V L Pandey

Forging a Legacy of Versatile Expertise & Adaptive Leadership

V L Pandey

Managing Director,

VAMA Engineers and Services Pvt Ltd

Born and raised in a small town in India, VL (Vashist Lallan) Pandey’s journey embodies the essence of a selfmade leader whose indomitable spirit and insatiable thirst for knowledge propelled him from humble beginnings to the heights of professional success in a journey of over three decades. Growing up in an environment that fostered curiosity and a strong work ethic, Pandey exhibited an innate penchant for tinkering with machinery and exploring the nuances of technology from a young age.
Pandey’s academic excellence in engineering, coupled with his passion for electronics, propelled him into a career marked by remarkable achievements. His journey commenced in the early ’90s, amid India’s technological revolution, when he joined SAMTEL Group, a firm specialising in intricate Colour Picture Tube manufacturing process. Over the next three decades, Pandey worked with companies like Hi-tech Gears, ABB Global Services, ABB Ltd. (Robotics Division), and a number of oil and gas and water infrastructure organisations like Jaihind Projects Ltd., Doshion Veolia Water Solution, and Pennar Industries Ltd., holding key positions. This helped him navigate complexities, master maintenance and solve problems. This tenure honed his innovation and problem-solving skills, highlighted by pioneering cost-effective solutions.
A pivotal visit to Japan reshaped Pandey’s maintenance approach, emphasising proactive strategies. Implementing these techniques back in India significantly boosted equipment efficiency. Venturing into the automotive and paper industries showcased Pandey’s adaptability and strategic acumen, managing transitions with finesse.
Driven by a desire for autonomy, Pandey transitioned to entrepreneurship after three decades of diverse industry exposure. Leveraging his expertise and network, he embarked on this new journey, aiming to make a substantial impact in the industry. Today, he is creating new benchmarks as the managing director of VAMA Engineers and Services Pvt. Ltd.
In this exclusive interview with TradeFlock, this Six Sigma champion, a QMS lead auditor and operational excellent champion, delved deeper into his journey and his entrepreneurial venture, his learnings, strategies and more. 

Do you think automation and robotics will significantly change industries moving forward?

Automation and robotics possess immense transformative potential across industries. In India, their impact is contingent on several critical factors, notably labour costs, infrastructural development, and global competition, especially with countries like China. Industries, particularly automotive, have been swift in adopting automation due to its remarkable benefits in enhancing quality and ensuring consistency in output. As technology continues to evolve and labour costs rise, the trajectory points towards increased adoption of automation. A notable shift might occur among households with working couples, where tasks like home automation could become more prevalent due to the convenience and efficiency it offers in managing daily chores. To navigate this, a multifaceted strategy is essential. Infrastructure enhancements are needed to support advanced manufacturing. Upskilling the workforce is crucial to align with technological advancements, involving tailored programmes for evolving job requirements. Understanding the global market is key. India’s success in manufacturing hinges on incentives akin to those in countries like China—governmental aid, reduced utility costs, and streamlined logistics can incentivize automation adoption. In preparation, continuous upskilling for my team and me is paramount. Our goal isn’t solely technology adoption but pioneering effective utilisation within our industry.

Share a project that deeply impacted you and the lessons it taught.

One project that left an indelible mark on my career trajectory was a challenging endeavour to set up a facility using imported equipment. What seemed ambitious initially turned into a formidable challenge when unforeseen failures emerged post-implementation. Time became an adversary, compelling us to devise alternative solutions within an incredibly truncated timeline. It was an intense period where negotiations with management, coupled with unwavering dedication from the team, resulted in the completion of a task originally earmarked for three months being accomplished in a mere 15 days. This experience served as a testament to the power of meticulous planning, strategic negotiations, and unwavering determination in the face of adversity.

Why move from corporate to entrepreneurship, and what challenges did you face in that shift?

My journey into entrepreneurship was born of over three decades of industry experience, cultivating a diverse skill set and an extensive network. Former family commitments had constrained my aspirations, but as circumstances shifted, I seized the opportunity to delve into entrepreneurship, capitalising on my accumulated expertise and connections. With 14 years dedicated to automation and production roles, my transition was driven by a desire for greater autonomy and the chance to apply my honed skills. While this venture began prior to the pandemic, the foundation of strong relationships and cultivated contacts played a pivotal role in navigating initial challenges successfully. Transitioning from the structured corridors of corporate life to the dynamic landscape of entrepreneurship presented a formidable challenge. Beyond my technical acumen, I had to navigate financial intricacies, manage cash flows, and adapt swiftly to diverse market demands. It meant transitioning from a realm of specialisation to one that demanded versatility—a shift that was demanding yet ultimately rewarding.

