Manoj Chaudhari


Redefining Leadership in India's Infrastructure Sector

Manoj Chaudhari

Chief Executive Officer,

Shethia Erectors & Material Handlers

Some journeys leave an indelible mark, not just on the individual but on the entire industry they navigate. Manoj Chaudhari’s journey stands as a masterclass in resilience, adaptability, and visionary leadership in the construction and infrastructure sector, which is undergoing a massive shift. Manoj’s expedition from a Graduate Engineer Trainee at Reliance Industries to his current position as the driving force behind Shethia Erectors & Material Handlers is nothing short of a symphony of accomplishments.
Manoj’s journey is a road less travelled in versatility that spans from the handson world of fieldwork to the intricate landscape of procurement and strategic business development. His ability to seamlessly navigate and excel in diverse facets of the construction sector underscores a profound skill set that has become the cornerstone of his success. However, what sets Manoj apart is his visionary leadership, which transforms industries. At the epicentre of this transformation is his role as the founder partner and director of HEFT Cranes International Pvt. Ltd. This venture, uniting three major crane companies, redefines the landscape of heavy lifting in India. HEFT’s distinction as the sole Indian entity with cranes exceeding 1700T in capacity is not merely an achievement but a testament to Manoj’s ambitious goals and transformative initiatives.
What Manoj does is nothing short of a relentless pursuit of excellence, shaping the future of heavy lifting and construction in India through a rare combination of adaptability, comprehensive skill set, and visionary leadership. He is not merely a participant in the industry but an architect of transformation, leaving an enduring legacy in his wake. TradeFlock spoke to this visionary to learn more about this journey and its strategies. 

How has your business education from IIM Bangalore contributed to your leadership at Shethia Erectors & Material Handlers Ltd.?

My business education at IIM Bangalore has been instrumental in enhancing my leadership role at Shethia Erectors & Material Handlers Ltd. I honed my planning and organising skills, gained a deeper understanding of financial statements, strengthened my interpersonal and communication skills, acquired insights into effective team building, and received invaluable lessons on strategic business aspects. These learnings have contributed to my ability to navigate complex challenges, make informed decisions, foster collaboration, and drive the strategic vision of the company.

What principles and values are essential for effective leadership in the infrastructure and heavy equipment sectors?

In the infrastructure and heavy equipment sectors, I believe effective leadership is rooted in core principles and values. Integrity, Accountability, Adaptability, Vision, Passion, Belief, Resilience, Communication, Patience, and Commitment stand out as crucial pillars for successful leadership. Upholding these values fosters a culture of trust, innovation, and unwavering commitment, essential for navigating the complexities of this industry.

What challenges does the heavy equipment and infrastructure sector face, and how do you address them?

In the heavy equipment and infrastructure sector, the primary challenges include a shortage of skilled workers, particularly in critical roles like crane operators and technicians. At our organisation, we address this by collaborating with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) for training initiatives. The movement of equipment across state borders in India poses logistical challenges, driven by inadequate infrastructure and ambiguities in waybill rules. Despite improvements post-GST, there’s a need for clearer guidelines, especially for equipment movement on a rental basis. Safety concerns, encompassing health, environment, safety, and quality (HESQ), are pivotal. While the industry is making strides in prioritising safety, there’s an ongoing need for a cultural shift towards a zero-incident environment. These challenges highlight the importance of strategic initiatives and continuous improvement in the heavy equipment and infrastructure sectors.

What are your strengths and weaknesses as a leader in the infrastructure industry?

My key strengths lie in unwavering dedication, a strong work ethic, and adaptability to dynamic environments. The ability to actively listen, coupled with a quick learning aptitude, facilitates effective communication and swift adaptation to evolving circumstances. Passion for the work and a deep sense of empathy further contribute to fostering positive team dynamics. However, I recognise my sensitivity as a potential weakness, which may influence decision-making or responses in certain situations. Additionally, my considerate nature could pose challenges when making tough decisions. Being highly reachable, while an asset for team accessibility, may sometimes lead to a heavier workload and difficulties in maintaining personal boundaries. Acknowledging these weaknesses is essential for continual improvement, ensuring a balanced and effective leadership approach in the everevolving infrastructure industry.

What advice do you have for professionals aspiring to leadership roles in the infrastructure and heavy equipment sectors?

For professionals entering or aspiring to leadership roles in the infrastructure and heavy equipment sectors, my advice is to recognise the tremendous growth potential within this industry. The unfolding narrative of India’s infrastructure development is just beginning and is poised to continue for decades. For those who demonstrate exceptional performance, the opportunities for growth are limitless. This sector provides a unique chance to make a significant impact and be an integral part of shaping the future of India. Embrace the challenges, seize the opportunities, and contribute to the development that will define the nation for years to come.

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