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The Indian - Items filtered by date: November 2014
Tuesday, 18 November 2014 00:00

Good Maintenance Practices

Good Maintenance Practices

By Balaji Radhakrishnan

BalajiRadhakrishnan is a B.E with more than 25 years of rich experience in Plant Maintenance. He worked for companies like Asian Bearings limited, Fenner India limited, EID Parry limited, Rane Brake linings limited before coming to his present company Elgi Equipments limited.

Balaji is a passionate TPM , TQM practitioner. He was part of the team that won Deming Prize in Rane Brake Lining limited.

Here, he is sharing his version of the “Good Maintenance Practices”.

I would like to share the “Good Maintenance Practices” and how it is being adopted in day to day industrial life. From Business perceptive, Maintenance plays the critical role and the impact on Asset Management is so important for Organization

Say Example:

Sales – Variable cost = Contribution of the Product

Contribution of the Product – Fixed Cost = Profit before Tax

Profit before Tax – Depreciation = Profit after Tax.

The above said calculation is deciding the performance of organization and it is being published in website/ Annual reports,but the reality in the machine shop floorsaresomething different. Say example Depreciation could be calculated in terms of straight line methods of 10% depreciated and year on year or some mathematical calculation is being used and finally arrive the asset value may be INR 1 in books of account after some years. This may not be 100% true on the shop floor!


Over view ofGood Maintenance Practices

Autonomous Maintenance

It consists of 7 Steps which is very critical to ensure the machine’s basic conditions

-          Cleaning and Tagging

-          Hard to access

-          CLIT Stds ( Cleaning/ Lubrication/Inspection and Tightening)

-          General Inspection

-          Autonomous Inspection

-          Standardization

-          Self-Management

Individual Improvements or KobetsuKaizens:

This will deal with 16 losses

-          Equipment failure loss (7 types of losses)

Down time loss / Set up loss/Start-up loss/Power cut loss/Want of operator loss/Want of material loss/quality rejection loss

-          Human Efficiency Losses (5 Type of losses):

Line Organization losses/ logistic loss/ Measurement loss/ Management loss/ motion loss/ Distribution loss

-          Production resource losses (3 Type of losses):

Energy loss/ Yield loss and Mould/Die loss

-          Shut down losses( 1 type of loss)

The above said 7+5+3+1 = 16 losses. All the losses are hidden inside the shop floor and we need to make people aware of these losses. A lot of training is needed for this!

Planned Maintenance:

 This will deal with the following

-          Support to Autonomous Maintenance

-          Failure analysis and counter measures

-          Condition based Maintenance

-          Predictive Maintenance

-          Time based Maintenance

-          Oil Management

-          Spare Management

-          Maintenance information system

Quality Maintenance:

A Type defects

B Type defects

C Type defects

Health Safety and Environment :

To ensure the Occupational Health of the people, we need to ensure the Safety and Environment in place at machine shop floor.This has a huge correlation with Maintenance. This system will get addressed through ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001

Initial Control :

Whatever we learned at Maintenance and improvements carried out at shop floor which needs to address the improvements on new machines.

Education and Training:

To improve the competency of the existing Maintenance people and Production Operators.

Office TPM :

 It is very critical to the staffs are being maintain the office well

Execution of Autonomous Maintenance at Shop floors: Case study

Cleaning and Tagging:See the machine conditions physically, it is not in basic conditionsbut it delivers the production results without any break down. But the basic conditions were eroded due to lack of ownership withProduction and Maintenance. If there is no autonomous maintenance in practice, the machine may not be worth the value that is written in the books of accounts!!

It’s very important to execute and ensure the Autonomous Maintenance by tagging by involving all the employees, and take these machines back into original condition. This ownership lies with Production and Maintenance, top people visions are very important to see the plant in different dimensions and enforce the autonomous maintenance. The reality of the valuedeclared by the account department could be almost same or much better in shop floor by ensuring the autonomous maintenance.

