A graduate in Metallurgical Engineering from Karnataka Regional Engineering College, Surathkal, Mr. Gumaste joined Kirloskar Group in July 1981. In 1993, he joined Kirloskar Ferrous project team in the early stages of project implementation. Mr. Gumaste took over as Executive Director in July 2002 and as Managing Director in 2003. Under his leadership, the firm has witnessed improved profitability and has been in a continuous profit-making mode since the last 16 years. As Executive Director, he played a significant role in turning it around to make it an enviable organization. By virtue of his visionary leadership, he turned around the 100+ year old foundry unit (a sick unit) – Shivaji works LTD Solapur in 2007 – into a profit-making firm and helped in creating infrastructure for manufacturing export quality castings to Global OEMs. The organization has also invested in coke oven with power plant, power generated by using the Waste Heat Recovery technology thereby achieving a near self-sufficiency in the power requirement at Koppal plant at a marginal cost of power generation. Similarly, the company has invested in Solar power plant in Koppal as well as Solapur to achieve green energy and also benefit on the power cost. The company has acquired a Pig Iron asset to achieve business growth. To enhance bandwidth in line with Business growth, Technology adaptations in manufacturing process including Robotics and 3D printing were successfully implemented. Owing to his dedicated efforts, KFIL was listed among the Fortune 500 companies in the year 2019 under the category of mid-size company.
A leader par excellence, Mr. Gumaste has been efficiently steering the organisation to glory by walking the talk and establishing a climate of trust and transparency, and creating adequate facilities for nurturing and honing technical and managerial skills of employees. Thus, many of them have taken up higher responsibilities with ownership and empowerment. His business acumen, analytical skills, strategic thinking, cool composure and empathy cast a positive influence on the people working with him. No wonder, a few of the employees who have grown under him, are holding responsible positions like Functional Heads, SBU Heads, and Plant Heads. He is a true leader who believes in creating leaders. His focus is to inculcate and balance technical skills with soft skills including managerial and business skills by facilitating various internationally renowned managerial development programs in the organization. He strongly believes and demonstrates “people first” in all KFIL actions. Under his leadership, KFIL regularly carries out assessment for people competencies and skills, with an aim to identify fast trackers and future business leaders. Based on the inputs from expert trainers, assessment focused training programs are evolved and are monitored at defined intervals. For people development activities, the inputs are taken from Employee engagement surveys by 3rd party; Focused groups interviews, Business Excellence assessment feedbacks, Thomas Profiling (DISC profiling), 360 degree feedback, Emotional intelligence, inputs from other stake holders and so on. Mr. Gumaste has built an Ecosystem involving key stakeholders in communicating the Purpose, Vision and Strategy and building transparency, mutual trust and mutual growth by arranging vendor meets where KFIL business plans and preparedness of the vendors are discussed and necessary technical and other related helps are extended.
INNOVATING FOR CONTINUAL GROWTH
To cater to continuous business growth, he has brought transformation in the areas of Technology, People and Processes, and has introduced contemporary technologies in Foundry: conventional to advanced technologies like robotics in many of the processes, simulation and 3D modelling to process design and latest technology like 3D printing (Industry 4.0), and UG 3D modeling Software for 3D model designing. This has enabled the organisation to bring in international customers like Volvo, Hino and Daimler – serving Euro VI engine blocks – for the first time from India. With regard to the Pig Iron Plant, he has introduced Shaft-less stoves – Russian technology which resulted in increased gas temperature, thereby leading to reduction of coke consumption and further commissioned Coke Oven plant to gain advantage of cost with quality Coke. KFIL is the first company to set up Sinter plant in MBF category to reduce the cost by utilising iron ore fines and thus reducing the cost of production.
WORKING TOWARDS A BETTER WORLD
Under his exemplary leadership, KFIL is committed to K-Group’s purpose of “Enriching Lives” and aims “to be a preferred Employer & responsible neighbour.” Since inception, KFIL is engaged in societal development, through various programs aimed at improving quality of life of community in vicinity. It has integrated social concerns with business approaches respecting the needs and expectations of all stakeholders including society and “values the opportunity and responsibility to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives.” Kirloskar Ferrous Rural Development Trust has been established to cater to the requirements of Koppal, Hospet & Solapur region. People in the nearby villages and the surrounding region are beneficiaries of his dedicated social endeavors. They include setting up a health center and offering specialist medical services. Multispecialty health check-up camps and blood donation camps are being conducted every year. Preventive health-care awareness & vaccination drives are being conducted on a regular basis. He also works towards nutrition support to pregnant women & old people, financial assistance for treatment of major illnesses, water management in the nearby villages & providing drinking water facility and so on. Constructed “Sthree Shakthi Karyalaya” to empower women by giving training on tailoring, beautician, food processing etc. His focus areas are Health & Hygiene, Community Development, Education & Environment. He has been creating awareness about Water, Sanitation and Hygiene through the WaSH (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene) initiative. 54 schools and around 14 thousand children have benefited from this initiative. Through Vasundara Film Festival, every year, movies related to environment conservation in Hospet, Koppal and Solapur are screened.