All logisticians lead stressful lives.
Kajal Bagchi is a logistician.
Kajal Bagchi leads a stressful life.
Wrong, Professor Vasudevan!
I beg to disagree with the syllogism you taught in my Pre-University days (1972–73) in Vivekananda College, Mylapore, Chennai. Yet, I would stick my neck out and maintain that you and Professor Dr. Vasani, whose Principles of Logic was the Bible for students those days, would revisit your theory and say, “Ramesh, you’re right. We were wrong.”
As the fortyish Bagchi picks me up at M G Road metro station in his grey Ertika to drive me to his citadel — Caparo group corporate headquarters a few meters away from Maruti Suzuki’s Gurugram plant — I notice a cheerful and cherubic logistician of two decades. The next couple of hours spent in his company, I never once felt he was stressed out. Happy-go-lucky man!
Is he happy because of his recent marriage? Or is he genuinely in love with his first love, the career as a logistician? His demeanor baffles me.
By and large, logisticians lead a stressful life. Logisticians have been unrecognized for a long time by their colleagues, with all the limelight hogged by marketing and finance honchos like the faceless sub-editors in the newsroom. Of late, there’s a correction mode with many awards for logisticians and supply chainers. A welcome move.
The reason for Bagchi’s cup of joy overflowing spills out even before he hands over the welcome bouquet at the glass-fronted reception of the Caparo group. As CEO of the new-born Caparo Logistics, his cheerfulness is understandable. Congrats, Bagchi!
Four years ago, after his return from Muscat, Oman, and a short stint with Writer, he was handpicked by the Indian flagship of Lord Swaraj Paul-owned Caparo Group to manage their logistics challenges in servicing its prestigious client: Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors, MG, Tafe, Caparo is a joint venture with Marubeni of Japan and a top-notch vendor for India’s numero uno passenger car maker.
“It so happened that I was on the other side working for Writer, and the Caparo group was our client. Once I sorted out a shipping challenge for them, using my experience in the entire gamut of logistics. Perhaps, that resulted in them offering a slot,” guesses the Allahabad-born, Gwalior-educated graduate son of an Air Force officer.
He has not looked back, given his career traction. From a senior manager to a CEO slot. Well, that’s not enough. Caparo Logistics is born to look beyond catering to servicing domestic clientele and entering freight forwarding in a big way. All these are on Bagchi’s plate. Bingo!
Hang on. The Multimodal Transport Operator (MTO) license from the government is around the corner. “Yes, any time,” avers he. That shows Caparo’s appetite for growth and Bagchi too.
Bagchi is no babe in the woods. Brought into the world of logistics by his elder brother following his graduation, he traversed through the portals of global giants such as TNT in India and Oman, Writer, Kerry, etc. The less said about his network in the world of shipping, logistics, and supply chain, the better.
With 19 plants spread across India, servicing Caparo’s clients in various verticals, Bagchi handles the nightmarish logistics portfolio with elan without a sweat.
On second thoughts, not really. At the start of Bagchi’s stint at Caparo, he had a blood-curdling experience. Listen to him:
“Like any newcomer, despite the lengthy tenure in logistics, I was eager to fulfill the challenging task and impress seniors. Such an attitude is nothing uncommon. One day, I was asked to arrange to dispatch a vital consignment from Bawal, Haryana, to Chennai. A long-haul. Our transportation is outsourced, so we identified a transporter and appraised him of the importance of the load. No halts in between. Period.
On Day two, I found the truck stranded at Bhopal for several hours. I got panicky. Why this unscheduled halt? The transporter gave the driver’s phone number and asked me to follow up! The phone was switched off. After a couple of attempts, I gave up and cursed myself. Then the phone rang, and the driver was online.
In a rage, I reprimanded him for halting unnecessarily, thereby delaying the delivery. Words thickened, and then he said this: “Get lost. I am leaving. Do what you want!” I was in a spot. The transporter could do nothing except advise me to apologize to the driver. I did it with folded hands over the phone. I was literally in tears. I promised him I would make it up for him by hosting a lunch/dinner during his next visit to NCR. I can never forget that episode. I realized how important the driver is in the entire supply chain.
Did Bagchi meet that driver and host a lunch or dinner?
No, I am waiting for him. The offer is open, adds he.
Bagchi is silent in his squarish cabin for a couple of minutes. He sips his tea and munches a few crisp Lay chips. Me too.
Possibly that was the only time Bagchi would have been stressed out. Never again, he assures me. Challenges are part of a logistician’s life, he avers, but he allows them not to eat his guts out. Driver management is more challenging than defusing a ticking bomb in a crowded hyper mall.
What’s his stress-busting chore? Playing Badminton. Swimming. Walking. Spending time with Yuvi. Yuvi, the ex-Cricketer? Nope. His pet Labrador. Not to be forgotten, his better half. And his elder brother and parivar, who sherpa-ed him into logistics twenty summers ago.
Is it true that the logistics and supply chain world is attracting much talent?
What did he tell me?
Watch out for the next dispatch.
(To be continued)