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Lay-Off to Hats-Off: The Strategic Turnaround of Public Enterprise


Febi Varghese
Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd. (KMML), Kerala, India
Vinachi Arachi Jabamala
United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Vienna, Austria
Received March 2018; Revised February 2019; Accepted March 2019


It was a strenuous tight-rope walk in a short period for the Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd. (KMML), thelargest public sector undertaking, to turn around from the verge of lay-off, by improving productivity andmarket competitiveness, with a unique approach and outlook. An alarming stock of about 10,000 MT of pigment worth US$ 25 million was piled up and the loss-making company was operating on overdraft to thetune of US$ 8 million, towards the end of 2015-2016. The company was on the brink of lay-off, threatening the lifeline of 280 officers and around 3,000 workmen employed by KMML permanently and on an
outsourced basis, following the heavy loss suffered in the fiscal year 2014-2015. The future was lookingbleak. But KMML could circumvent this crisis by adopting a series of interventions with the support andcooperation of employees and the concerted efforts taken up by the management in close collaboration withthe employees. There was no change in the technology, there was no change in the process, and challengesand opportunities remained the same; but there was definitely a change in the approach and attitude of theemployees, which really turned the company around. The sea-change was wrought in a short span of timewith the dedication, determination, and will power of both the company management and the employees; everyone was determined that they were not going to allow the company to falter in its course of growth and
development in the interest of the nation and also the company’s workforce.


Turnaround, strategy, production, productivity, management, public enterprise.

Reference to this paper should be made as follows: Varghese, F. & Jabamala, V. A. (2019). Lay-Off to Hats-Off: The Strategic Turnaround of Public Enterprise. Public Enterprise, 24(1), 68-76.