Exhibition World Issue 2 — 2020 - Page 14

Big Interview Exhibition deus ex machina V. Anbu, Director General & CEO of Indian Machine Tool Manufacturers’ Association (IMTMA) & Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC) and the incoming UFI President for 2020-21, tells Paul Colston about his career ell us about your early career and what brought you into the events industry? I always wanted to be an engineer and graduated in metallurgical engineering from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc). My interest was in manufacturing when IT and smart manufacturing were making inroads. I began my career in steelmaking and quickly moved on to industry association activities. A major part of my early career was centred around industry promotion, technology and IPR and enhancing industry competitiveness. This work drew me into events and exhibitions. Who was an early mentor? I had the good fortune to work with several industry stalwarts. Senior colleagues in the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the Indian Machine Tool Manufacturers’ Association (IMTMA), and industry leaders from manufacturing, machine tool and science and technology all played huge roles in boosting my confidence and helped me learn all about organising exhibitions and leading an association. What was your first business success? The first major success for me in IMTMA was when IMTEX moved from Delhi and Bombay, to Bangalore for the first time in 2007. It was a new chapter for IMTMA and all of us in the industry. There were many challenges for hosting such a mega show in a new city. We were building a brand new international quality venue, BIEC and IMTEX 2007 was its first show. Bangalore wasn’t prepared to 14 Issue 2 2020 host a show like IMTEX and we had to undertake a variety of initiatives including finding the right staff, new service providers and preparing all exhibitors, visitors and other stakeholders for this new chapter of a long journey in Bangalore. However, we made the right decision and it marked a beginning for Bangalore as a major city in India for hosting international quality shows. In 2020, IMTEX has evolved into a great ecosystem benefitting Indian and international exhibitors, visitors, R&D and academic institutions and government agencies. The exhibition is setting a benchmark and becoming an example for all the stakeholders in the sub-continent. It also convinced me that if one has courage, conviction and confidence then one can accomplish one’s vision. A piece of early advice that has always stuck with you? One of the cardinal sins that people often make is to rush at the last moment. It dawned upon me early that one needs to spend adequate time and resources at the drawing board stage to avoid costly mistakes later. Those who start early have a brighter chance of seeing success. Can you name an early career challenge? When I joined IMTMA in 2003, we were expanding our portfolio by adding new events (such as Machine Tool Industry Summit, National Productivity Summit, the first training programmes). Constructing a venue with world-class facilities for organising our flagship IMTEX & Tooltech exhibition was also a big challenge. The main challenge for IMTMA was to find people with What are some of the proudest moments of your career? I am happy to have been part of some of some significant milestones, such as: • Heading IMTMA at the age of 39 • Inaugurating BIEC in 2007 with the first IMTEX show in Bangalore • Celebrating 50 years of IMTEX in 2019 • Construction of two new halls recently (Hall 4 and Hall 5) in BIEC • Enabling setting up of the machine tool park near Bangalore • Becoming UFI President for the year 2020-2021 • Being a part of IMTMA’s 75 years Diamond Jubilee which is scheduled for 2021. the right attitude and skill-set to take up these tasks. There were no shortcuts, we identified fresh talent to strengthen the existing team and groomed them primarily through internal training. In parallel, we developed an efficient process- based delivery mechanism and strengthened the organisation. The other important aspect was to make the staff understand the vision and mission and purpose of IMTMA and aligning their aspirations with the vision of the organisation. Today many of those staff members who started their journey have evolved to take higher responsibilities. What have been your career guiding principles? a. For both individuals as well as companies, values play a very important role as guiding principles in their journey towards reaching the goal. The journey is more important than reaching the destination itself. b. People and processes are the building blocks for an organisation’s success. In a dynamic organisation these would be constantly evolving to reach greater heights. c. Customer focus is the only way companies can stay relevant and sustain success. How important have exhibitions been for the machine-tool sector? In the year 2007, we launched BIEC and in 13 years it has evolved as one of the most important destinations for exhibitions and events in India and hosts more than 40 events a year. Our flagship event IMTEX was launched in 1969 at Godrej & Boyce industrial premises, Mumbai, and we celebrated 50 years of this grand show in 2019 at BIEC. w w w.exhibitionworld.co.uk