Mr. Ar Rm Arun, Chairman, Valingro Group addressed Valingro Group Employees in the background of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated Lockdown. The Conference was organized by VCSC (Valingro Cultural & Sports Committee). All Business Heads, Functional Heads, Key Employees & VCSC members of the Valingro Group participated in the Conference held on Apr 17, 2020.
During his introduction, Mr. Arun appreciated the VCSC Members & the Participants who performed the Group Chanting that was organized by VCSC earlier this month. This was conducted for global safety and global health.
While including viewpoints that Valingro Members earlier shared, Mr. Arun's address was as follows :
Recounting these globally challenging times : The extent of destruction has been enormous, thousands of lives have been lost and we are not sure when it will really end. At first the epicenter was China, then it moved to Italy, now it has affected the US significantly and not sure at all what's next. Certainly caused tremendous amount of uncertainly world over. We must appreciate the good & tiring work done by the healthcare workers & law enforcement Officers in the front-line during these trying times.
While looking at the past 5 months of Corona, the tiny virus : the sky is the same, the sun is the same, the moon is the same, the sea, the wind, the mountains, the forests, all animals are in the same state as before ; however, man's position has changed so dramatically - man was dancing so much yesterday, being selfish, thinking only about himself, not having concern for others - but today the same man is scared & afraid. With tomorrow for man being uncertain, nature is unaffected and if at all, only in a better state due to drastic reduction of man's tormenting - with no cars on the road, no ships in the sea, no flights in the air. Nature has made us realize that we're in this world only temporarily and have to take care of nature. We have to nurture nature and safeguard it for future generations.
This is also a good time to realize that being selfish will only impact us further - we have to start having more concern for each other, as well as a society. Life is not about money, success is not about money - life & success are however all about appreciating what we have, safeguarding it, growing it in the best possible way and passing it onto the well-trained hands of the next generation.
While we may think that we've had to be locked up in our houses for 3 weeks, perhaps 40 days, maybe more, we must remember Nelson Mandela - the late-President of South Africa. For no fault of his, he was imprisoned in isolation for 27 years without Family, luxuries, conveniences, phone & Internet - he just had belief, hope & vision. On his release, he came out stronger, won the election and ruled the country, creating history that's spoken even today. We can certainly look up to this and perhaps more.
We have all been restrained at home and must feel locked up. However, there are still so many positive takeaways. We may be forced to stay at home, but people are figuring out various ways of keeping busy ; completing unfinished works, learning something new, spending time with Family, keeping in touch with friends, etc. In a way this has been an opportunity to utilize available time effectively.
The World Economy : No Country has been spared by this tiny virus. Companies are in lockdown with reduced or no business & are reducing expenses wherever they can, in order to survive. Governments have announced support to enable employment and ensure continuity. While there has been destruction globally, there's also been people coming together and Government support flowing thru. Its also good to see signs of the curve flattening out, and Governments starting to discuss reopening in full from early May onwards.
India's scenario : Incidents have been gradually increasing here also. The despairing impact on migrant workers is saddening. I am glad that our Governments are taking action to support them.
This lockdown has created a negative impact for all Companies in India. Every Company will also be facing extremely tight times for the near future - but Companies that are able to make the required decisions will certainly do well. Important to reduce costs wherever possible, grab opportunities that will certainly present itself and be disciplined in working.
Tamil Nadu scenario : Numbers have been increasing in the recent few weeks in Chennai and other parts of the State, but its not high compared to the rest of the World. Glad to know that the State Government has taken proactive measures, running awareness campaigns, increasing testing and readying hospitals across the State.
While we are seeing positivity of the pandemic retreating, please however continue to be safe by following the required precautions - Social distancing of 6-feet, cover nose-mouth when sneezing-coughing, don't touch your face without washing hands, wash hands as often as you can, sanitize any items coming into your house or office.
What does it mean for our Companies : While we are troubled by the number of casualties globally as well as within India, I'm glad that people in our companies have been safe; we continue to hope & pray for all. Each of you certainly would have had to go thru a tight situation just like everybody else ; we empathize with you and appreciate your efforts in sustaining during this period, just as we appreciate your contributions to our companies over the decades.
We should be spending only on necessities ; have to be either eliminating luxuries or drastically reducing it. This is not something affecting just us, but it is also impacting & relevant to each person in the entire world.
In-spite of having faced few tough years across our Companies earlier, we have since then been on an upward mark - its unfortunate that we now have to get into this current situation.
We are thankful that some of our Companies had secured projects keeping most of their Teams quite busy, being well executed by working-from-home and not necessitated going to Office. Few of our other entities have had zero earnings during this time as either that BU or entire Company has to necessarily be in their Offices to execute orders. Irrespective of what we have to face, our experience with many past challenges & us overcoming each of them, will guide us to sustain our business ; we will be continuing to put in the required efforts as well. Challenges have made us more responsible. Another important factor about us as you already know, is that we will never give up our goals or quit.
All of you know the importance we give to Thirukural within our companies - I would like to quote Kural #489 which talks about rare opportunities and that we should raise our working levels to capture such opportunities. Situations like what we face currently will certainly give rise to such rare opportunities ; at that point, we should not say its not possible, or we don't have this or don't have that - we should raise our working and make it possible.
Companies like ours will encounter good opportunities in the time to come. This is considering that larger companies having high costs will now want to reduce costs, hence smaller & stable companies like ours that can well deliver, can capture these opportunities ; we can also hire more talent in the time to come.
Our Business Heads & Management Teams have been advised to proactively plan our business, make smart expenses and move aggressively after lockdown. I've also advised them to look into creating new Business Units to identify essentials businesses that can uphold our overall business during trying times as well.
Going forward : You are encouraged to have a good discipline at home - this period of chaos is a perfect time to practice discipline in anything we do whether work habits / eating / exercise / sleeping. It is important to stay safe for the sake of our Family as well as our work ; we have to deal with this downtime by being safe, however locked-up it may feel like. It will be a difficult few months, but we have to stand up to the challenge and overcome it by working together and being ready to grab the opportunity.
Just like the story of Laughing-Buddha, while we carry our bag of burdens, we should be able to handle life wearing a good smile on our faces, not letting our burdens out-weigh us as they may not be seen as burdens in the long run, and we should go about executing our duties in the most effective way possible.
In closing : I look forward to talking to you again, when the situation improves. Please be supportive of all healthcare workers, law enforcement officers & sanitation workers who are in the front-line. It is important for each of us to stay safe and somehow sustain this difficult situation. There will surely be brighter times ahead of us.
I would once again like to thank VCSC and encourage them to continue their good efforts. Please stay safe - yourself as well as every one of your Family Members. Thank you again for participating in today's conference call.