In this new feature called Pro MFG Leadership Lessons, we will feature some of the finest leaders from the manufacturing industry wherein they will share their thoughts and ideas on leading manufacturing organizations and on mentoring the next generation of leaders. We start off with Suresh KV, President and Head of ZF in India, who was recently interviewed by Niranjan Mudholkar, Editorial Director, Pro MFG Media at the ZF Business Park Pune
March 2022: Suresh KV is the President and Head of ZF in the India region. ZF India Pvt Ltd is a part of the German group ZF Friedrichshafen AG and caters to India’s automotive and industrial market through wholly owned subsidiaries and joint ventures.
Fondly referred to as KV, Suresh leads the regional strategy, overall business growth and governance for ZF in India. He is adept in planning, operations, and people management processes as well as practices. With expertise in agile solutions and innovation, he drives the region’s customer-centric solutions for the organization. As a leader, KV is a keen proponent of teamwork and actively promotes cross-functional collaboration to bring out the best in teams.
A graduate engineer from REC, Calicut, KV also has a Post Graduate Degree in Management from SP Jain Institute of Management, Mumbai. As an industry veteran, he brings rich experience spanning over three decades in the automotive industry and other sectors. Before his current role, he has worked with renowned international brands like Asian Paints, Bajaj Auto, Visteon Automotive Systems, Philips, and Motherson Sumi Systems Limited.
KV joined ZF in 2007 and took over as the Country Head for ZF in India in June 2015. He is an avid traveller and channelizes his experiences to lead a holistic and fulfilling life. His enthusiasm for Indian classical music and traditional dance forms inspires him professionally.
The Best of Two Worlds
Elaborating on the one driving force behind his leadership, KV says that the path which the ZF Group is following in India has two facets. “We want to get the best of India for ZF and make the best of ZF for India. When I talk about the best of India for ZF, we are looking at India as a hub for ZF while capitalizing on the talent of India, the material sourcing capabilities and the manufacturing footprint. The best of ZF implies the best of technologies which are available worldwide to be brought to the Indian customer at an affordable price by making it in such a way that we are able to meet the customer requirements.”
The ‘One ZF’ Strategy
Considering the dynamic and disruptive times in the last two years, ZF is working towards a vision as an organization to serve the Indian market in a better way. KV emphasizes that it is important for the Group to project itself as ‘One ZF’ in the Indian market. “Our efforts in the last two years have been aimed at collaborating with all the partners in the region to give the customer the best performance in terms of products as well as services. We are looking at serving our customers either through the ZF facilities or through the JVs. We are looking at creating one image where all the ZF entities are seen as part of one big ZF family,” he says.
Lessons for tomorrow’s leaders
KV shares five key lessons for the leaders of tomorrow, when he speaks about the five principles of the ZF Way. “First is about creating accountability in the younger generation. Secondly, they need to have the passion to take the organization to the next level and derive something out of it while ensuring that they have the drive to do that. The third principle is ‘anticipation’. It means what is it that I need to do today to meet the goals of tomorrow. The fourth principle is ‘diversity’. India is famous for unity in diversity. Look at how we can make the best of India’s diverse population to ensure that we achieve our goals. The last important principle is ‘empowerment’. Don’t try to do everything yourself. Ensure that we work together as a team and deliver as a team. So accountability, passion, anticipation, diversity and empowerment are the five ZF ways and that, I feel, is the path to success,” KV explains.