L&T IS A BRICK and mortar firm of a size and expanse across businesses like no other in India. Its half a million plus workers execute some of the country’s most complex construction and engineering projects.

These include the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, India’s first undersea coastal road in Mumbai and the first-ever 3D-printed government building in Bengaluru. The company is also constructing the world’s first experimental fusion reactor in France jointly with 33 countries. It has delivered 67 frontline warships, submarines, components and engineering systems for all of India’s Space Missions, including Chandrayan. Reinventing an organisation of that complexity and scale in a tech avatar is a benchmark for other firms struggling with the onslaught of technology, data and artificial intelligence.

L&T’s shift in focus from largely run-of-the-mill infra creation such as toll roads, hotels and real estate projects, plant construction EPC to hi-tech engineering and technology projects has been in the works since 2014-15. But it has come into its own in the past seven years since the current chairman and MD S.N. Subrahmanyan began leading the initiative.

At any given point, L&T is executing 800-1,000 such projects. At the command centre in L&T’s Mumbai headquarters, Subrahmanyan is able to track the real-time progress of each of those through AI cameras via Internet of Things (IoT) and all the data being fed by devices and machines such as heavy-lifting cranes, road rollers and earth-moving machines at project sites. It can go down to as granular an information as an unknown person entering a project site to whether a hired crane has been fully utilised on a project site. “In a way, we became an IT company doing construction,” Subrahamanyan tells Fortune India’s P.B. Jayakumar and Nevin John who write this issue’s cover story.

How does real-time data help improve productivity and optimise resources, machines and equipment? L&T deployed tools such as predictive analytics, Robotic Process Automation, AI-driven decision-making, etc., to execute Indian Army’s order for 100 K-9 Vajra Howitzer guns, a next-generation gun that can replace old Bofors guns. If it took 100 hours to make the first hull, it took only one-third the time for L&T to make the 20th gun. In 2023, an entire refinery was pre-fabricated at its yards in India and was shipped to erect in West Asia. Read about all that in this issue.

Also, read in the issue: Ashutosh Kumar on PM Narendra Modi’s political capital in the run-up to general elections; Nevin John’s account of how Shapoorji Pallonji group tackled the devastating double-loss and ballooning debt to pull back from the brink. And, last but not the least, Rajiv Ranjan Singh details how global equity indices undermine the India stock market story.

The special issue in this edition is India’s Future-ready Workplaces, an annual study by Fortune India and CIEL HR of organisations that are deploying innovative employee-engagement initiatives at the intersection of HR and strategy that are designed to keep their firms ready for the future. The package also captures how firms are dealing with the challenges of working with multi-generational workforce; ESG & sustainability at workplace.

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