In a conversation with Sandeep Gambhir, Managing Director and CEO of OAIS, who discusses his plans and growth strategy for OAIS, as well as the key trends shaping the industry.

ORIX Auto Infrastructure Services (OAIS), a unit of ORIX Corporation, Japan, is one of India’s largest Corporate car rental and employee transportation solution companies and is the fastest growing passenger car leasing Company in India.  It also has a 100% owned NBFC subsidiary, ORIX Leasing and Financial Services that is targeting to become a meaningful player in the retail segment with product offerings as Commercial Vehicle Loans and Loan against Property largely focused on the SME segment

Please throw light, as how the business has emerged in the last few years? 

Over the past few years, we have sharpened our focus on key business lines. This has resulted in getting deeper into our core businesses and also exiting certain lines of business that were either not profitable or not core to our business. So, apart from helping the bottom line and profitability, it has allowed us to also focus on newer initiatives to develop better variants of our existing products or services, as well as, add certain new lines of businesses that will help us grow into a bigger player in the Indian market.  
From being a large corporate service provider, we have entered the retail space as well. In the retail sector, we offer Commercial Vehicle Loans, SME focused Loan against Property and our latest initiative, Mychoize, self-drive car rentals, all of which are focused towards the B2C space. 

How has ORIX India been able to cement its position as market leaders in the corporate car rental and leasing space?

In December 2013, two years after acquiring complete ownership from its earlier joint venture partner, IL&FS, there was an infusion of equity close to `197 crore from ORIX Corporation, Japan. Receiving support directly from the parent company was testimonial of their belief in its investment in local India enterprise management and operations, as well as, the multiple opportunities available here.

With the injection of capital, it has helped us in cementing a position as the market leaders in this space and has also provided comfort to our large corporate clientele, about the financial stability and future intent of our company.
We are proud of the way we have shaped up in the last few years to become one the largest Corporate Car Rental Company, Employee Transportation Provider and the fastest growing leasing car leasing Company

How do each of your business lines contribute to the top line and what is the strategic contribution ORIX India makes to the overall industry?

Today, we deal with some of the largest as well as professionally managed corporates in India and provide them with a wide range of services. Over 90% of our revenues are generated from services provided to our corporate clients, almost equally shared by the 3 businesses ie Car Rentals , Employee Transport Solutions and Leasing and Value-Added Services .  Commercial Vehicle Finance, a fast-growing and profitable segment for us and the newly launched Loan against Property business, which provides finance to the growing Indian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), contribute towards the balance.

Within the corporate sector, we hold a visible market space as the largest player in the country today on the B2B Car Rental space. We are also the fastest growing player in the Corporate Lease segment and have doubled our throughput over the last two years. Our Employee Transportation business today is a well-respected and sought after vertical, capable of providing 24 x 7, efficient and reliable commute to the employees of the corporates.

Witnessing growth in each of our businesses and also diversifying into other key areas, our appetite continues to grow and we are hoping that our new business initiatives contribute significantly in the years to come.

Elaborate on your service standards and any value added propositions that you may be looking at.

A large part of our revenue comes from vehicle-related businesses.  We carry on our shoulders, the responsibility and commitment to maintain and deliver very high quality and service delivery standards. Most of the vehicles are owned by us, but we also have a sizeable fleet of vendor vehicles partnering with us. As we have our own service centers, it helps to manage our fleet and keep them in the best running condition.

We are exploring other possibilities that not only benefit but enhance the propositions that our service centres offer to our internal fleet, customer-owned vehicles as well as the open market. We have noticed an interest in customized vehicles from various quarters and also see tremendous growth in the space of mobile clinics and ambulances. With an emphasis on Corporate Social Responsibility projects, there is a great demand for such vehicles that can help provide medical facilities in far-flung rural areas. We have also provided customized online broadcasting vans to media companies. These are sectors we feel there is scope and wish to tap further.

With improvements in technology and infrastructure, we have seen a lot of action and some initial uptick in the demand within the self-drive segment. We now believe that the Indian user is ready for it. Last quarter, MyChoize self-drive was launched as a separate product offered targeting the upwardly mobile youth in India.

What role does technology and innovation play in your business?

With rapid growth changes, it is difficult to keep pace in the market without the support of cutting edge technology. Technology is undoubtedly the name of the game and one needs to keep being original in their game.
Our technology platform is currently undergoing a face-lift, in both business operations and financial services business. Last year, we started migration of all our financial services business to one common platform, which will tie us to a single screen access for all our lending products. Similarly with the operating businesses, our technology partner will provide us with state-of-the-art technology, which will be equipped with capabilities to house all our multiple operating businesses, as well as offer enhanced engagement possibilities to our clients and customers, through the use of mobile applications and web.

Once this is fully implemented and operational, all these changes will have a significant impact on our functional efficiencies and enrich our customer experience.

In today’s world, safety and security is the order of the day. How do you ensure this in your business?

Customer safety and security is utmost priority for all companies that offer transportation services. We dedicate a lot of time and effort to ensure that our benchmarking and safety standards have the highest degree of excellence. Emphasis is given on hiring the right set of people and periodically equipping them with adequate and necessary training. This helps in cultivating the right behavioral skills to conducting themselves in a manner that is desirable.

We also have efficient monitoring and review mechanisms that help us analyze risk, compliance and any grievance redressal or escalations. In order to avoid recurrences of any nature, we focus mainly on root cause analysis in identifying pain areas and providing early and satisfactory resolutions, through training and procedural changes.

