Do you think the Indian manufacturing industry is at par with global standards? If not, which are the areas of improvements?
Indian companies are still lagging on innovation and R&D expenditure as compared to their global counterparts. However, Indian manufacturing companies have been increasingly restructuring operations and implementing world-class practices. These practices help these companies become globally competitive, especially in sectors, such as, auto and auto components. Availability of low-cost engineering skills is further helping them to attract global players to India for development of their parts. Many companies are better than global standards & are getting benchmarked, but there’s still a significant room for improvement for spreading this manufacturing excellence all across the industry.
How can plant managers and their teams work towards achieving and sustaining excellence under the umbrella of a corporate and business unit strategy of continuous improvement?
The plant manager, along with the cross functional teams, can focus on achieving operational excellence through focus on Lean/TPM. Our operations and manufacturing philosophy is built around the belief that to succeed and achieve profitable growth, we must focus on the 5Ps: People, Plant (Machinery), Policies, Product (Quality) & Procedures (Customer Service, On Time Delivery), Processes (Lean, 5S, SWP, TPM). The philosophy is based on implementing the lean transformation process, implementing several Kaizen and senior management leadership programmes.
Cellular manufacturing is deployed all across the organisation supported by poka-yoke & standard work. The plant manager conducts daily meetings at the workplace to review daily performance along with the cell leaders. The corrective & preventive actions are decided within the team & monitored & implemented till satisfactory closure. The performance is monitored by senior manager team through shop floor visits & monthly performance review with the plant managers & their teams.
What kind of productivity improvement tools are being used in your manufacturing plant?
Lean has been successfully implemented in our company over the past 13 years to achieve continual improvement and counter the constant inflationary environment. We started lean implementation with Value Stream Mapping (VSM). All processes from order receipt to accounts receivable were mapped and analysed. This helped identify the wastes and potential areas, processes & elements for improvements. The team focused on creating flow & eliminating non-value added activities & process improvements, which had a lower financial investment. Then the team focused on improving operational efficiencies & process capabilities by minimising variations & managing abnormalities. Once the flow & process capabilities were improved, the team then looked into the entire value chain. We reduced our lead time & cost for raw material by backward integration. Variation in volume & product mix were addressed by ‘Production Smoothing’, thus improving our DSI & Service Levels (OTD).
Would you like to comment on any plant leadership challenges in today’s rapidly changing technology world and a competitive business environment?
Increased labour rates in India, unavailability of adequate skill level of workforce, keeping pace with latest technologies, shorter product life cycles are some of the challenges in today’s competitive business environment.