IN EARLY 2014 when TVS Supply Chain Solutions (TVS SCS) was building its international network through acquisitions, E. Balaji was brought in as the chief human resources officer (CHRO) to integrate the entities that the company wanted to take over in North America, Europe and South-East Asia. In the next eight years, TVS Supply Chain acquired 20 firms.

The TVS management wanted the acquisitions not to upset work cultures of acquired entities while using their potential to ramp up logistics and warehousing play outside the automobile sector. Balaji had to address the fear factor by ensuring job security and offering a mix of financial and non-financial incentives. Constant engagement with employees helped build trust. TVS SCS now has 6,000 employees in 25 countries outside India.

The logistics and warehousing company weathered a number of HR challenges, but Balaji’s tough time came during the pandemic. Unlike companies in other sectors, 95% of TVS SCS’ workforce was on the ground since transportation of medicines and FMCG products became the need of the hour. Balaji had the tough task of motivating the team. The company offered insurance, financial and medical help and counselling to employees and their families.

Though global trade picked up post-pandemic amid geopolitical conflicts, Balaji remains a busy man. His focus is now on hiring tech talent as TVS SCS scales up its operations globally. “Technology is changing every day. TVS SCS is more a technology company than a logistics and warehousing player. We want the manpower to be highly skilled in advanced technologies,” he says.

TVS SCS organises online training programmes for executives as well as other employees to identify their potential. The e-learning platform, Leadership Exploration and Discovery (LEAD), gives insights to executives into managing people/teams and the business. Curated by MIT Sloan School of Management in partnership with Skillsoft (a global e-learning provider), the platform offers micro-learning modules such as podcasts, videos, books, book summaries and audiobooks for executives.

The company also provides e-learning content to employees through the Learning Management System (LMS), which gives details on safety, warehousing and other technical functions. In the last two years since its launch, around 7,000 employees have been trained using LMS.

“LMS allows employees to learn at their pace and refer to training material at will. It opened up opportunities to offer role and skill-based training in an easy-to-scale manner,” says Balaji. LMS offers an array of courses, including compliance training to help uphold regulatory standards. “In FY24, employees spanning 18 countries actively engaged with the platform, accessing more than 300 modules of content,” he adds.

On the learning front, TVS SCS follows a three-pronged approach — functional and soft skill training through LMS; in-person training for core functions; and employee education via external certifications/training programmes.

“We have implemented several leadership development programmes in the past such as the Blue Leap Leadership programme in partnership with Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, Talent 2 Value with McKinsey and LEAD in partnership with Skillsoft. The focus of these programmes is to enhance the capability of leaders within the organisation, spark innovative ideas and approaches, encouraging leaders to think beyond their domains,” says Balaji.

He considers innovation to be the cornerstone for the success of businesses across sectors. TVS SCS has developed a Centre of Excellence with a team of 300 to develop in-house technologies for transportation, warehousing and other supply chain requirements using AI and ML.

For performance assessment, TVS SCS has a performance management framework called BOLD, an acronym for Business results, Operational Excellence and Leadership Development. Each theme represents a category of goals that the organisation seeks to achieve.

The company has implemented the Human Capital Management (HCM) platform globally for its 18,000 employees across 26 countries. It does away with paperwork and administrative tasks done by HR and leaders, allowing them to focus on strategic initiatives and employee engagement.

The company also initiates people engagement surveys every year to gain insight into employees’ perspectives. The survey topic spans across company policies, practices, management, culture, communication, learning and operational performance. This year, the survey witnessed the highest participation of 93% of employees globally.

TVS SCS, which got listed in August 2023, is looking at the current technology transition as an opportunity to improve operational performance. No wonder, the CHRO is in a rush to get the right talent to cash in on the opportunity.

Follow us on Facebook, X, YouTube, Instagram and WhatsApp to never miss an update from Fortune India. To buy a copy, visit Amazon.