Hard to access:

Cleaning the machine is important part and we need to modify such that we should reduce the cleaning time from XX time to YY time, so that Production operators can ensure this cleaning process


Every shift, CLIT needs to be followed as per machine manufacturers’ recommendations


General Inspection:

We need to train the people especially for Hydraulic pumps/ Motors/Pressure switches. So that people can able to understand the behaviour pattern of the machine elements



Autonomous Inspection:

Machine operator can do the setting by himself without depending on the shop floor engineers.



See the machine conditions before and after of executing the Autonomous Maintenance. Autonomous maintenance will ensure the machine basic conditions as like a new machine. Hence, we can improve the life time of the machines and yield the profit to the organizations. This Autonomous maintenance will reduce the down time by 20 to 30 %.

Autonomous Maintenance: Before and After

The important part is top people needs tovisit the plant very frequently and asked the production operators about the Autonomous Maintenance.















The Autonomous maintenance will continue with Kobetsu Kaizen and eliminating / reducing the Sixteen losses

Published in Quality
Tuesday, 18 November 2014 00:00

Developing Others into Leaders

Developing Others into Leaders

While the first two aspects of Leadership we considered so far had a lot to do with winning, results, strategy, etc., the last two aspects of leadership have to do with development. Firstly – developing others into leaders and, growing themselves into better leaders. In this piece, we will discuss how great leaders develop others into leaders. Below is the re-cap of the framework for the leadership mind-set.

If you Google words, “Developing Leadership”, or “Developing leadership in others”, you get anywhere between 70 to 145 million hits! In my experience, as many leaders are there, so many approaches to developing leadership. There are leaders who swear by “Level 5 leadership”, “Transformational Leadership”, “Inspirational leadership”, “Servant leadership”, “Charismatic leadership”, “Situational Leadership” and others who strive to develop “Leadership bench-strength”, “Leadership pipeline”, or “Leadership Engine” in their organizations.

Some leaders try to avoid all these and aim to develop “leadership qualities” that can range from “Emotional Intelligence”, “Principle-based”, “Entrepreneurial”, “Trustworthiness”, “Fairness”, “Strategic orientation”, “Change champion”, etc. in their people.

Some leaders take up a process/ tool-kit orientation and try to develop leadership in their organizations through “Role modeling”, “360-degree feedback”, “Corporate Universities”, “Assignment Planning”, “Talent Development”, “Leadership coaching and mentoring” and so forth.

Some leaders also believe in developing the right leadership style in their followers that could range from, “Participative leaders” to “Laissez-faire leaders”, “Task-oriented leaders” or “Relationship oriented leaders”. Some also use and follow many different leadership theories like, “Behavioral” or “Functional” or “Situational” or “Psychological” theories.

And no wonder, it is all confusing and it is very difficult to get started, especially if it is not a global company with vast resources that you are working for. A summary of some common themes across these multiple approaches may result in a somewhat simpler guide to get going on developing leaders in your respective organizations.

Developing Leaders or Developing Leadership?

The first distinction we need to develop is to understand the difference between “Developing Leaders” and “Developing Leadership”. Developing Leaders is about all the activities in the organization that focus on growing high potential individuals into leaders that will play key roles in leading the business/ organization. In this, Developing Leaders has a lot to do with Talent Development or Career Planning of high potentials. On the other hand, “Developing Leadership” often refers to growing leadership abilities broadly across all the employees in the organization. The particular set of leadership abilities will depend upon what each organization chooses as necessary in their business. Some common abilities include “Takes Initiative”, “Able to perform without supervision”, “Acts decisively”, “Collaborates”, “Communicates”, “Analytical ability”, “Does the right thing in the right way”, etc. Training and Development or Management Development is often the processes/ tools used to accomplish this.

Qualities of effective “Developing Leaders” cultures/ approaches

Personal Responsibility: Most effective approaches involve leaders taking personal responsibility for identifying and developing top talent into future leaders. Top leadership at General Electric spends a significant amount of time reviewing top talent and planning their assignments as part of business meetings. C-session reviews at GE are equally famous. The personal responsibility manifests in a few important forms – a) visible role modeling; b) investment in establishing the process for identifying and developing leaders; c) constantly reviewing and discussing future leaders and their careers with important stakeholders, particularly the board of directors; d) advancing leaders who develop other leaders; and e) investment of personal time and effort in evangelizing the importance of developing leaders for the future.