How does ORIX India’s success roll up into the overall ORIX’s global growth journey?

From a numbers standpoint, our numbers are too small when it reaches the global consolidation stage. However, a 100% owned entity in India, is very critical for ORIX's Global Growth journey. India is the fastest growing economy in the world today and ORIX Corporation, Japan is very keen to support the India business, and help it grow and mature to further ORIX’s global presence. 

What are ORIX India’s Business Goals for FY 16? 

Our key goals for the next year

  • Continue on the upward trajectory demonstrated on our financials
  • Stabilize some of the newer products that we launched last year and make them a larger contributor to our revenues going forward
  • Investment in Technology is key to our continued success, both in terms of revamping our existing platform, as well as for developing newer solutions
  • People focus is key to our strategy and this includes training and retention of our key talent, as well as, attracting new talent to infuse some fresh blood into the system

What are the long term growth milestones of ORIX India? 

Over the next few years, our key milestones are

  • Maintaining our leadership position in the B2B car rental space, as well as making a meaningful presence in the B2C Self Drive space and deepening our presence in the Employee Transportation space
  • We also intend to become the largest Corporate Leasing Company in India, both in terms of size as well as profitability and also become a partner of choice for the clients we deal with
  • Increase the revenue share from our retail focused businesses to 25% from a current level of approximately 10%
  • Revamp our existing technology platform, substituted by a state-of-the-art cutting edge technology backed solution
  • Well respected in the client space that we are in, the focus over the next couple of years however would be to make the ORIX Brand visible and noticeable in the overall India marketplace


What are your core leadership values and leadership style?

My leadership values and style are fairly straightforward. I place a lot of TRUST in my colleagues and coworkers. I demonstrate high levels of INTEGRITY and expect people to reciprocate the same way. I ensure that there is a high degree of FAIRNESS in my dealings and communication, and treat people with RESPECT, irrespective of the status of the person. I also endorse the creation of an informal structure within the formal organizational hierarchy, so that it makes the workplace enjoyable. Make a workplace where people love to contribute towards its success, rather than being asked to or required to.

In this era of instant gratification, what does ORIX India do to keep employees motivated and committed over a long period of time?

To build a desired organization culture, I have always felt that being transparent, clear and open in communication is the best way to percolate commonality of intent and purpose. Regardless of the level or the nature of job of the employee, our basic expectations from each person is simple and clear; we expect the highest level of integrity and professionalism in conduct.

Informal interventions within a formal hierarchy can also set the attitude towards a desired culture. Our Employee Engagement model is very inclusive and cohesive. It has been designed in a manner keeping in mind that there is no differentiation amongst employees, based on the nature of their work. There is a very strong acknowledgement of the fact that a lot of our blue collar colleagues are amongst our biggest revenue generators.

Despite expanding in various directions, so far we have seen this approach work very well. It has helped us create a well-knit organization and a healthy corporate culture that has stood the test of time.

How has your career journey been, specifically with ORIX India?

I have been lucky to have got the opportunity to work with some of the best known organizations globally and also work with some extraordinarily smart set of colleagues and supervisors, who in turn have been instrumental in shaping my career. Having completed my Chartered Accountancy in 1996 and my Articles from Price Waterhouse, I worked with KPMG for a year. Post that, I had a five year stint with Lucent Technologies and then moved on to leadership positions for nine years across finance and other business functions with Citigroup. I also spent two years with Barclays, heading their NBFC in India before moving to ORIX India around three years back. 

My journey with ORIX India has been fairly rewarding thus far. The organization is well embedded with Industry experts who are subject matter experts in their respective fields and more importantly very well respected across the industry and client base. Together, we have scripted a reasonable success story until now, however the journey ahead is a long one and that’s surely going to be interesting and satisfying too. 

As an avid sportsperson, what similarities do you draw from the game of sports into your leadership? 

The single most important similarity that I draw from any game and leadership is the FUN factor. One clearly has to enjoy and make sure, that as we play along, people around you enjoy as well.  It’s not about winning or losing, it’s about giving your 100% on the field or on the job; the results are then incidental and more often than not, in your favor too.

Teamwork is another critical trait that I draw from my love for sports and I use it to good stead in my day-to-day conduct. A case in example is the CEO cricket challenge, where the ORIX India team participated, despite being ranked as outsiders, and went onto eventually winning the tournament. Each individual from the team participated wholeheartedly and did their best, irrespective of the outcome.

Some Leaders that inspire you or you look up to?

Effective Leadership is key for the success of any organization.  In todays corporate world, a set of individuals clearly stand out for their vision, foresight and execution capabilities.  They have brought about a big change around them from ground up and are brands in themselves. I hold high regard for Yoshihiko Miyauchi and Makoto Inoue (ORIX), Deepak Parekh (HDFC), Ravi Parthasarthy (IL&FS) and Ratan Tata, who have been instrumental in creating large professional establishments of high repute. All these leaders have steered their organizations through multiple business cycles, stood the test of time, and time and again have helped their organizations grow stronger with every change. Within the newer brigade of leaders, some names that come to mind upfront are Vijay Shekhar Sharma (Paytm) and SachinBansal (Flipkart), who with their disruptive thought process,  are building their organizations to becoming household brand names.

As shared with IFIN Panorama Editorial Team

The opinions, views and ideas expressed in the article are solely of the author. Any ideas or opinions expressed by the author are personal views. We do not take any responsibility for any views or opinions and request to not rely upon it as a qualified opinion.

© Copyright 2015-16. All rights reserved.