How can manufacturing plant leaders make a difference in achieving a common goal of the organisation? Can you give examples from your organisation?
In the manufacturing sector, a few years back, we were only talking about output, but today we have realised that it is much beyond production, and more of being visionary, strategy-driven, upgrading and grooming teams on the global changes and technological advancement. The role of plant leaders has expanded legion in recent times. But it is imperative to sustain manufacturing basics and make it as a part of the DNA of every employee for value creation on Gemba. With the change in the manufacturing world, roles have expanded to people coaching and nurturing, infrastructure creation, cross learning across the industry for excellence in business by implementing best practices. Deployment of company goal till the bottom level of the person in an organisation bounds to align the team for a common priority and achievement of PQCDSM parameters. We have seen that the projects on productivity improvement, cost reduction and non-value-added activities elimination contribute greatly to achieve excellence in business.
The plant head is the face of the company, who should be far more agile and accept learning in a way alongside of the newer challenges before they become a threat. A plant leader should drive synergy among the team members to achieve the common goal. Setting up an assembly line for the product to give a definite output per day and then improving the same by continuous improvement to double the output is the example in our case.
What kind of productivity improvement tools are being used in your manufacturing plant?
There is a constant pressure to optimise conversion cost by improving the manpower productivity at all levels. We adopted Lean and TPM philosophy in our organisation for continuous improvement in PQCDSME parameters. We are practicing productivity improvement tools like VSM, Makigami, MOST Study, Line Balancing, Yamazumi etc, to eliminate non-value-adding activities in direct & indirect areas and flow improvement. To keep up the pace with the modern manufacturing practices, we have adopted the digitisation, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, robots, cobots, automated guided vehicle, machine learning and interface for the improvement in productivity at all level in the organisation. Though all these buzzwords have evolved with the evolution of Industry 4.0 in the manufacturing practices, they are the game changers in today’s fast-changing business environment.
How big is the impact of digitalisation on manufacturing? Can you suggest a framework or roadmap for a successful digitalisation journey?
Digitalisation definitely has a great impact on the manufacturing industry. Both operational technology and information technology are coming together and creating new opportunities for digital manufacturers. Connected products produce huge data that manufacturers can access and extract deep insights to improve business and manufacturing processes.
Machines are being made IoT-friendly, Industry 4.0-enabled and complete plant data is being aimed to be brought under digital control. Moving towards smart factories, companies are approaching towards real-time monitoring which increases the efficiency. More importantly, insight from this data helps manufacturers identify new revenue streams by developing high-value service offerings focused on how products and customers interact in the real world. At Mahindra, we have a defined structured phase-wise roadmap for implementing digitalisation with optimum use of current resources by keeping internal & external customer need. With digitalisation we are focusing on connecting entire value chain in manufacturing for real-time data monitoring and analysis.
Would you like to comment on any plant leadership challenges in today’s rapidly changing technology world and a competitive business environment?
Keeping pace with continuous changing business scenario, embracing new technology, sustaining the current position in market by making built-in quality product and focusing on differentiated customer experience are the popping challenges for plant leadership. Another challenge comes in launching of new products to market at a faster pace due to its short lifecycle as a result of change in technology and customer demand, and readily available flexible setup for manufacturing.