The Covid – 19 pandemic may have started as a global health crisis, but it ended up shaking the social and economic fabric of every country on this earth to the core, the ripples of which will be felt for a long time to come. It brought many corporations, big and small, to their knees; however, in spite of the challenges they faced, some others managed to thrive by adapting quickly and creatively to the situation, mainly due to the foresight of sharp leadership at the helm.
SYSTRA SA, a global engineering consultancy firm providing sustainable, smart and safe mobility solutions in the transportation and urban infrastructure space, has one such success story to tell. Standing strong at 4th position globally in Mass Transit & Rail in ENR 2020 ranking, SYSTRA is involved in 1 out of every 2 Metro Rail projects and 50% projects of High Speed Rail projects across the globe. SYSTRA is one of the main consultants providing feasibility, detailed design and project management services in India in rail & metro sector and one of the first companies to implement the technology of Unmanned Train Operations (UTO) in India. Apart from Metro & Rail, SYSTRA is also providing consultancy in the fields of Electric Mobility, long complex Bridges, Tunnels, Roads and Highways, Buildings, Urban planning, and Water & Environment for public and private organizations in India. SYSTRA engineers have worked passionately towards delivering the most reliable, affordable and customized solutions seamlessly to its end users, even through the pandemic.
Drawing a page from the SYSTRA chronicles, here are a few lessons on how the company efficiently managed to work through the pandemic:
The Managing Director of Systra, Mr. Hari Kumar Somalraju, is truly a man with vision. His outstanding work during the pandemic has been widely appreciated. Armed with over 23 years of experience in leadership roles in the transportation sector in India and APA region, Hari managed to take flawless professional decisions that kept his entire team cared for at all times during the pandemic. He is an alumnus of NIT Warangal from where he has obtained his Bachelor’s as well as Master’s degree in Civil Engineering, and IIM Bangalore from where he has pursued an Advanced Management Program.
Hari is a habitual planner and his zeal to always deliver more than expected, kept him going, and in high spirits all through the lockdown. Even when he contracted Covid-19 and was fighting the dreaded virus, he managed to keep the morale of his team high. His planning style evolved during this phase. At Systra, he always goes the extra mile to deliver enhanced value to his esteemed clientele, and many delighted clients will gladly vouch for him.
Connected teams and trust in employees
Having global presence in more than 80 countries, Systra analyzed the global situation and predicted way before it actually did, that India might enter into lockdown. It identified that the new need of the hour for its entire workforce would be WFH, and proactively ensured proper WFH policies and environment for the employees so that they could function seamlessly from the safety of their homes. “Connected Teams” as a vision of Systra has become more important than ever during this pandemic. Management ensured that their teams are well-connected through various platforms like Teams and Skype for effective task execution. Employees can consult their team leads in case of any requirement – work or personal. Increased trust in the employees enabled them to take enhanced ownership of their work.
In continuous touch with the clients
The past year has been uncertain for a lot of people in many ways and worried Systra clients were no different. At one point in time it was difficult to pacify them, as due to the crisis they were facing, every client seemed uncertain of whether Systra would live up to its commitments and be able to deliver as per the timelines. However, due to seamless transition to WFH, there were no delays in client deliverables. Systra engineers were in touch with the clients daily, reassuring them with quality and prompt service.
Digitalization – the way forward
The Project Management Consultancy projects executed by Systra required overseeing on-site construction work which was difficult due to the lockdown. To combat this Systra developed inhouse tools to execute projects with online assistance. The physical signing of the project documents was converted to online approvals. The monitoring was also done by live streaming from the project sites. At all times Systra ensured that its teams stayed well connected with each other, as well as with its many clients through various platforms.
Gaining confidence & trust of the clients
Systra’s technical teams continued to deliver innovative solutions to its clients based on their needs and requirements. Global deliveries of signature projects in Rail, Metro, LRT and bridges have raised confidence of the clients in Systra’s capabilities of project execution with the help of advanced technologies. Change is the only constant and at Systra they try to evolve engineering technologies as per the changing needs, to make this world a better place.
Systra has proved beyond doubt that under the right guidance, organizations that prepared in advance, stayed connected, communicated clearly and transparently with its many clients could execute projects on time; winning them not only many accolades, but also building brand loyalty along the way that will last much after the ripple of the pandemic does.
Disclaimer: Content Produced by Systra India