The Indian railway system is one of the largest in the world and, according to the Indian government, it is the most utilised form of transport, being more energy efficient as well as more efficient in terms of land use.

Leader of the Indian arm of worldwide engineering firm, Alstom, MD Bharat Salhotra says his team is passionate about ensuring that India stays sustainably mobile. As one of the leading suppliers of train control systems for metros in India, Alstom India has plans to increase its footprint, not only in the Indian market, but into the South Asia Pacific region and beyond.

Alstom works across four specific areas of business: Rolling stock & Components; Systems & Infrastructure; Transport Information Solutions; and Train Life Services, offering a full range of highly advanced products and solutions. Bharat talks to The CEO Magazine about how he’s keeping Alstom India on track for success.

MD Bharat Salhotra on suppliers and competition

“A significant part of what we provide to our customers comes from our suppliers, and today competition is not between one or two companies — competition actually happens between extended enterprises. Optimising supply chains — the flow of goods and information and strength — is really critical to competitive advantage. It can no longer be established just through technology or products. The only way to establish and maintain competitive advantage is getting suppliers on board,” says Bharat.

To me suppliers are critical. If we look at a train, 70% or more is actually bought from suppliers, so suppliers are crucial for our future success and that’s why we keep partners and make them part of our team, rather than restrict them to the organisation’s boundaries.

On leadership at Alstom India

“The right mix and the right level of engagement within the Alstom teams is very important to success. Many leaders are used to driving organisations in a super structured format. I believe everyone has great contributions to make, and my job is to make sure people are given that environment to be able to excel and achieve whatever they aspire to,” Bahrat says.

Creating teams of people working with a ‘fire in the belly’

Bharat says, “Success doesn’t happen when the CEO comes in, success happens when every single person gets that fire in the belly. For so many organisations today, the pressure is on compliance, compliance, compliance. And yet, the way success happens is through commitment — compliance alone is not enough. How do we get ourselves to commit to something and move towards achieving that objective? Those are the core questions to answer in order to have an organisation succeed.”


Alstom India key facts