What are the five most essential things to make Indian manufacturing industry globally competitive? How is the progress in this area?
The most important requirement for the Indian manufacturing industry is it needs to be competitive. Productivity is another important factor to be competitive. It has two dimensions — manufacturing equipment and people. Productivity of manufacturing equipment is achieved by having equipment maintained so that they are always ready for operation. This requires people who have the skill and analytical capability. The people factor is the most essential and needs continuous upgradation. Significant levels have been achieved in quality and productivity by making use of transformational methods like TQM, TPM, Lean, six sigma, etc in the last two decades.
Can you brief us on the various manufacturing principles/ tools & production concepts used in your plants?
Continuous improvement ‘Quality Circle’ for Kaizen is done through Group Kaizen Activity (GKA). TPM is also used in all our plants for machine readiness. The Sona Production System, which is based on the JTEKT Production System, is used in our manufacturing. PDCA cycle is always used for all the activities. For problem solving, the 7-step for problem solving methodology is used with why-why analysis. These are done with the cross functional team approach. There is a strong focus on DWM – Daily Work Management to complete work on the scheduled timeline. We also use, for controlling variations, capability and stability control which we call 2x2 matrix control. For optimising flow, we have embarked on VSME – Visionary Small and Medium Enterprise to not only optimise our own internal flows based on our customers, but also to streamline our entire tier-2 flows.
What do you think on the kind of automation or advanced technology strategy that has to be implemented in the shop floor for optimal ROI?
Too much of automation or wrong application can lead to failure, resulting in dismantling or going back on automation. This can result in ROI going wrong. Automation can be most effective in bringing about consistency in manufacturing that is critical for the quality of products. We look at automation not as a tool to reduce manpower, but to improve overall efficiency of the operations by achieving consistent, repeatable and assured quality of products
What, according to you, are the major challenges faced in today’s shop floors? What would be your recommendations for them?
Today’s challenges in the shop floor revolve around 3M — machines, material and man or their readiness.A lot of work has been done in upkeep to have the machines ready always, using TPM. Nevertheless, challenges continue to exist in this area. This is also people dependent and requires skilling up of people for problem-solving to maintain basic condition through condition-based monitoring and timebased monitoring, and to use the past learning in the future machines. We have our own skill-development centre for training. Upgrading to the required technology at the right time is essential so as to give a value proposition to customers.
How will advance technology concepts boost the productivity and growth in manufacturing industries?
IIoT is currently being applied in areas as basic as tracking consignments and condition monitoring of critical machines. This helps in identifying possible failures and act before a catastrophy. The other area of usage is to improve productivity. In the event of a failure, the live information helps in taking right decisions quickly. Large amount of data is generated in manufacturing shop floors. If it is collected appropriately and timely analysed, and provided to the right user in right form, decision making can become accurate and quick. To succeed in the future, there is no alternative but to adopt digital manufacturing.☐