the same goes for Tata Motors. Behind this story of success, there are several important bits and pieces which laid the foundation for this saga, and above all the vision of a man whose leadership was quite unexpected but serendipitous. Tata Motors is the automobile giant it is today because of Ratan Tata. Read along to know more about the journey of Ratan Tata and his beginnings as the head of Tata Iron and Steel Company.
Where It All Began
At times, the most brilliant masterpieces are the results of accidental brushstrokes. The same can be said about Ratan Tata’s succession to the company. With the more obvious choices present, nobody expected the Cornell University-educated architecture major to take up the helm of the company after JRD. And looking back, Ratan Naval Tata’s beginnings weren’t marked by exuberant achievements rather they were overshadowed by quite a couple of failures. Perhaps this was the reason why people were skeptical about him leading the company in 1962. Safe to say that Ratan Tata indeed managed to turn the failures into stepping stones to success, while simultaneously building a strong foundation for the company which stands with its head held high to this day.
And the plot twist of the story happened in the year 1998 when a single move by the prudent chairman changed the destiny of Tata Motors Ltd putting it on the path of magnificent success. In the year 1998, at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi in the presence of industry minister Murasoli Maran, Tata launched the company’s car- the Indica, and the rest is history. This was a significant step for the truck manufacturer as it sent an explicit signal to the world at large that Tata Motors was stepping into serious car-making. Or rather, Tata Motors was all set to claim the throne.
Although the beginning was rough, Indica fared well, facing the competition efficiently and eventually emerging victorious. Indica was the beginning of a transformation characterized by efficiency, innovation, and globalization, the key factors which reconstructed the trajectory of Tata Motors.
According to Gita Piramal, business historian, and author, “Tata was at the right place at the right time, and could see what was happening around him, and respond accordingly.”
Business is a domain that is in constant flux, and understanding this fact and acting accordingly is important for the success of any enterprise. Ratan Tata was particularly skilled in viewing the future and then working prudently towards achieving it. Add to it, generous amounts of innovation, and efficiency, and the courage to brave the winds of globalization, we have the success story of Tata Motors in a nutshell.