Centre Stage – Executive in the spotlight
This series has been especially developed to give you greater insight into our leadership team, introduce you to the people who lead our organization, understand their vision, and know what makes them tick.
Chinni Krishnan, our COO, shares his thoughts with us on where our company is headed. In his capacity as the Chief Operating Officer, Chinni Krishnan leads the 1500 plus on site team of Ninestars. He oversees all aspects of strategic planning, asset management, and long-term growth strategy. Mr. Chinni acts as a liaison between Ninestars and our clients for quality assurance. He also champions the revenue driven initiatives. What he loves most about Ninestars is its “human capital.” Chinni’s focus is to make the staff feel valuable. He works to help them meet and surpass their organizational goals
Q. What are your responsibilities as a COO of Ninestars?
A. My primary responsibility as a COO of Ninestars is to develop and implement a strategic plan for rapid scaling of operational capacity. We do it through automation, process improvements while maintaining high quality standards, rapid response times, reliability, and cost effective operations.
Q. What is it like managing operations for a company like Ninestars given that we deliver different types of services (Digitization, Media Monitoring, etc.)?
A. Fundamentally, operations involve planning, organizing, coordinating, and controlling all aspects of project lifecycle. What we do differ from project to project and from vertical to vertical and is highly customized as each requirement is unique.
In Digitization, we deal with sensitive source material such as fragile old hard copies, microfilms, out of prints books and rare manuscripts that require specialized techniques to make them ‘digital ready’. Even though, the deliverables may not be time critical but they need careful attention as they are mostly considered heritage that is worth preserving for posterity. We ensure that Global digitization and metadata standards are adhered to in every project that we undertake.
In Media Monitoring, time is of the essence. We extract millions of pieces of content, categorize them, analyze, and tag them for delivery based on client specification and standards. We use technology-driven processes and rely on sophisticated statistical methods to ensure accuracy of the output with a quick turnaround time. For this, we have specialized offshore and near-shore team working 24/7, 365 days.
Q. What is an example of a successful implementation you have made towards efficiency?
A. One significant example would be process enhancements that helped us build adequate capacity to exceed customer’s expectations. For instance, for a European customer, we had to digitize at a whopping rate of 50000 pages per day to accommodate their requirement. In order to efficiently digitize yet meet all required standards we implemented highly automated cloud-based solution. This helped improved the productivity to such an extent that we were able to achieve the target ahead of schedule. I believe efficiency is a continuous process and we bring in innovative methods and fine-tune the process continually.
Q. How do you encourage your team to focus on improvement?
A. Teamwork fosters a cooperative atmosphere where employees have a positive attitude and feel they are part of a team and invest more time and energy into their job. As a COO, I instill a “we’re in this together” spirit among the team by sharing important company information, newsworthy updates from client meetings, or providing updates of recent meetings. This ensures that the team is aligned towards the same goal.
One of my primary roles is to assess whether the team has the resources necessary to meet our customers’ expectations. I work to make sure that they understand the requirement in its entirety. I also evaluate ideas by their importance, feasibility, and positive impact. On a regular basis, I track and measure progress with our team.
I try to promote teamwork by recognizing employees who are willing to help others. When employees trust each other and rely upon each other to accomplish tasks more efficiently, they are more likely to be engaged at work and less likely to quit.
Q. How do you deal with cost-reduction and time-savings?
A. Cost cutting measures are usually the most dreaded topic in most management meetings.
I would first look at achieving efficiency before trying to cut cost, as they both work hand in hand. Efficiency is the extent to which time, effort, or cost is well used for the intended purpose. Savings can only be achieved if there is a harmony between process efficiency and time management.
Firstly, I find out the actual cost drivers impacting the process then try to identity the inefficiencies such as wasted time and resources, and then gradually and effectively, create a new strategy to reduce these to bare minimum. My main aim is to limit the organizational inefficiencies and bring it down to zero.
Q. What is the single biggest problem that you see in operations departments, either external or your own?
A. External, mainly the cost and Internal would be attrition.
Q. You have a reputation for customer service. Where does that come from?
A. I always ensure that we provide high quality services and never compromise quality for cost. Customers like to know that they will receive only premium products and services from Ninestars.
Honesty and transparency are two qualities that can deeply impact a business. Being transparent means being upfront with all customers about fees, procedures, service stipulations and more. An organization can keep its customers involved by creating forums through which they can voice their opinions about our services.
Q. What are your short term and long-term goals for Ninestars operations?
A. Short Term – Identify the performance blockers in the organization and try to equip the team suitably to improve productivity, accuracy, and performance standards.
Long Term – Building a world-class team to deliver value added services to all our customers. One example of it would be the creation of 200 FTE capacity in Sofia, Bulgaria to deliver analytics services to our customers. This center can handle up to 50 languages including European.
Q.What qualities do you think make a good COO? What innate qualities have helped you succeed?
A. A good COO should fill in leadership gaps, fix big issues, and execute core strategy in concert with senior leadership. Most importantly, a COO needs to be an effective communicator and collaborator.
Meeting with people at every level and asking the right questions has helped me identify issues that are performance blockers. By talking to people at various levels of the organization, I have gained insight into decision-making processes. I’m transparent and open. I always solicit feedback, and have an open-door policy.
Q. What are some valuable attributes entry-level workers should spend more time developing?
- Develop the determination to work harder than most and make sure things get done.
- Shoulder responsibilities and be accountable.
- To be the greatest achiever, stay focused on the goals and be consistent in your efforts.
- The most important attributes to cultivate is honesty and integrity.
- Develop the passion that will help you succeed.
- Work to communicate and pay attention to the communicators.
- Trust yourself, you’re already one step closer to success.
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