A plant head’s job is perhaps the most significant one in the manufacturing industry; he looks into all the daily operations of the plant, from production to seeing to it that procedures are followed. But the task of being a plant leader comes with its share of challenges, from planning to final execution. In order to address these challenges and the issues that plant leaders face with regards to plant, people, process and technology to attain operational merit, The Economic Times recently organised the first edition of The Economic Times Plant Leadership Summit in Mumbai, which approached these challenges and discussed how they can be overcome. EM was the media partner for the event.
The need for creativity
The first day of the summit kicked off with the welcome address by Ashish Chauhan, Chief Manager, ET Edge, who emphasised on how growth of manufacturing is crucial for India’s economic development. This was followed by the inaugural session by Subhash Desai, Hon’ble Minister, Industries and Mining, Government of Maharashtra, who focused on Maharashtra being a manufacturing hub. Up next, Manasi Kirloskar, Executive Director & CEO, Kirloskar Systems, spoke on the role of creativity on the shop floor. She explained, “If we truly desire shop floor creativity, then the shop floor should not merely be a place for assembly line, but an experience for every shop floor worker that pushes their imagination.”
The summit further proceeded to the panel discussion, which was on the topic ‘Leadership Perspective: Strategic role of plant heads in achieving and sustaining operational excellence’. The discussion was moderated by Ravind Mithe, Partner, KPMG, while the panelists were Krishnan Sadagopan, Vice President, Ashok Leyland; Mohit Raman Bhargava, Director– Manufacturing, Johnson&Johnson; Naresh Kumar Gaur, Sr Vice President–Manufacturing Operations, Amneal Pharmaceuticals; Rajeev Sinha, Executive Vice President & Global Head– Formulations Operations, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals; Revinipati Sridhar, CEO–Pune Facility, Essar Steel India and Sunil Mahajan, Chief–Manufacturing & SCM, Nuvoco Vistas Corp. The discussion explored various issues from how plant heads can make a difference in achieving a common goal for the organisation to establishing best manufacturing practices and work culture.
Skills will not become obsolete
Moving on, Ravi K, Executive Director (Refineries Coordination & Special Projects), Bharat Petroleum Corporation, spoke on the topic, ‘Streamlining best strategies to improve uptime by ensuring asset integrity and reliability’. Subsequently, this was followed by an interaction with Vijay Kalra, ED & CEO, Mahindra Vehicle Manufacturers (MVML) & Chief of Manufacturing Operations, Mahindra & Mahindra, who spoke about tackling the skills required for the future. He cited, “With new technology and the need for new skills coming in, the old skills will not become obsolete, but we will be able to use them with more efficiency.”
Next, Hajejah Bt Ali, Head - Program Management–Coral 2.0, Petronas, Malaysia, presented a case study on ‘Coral 2.0: How collaboration leads towards industry cost competitiveness’, which was followed by Kiran Divekar, Director–Manufacturing Applications, Dassault Systems India, discussing the case study, ‘Shift in Manufacturing for achieving operational excellence’.
This was followed by ‘The Solution Room’, which was moderated by Neeraj Singh, Director, Management Consulting, KPMG, India. Here, all the participants of the event were divided into groups and each group took up and discussed one key issue in the industry and then presented it. Later, Yatish Khurana, Vice President & Plant Head, Lava International, spoke about how adopting the principles of lean manufacturing will be key to joining the world’s leaders in operational excellence. The first day of the summit came to an end with a workshop on ‘Leadership engagement for building excellence culture’, which was conducted by Rajesh Naik, ED & Manufacturing Director, BASF,and involved participants exploring leadership behaviours that drive the organisation culture.
The second day of the summit began with the keynote address on ‘Sustainability, Safety, Smart Factory & Technology Disruption’, by Rajiv Gandhi, Sr Executive Director– Production, Maruti Suzuki India, and the next keynote address by Ganesh Mani, Sr VP–production and Plant Head, Hyundai Motor Company, on the topic ‘Next Gen Manufacturing– Strata Shift’. This was followed by a case study on ‘Learning from Incidents’ by P S Rahangdale, Director, MFS, Chief Fire Officer, Mumbai. Afterward, Lakshmi U, General Manager– Plant Head, Kirloskar Brothers Limited, discussed the importance of empowering women in the industry.
Safety, Industry 4.0 and more
Next, a panel discussion on ‘Leader’s role in driving safety excellence and establishing sustainable principles and structures that begin with safety in plants’ was moderated by Abhiram Budhkar, Director–Risk Advisory, Deloitte India. The panelists were Vikas Sunkad, Director–Operations, The Coca-Cola Company; Viren Dhulla, Vice President & Head–Corporate Health Safety & Wellbeing, Vodafone India; Sanjeev Singh, Plant Director, Hettich India; Brajesh Singh, Chief O&M, CGPL, Tata Power; Satish Krishnan, Vice President–Global Sales, Xpetize Technology Solutions. The discussion focused on achieving safety excellence for sustaining operational excellence & recognising and managing risk.
Soon after, another panel discussion was held on the topic, ‘Picking up the Pace of Manufacturing 4.0: Where and How to Begin?’. The discussion was moderated by Gaurav Khera, Director, Risk Advisory, Deloitte India, while the panelists were Anand Laxshmivarahan R, Chief Digital Officer–Digital Business Transformation, Vedanta Cairn Oil & Gas; Ajoy Lall, Head–Manufacturing, Commercial Vehicles Business, Tata Motors; Pravin Saraf, Senior Vice President - Manufacturing (Automotive) II Factory, Exide Industries; Girish Parundekar, GM-Manufacturing, Bluestar; Rashmi Patra, Head-Technical Plant Operations, Novartis India and D S Ravindra Raju, President-Manufacturing, Deepak Fertilizers and Petrochemicals Corporation. The discussion delved into how to ensure successful rollout of Industry 4.0, how to build data–driven thinking within the workforce and more.
The two-day summit concluded with a case study presentation by Shrikant Dube, Plant Head, Mahindra & Mahindra, focusing on how to find the best way to utilise robots in a plant.