Deepak Jain makes it a point to catch up on tennis at least three times a week. “Those 45-60 minutes of personal time are almost not negotiable,” says the 37-year-old. Being health conscious without a strong bond for the gym, Jain finds the racquet game useful. Professionally too. “At the end of the match you have your result,” says Jain. “Be it victory or loss, I like to come to a conclusion.”

Jain co-leads Bain India’s Industrial Goods & Services practice with a focus in the automotive, chemicals and cement industries. He is also a member of Bain’s Strategy and Performance Improvement practices, which implies that Jain’s clientele is full of people who are nearly twice as old as he is. “It’s an interesting world. There is potential to create value in older organisations where inefficiency creeps in with legacy,” he says.

In mid-2017, Jain advised a multi-billion dollar industrial client in plant rationalisation, fixing its fragmented sourcing, logistics, and controlling indirect costs. The optimisation, in Jain’s assessment, could help his client save between 8% to 10% of the cost base. In monetary terms, for a multi-billion dollar organisation, that could translate into savings of a quarter billion dollars every year.

Is it a challenge to advise a client on transformation in the manufacturing sector? Jain says his clients are nearly twice his age, and some are second-generation promoters of corporations that are way older. It’s not easy. In eight out of 10 discussions, the client would react strongly. Naturally, his client has been there and done that. “Then comes the power of personal connection, the ability to convince and take the discussion towards alignment,” explains Jain.

This is where Jain’s tennis aces come handy. He has to mind his steps, keeping an eye on his opponent; look at the power of the stroke and give it back equally. Except that, his victory is aligned to that of his client. All of that had helped Jain chart success stories for clients, including an auto component company where he defined and implemented a full potential strategy to grow to nearly four times, and implement raw material costs optimisation to achieve 5% savings.

Jain has also consulted a leading national cement player in creating the best in class procurement organisation and achieving 5% cost synergies.

Change is hard to embrace, and that being ideated by an outsider who is half the age of the ones advised welcomes critical resistance. That is not just challenging, but all about transforming mindsets. Jain has an ‘interesting’ job. He loves it enough to call it ‘tough’.

Find the 40 under 40, 2018 list here

The annual Fortune India 40 under 40 event takes place in Bengaluru on April 29.

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