A man of strong will
N P Singh, Senior VP, IT, Madura Garments, is a man
who believes that you must learn from your experiences and use the knowledge
that you possess. He shares his life story with Varun Aggarwal
basically from Delhi, but for the past 15 years Ive been based in Bangalore.
My father has a house in GK 1 in South Delhi. After he retired he worked as
a consultant with real estate companies such as DLF. Today he has given up consulting
and is passing his time working with GKRA Association (GK I), doing some secretariat
work. Hes basically an accounts man, so he takes care of their accounting.
My mother is a housewife. My wife is an entrepreneur and she has her own set-up
for IT and non-IT placements; she operates from home where she maintains her
own office. My elder daughter Jessica is 18 and studying at NIFT Bangalore,
doing textile designing. My younger daughter Esha is 14 and is in class IX.
I did my schooling from Delhi. I was born and brought up
in the capital, and my first job, with the UB Group, was also in Delhi. I did
an MSc in Physics and went on to do an MTech in computer science.
I would consider my biggest professional achievement the
award that I got as the second runner-up for CTO of the Year in 2004. As for
personal achievements, I set my KRAs every year. Over and above these I do one
innovative thing which I consider my own personal target as well as my achievement.
This year I took up an RFID project that I decided to do because nobody else
has done it in India. We have linked the factory and the warehouse, and the
latter is live on RFID. All dispatches from one factory and inventory in the
warehouse are automated through RFID tagging. Now Im in the process of
linking the warehouse and one retail store in which the staging area has already
been tested, and maybe by next weekend that part will also be through. Linking
the factory, warehouse and store is something that nobody has done so far in
India, so thats probably what my personal achievements going to
be. Im implementing it at Planet Fashion Forum in Bangalore. The way Metro
Cash and Carry in Germany talks about its future store, this is what our
future store is going to be.
Striving for excellence
There are three types of enterprises. One is fighting for
survival, another believes in maintaining competitiveness, the third
kind is breaking away. So were moving from maintaining competitiveness
to breaking away as far as apparel and clothing organisations in the
country are concerned.
We have been ahead of competition, and with RFID we are breaking
away. Weve proved this before in 2002 when I implemented SAP, and Madura
Garments was the only organisation in India to go for SAPs apparel and
footwear solution. Six months back Arvind Mills did the same. So for three and
half years we were the only one in India.
|Date of birth
||15 January 1962
||Retired Govt. Officer
||Kamal Singh, an entrepreneur
||Jessica Singh, daughter, 18 years,
studying at NIFT, Bangalore Esha Singh, daughter, 14 years, studying
in class IX
His favourite project
Talking about his favourite implementation Singh says, I
came to Madura after working for seven years at HLL, which was the first organisation
in India to go in for ERP. I worked on the HLL ERP pilot during 1992-93. Moving
from an ERP background to Cobol, Ingres and Visual FoxPro was a challenge for
me which I accepted
I transformed this organisation from its legacy environment
to SAP. It was the first garment company in India to go in for ERP, and that
too with a solution which nobody had implemented in the country. The technology
was also different, not the traditional standard methodology, and yet we deployed
I began with coding; I used to write programs at the UB group,
and from there I joined PwC in 1989. Ive risen from System Executive to
Senior System Executive to Assistant Manager to Manager to Senior Manager to
GM to VP to Senior VPthat has been my growth path. I believe that you
must rise from the experience and knowledge that you have. As of now, Im
content and satisfied, but definitely theres a lot more to do and learn.
I was reserved at school and didnt really enjoy my
schooling. I had to go school so I did that. My experience at college, on the
other hand, was good. Here I represented Deshbandu College in TT tournaments
at Delhi University. There wasnt any college as such for post-graduation;
you do it directly from Delhi University. After that I did my MTech and joined
the UB group; the job was with McDowells, and I moved to its IT division
which used to be called PICS. From there I moved on to PwC and onwards to HLL,
Coats Viyella and now to Madura Garmentsit is now a part of the Aditya
A time to learn
Talking about his mentor at PwC Singh says, That was
the time when I moved from an in-house unit within the UB Group to a consulting
organisation where youre always under pressure. In a consulting job, doing
time management and designing the system requires you to assume higher responsibilities.