Personal Responsibility at all levels: “A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm – Henrik Ibsen” One of the most significant qualities of effective leader development cultures is that leaders at all levels take the responsibility to develop others into future leaders in their respective spheres of influence. This is not limited to top management only. When this becomes part of culture, a self-sustaining process of leader development is established. In Procter & Gamble, historically advancement of executives was based on, besides other factors, the number and quality of leaders that the executive had developed and the type of key positions they now occupy.

Personal Relationships: When leaders take personal responsibility, they also invest in developing a personal relationship with the future leaders. Many executive leaders have regular “1:1’s” with the future leaders and have personal time with them when visiting businesses outside the HQ. These 1:1’s are not business review meetings – they are on top of them. They are not “issue resolution” meetings – they are for the purpose of growing the personal relationship in the backdrop of business. These meetings could be simple 1 hour conversations once every month, supplemented by more time when face to face. This is the closest to a “collegial” relationship that can happen inside the organization structure – a type of relationship that is critical to learning and growth. This relationship not only contributes to the future leader learning from the experiences of the executive leader but also results in establishing a relationship based on mutual trust. Decision making in a mutually trusting relationship is not only fast, but also ensures alignment on strategic issues.

Experience as the basis for development: The single biggest differentiator between great leader development cultures and others lies in the degree of reliance on formative experiences for the growth of future leaders. Some companies like GE, P&G and others have a formal process for planning the assignments of their high potentials so that they acquire over time, with increasing responsibility, the experiences – business, functional and geographic that will make them suitable for higher level roles. For example, working with largest customers, most difficult but promising geographical markets, businesses in turn-around situations, working with joint venture partners, managing in volatile markets, etc., all form the character and muscles of future leaders. Morgan McCall in his book, “High Flyers” details the core elements of powerful experiences that lead to the growth of leaders.

Strong link to Business Strategy: It is commonly accepted that businesses must place their strongest leaders on the most strategic battle fronts. What is less obvious is the dual realization that such strategic battle fronts offer the best learning experiences for future leaders and that leader development can be linked closely with business strategy to make the best use of leadership capability a business possesses. The best of the companies translate their business strategy into leadership challenges and select the leaders who can benefit most by facing such challenges successfully. For example, if international expansion is a major strategic front for a business, it is also a great opportunity for that business to develop its future leaders in this area. This opportunity serves in two ways – offers the best learning grounds and also develops the leaders of future with the right experiences.

A Learning Environment: “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other – John Kennedy”. One of the top characteristics of leaders is that they actively seek opportunities to learn. If the organization doesn’t encourage learning, especially from failures, it is difficult to see leaders growing in such a culture. Most people learn most from their peers – not from figures of authority. In this respect, a culture where peers can, without competitive pressures, share experiences and learn from each other is one of the most fertile grounds for growing future leaders. Peter Senge, in his book “The Fifth Discipline” says, “In a learning organization, leaders are designers, stewards, and teachers. They are responsible for building organizations where people continually expand their capabilities to understand complexity, clarify vision, and improve shared mental models – that is, they are responsible for learning.”

Protection from de-railment: Many leaders, particularly when they seem to be doing well, delivering more than their promise, seem to go off the rails and fail, often resulting in end of their careers. Best of the organizations protect their best talent from this type of derailment via a couple of approaches. One is to provide Coaching and Mentoring help – often from other leaders in the organization who either have many more years of experience or are in higher levels. The other approach is to provide promising leaders with executive coaches from outside the organization who have long and impressive track records as business leaders. The help lies in ensuring that the leader doesn’t ignore weaknesses and doesn’t over-play strengths to the extent that they become weaknesses. Achieving a balance between using strengths and overcoming weaknesses is often the only feedback (besides performance feedback) that a leader on the way to realizing her/ his potential needs.

Developing Leadership

Often, the task of Developing Leadership in employees is the responsibility of a “Corporate University” or “Training and Development department”.  Many of these organizations make a distinction between two different sets of abilities – “Technical Mastery” and “Leadership/ Management Skills”. The former abilities refer to skills and knowledge that are essential to high quality, on-the-job performance. For example, for a young professional in the corporate finance department, such skills would include Financial Analysis, Forecasting, knowledge of analytical models such as NPV, Total Shareholder Return, etc. A high degree of mastery of these “Technical Skills” is seen as a pre-requisite to gaining leadership abilities as these skills help achieve a track record of results that gives the basic credibility an aspiring leader requires.

