The Beginning or The Beginning of the END!!!

The Beginning or The Beginning of the END!!!

To Begin something new – is a new excitement…

To Begin – is the initiative to reach the next level…

To Begin – is to take the first step to achieve our Dreams…

28 December 2008, Exactly A decade before, a Gentlemen announced the beginning of new service.. new technology in the field of telecom. Mr. Anil Ambani announced the Launch of Reliance GSM services. He had his dream… he had his passion… he had a goal… he began…

Reliance group is known for creating disturbance in the market and is witness in all the three launches – CDMA, GSM, JIO. The ripples created by the launch are so huge that they completely destroy the traditional way of working and pricing. It forces the competitor to change and reduce the pricing.

It was a great pleasure to work for this launch and excitement was on top to see how our months of efforts will payback. we knew the shortcoming of the company and were expecting a better working on the same and to see some drastic improvement.

Reliance Communication, once a Flagship company of ADAG Group but Exactly 10 years later we have neither Reliance Communications nor CDMA and GSM business. what went wrong inspite of having the Best technology, Best Team, Best IT infrastructure, Best Nationwide spread. I have personally witness the NOC building of company at Dhirubhai Ambani Knowledge City (DAKC), it was one of the best I would say.

Infact The new Beginning of Reliance communication was actually “The Beginning of the END”

It is said that the company is formed because of the people who work there, inspite of best team and amazing talented, Agressive, strong and humble people like Dinesh Gulati, Abhay Metkar, Ashok Agarwal, Ajay Singh Bhadoria, Balbirsingh Khalsa, Kamlesh Sujera, Sumit Nigam, Chintan Vaishnav, Ashutosh Tyagi, Asif Siddiqui and many more, still company had to see such a day of end. These were the seniors I worked with and have seen the extra ordinary talent in each one of them which is really admiring and worth learning from them.

Still wondering inspite of the best people and best technology why the company went out of market, out of industry. Entire journey was heading toward “THE END”, There was only one reason for such a disaster and only one word is reason for the same which you will come to know by the end of this piece.

Distribution Management – The investment of the distributor was increasing day by day with the accumulation of non moving stock and all sort of other unwanted activities. The primary sale should have to be the primary indicator of the tertiary sales. If the tertiary sales is not moving but yet the primary sales is moving, it simply means that the distributor is over burden and no actual sale is happening in market. This result in losing the benefit of price drop. Company promoting the wholesaling and cutting the margin of distributors. Along with that all the incentives were settled in non moving or slow moving stocks. Thus the ROI didn’t match the actual projected inspite of sales volume. The frustration tend to increase with channel partners and they started passing on the similar activities to channel below. Later came the days when no one was ready to become the distributor of Reliance. Many territories were without distributors and thus had impacted the service levels and thus reduction in sales and revenue.

Retail Partners management – The scenario was no different than the distributors. Retail partners has only one god i.e. money. End of the day retailer only knows how much money he makes and how much credit he gets. Retailer is skeptical about investing a penny extra but yet wants to earn big amount from all companies. Retailers started losing faith in company promises and incentive structure. Most of the retailers stopped selling reliance or were selling very less.

Employee Management – Similar like the Distributors Many employee were hesitant to join the company. Some old employees stayed because they were much comfortable and were not staying there inspite of not growing. At that time being an ON Role employee was consider as a respect in telecom industry. It was not that simple to become an ON Role with other competitors and they only consider Existing onrole Employee for the onrole position. Trend started when many offrole people came onrole in reliance and then quit in sometime once they got onrole with other better opportunities. Reliance did a good job of promoting offrole employee in the industry to onrole but again it didnt work out as employee gained their own benefit and left the company in some time. The work culture of reliance was considered not to be good and every level the blame game and politics at the top of it. Slowly the Telecom Market opened up and even the senior level employees shifted to other competitors. Everyone needs peace at work and respect. The value of resignation was hardly any in the eyes of sales team as they use to resign everyday on a white paper in morning. The statement of “Paper dal de, agar nahi hota to” was used so religiously everyday to such an extent that resignation word lost the fear, respect and value.

Customer Management – Deduction in the balance and other unethical practice to get consent from the customer to deduct the accountant balance to a greater extend that people losing faith in the company and slowly started shifting to other company. it offered many on net free calling and on other number which lead to reduce in revenue and the cost of acquisition new customer was same. The gap between expense and revenue kept on increasing and slowly the company found it difficult to sustain revenue. Customer Base started reducing and so did channel partners revenue and company revenue. Customers started losing faith in the company and entire atmosphere was heading towards negativity for company. I don’t know how come the Board of Directors or Company Heads did not notice this negativity prevailing and increasing day by day or they knew this but yet kept their eyes close to witness the fall of the giant.

Planning – Planning which should be the integral part of any launch or new beginning was 100% missing for this GSM launch. Ideally when the launch is done, all the internal customer i.e. employees, channel patners and sales team, technical team are kept in loop. Here Chairman announced the launch and even the company staff is not aware. we had no ground preparation for launch. There was hardly any stock for selling. Excellent scheme without stock to offer is a disaster. IDEA Cellular had launch some time ahead of Reliance and was struggling to make its foot strong in market but With the Disaster that Reliance did, IDEA without a second thought took advantage of the goof up of reliance. IDEA started dumping products, giving similar benefits to customers, Higher benefits to Retails partners. IDEA could manage to generate pull for its product, post this days IDEA never saw back and kept on growing and giving tough fight to big giants. On the other Hand Reliance company outlet and retailers created havoc for not giving stock, there were mobs approaching at company outlets, there was fight within different territories to get the limited stock and all the territory managers, Area Managers manager with whatever stocks available and distributing it to whatever possible. The Launch benefit to customer was great to give free talktime worth Rs. 900/- for 90 days @10 Rs. daily but without proper planning it didn’t give the benefit as expected and a big loss of opportunity

ETHICS – Reliance Communications had everything but ETHICS. Ethics is a quality, a weapon and a power which can just be felt but not seen. However, big giant one is but without ethics the fall is destined one day. Today Rcom is not with us but it didn’t happen in a day or a week or a month. It took years to make the system hollow and finally collapse. It was a sad moment for me to hear the news that Rcom is shutting operations but it was not a surprise for me because I knew one day it would happen. If the Reliance communications would have worked with ethics and would have taken decision from the long term point of view rather than solving problem short term and looking into short term benefits, I am sure it would be still giving tough fights to other giants in telecom industry. Inverse to this we had UNINOR company in the market which had everything along with Ethics. The Ethics of the company were commendable. When the UNINOR had to shut operations in Mumbai and later in India, it assured that each and every money of the customer, retailer, distributor and employee is paid back. Till date the Telecom Market remembers UNINOR and still has a hope that UNINOR (TELENOR) would come back to India. Uninor has gained this respect not because of its global presence or monetary power but because of its ethical and simple way of working.

Sachin Bhadra (SHB)

28 December, 2018

Leave a Reply