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GLEMBA Class of 2016 Visit to Safran Engineering Services

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Our second visit with Safran India Private Limited took place in Bengaluru (also known as Bangalore). This is the center for the Safran Engineering Services team of 600 employees, and Engineering Services celebrated 14 years in India on May 8. We were lucky enough to be able to spend time with Satish Kirtikar, CEO of Turbomeca India; Anup Vittal, managing director of the Engineering Services; Damodaran Subramanian, senior vice president and head of engineering; and Arun Nayar, director of human resources.

Satish, a 1998 Executive MBA alumnus of The University of Texas in Dallas, hosted us for this session. His company Turbomeca is a subsidiary of Safran and supports more than 600 helicopter engines in India. To put this into context, a Turbomeca-powered helicopter takes off every nine seconds all day long. More than 50 Turbomeca-approved centers carry out service and maintenance on the engines.

Our previous session with Safran India Private Limited had focused on a broader scope of the company as a whole, and working as an expat in a foreign company. This session drilled into some of the day-to-day interactions and concerns.

Anup was very excited to announce that the first Airbus 838 had been delivered to JetBlue. Safran Engineering Services played a key role in the wiring of this plane. It was the Engineering Services team in Bangaluru that worked to integrated 500 kilometers (~311 miles) into the design of this plane.

In addition to this, Anup and his team also discussed the impending award of the Rafale aircraft contract. Instead of focusing on when the contract would be awarded, Anup and Damodaran were focused on how they can hit the ground running once the award is announced. This contract will require an offset in India. The team at Safran Engineering Services has been working over the past three years to develop their business plan. Because Safran Engineering Services is part of Safran Group, a French defense company, they are currently not allowed to be considered a viable option for the offset funds. This is a double-edged sword for Safran, because the Engineering Services CEO is Indian, and the majority of the workforce is Indian, but, because of French ownership, they are excluded. This is something they are continue to work at the policy level.

The three-year start on the business plan for the Rafale aircraft contract highlights Safran Engineering Services desire to be on time and of high quality. The Engineering Services team understands any delay in their design, or global supply chain, could negatively impact the overall success and schedule of the program. As a result of this, the company has undertaken an initiative called PM+. Through this effort, the team is working to improve project-management and business-planning skills through tailored training. This is an area that the team feels it could improve, and team members understand that it crosses the entire business, from managing people to commitments to customers and supplies. In order to continue to thrive in their industry, they need to remain diligent in evaluating and mitigating risk, and staying on track with plans. Again, this is a global company, team members need to be trained not only to handle dealings in India but also to collaborate with other Safran employees in France, Mexico or anywhere else in the world.

The Safran Engineering Services team continues to look at potential skill gaps within the business, and it is working to strengthen training, thus creating stronger employees. By focusing on quality, schedule, and people, the company is positioning itself to be a key player in future opportunities both internal to Safran as well as with their Indian partners.

Arun, the director of human resources, shed some additional light on the Engineering Services workforce. He shared a deeper look at women in the workplace, and the small number of women at the Safran Engineering Services site. This is due to the fact that less than 10 percent of the graduate-level mechanical engineers are women. He also shared that because of an assault on a woman at a multinational corporation in India, after hours, the state of Karnataka, in which Bangaluru is the capital, has mandated a rule that any female employee who works after 6 p.m. must be provided a separate car and escort. If you are found to be breaking this rule, you can face jail time. While some companies in the United States may offer escorts to your car after hours, we'd never heard of someone being jailed for failing to do so.

Read the post about the GLEMBA Class of 2016’s first visit to Safran, GLEMBA Class of 2016 Visit to Safran India Private Limited, and the fourth post about its visit to Lightspeed Venture Partners.

Katie Boyle

Katie Boyle

Katie Boyle is the staff executive to the president of one of the Raytheon business units. This role requires her to work closely with the leadership across the corporation. Prior to this position, Katie worked as a strategic planner in business development, leading the market assessments; competitor assessments; business unit portfolios; strength, weakness, opportunity and threat analyses, and international and mission area strategies. She also supported the strategic advisory board. Katie spent more than five years developing proposals across Raytheon’s customer base. She received her undergraduate degree in history and political sciences from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, her Master of Arts from the American Military University, and she is pursuing her MBA at the Jindal School of Management. Read more articles

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