How can the plant managers and their teams work towards achieving and sustaining excellence under the umbrella of a corporate and business unit strategy of continuous improvement? Can you give examples from your organisation?
Every plant manager has his own speciality and his team members, too. Plant managers with this speciality play a key role in the success of an organisation. In IP Rings, to have better teamwork between functions (departments), they are grouped according to the nature of business/work and there is a group review instead of a conventional department review. For example, Business Development Group is formed comprising of sales, marketing, product development, R&D. Goals of this group are being reviewed by the top-management on a quarterly basis.
How can plant leaders make a difference in achieving a common goal of the organisation?
Frankly speaking, the plant leader’s role is not getting changed but refined to make quicker decisions based on the availability of numerous data in digital form. This virtual data plays a major role in the success of an organisation. Nevertheless, visit to the Gemba, giving a pep-talk to workers, gives the real enthusiasm to the team and reduces the significant gap between the virtual data and real data.
Do you think the Indian industry is at par with global standards? If not, which are the areas of improvements?
Shopfloors of the tier-1 Indian suppliers are comparable to MNCs. But, a lot has to improve in tier-2 & tier-3 segments. Work-culture of the people has to change to go a long-way in listening, following, executing, sustaining and then improving. Innovative ideas are the need of the hour for our nation to march forward in the global market with a better pace.
What kind of productivity improvement tools are being used in your manufacturing plant?
Consistency in the quality is the first step for productivity improvement. We focus a lot on this by using the Zero Defect (ZED) tools in addition to the conventional productivity improvement tools like PQ Analysis, Re-layout, video study, takt-time – cycle time comparison, Man-Machine Balance and doing continual improvements.
How big is the impact of digitalisation on manufacturing? Can you suggest a framework or roadmap for a successful digitalisation journey?
As said earlier, the impact of availability of data in the digital form has helped in making faster business decisions. The journey of digitisation should start from support functions to provide the data for better management of the shop. Then from the individual processes, the data should pour-in to the support functions. By synchronising this appropriately, we can make faster and wiser business decisions.
What makes a good plant leader, according to you, in today’s rapidly changing technology world and a competitive business environment?
A leader is a person ‘who walks his talk’ and ‘acts what he preaches to others’. A good leader will be followed by all employees, even in difficult situations as the mass believes that “whatever change the leader does or wants is for the welfare of the organisation as a whole”. In addition to the customers and suppliers partners, plant leadership should have a good connect with R&D centres, facility/machine manufacturers, universities/colleges, service/social organisations to share/learn and to cope-up to the rapid changes in the business.