Samkit Shah, our “cherry on the Indian cake”
Reilhofer KG has been active in India for 20 years. Since the Indian market is getting bigger and bigger for us and there was no permanent employee who primarily looked after NVH customers in India as a project and communication interface, Samkitkumar Shah has been working permanently at Reilhofer for a year now. A year full of experiences and strategic steps for Samkit. That’s why we met him – remotely and live from India – for an employee interview.
Reilhofer KG: Sam, you’ve been in India for a few months now. That wasn’t quite planned, how are you?
Sam: Due to the current COVID 19 situation, I am here on site in order to be able to work according to local regulations. A return trip to Germany would have been planned months ago, but from a strategic point of view I stayed here in order to continue to be there for our customers in India. There have already been some lockdowns in India, but at least I was then in the right time zone to be able to work remotely with our customers on the various projects. During this time we have helped our existing customers by conducting online presentations, training courses and product presentations using virtual software versions. And personally, I’m fine too, even if I miss some of Germany. First of all, the pretzel snack breaks with colleagues (laughs).
Reilhofer KG: Apart from the Corona circumstances, how did your first year develop, in which you are now explicitly working for Reilhofer KG in India?
Sam: We continue to work with our sales partner AIMIL Ltd. together here on site. But you also have to look for new ways to work together and take cultural differences into account in project and decision-making processes. However, success is achieved through open and targeted work. New products or the updating of interesting, existing products and innovative technologies create new opportunities for us to serve our customers. What I learned first is, that it is every important how you organise the job every day and its quality. Since I am responsible for the entire Indian market, it was not easy for me at first to build a working bridge to work ethics between India and Germany. Sometimes there are also small challenges to master, such as the time differences between India and Germany. Meanwhile, the coordination between our customers in India and, for example, the development in Germany, with me as the interface, work very well.
Reilhofer KG: You are addressing a crucial point: cultural understanding for one another. What are the main differences from your point of view between India and Germany?
Sam: If we compare the methodology used by Indian customers with other countries, the way they work is completely different. The Indian culture, which is very different, also plays a role. Before starting new things in India, we always pray (pooja) to God for the improvement of the production and longevity of new machines, and that pooja will always have a positive impact on the environment. In Germany you are more businesslike and rely first on the quality – and then on the guarantee (laughs heartily). As an Indian, it is easy for me to know both methods and to be the mediator between cultures. I studied in Germany and have been living there for many years, when it is not a pandemic.
Reilhofer: In your opinion, what is the key to success for the Indian market?
Sam: Our company motto is first and foremost “Sales AND Service”. Product quality and higher European standards, including in service, make up customer satisfaction – and that is our top priority.
Reilhofer: So what will be next?
Sam: Since COVID 19 will affect us here for some time, I will stay in India for the time being. I still talk a lot on the phone with my colleagues in Germany. And close contact with customers is important, even in these times. If I can then hopefully work again without any major restrictions, then I’ll come back to Germany. But I still travel anyway, because my plan as project manager for India is to travel regularly through India to further intensify the cooperation with our existing and new customers. I would like to offer our customers added value and thus “the cherry on the cake”. (… which seems to be an Indian delicacy, note RHF)