Mr Deepak Kumar Mohanty
November 30, 2018
“While playing cards or table tennis, I sometimes lose on purpose to make my friends win. I play to enjoy with friends, winning comes second”, says Senior Vice President, Ferro Alloys Business Unit, Indian Metals and Ferro Alloys Limited (IMFA), Mr Deepak Kumar Mohanty. A man whose desire to prove his mettle with every challenge that came his way has embedded courtesy and humility in him. So much so, that the first priority for Mr Mohanty is good relations with his customers, and not profit. Driven by a passion to succeed, an exemplary achiever, and a student for life, catch Mr Mohanty reciting secrets of his success and much more in his conversation with Stainless Post.”
Tell us about your student life and how did your journey start with IMFA?
My father was an Odisha Administrative Service employee and wanted me to become a doctor, because my sister was one. Honestly, I was not interested in it as by then, I had mentally decided to go for engineering that too in electronics & telecommunication. Even then, when anything new came my way, I welcomed it with open arms, and tried to excel at it. I am an Electronics and Telecommunication engineer from Veer Surendra Sai University of Technology (VSSUT) Odisha, and am heading ferro alloys business unit at a metallurgy company.
My journey with IMFA began in 1990, when the company was still in its initial stage of computerisation. Though, I was in the systems department, I began learning several other processes like operations, maintenance, finance, and human resources, along with the rigorous plant exposure. In this long 28-year-journey, I learnt and adapted myself into a better professional, taking on every challenge that came my way.
During this ambitious journey of yours, what were the major milestones that you accomplished?
I never restricted myself to a specific work profile. I preferred to be a ‘jack of all’. So when my then EIC and present CEO insisted me on having a commercial exposure, I joined the Purchase department and worked in this position for three years. Having zero experience in the field, I found dealing here to be quite a herculean task. It was during this time that I pursued my part time MBA & also my company sent me for MEP course at IIM Ahmedabad for a better understanding of management & commercial aspects of trade. I further learnt how a ‘Win-Win’ relationship is the best way to inculcate long-lasting business relationships. In 1992, I was selected as the company’s management representative for certification to ISO 9002. It was exhausting as I had to invest around 20+ hours of my day for getting ready for final certification audit. But it all proved to be fruitful in 1993, when IMFA achieved the ISO 9002 certification. Consequent to getting chromite ore lease in 1999, business dynamics for the company warranted certain changes. This involved shifting focus from production of Ferro-Silicon to Ferro-Chrome. This was also the time when I experienced working at our Therubali plant, and derived renewed strength from the undying spirit of workers and employees, as well as environment management aspects. This is where I got my lessons in camaraderie.
When and how did your relationship with Jindal Stainless begin? In your entire gamut of suppliers and customers, is there something that sets Jindal Stainless apart?
It was in 1998 when I ventured into the Sales and Marketing segment at IMFA. This is the time when I got associated with Jindal Stainless while my company was already associated may be more than a decade before for meeting their demand for the best quality ferro-alloys. I’m proud to say that today I celebrate an association of almost two decades. This long-term relationship has been possible due to good & professional business demeanour. With Jindal Stainless, what is once finalized is executed. Moreover, a healthy continuous communication channel further eases the business drive.
Tell us about the work culture at your company. What is your idea of a perfect workplace?
We believe in a transparent business administration. We have regular and transparent interactions with our customers & suppliers. For ensuring consistent fulfilment of our commitments, we carry out BU (Business Unit) review meetings involving relevant people from other BUS also. When dealing with customers, even if the price and other details are once decided, continuous communication is maintained. This enables us to develop a bond beyond business boundaries. We make sure to apply a professional approach during crisis- hit times; trust among the stakeholders being an essential aspect here. All in all, good transparent relations are all we thrive on, be it inside or outside IMFA.
What, in your opinion, is your biggest strength?
Truthfulness! I am a social person and wish to build a world full of friends. I believe honesty has an important role to play here. I love spending time with people and learning from them. So I can say that this desire to never stop myself from investing in others is another strength that I look up to. Moreover, a brand remains a brand for its credibility. This is why at IMFA, we do not make false claims. We promise what’s true, we try to deliver even better than what we promise, and best is what we deliver.
What will be your message to all the budding entrepreneurs out there?
Never completely rely on your own wisdom. Be open to new ideas. It’s convenient to draw insights from your own stories and realities. To grow, break through your shells and comfort zones. Every person around you has something unique, and if you can imbibe the gist of these qualities, you’re on your way to becoming a better and more empathetic leader. Also, don’t be afraid to try something new. I can. quote my example; I’ve journeyed from electronics to metallurgy. What I see today is not a lost way, but an adventurous re-route that helped me learn. Lastly, inculcate the intent and the desire to make things better; not only for yourself, but even for the ones whose lives you can change.