Article: Kerala Roadways CEO on why interacting with peers is so important

Leadership

Kerala Roadways CEO on why interacting with peers is so important

Jothi Menon stands as a formidable figure in the logistics industry, breaking barriers in what was traditionally a male-dominated domain. Her three decades of experience reflects the evolving landscape of logistics.
Kerala Roadways CEO on why interacting with peers is so important

Jothi Menon, CEO & Member of the Board of Directors - of Kerala Roadways, an India-based logistics enterprise, fortified herself in the logistics industry, which by and large is still considered a male bastion. As CEO, Menon is responsible for spearheading expansion into the express Cargo Sector, which is currently witnessing a compounded annual growth rate of 15% with high profit margins for industry leaders.

Menon who started her professional journey as an assistant manager in 1991 with Eicher, navigated herself from an IT industry professional to logistics in 2011 as co-founder and director of Spoton Logistics.

Before testing water in the logistics sector, Menon had the opportunity to work with tech giants like Accenture, IBM, and AOL.

In an exclusive interview with People Matters, Menon shared detailed insights into her professional journey from an HR to CEO of a logistics company. She spoke about her experience, discussing how learning from teammates helped her groom a better professional in her previous job roles since 1991.

The leader who boasts more than three decades of diverse industry experience and deep logistics industry knowledge, an understanding of technology, and people skills, believes that the application of new-age technology has boosted productivity and brought ease while operating in the logistics sector.

Born and brought up in Chennai and the first in her family to work in the logistics industry, Menon has been living in Bangalore for the last 30 years. She is a firm believer of peer learning and reverse mentoring.

“People around us like leaders and colleagues have an influential role in grooming ourselves in the professional journey,” says Menon who counts on her blessing.

She further says that her transition to the logistics industry represents the changing landscape of the industry. Menon emphasises that it is crucial to prioritise people and ensure they share the vision of keeping customers at the forefront while working in the logistics sector.

Leadership approach within the logistics sector and role model

Menon believes that people are paramount in business. “While technology enhances our work, the team's vision, centered around customer satisfaction, remains crucial. Instead of getting influenced by a role model, I believe in learning from every interaction, be it through peer learning, reverse mentoring, or observing leaders. Evolution stems from these collective interactions, shaping our leadership style and fostering continuous improvement.”

Technology is vital

The logistics industry is vital to any economy, especially in a rapidly growing market like India. “We need to access growth opportunities while ensuring customer satisfaction, employee well-being, and environmental sustainability through the judicious use of technology. Leveraging technology, including Gen AI and LLM, is key to achieving this goal and benefiting all stakeholders.”

The government’s focus is promising

The Kerala Roadways CEO sees the recently presented interim budget 2024 as promising for the logistics industry. According to her, the focus on creating different corridors, including ports and railways, signals a commitment to improving infrastructure. “The government's efforts in enhancing road infrastructure are particularly promising and will undoubtedly benefit our industry and the Indian economy in the long term.”

Job opportunities in the next five years

Being an industry expert, Menon anticipates growth in both white-collar and blue-collar job roles, especially in middle management and warehouse operations.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion within the logistics industry

Logistics, like many sectors in India, is transforming, says Menon who sees herself as a reflection of that change. “I aim to foster a working environment that encourages higher female participation. At one of our locations, out of eight employees, seven are women, and we are committed to increasing this ratio as we progress. Regarding the roles women are undertaking, they are involved in various aspects of our operations, including warehouse management, data entry, and ensuring proper loading and unloading of goods. These roles are vital for the smooth functioning of our logistics operations.”

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Topics: Leadership, Diversity, #SheMatters

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