Tell us about VAMA Engineers & Services.

VAMA Engineers & Services is a team of seasoned professionals boasting over three decades of rich hands-on experience. They specialise in guiding and establishing industrial facilities, executing EPC projects (Green Field and Brown Field), and aiding industries in achieving operational excellence. Their expertise spans diverse sectors, including water and wastewater, oil and gas, power plants (BOP), and other industrial domains. VAMA offers comprehensive solutions encompassing site study, design, engineering, procurement, construction (mechanical, electrical, and instrumentation), and commissioning activities. Additionally, the company has a vertical dedicated to helping industries attain operational excellence through various studies, problem-solving techniques, and sustaining improved performance. They also undertake plant operation and maintenance activities, showcasing their commitment to holistic support throughout the industrial lifecycle. In just four years, VAMA Engineers & Services has established a commendable reputation, earning the trust of notable clients like ACC Cement, Ambuja Cement, Pennar Industries Limited, Hindustan Zinc Limited, and many others. Their growth trajectory is evident from their revenue progression, starting at Rs. 15 lakhs 2019–2020 and expected to reach Rs. 1200 lakhs in 2023–2024.

How did your corporate career and diverse background help you in entrepreneurship and problemsolving?

My corporate journey went beyond technical skills, offering invaluable insights into organisational dynamics, effective problemsolving strategies, and the art of nurturing client relationships. This diverse exposure provided me with a comprehensive understanding of business intricacies, equipping me with a robust toolkit to navigate the multifaceted challenges inherent in entrepreneurship. Moreover, my background spanning electronics, mechanics, and management significantly influenced my problemsolving approach. This interdisciplinary foundation allowed me to discern intricate connections and interdependencies across various domains, enabling the formulation of innovative solutions. By embracing this comprehensive perspective, I developed the ability to address complex challenges through holistic and creative problem-solving methods, drawing from diverse fields of expertise.

How did your leadership style change in the transition, and how do you integrate diverse aspects as a leader?

In transitioning, my leadership style maintained its core of hands-on involvement and relationship building. Adapting to diverse business environments demanded a blend of corporate leadership and entrepreneurial agility. Navigating various engineering sectors has been akin to navigating a complex maze, with each turn offering fresh challenges and learning opportunities. This diverse exposure has been key in merging different technological solutions, from electrical systems to intricate mechanical processes, enriching my skill set. However, the heart of this integration lies in people. Building a diverse team where each member brings unique expertise has been crucial. It’s not just individual competence; it’s leveraging collective knowledge to craft strategies addressing multifaceted challenges and fostering problem-solving and operational excellence.

What strategies drive your service-oriented entrepreneurial approach, and what key insights have you gained?

My strategy is multifaceted. Firstly, I’m dedicated to exceeding client expectations, emphasising exceptional value delivery. Secondly, managing cash flow is paramount, balancing immediate assignments for consistent income while pursuing more challenging projects. Throughout my transition, my fundamental approach remained consistent. However, it underscored the immense significance of cash flow management, particularly navigating delayed payments in the Indian business landscape. Amid these challenges, I’ve honed my focus on specific service areas and planned expansions through collaborative ventures, including partnerships with my son in Canada, aiming to contribute positively to society.

What do you consider winning strategies in business, and how do they align with your approach to business development?

In business, success hinges on consistently surpassing client expectations through unwavering commitment. Building trust, offering unique value propositions, maintaining exceptional quality, and adapting to market shifts while prioritising customer satisfaction are essential for sustained success. In my business development strategy, prioritising trust-building with clients takes precedence. We highlight our track record while emphasising our dedication to exceeding their expectations. Our proposals not only meet their needs but also add substantial value, setting us apart. Moreover, meticulous execution, adherence to schedules, and consistently surpassing promised results have been pivotal. Our focus isn’t merely on meeting expectations but consistently surpassing them, forging enduring partnerships as a result.

How does VAMA Engineers intend to collaborate with the market and industry for mutual growth and development?

At VAMA Engineers, we extend an open invitation to the market, industry stakeholders, and potential partners to join forces with us. Together, we aim to leverage our extensive expertise and innovative spirit to drive mutual growth and development. Our journey from meticulous equipment maintenance to pioneering cost-effective solutions and embracing cutting-edge technology speaks volumes about our commitment to driving excellence.