Concurrently, “Leadership or Management development” focuses on helping employees acquire skills such as “Collaboration”, “Communication”, “Interpersonal skills” “Emotional Intelligence”, “Situational management”, etc. An effort to develop a combination of the technical skills and the leadership/ management abilities, when done broadly across all employees in an organization, over the long term, leads to “Leadership development”. The method of this development is mostly class-room training, supplemented by field/ project work and various other methods of learning such as action learning.

Human Resources department or in some cases, a special Corporate University often lead this effort. In the best organizations that truly have a leadership development culture, a majority of teaching and training is personally led by various levels of leaders of the company (versus using consultants or business school professors). This is due to the fact thatthere is a clear expectation that developing others into leaders is personal responsibility of leaders and plays into theirreward and progression in their organization.

In the next and last article, we will examine how the best of leaders grow themselves into better leaders in a constant search for betterment.

Published in Leadership
Tuesday, 18 November 2014 00:00

Spiritual Business Leader - Part IV

Spiritual Business Leader - Part IV

By K.Srinivas Rao

Continuing with our exploration about role of Spirituality in Business, let us explore one more Business leader who had been leading companies in a highly successful manner.

This leader is

Lars Kolind

Following is the description on his Linkedin page:

Besides being a lifelong scout, I'm entrepreneur, board member, professor, author and philanthropist. 

I live in Denmark but have extensive leadership experience from most parts of the world. I have built on average one new company every year since 1998 plus turned around companies and made them world leaders within their fields. 

My book "The Second Cycle - Winning the War against Bureaucracy" was published in 2006 by Wharton School Publishing. It has been published in eight languages and its Danish version became national business book of the year 2006. Another book UNBOSS, co-authored with Jacob Bøtter in 2012, is available in English, Danish, Dutch and Chinese in 2015. My latest Danish book "Bevægelsen" is available in

I'm still highly involved in World Scouting and sit on the World Scout Committee even after my chairmanship of the World Scout Foundation. 

I'm currently chairman for and members of several companies, such as Jacob Jensen Design A/S.

Passion: Transforming mature businesses and organizations into agile, innovative and growth-oriented communities.”

The following quotations are extracted from the public knowledge-base of the “Spiritual Based Leadership Research Programme” are © 2006 by the Global Dharma Center (GDC). GDC retains the copy right to all excerpts from this knowledge-base.

Talking about  his spiritual theme, Mr.Kolind’s says  :

“I believe that the theme of my spirituality would be: “Love God and love your neighbour”.

Talking about Spiritual purpose, Principles and Values, he says

I must admit that to describe what I am doing and what I have been doing, I can simply say that I am trying the best I can to live a Christian/Lutheran life. Which to me means to do something for the poor, to do something for the underprivileged, to try to do to other people what I hope that they would do to me, and all of that.

He talks about incidents in his life when his spiritual thinking helped him get wonderful results. Most of these incidents are from the time when he headed Oticon, the hearing devices company from Denmark which is a $ 1.5 Billion company.


Talking about a situation where he had to down size the company ‘Oticon’ that he worked for, Mr.Kolind said as follows:


“We were forced to reduce staff very dramatically. On one occasion we cut away 10% of the staffovernight. I was really under pressure to determine which principles we should use to make thedecisions as to who to lay off. I took the decision, which no one understood, that we would not fireanyone over 50. Neither would we fire people who were so essential that we didn’t think we couldsurvive without them. But other than that, we would let those people go who we thought wouldhave the best chance of getting another job quickly - even though these were obviously the ones Iwould have preferred retaining.”

He was further explaining how he owned the decision and infact implemented it..

“Normally someone in my position would let the department heads talk to the people. But I didn’t do it that way. I talked to every single person that was to be laid off and told each of them that they were going to be fired and that we would work with them to get a new job the best we could. I was experiencing all their bad feelings as I was confronting myself with the doubts and fears of all of these people. To me it would have been an act of cowardice to let others do this for me. I made the decision. Then I explained it to my managers - and I explained to those being fired why I had chosen to do what we were doing”.

