My first interaction with the Indian auto component industry was about 15 years ago when I was at Royal Enfield Motors & then Eicher Goodearth. The auto industry was going through the first wave of modernization of thinking and TQM and Japanese manufacturing practices were beginning to look interesting though a bit theoretical. Very recently Talentonic had an opportunity to conduct site audits at over 75 auto component companies across the Country. For me personally this was an eye opener. I almost felt like the mythical figure Kumbhkaran. What happened here while I was sleeping?
There is only one word. Transformation!
The basic level of performance has gone up so noticeably. And it’s so obvious that in making India the hub of the manufacturing world, the auto component industry is one of the defining pillars.
1. Visionary leadership. Except for one guy who was cleaning his teeth with my visiting card the rest were all folks who I would want on the team. Thinking right, Good values and a comprehensive view about creating a sustainable business.
2. Vision and values. These have come off the wall and are actually working to create a platform and momentum in the organization. Not mere words but plans and strategies.
3. Raising the bar. What was considered good to do has today become essential to do. Training. Employee involvement. Two-way communication, recognition. Induction & orientation. Shop floor improvement backed by solid employee involvement. Dexterity centers and technical skill building.
4. EQ & IQ. Its interesting to see the traditional welfare oriented employee relations approach of the promoter being supplemented with some sharp process work. To see a formal talent management program in an INR 300 million company was a sheer delight.
5. The HR talent pool. The auto component industry is producing some great talent. They are today appropriately tasked by the leadership, grounded and have an infectious enthusiasm about their work. Its so refreshing to meet them.
6. Shop Floor. Shop floor is safer, cleaner, better organized and better lit. A INR 3.0 billion plant shows a record of 5000 days of continuous working without a reportable accident. That’s awesome.
7. Front Line. The layer of management called “front line supervisors” who for years were a reasonably disempowered lot are rapidly becoming the back bone of the improvement activity. In most part they can operate the machines, command the respect of the operators, are trained and have become a healthy talent pool to finance growth.
The true inspiration is that this improvement you see in small (INR 300 million – INR 2.0 billion) operations run by Indian entrepreneurs. This is not the march of the mighty multi national corporation. But the delicious fruit of a tree which has been locally grown.
Deepak Dhawan, CEO & Founder, Talentonic HR Solutions.