Little physical similarities exist between protagonist, Uncas, the son of Chingashgook in the titular "Last of the Mohicans" and D Ramachadaran. One most notable similarity however, is the glaring extinction of a unique "tribe" and one often used today as an analogy to depict that things are no longer what the used to be as in this case, the last of the "pure-blooded" Aftersales Managers in the Malaysian Automotive Industry.

There's something nostalgic when Rama (as he is fondly known) reflects on the past 39 years working in the Motor Industry, akin to listening to the movie's soundtrack and being entertained from start to finish.

Rama's story too is screenplay potential. Having completed his vocational education in Automobile Engineering in India, he proceeded to work closes to home with United Plantations in Perak, where he got down and dirty acquiring hands-on experience working on Lister, Cummins and Massey Ferguson engines at the Jendarata estate's workshop.

Most of these engines were used for a wide variety of tasks in the estate, running agricultural equipment and to power electricity generation especially when down time of machines were most critical in order to ensure the plantation operations was never at idle the following day. According to Rama, "it was all about the management concepts we speak of today such as productivity, efficiency, taking orders from the top and going about our duties with pride and passion". Mind you, those were the days when there were railroads within the estate and salaries literally "dropped" out from the sky every month end.

After a short stint working as an automotive lecturer, Rama reminisces that his proudest moments was working with the FORD world. Rama functioned as a Process Engineer (later a Production Superintendent) in the AMIM Plant and was responsible for the engineering customizations, assembly operations and played a key role in the success of the Ford/Mazda joint project of the "Bongo" van aka the Econovan in Malaysia amongst many other popular models rolled out.

Datuk Aishah Ahmad, current President of Malaysian Automotive Association and at that time the Marketing Services Manager at Ford shared that, "in the 80's when Ford retail sales was gaining momentum, Rama was promoted to Ford Concessionaires as Workshop Manager raising up the ranks to Head of Ford Parts and Service operations in the country until his retirement"

"His retirement was short-lived as he was quickly head-hunted and convinced to continue working bearing in mind his experience and knowledge was always going to be sought after" according to his junior at Madras College of Engineering, Amrick Singh who himself is a long time veteran in the Service industry. Rama's exposure to continental cars continued as he worked on a contractual basis with brands like Porsche, Saab, Audi and most recently Peugeot, post-official retirement year in 2003.

"I am grateful for the many opportunities, life has provided me. My children were educated through my career working in the automotive industry. I have visited over 25 countries in the process and gained many great memories working with all levels of people" Rama proudly shares.

To the many automotive students and potential entrants to the industry, Rama has the following advice. "Welcome aboard. It's a great industry for career growth. For those technically inclined, immerse yourself completely in solving problems with your mind and hands. You need to do this in order to build a solid/rock-hard foundation in technical skills competencies. Do not be overly reliant of diagnostic equipment unnecessarily."

As in the movie, the best part was the final scene of this epic movie. It is sad that he is among the last of the full-blooded Service Managers who have strong vocational skills foundation. The industry will be happy that Rama intends to contribute back to the industry by sharing his success stories through training, coaching and consulting. We hope and wish that Rama's best moments are yet to come!

Our Principal Consultant

dev b

Devindran draws upon his vast 24 years Motor industry experience and exposure to different brands. As Managing Director and Principal Consultant of his company, Devindran has the passion and knack for turning Dealerships fixed operations into profitable, performance oriented and a sustainable business pillar through his own style and approach to life.


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