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Rajiv Gandhi,

Senior Executive Director(Production),

Maruti Suzuki India

PRODUCTION OPTIMISATION Upskilling of workforce

Mar 19, 2019

For any business to be sustainable in the long run, the entire value chain has to get aligned towards a single common goal - Rajiv Gandhi, Senior Executive Director (Production), Maruti Suzuki India

How is the manufacturing workforce evolving with the rapidly changing technology era?

With the rapidly changing technology and introduction of advanced features in vehicles, the industry requires workforce with skill-sets to match the transformation. Our company has taken various initiatives to enhance knowledge and capabilities of employees. These initiatives cover both, shopfloor and managerial employees.

How can plant leaders make a difference in achieving a common goal of the organisation?

The aim of any business is to be sustainable and earn profits in the long run. For any business to be sustainable in the long run, the entire value chain has to get aligned towards a single common goal. This is only possible by aligning teams through various engagement initiatives which gives them a platform to showcase their mettle and in turn, benefit the organisation.

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? Can you give examples from your organisation?

At Maruti Suzuki, a lot of focus is on shopfloor engagement activities like quality circles, suggestion scheme, Kaizens etc. There is a core group at each plant location and a central group which strategises the improvement initiatives across all the locations, be it improvement in basic shopfloor working conditions, the tools, the equipment and all other kinds of peripherals which are required for efficient manufacturing.

What kind of productivity improvement tools are being used in your manufacturing plant?

We have our own Maruti Production System (derived from Suzuki Production System), which is aimed at MUDA (waste) elimination. We use tools like REBA (Rapid Entire Body Analysis) operator’s fatigue reduction due to bending, turning, etc.

How big is the impact of digitisation on manufacturing? Can you suggest a framework or roadmap for a successful digitisation journey?

Auto sector is witnessing a transition like other manufacturing industries. It’s in transition of being more smart, Industry 4.0. The question which arises is how Indian businesses can adapt and adopt as compared to other big markets such as USA & China in order to boost their competitiveness for exports and domestic consumption as well. In this scenario, the entire value chain including part manufacturers, logistic suppliers, core auto sector and dealers have to be competitive and upgraded.

There has to be a sync between man and digitisation in manufacturing. There has been quite an evolution in Indian manufacturing over the years. The controls have shifted from being human dependent to digital based, leading to less dependency on humans. At our company, the entire manufacturing of a car is tracked and controlled digitally through various IT-based systems. This is much needed, due to complexities involved in the manufacturing of a vehicle, wherein over 30,000 parts are to be fitted in a car. We need to go step-by-step in the digitisation journey, keeping in mind the constraints and specific needs of a particular setup.

Would you like to comment on any plant leadership challenges in today’s rapidly changing technology world and a competitive business environment?

One of the major challenges which is in front of any plant leader is the upskilling of workforce with the changing technology. We have to gear up with time and take all possible measures to keep up with the pace. For example, with the advent of EVs in the automobile sector, the entire landscape of skill requirement is going to change, and that is going to be a chief challenge for all of us.

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