Chief Operating Officer
CEO Insights engages in vivid interaction with Rajiv Duggal, Chief Operating Officer of Shimizu Corporation India, to know the story of his journey up close and personal.
Tell us about the facets and achievements about your professional journey?
In 1987, after graduating from IIT Delhi, I secured a scholarship for studying Civil Engineering at the University of Tokyo, Japan. This was the turning point of my education and career as I was the only Indian student among 10 candidates across the world to study at the most prestigious university in Japan. At the young age of 22, I was exposed to the Japanese way of life and became aware of their intrinsic qualities of honesty, hard work, dedication, and punctuality, as well as the essentiality of prioritizing the country and company before personal needs. I also got a wholistic view of the cultural values that permeate the Japanese society and the way the business is conducted in Japan.
These admirable learnings grew throughout my stay in Japan and guided me to come back to India after acquiring my master’s degree, to apply my knowledge to my family construction business as I took it over. For years I utilized my erudition from Japan to my projects, inculcating a deep dedication for my work, improving the work quality, timely delivery, open and steadfast client relationship, honesty, and perseverance, which helped me a lot to cultivate and advance my family business to a notable level for 10 years.
In 2002, due to some unfortunate circumstances the business had to be closed, and my first thought was to work in one of the existing Japanese companies in India, which I did, for approximately 5 years. In 2007, Shimizu Corporation was planning to enter India permanently and I was contacted to set up their business operations in India. I took up this challenge and contributed significantly to successfully launch the permanent operations for Shimizu in Delhi. Subsequently, we set up the wholly owned subsidiary in 2011, and the headquarters were shifted from Delhi to Bangalore.
What were the challenges you faced initially and how did you overcome them?
As with any venture, there were a lot of challenges – the first being that though we were to operate in India, we simultaneously needed to work on the principles of our parent company. Being a 216-year-old
Shimizu Corporation aims to be a company that achieves sustainable growth while contributing to the creation of safe, secure, and comfortable living environments for the people. Therefore, at the time of establishment, we were expected to establish an Indian team which can understand and hold fast to the Japanese ideologies, values, and business operations. My knowledge of both Indian and Japanese languages, occupational expectations, and close proximity to work philosophies of both the countries made me realize that I needed to build a very capable team to understand and deliver what our Japanese parent company expected to achieve in India, for which I hand-picked some very capable managers.
We at Shimizu India are operating basically on a design and build model for industrial and heavy construction/Engineering projects, whereby we provide customized, integrated end-to-end solutions to the clients
Apart from that, I was instrumental in tuning the mindset of the national staff and associated teams to understand the Japanese personal and professional characteristics and the Shimizu DNA, as well as to develop a market and a dedicated network of our vendors and subcontractors to deliver far better quality of services and materials than what they had ever done before. At the same time, we had (and still have) to meet and mitigate the challenges of working in the Indian construction industry with Indian subcontractors, Indian material suppliers, Indian vendors, and so many other established systemic challenges.
From then (to now), we strategize on the management of each project as per the local challenges at each work site, in which I believe my contribution has been to balance the Japanese culture of the company and the Indian way and manner of conducting the business. So that was one of the biggest challenges I faced – to establish the operations in India while merging the rigorous requirements of both the Japanese side as well as the constraints and challenges of the Indian side.
Can you brief us on the excellence of Shimizu Corporation in India in the construction industry? And what latest technologies are you leveraging and what unique methodologies are you imbibing in the process?
The origins of today’s Shimizu Corporation date back to 1804 when a carpenter named Kisuke Shimizu started a business in the Kanda-Koji-cho area of Tokyo, a city known then as Edo. Shimizu Corporation is one of the largest Japanese Design–Build Construction companies, having established its presence all over the world with its offices in South East Asia, Europe, and America, and with its head office in Tokyo. Shimizu works on each and every project with great passion in order to hand down the Shimizu heritage to our subsequent generations — both Japanese and
We at Shimizu India are operating basically on a design and build model for industrial and heavy construction/Engineering projects, whereby we provide customized, integrated end-to-end solutions to the clients, ensuring satisfaction and compliance every step of the way. Starting from supporting them through the initial land acquiring to ensuring all the statutory approvals required before construction, the entire project is undertaken with the smallest prerequisites of the client kept as a priority. So, from the planning stage, our construction team and the design team work together with the client so that we have the product as per the niche and definitive approval of the client. We try to fix all the necessities in the initial stages — from design inputs, site timelines, material costs, workforce information, crucial safety codes, and quality standards. And once we start the construction, our teams ensure meticulous project management to stay on track with cost, quality, safety and set timelines, which means we always work to deliver as per our company benchmark.
As we continue to strive for our clients’ satisfaction, we are also conscientious for working to protect our environment and the Planet Earth. In order to use minimal natural resources, we continue to invest in clean and green practices by employing sustainable and recyclable materials as well as employ technologies that innovate on reduction of wastages. Our long-term goal is to contribute to the future and the society through our business activities while fulfilling the needs of our customers / business associates / employees and their families.
It is important that we are accepted and respected by the community in which we operate, and to for this purpose we continue to move forward guided by the ancient Japanese business philosophy of Sanpo Yoshi (Three-Way Satisfaction): The “three-way satisfaction” means that whatever benefits you, should ultimately also benefit your partners and the world, or in other words business transactions should be beneficial to all three – the buyers, the sellers, and the society at large.
It is our hope that more and more people will embrace the Sanpo Yoshi spirit to make the world a much brighter and happier place.
What strategies have you planned for the next year continuing in the same COO role?
For next year, we are considering the new sectors in which the greenfield investments are likely to be introduced in the manufacturing and construction areas. Considering that the Government of India has introduced some priority sectors of infrastructure growth and development, we will be trying to target those specific areas in which a large amount of foreign investment is expected to come into India. Our efforts towards corporate social responsibility (CSR) and reduction of carbon footprint is also a priority for me, personally.
Rajiv Duggal, COO, Shimizu Corporation India
Rajiv is a highly accomplished and inspiring Chief Operating Officer with extensive leadership and management skills, tactical vision, and strong technical capabilities. An excellent communicator and decisive negotiator with the ability to work well under pressure in fast-paced, time-sensitive environments, he uses strategic insight and sharp planning skills to achieve operational excellence and ever-improved business performance.