There are 3 things at the top of the agenda for AkzoNobel India’s Managing Director Jayakumar  Krishnaswamy (Jay). The first is a focus on people, both inside and outside of the business. “This is something AkzoNobel drives in its operations all across the world, not just in India,” he explains. “We want to have a strong customer focus, great relationships with our strategic partners, and a nice environment for our employees to work in. People form the foundation of the organisation and therefore this strong people proposition is all about talent management, cross-skilling, fast-tracking people for success, and supporting young talent. These are just some of the things which we do under the people agenda.”

Second on the list is operational excellence. “That is a key driver for us,” Jay notes. “It means we encourage every single employee to do something better today than what he or she did yesterday. We have rigorous programs we use for the backend teams and also for the frontend, more commercial side of the business. This ensures that we run our operations effectively and productively, eliminating waste and working constantly to improve our margins.”

Finally, Jay is focused on building organic growth for the multinational’s operations in India, and when he was appointed to the leadership position that was his number one priority — to look at how he could increase the profits in a sustainable manner.

AkzoNobel’s key lines of business are in the manufacture of coatings, such as paints, as well as chemicals. It supplies its products to about 8,500 retailers in a variety of sectors, from automotive to pharmaceutical. In 2012, the business underwent a scheme of amalgamation, merging its Indian entities — AkzoNobel Car Refinishes India Private Limited, AkzoNobel Coatings India Private Limited, and AkzoNobel Chemicals (India) Limited — into AkzoNobel India Limited. This resulted in a robust company structure, setting it up for long-term prosperity.