Talking about the reactions of people around him after the whole episode is completed, he said like this..


“But once it was done, people said “wow” and reallyrespected my decision. I maintained a number of the people who were fired as very good friendsbecause they respected that it was necessary. It turned out that we managed to work with almostall of them to get new jobs”.

Very often there are many discussions about the purpose that a company should work for. Many companies simply have Vision statements which talk about being leader in their market nationally and internationally. While talking about the purpose of Oticon, Mr.Kolind had the following to say:

“We came out of a tradition where our tag line was “Leaders in hearing technology.”

We were so oriented to hearing technology, that we forgot almost everything else. I could see thatthis was not right, that we were far more than a technology company


What inspired me was the fact that we were dealing with people who had enormous personalproblems due to lack of hearing. I was so conscious that we were making money serving thesepeople who were in such a bad condition, so I asked myself, “What is our role?” This was whatled me to see that fundamentally our job was not to align two theoretical curves, which is the wayyou normally assess whether hearing care has been successful or not. Our job was to add to thequality of life of those we served and to help them to live a decent life. So this is what led us to

phrase the essence, the vision of the company to be: “Help people with impaired hearing to liveas they wish with the hearing they have.”

This all had a tremendous effect on our employees, customers and dealers. We were not onlysaying all of this; we were living it. We went through the process where we examined every cornerof the company. I asked the question a hundred times, “Does this help people with impairedhearing to live better with the hearing they have or does it not?” We were closing departmentsand initiating projects in order to actually live this”.

Now a days many companies are offering stock options to their employees. Mr.Kolind had different take on this subject.

“I have always argued that shared ownership means that you share responsibility; you make aninvestment. So I have worked against stock options, but I have worked strongly for shares thatpeople pay for. To me there is a tremendous difference between the two. We give them adiscount in the price, that’s okay; but we are now taking joint responsibility to run the company bysharing ownership”.


Talking about the purpose of Business, Mr.Kolind says as follows:

“I have a vision, which I dare generalise, that organisations will survive, develop and prosper ifthey build a very strong culture that ties the staff together – a culture that creates a strong senseof we-ness – not only for financial reasons, but primarily for a common purpose of doingsomething important. This is a key to being successful. If you are serving a purpose and you aredoing it based on some fundamental values, and those values have to do with care and love, thenyou have great potential and you can be successful in almost anything”.


Today the success of Business Executives is talked about only in terms of the money that they earn. Mr.Kolind had the following to say:


“Personal success to me was the feeling that I was doing the right things and we were doing itright. I would not say that money is not important, but for me success is to be able to do right, tohave a good feeling of what you are doing, and to run a wonderful team of people who arededicated.

I must admit that had my work at Oticon not resulted in financial success, I would not have feltthat I was successful. So for me the financial figures are important, but I have never seen them asan end, rather as a means. I knew my work was uccessful and I also wanted to see that itworked financially.

What was also important to me was for the company to increase its reputation among its peers.We were consistently rated very high on quality, management, innovation, financial performanceand employee satisfaction every time you compared companies in any respect; that to me wasalso part of success”.

Talking about the importance of HR in his company, Mr.Kolind said:

“People believe that Oticon has outstanding human resource management and that it is a placewhere you can become a part of a great team. In fact, we didn’t have a specific human resourcemanagement department; we integrated this function throughout the organisation because we feltit was too important to leave to some specialist. It was an essential part of the company”.

Mr.Kolind worked hard to build a wonderful culture in Oticon.


“To summarise the cultural values at Oticon in a few key words, I would say…

·         First of all it was to “focus on your neighbour,” where your neighbour in this respect is primarily your customer. These were the people whose hearing were impaired and were in very difficult situations. So we focused on what we could do for these people.

·         Second, we created a culture in which people were responsible, not only for what they did, but also for what we all did together. So this was responsibility for the whole organisation.

·         The third thing emerged clearly from the first two and how they were implemented, and that was a clear element of caring for your neighbour - your colleague.

