By Onome Amawhe
CEOs are battling the worst economic crisis in decades. What does it take to lead in these times of economic change? Jacky Hathiramani, CEO Dana Group, thinks it is important to â€œknow your businessâ€ and the target audience of each business: â€œRecognizing target audiences (through thorough research and communication)Â and complimenting them periodically to ensure that optimum level of satisfaction is achieved is imperative for CEOs in these turbulent timesâ€.
Jacky Hathiramani gave Dana Group a successful makeover. He made it become one ofÂ the largest conglomerates in Nigeria. Dana Group started out in 1985Â as a pharmaceutical company marketing oral dosage forms and intravenous fluids and has since octopusedÂ as a vast business portfolio comprising Automotive, Airline, Steel Industry, Rice, Steel, Electronics, FMCG Packaging of Instant Foods, Mineral Water,Â Paper, Plastic industry and Chemicals.
Through Jackyâ€™s helmsmanship, the intent is to further expand the scope of the groupâ€™s offeringsÂ in the coming years:
â€œ Transport, hospitality and real estate are some of the sectorsÂ we will be playing in in the near future. We are also anticipating a good play in the oil business following our recent oil bloc bid.
And I believe that these severalÂ addition to our wings will step up our drive towards becoming a true global player with diverse business interests â€.Â In trying to expand further more, JackyÂ has ensured that the group have the best management team in place because he thinks that: â€œThrough effective management, we ensure technical excellence, which in turn enhances our groupâ€™s focus towards existing and new business venturesâ€.
â€œAnd we are constantly on the look out for new business opportunities that can further enhance our vision of being the market leader in our fields of endeavourâ€. Dana Groupâ€™s vision is always on-going. And that vision is what makes it thrive to ensure that its dreams are realized: â€œEvery day we have a vision and every day we work towards doing justice to that vision. When Dana started operations , we had a clear cut vision of ensuring that our clientâ€™s interest always comes firstâ€
With superior perfor
mance, service and creativity, we have been uncompromising in our commitment to excellence and in every aspect of our work we strive to offer the best services to our clients. This is exactly what we have achieved in the past 20 yearsÂ of our existence through our vast business portfolioâ€. Needed to sustain the growthÂ recorded over the years is in the fulfillment of its promise to customers and clients: To stand by its commitment to provide quality products and the highest level of customer service and satisfaction:
â€œThis trend have already been instilled through our business offerings. Hence, we will ensure that we deliver the highest level of satisfaction through our existing and future business operationsâ€, Jacky reiterates. Considered as being fundamental to the growth of the group is the Nigerian economy which has also played a major role catering to the businesses of various service providers like Dana Group.
As the hub of business activities catering to the West African region, Nigeria is termed as the land of opportunities and withÂ growing investments in the banking and telecoms sector, both of which greatly contributes to the countryâ€™s socio-economic structure, Jacky expects that Dana Group will continue to grow â€œwith each boomâ€.
The experience of championing long-term strategy in a country ruled by short-term gains has been a very good one for Jacky because he thinks that: â€œHaving long-term strategies in place helps us to operate according to our commitment to service. Long-term strategies not only breeds acceptance but also instills a sense of belonging towards each and every brand we represent in this country. And our business strategies is a clear indication of the fact that we are here to stay, and will continue to thrive and excel in every business we undertakeâ€.
A rising revenue line for
the group is the groupâ€™s automotive business. Despite the global meltdown and the resultant effect, the group through Dana Motors Limited, sole distributor of Kia Products, have managed to retain profitability in the automotive segment: â€œThere is a boom within the market and we are fortunate to be able to cater to this boom. The KiaÂ brand has been doing well with every passing year, and itÂ has also been well accepted among all social classes in the face of having a Kia vehicle for every pocket and for every utilityâ€.
Dana Groupâ€™s exclusive franchise agreement with Kia Motors of South Korea has seen it market the Kia brands in Nigeria ranging from the Kia Rio1.3 and 1.5L Sephia 1.6L, Optima 2.0 and 2.5L Saloon Cars, Sportage 2.0L, Sorento 2.4 and 3.5L in the SUVs, Carens 1.8L, Carnival 2.5 and 3.5L in the MUVs. In the commercial range, we have the Pregio 12 and 15 seater buses, K.27000 1 Ton pick up, K.36000 2.5 Ton trucks, Pamax 3.5 Ton Truck, Pamax 3.5 Ton Truck and Rhino 7.5 Ton Truck.
In an assessment of the automotive industry in Nigeria, especially in the area of marketing, a statement on the website of Kia Motors says: â€œHigh price and monopolistic tendency has been the order of the day.
This gave limited opportunities for consumers to have a car of their choice. However, there is a marked improvement in this front, which has led to increased propensity to purchase new cars against fairly used ones. Moreover, the price gap is closing up. Consumersâ€™ choice has also increased with the availability of wider array of brands and modelsâ€.
The official statement stands valid with Jacky explaining that the automotive market will continue to grow with each passing year: â€œWe have seen more than 60% increase in new vehicle market and I think this trend will continue to rise, hence our high investments in automotive is a strategic step in sustaining our stand as one of the leading automotive marketer in the country. To further cater to the growing market, we have commissioned new sales and service centers across the countryâ€
â€œIn addition to the infra
structure, we have a team of highly trained and motivated personnel. Hence, in no way do we find our high investments to be a risk as opposed to many industry watchers who see our high-level investment in motoring as a bit of gambleâ€. In terms of added value the group offers so as to attract customers to the Kia brands, the official statement also reads: â€œValue addition comes naturally. It is done in many ways like location of our Kia showrooms nationwide to enable customers have easy access, after-sales back-up in terms of quality service and warranty clause offering 3 years or 100,000 Kms for passenger cars and 2 years or 50,000 Kms for commercial vehicle. And as everyone knows; Kia is the car that caresâ€.
Added to this, the group also ensures that customers enjoy worry free leasing/financing options through its partner banks: â€œWe ensure that asset financing has a whole new meaning by extending the leasing period to 48 months, thus lowering the financial burden on our customers and through our acquisitions, customers enjoy a preferred rate of interest, and flexible equity contribution structures.
Another thriving business of Dana Group is the airline company, Dana Air, s which opened shop in November 2008 and gained an airlift of 15,542 passengers with 100% load factor in January 2009â€”a no mere feat:
â€œWe never anticipated that in less than 3 months of operation we would get such an amazing responseâ€, Jacky recalls, â€œand this means that thereÂ have and would always be a demand for air transport services. WithÂ respective governments providing the enabling environment in terms of favorable policies and adequate infrastructure, with more investors coming on board, the airline business will remain a profitable venture contributing significantly to the countryâ€™s GDPâ€.
Dana Groupâ€™s vision is to be recognized and respected as one ofÂ the most reliable business entity. And this makes Jacky Hathiramani optimistic that in the coming years â€œwe would become a major force in every segment of our endeavorâ€.