How to go about it, how to interview people, what are the types of questions
.in these things, our team leader was my mentor, and I picked up
a lot from him and the subsequent project which I did where he was the project
manager and I was the team leader. He quit in-between, so I assumed the role
of the project manager. I have great regard for him as he used to spend a lot
of time with me teaching me to draw structures, design a project and a system,
and then document the same all the way to preparing the presentations.
Retirement plans: Perhaps I will take up part-time consulting
work, help my wife in her work, and spend time to hone my tennis skills.
- Favourite kind of music: Old Hindi film
- Favourite film: Sholay and the Bond movies.
- Favourite book and author: I do not have
one favourite book or author. I read books which are good and by any
author like Winning by Jack Welch, and Execution by Ram Charan &
- Wish the most in life: I want to be a
good human being and be respectful to everybody.
- Miss the most in life: Nothing as such.
I do not have any regret about any decision I have taken, whether personal
or professional. I have always learnt from mistakes.
- Things you do when you're not at work:
Play tennis, read magazines and books, and play cards with my daughters.
- Self rating as a CIO: Always 10/10.
- Love about self: Ethical, honest and
committed. Always ready to challenge the status quo.
- Hate about self: Short-tempered.
- Idea of a vacation: Adventurous locations,
beaches of Goa, taking a holiday abroad with family in Paris, Malaysia,
- Likes: To watch cricket matches on TV
and spend time with my family. Whenever I get time we go on vacation,
at least twice a year.
- Dislikes: I do not like to do things
which I don't like.
- Favourite colours: Blue and black.
- Favourite spot in India: Goa.
- Beliefs: Always be honest, truthful and
a team player.
- What is the highest level an IT head can
reach?: The CEO office. In today's competitive environment, an IT
head is not just a head of the IT function but a business strategist
with an all-round knowledge of business
he is a key member of the
- Message to fellow IT heads: Always challenge
the status quo, and be creative and innovative in whatever you do. Do
your job with passion and keep yourself abreast with the latest technological
advancements so as to leverage the same to enable the organisation to
remain ahead of competition.
The defining moment
Getting the job at Coats Viyella was a defining moment for
me. In HLL there were many managers, so it seemed like an ocean to me. From
the position of Senior Manager I become the corporate IT head of an organisation,
managing not only the corporate but also all the divisions that Coats Viyella
had including the thread division, textile division, fabric division and corporate
office. Suddenly I was elevated to a high position, and started getting recognised
by people outside the company. There were unit IT heads of course, but I was
the corporate IT head and was responsible for the overall IT management. I used
to report directly to the Finance Director.
I did my graduation from South Campus in Deshbandhu College,
and then I did my post-graduation from North Campus (Physics). After that I
did my MTech from the Institute of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers
for three years. I did this along with my first job at the UB Group. Post-graduation
was highly regarded at that time. There were written tests and interviews before
you got into the MTech course. I found it difficult to manage things as I was
doing a job and also doing a three-year part-time course. My work experience
also counted and helped me a lot during my project stages because I was doing
an assignment for an organisation in financial accounting; I therefore took
a project in the final semester in financial accounting alone. The head of the
department at IIT-Delhi, Dr Arora, really liked what I did. I was fortunate
enough to get a break in the UB Group as they were looking for freshers and
I scraped through without having any knowledge of computers. I had a tough time
as I had to both do a job and attend classes. The classes were in the evening
from 5.30 to 8.30 or 9.00, and during the weekend they used to be during the
day. Sometimes they used to start early, so I would take a break from the office.
Most memorable moment
When my daughter gave her 12th standard exams she wasnt
sure what she was going to do. Sometimes she would say that shed join
college and do commerce, but her inclination was towards textiles, so I used
to spend quite a lot of time with her trying to figure out what she wanted to
do. It was a bit late when she decided that she wanted to get into designing.
Then she applied to NID, Shrishti and NIFT. She got through NIFT, and somehow
she wanted to study in Bangaloreand she got Bangalore. We were thrilled
as she didnt have to stay in a hostel. Now Im in Bangalore and shes
also in Bangalore, and these days we leave home together. I drop her to NIFT
and then come to office.