·         The last thing was creativity; the culture urged everyone to continuously question what they were doing and to find a better way and new ways to do things”.

Mr.Kolind talks about the role of higher purpose in what all he had been doing.


“I personally have no doubt that being in contact with a higher power increases the quality of one’slife in the broadest sense. This applies to everyone. I have never felt satisfaction in just makingmoney. I am only happy because I started by making a difference, whether it was for the family, orthe environment, or the hearing-impaired or whatever it was, that is what gives me satisfaction”.


To look at the success of Mr.Kolind’s approach, we have to revisit what he wrote on his linkedin page:

“I have built on average one new company every year since 1998 plus turned around companies and made them world leaders within their fields”. 

Talking about the success of his approach in Oticon, he said as follows:

“When I first bought my shares in December 1990 the value of the company was 150 million kroner. When I left in May of 1998, the value of the company was 6 billion kroner”.

There is definitely something good about applying Spiritual approach in business!


Mr.Kolind continues his wonderful approach. He now champions an approach that he calls as ‘Unboss’. Please visit


Also, please listen to Mr.Kolind on this video

Alexander Kutappan is a seasoned HR professional. He is an MSW and an MBA. During his 15 years plus experience in the Industry, Alex specialised on Self Managed Work Teams. He dealt with this subject and contributed to its’ success in Elgi Equipments Limited and Dr.Reddy’s Laboratories.  In this series of articles on the Self Managed Work Teams, Alex is presenting the fundamentals about the SMWTs and sharing his experience about making these teams a success.



SELF MANAGED WORK TEAM (SMWT)– Implementation and Reflection (Part-3)




Phased implementation


After designing Self-Managed Work Team (SMWT) pillars, these pillars need to be implemented in a phased manner depending on the maturity of the teams and readiness of the organization. Broadly implementation of Self-Managed Work Teams (SMWTs) can be divided into Preparatory, Implementation and Sustenance phases.


Preparatory Phase:

·         Designing Self-Managed Work Teams’ (SMWTs’) Pillars is the most important stage, wherein Top management team needs to be involved in finalizing them.


·         Designing the Teams, Defining Members / STAR selection process, Shift Assembly Meeting process, Designing of Team Score card, Review mechanism, Rewards and recognition process, Training etc. will be worked out by the middle management that needs to be duly approved by the Top Management.

Implementation Phase:

It is advisable to implement it in a pilot area and to horizontally deploy it across the organization, because the learning from each organization is unique. Top management needs to motivate Self-Managed Work Teams (SMWTs) constantly and objectively by way of reviewing them periodically.

Sustenance Phase:

Once implemented across the organization the link should be made in such a way that Self-Managed Work Teams (SMWTs) way of working sustains by itself through Reviews, Rewards, Performance pay, Career growth etc.


Pros and Cons of Self-Managed Work Teams (SMWTs)



·         Self-Managed Work Teams (SMWTs) facilitates motivated, flexible, learning, participative work force who contribute not only to Productivity, Quality, Delivery of products but also in solving day to day problems and making improvements in Products and Processes.



·         Self-Managed Work Teams (SMWTs) implementation often leads to high expectation from the management that every problem in the organization would be solved only by these teams. Top management needs to be realistic.

·         Work force often has high expectation as they are promised and pampered by the management as though they are the only one who contributes to the organization. This leads unending dissatisfaction. These teams need to be treated respectfully and when required sternly, but fairly.



Challenges in implementation


At times top management decides to implement Self-Managed Work Teams (SMWTs) as it looks ‘attractive’ and ‘novel’ but often expect instant results and lose sight of focus after a year or two.

For Middle management Self-Managed Work Teams (SMWTs) implementation becomes one more initiative to be implemented. They miss human element involved in the process. Implementation happens whether they are convinced of benefits from Self-Managed Work Teams (SMWTs) or not as it is pushed by the Top management.

Supervisory cadre need to have paradigm shift in their role, Supervisors to Mentors. They need to work hard in preparatory phase and act as mentors in implementation phase and need to give way for the team leaders to take up their role. Often ego massage is required.

In green field it is relatively easy to implement than in brown field, where they are accustomed to work in a traditional manner. Convincing unions takes time but works.

