Why cement company Nuvoco is going for digitalisation

“COVID-19 has been the biggest enabler in adopting digital ways of working,” says the CHRO

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Nuvoco Vistas, which claims to be the fifth largest cement-manufacturing firm in India, has embarked on a journey aimed at making its 4000+ workforce across the country future ready. As part of its talent-development strategy, Nuvoco plans to train its employees, across levels and departments, in digital areas. To make this happen, the Company has launched the Nuvoco University, which will primarily focus on upskilling employees in digital skills.

“We are preparing our workforce to be future ready, which also means learning things in a new and different way,” shares Manisha Kelkar, CHRO, Nuvoco Vistas.

Talking to HRKatha, Kelkar reveals that every player in the cement industry is moving towards digitalisation. Many processes — from manufacturing to logistics, sales and operations — are getting digitised or automated, for instance, use of GPS in tracking the movement of trucks.

All big cement players have already digitised their sales functions using customer relationship management or CRM software. Therefore, as Kelkar puts it, it is high time that Nuvoco also progressed towards upskilling its people in the area of digital.

The new labour reforms, environment, social & governance (ESG) reforms and a depleting bottom line for most of the businesses in the cement industry have forced companies in the sector to adopt new ways of working. Therefore, embracing digitalisation seems to be the way forward. Kelkar also believes, “COVID-19 has been one of the biggest enablers of this change”.

“Every player in the cement industry is moving towards digitalisation. Many processes — from manufacturing to logistics, sales and operations — are getting digitised or automated, for instance, use of GPS in tracking the movement of trucks.”

Manisha Kelkar, CHRO, Nuvoco Vistas

With the new Nuvoco University, the Company uses a blend of e-learning and classroom learning to upskill employees. Every course will be three to nine months long, depending on what is being covered. “In many cases, first employees will be encouraged to understand the subject through e-learning modules and then further build on it in classroom learning sessions,” explains Kelkar.

She goes on to reveal that the focus of these courses will be on actually understanding the true meaning of being digital or adopting digitalisation. And this process will start with the leaders of the Company. “For instance, after adopting digital platforms for digitising HR, one cannot continue to use excel sheets. That is not the true form of digitalisation,” points out Kelkar.

After obtaining these skills, where does Nuvoco really want to reach? What will this change look like? Citing the example of HR, Kelkar explains, that the function could reach a stage where staff can be assured of the best employee experience with just a single ‘touch of the button.’

In sales, which is already digitised to a large extent, the team can view the data at the market level and also at the single-executive level. This will help the sales team to prepare better before going out in the market.

Achieving digital skills is just one of the areas that Nuvoco is focusing on. The Company also wishes to focus on building emotional intelligence in people. This will help them cope with bad phases and times in the business.

Additionally, Nuvoco is also looking to build some new set of leadership skills. As Kelkar reveals, when it comes to leadership, Nuvoco wants to work on a couple of areas such as system understanding, managing paradoxes, inspired leadership and change agility.

Building skills from within is not the only area of focus for Nuvoco. The Company is also keen to look at buying skills from outside. “We are looking at skills in the sales department, which can facilitate better connection for us in the market. And we are turning to people from the FMCG sector,” reveals Kelkar.

Nuvoco is keen to draw some of the best ESG specialists in the manufacturing side. “We are looking at hiring ESG specialists from companies that have already achieved a certain level of ESG compliance in the manufacturing space,” Kelkar shares.

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