Mumbai: Mahindra and Mahindra Automotive and Farm Equipment Sectors, the flagship of the Mahindra Group, ranked 23rd in India’s Best Companies To Work For 2017 list compiled by the Great Place To Work Institute, is one of India’s top five automakers and the world’s largest tractor manufacturer. The Mumbai-based company was incorporated in 1945 as Mahindra and Mohammed by steel industrialist brothers J.C. and K.C. Mahindra, along with chartered accountant Malik Ghulam Mohammed, who later emigrated to Pakistan to serve as the country’s first finance minister.

Initially set up as a steel trading firm, the company entered the automotive sector in 1947 with the licensed assembly of the Willys Jeep. In 1956, the flagship company of the $19 billion Mahindra Group was listed on the BSE and later ventured into the manufacturing of light commercial vehicles, tractors and two-wheelers.

Gradually, the company began to build a global presence with plants in China, the UK and the US, and subsidiaries in the US, Italy, South Africa and South Korea.

Mahindra Auto manufactures utility vehicles such as the Scorpio and the Bolero, vans such as the Supro, buses, goods carriers, trailers, mini trucks, three-wheelers and two-wheelers. Employing close to 10,000 people in 11 plants across India, the company has a market capitalization close to Rs94,000 crore.

In the past year, Mahindra Auto has been in the limelight as India’s sole electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer through its subsidiary Mahindra Electric Mobility Ltd. The maker of the eVerito sedan will supply 150 EVs to the central government and its agencies through state-owned joint venture Energy Efficiency Services Ltd, in a development that kick-started the government’s ambitious EV mandate. Within its e-vehicle portfolio, Mahindra Auto also manufactures a hatchback, passenger van and three-wheeler.

Of late, the automotive segment has experienced a downturn owing to intense competition, while the farm equipment sector segment has continued to perform well. The automotive segment makes up about 65% of Mahindra’s revenue, while farm equipment contributes 32%. For the September quarter, the firm reported a 25% increase in net profit to Rs1,331.57 crore on a 6.4% rise in net revenue to Rs12,182.07 crore.

Mahindra Auto is not seen as a hire-and-fire kind of firm during bad times, according to a senior executive search consultant. “Mahindra has traditionally witnessed low churn, as the company is perceived to be a good employer having stable brand equity. They are consistent with their people policy," said the consultant, requesting anonymity because Mahindra Auto is a client.

Some of the company’s policies include a skilling initiative which takes “a holistic approach to enhance the skill and capabilities of shop floor associates", according to Rajeshwar Tripathi, head of the human resources at the firm. The programme helps reduce costs, ensures safety, and improves quality and productivity, he added.

Also aiding skill and competence development is a safety, occupational health and environment policy. The initiative also helps build a culture of safety, says Tripathi.

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