Self-Managed Work Teams (SMWTs) are not the solution for all problems in an organization.


Stories to Cherish


“I used to spend my entire time in shop floor, but today Self-Managed Work Teams (SMWTs) are taking care of daily production, I’m called only if there is a problem. I spend hardly 10% of my time focusing on routine activities; I’m able to focus on improvement activities”. Supervisor from ATS – ELGI, Coimbatore

“With the help of Self-Managed Work Teams (SMWTs), last 18 months we have made products without Safety or Quality incidents” – Area Head – CTO VI, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd., Vizag

“Daily operations are entirely taken care by these teams. Seniors have grown into managerial levels in other functions. Organization structure is lean with only three layers in the Operations.” – Plant Head – FTO 6, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd., Himachal.


Stories to Learn

In an organization, where Self-Managed Work Teams (SMWTs) are implemented for more than 5 years, today literally there is no focus on Team way of working but everybody focuses on it for Performance pay and Career growth, as it was promised to the workforce. I’m not sure, whether these teams serve the real purpose for which they were created.

In another process industry, top management wanted to implement Self-Managed Work Teams (SMWTs) to address their on-going struggle with unions. Though they never mentioned about it, everybody in the organization knew about it, including new team members. Even after couple of years of implementation, forming unions is always on the minds of team members and middle management is always thinking of ways and means to avoid forming of unions by workmen. Struggle goes on without understanding the root-cause of their problems.


Some of the lessons I have learned in implementing Self-Managed Work Teams (SMWTs) are summarized below:

Not every organization needs or is ready to implement Self-Managed Work Teams (SMWTs). When we force fit, it leaves bad taste in the mouth for everyone. Hence, considerable time needs to be spent before deciding to implement.

If it is decided to implement, entire organization needs to participate in Preparatory phase. Everyone’s buy in is critical to the entire process. Often HR department initiates the process with the help of consultants and it is always considered as a HR Baby. It is bound to fail! Production team should own up the implementation and HR team should support dedicatedly in all phases, if you want it to succeed.

If Preparatory phase is adequate, implementation phase needs to be taken one step at a time. Need to restrain from seeking immediate results, that too by speedingup the process of implementation. Before implementing it across the organization, it needs to be implemented in a pilot area to learn the lesson and do course correction as needed. Instead of spending more time in making reports about Self-Managed Work Teams (SMWTs), HR team and Supervisors / mentors should spend more time with employees who go through group dynamics to help them overcome their struggle.

To ensure Sustenance of the initiative, carefully devised Rewards Program, On-going Learning, Performance Pay, Career Growth, Management Reviews and it should be part of Performance measures of all concerned.


Published in People Productivity
Thursday, 06 November 2014 00:00

Bazar Chiranjeevi, Chennai

In Manufacturing environment an Engineer has to learn quickly and continuously in his career. When you are put in to a company, you may get thrown in to intense activity and any amount of training will not help in some circumstances. The Engineer has to work hard, with his nose to ground and learn. For this, he has to maintain good relationships with his bosses, his team of workmen who may be very often have more experience than the Engineer himself.

The day to day issues on the shop also make it essential for the Engineers to be pleasant and friendly to maintain a good camaraderie in the shop floor.

Bazar Chiranjeevi is one such Engineer!

Chiranjeevi is very thirsty for learning. He maintained wonderful relationships with the workmen throughout his career. He started his career in a TQM environment in Rane Brake lining limited, Hyderabad. He quickly learned the ropes and started impressing his bosses. He did not take much time to create his own style of working and managing the work! He became a reliable Supervisor to his bosses. Chiranjeevi went on to work in more companies. Everywhere he created his own style of functioning and improved the shop floor. Chiranjeevi is good in promoting Quality circles. He helped many teams in his career to excel !Chiranjeevi implemented Lean Manufacturing principles in many companies that he worked for! He is a very good Lean practitioner!

Chiranjeevi is Plant Manager in a MNC company today! He continues to excel wherever he works!

Chiranjeevi had been a wonderful Engineer wherever he worked! He is a true Manufacturing star!

Keep doing well Chiranjeevi!!

Published in Manufacturing Stars