Large Scale Change

Innovation Uninterrupted

Innovating in an uninterrupted way is how we can best describe the birth of Precision Engineering Division. Godrej and Boyce has had a long history of spinning off businesses that seem to be totally disconnected with each other that to any outsider this kind of diversity is seemingly unmanageable. However the incubation factory of Godrej has witnessed many metamorphoses from a Chrysalis to many beautiful butterflies - robust businesses that are charting out new growth paths.

PES Division is the latest from this incubation factory, which is undergoing transformation in an uninterrupted manner.

Currently PES Division is executing a large number of Projects for manufacture of precision special purpose nuclear reactor equipment. As is well known, level of precision required for reactor equipment is of the highest order.

The reactor equipments are required to work in an uninterrupted manner for periods ranging up to 30 years in highly radioactive conditions. This translates into demands of precision, reliability and traceability. Except Precision Components and Systems Division, which operates under similar demanding conditions, there was no experience within PES to be able to do this kind of work. The challenge was compounded, as we had to manage procurement of a large variety of materials and bought outs meeting similar exacting conditions.

Looking back, it is almost a chilling thought that we plunged into this business being not so strong in the following areas.

Higher Degree of Precision required – 10 times that of the erstwhile Machine Tool Business. This posed enormous strain on the capacity to produce small and large parts both with fabrication and machining.

Capability to procure special grades of Raw Material, and Bought out parts from all over the world against restrictive policy regimes.

Perpetual Quality Assurance and extensive documentation right from procurement of inputs to delivery of the finished equipment through manufacturing, assembly and testing.

Perpetual Third party Quality checks and witness right through out the manufacturing processes.

High order of Project Management capabilities, as there is no generic structure running across project to project. Each project requires different technologies, manufacturing processes, sequences etc.

Winning – A New Dimension

In school, as children and then as adults we are always nudged to WIN. To get ahead in life. And in order to win, we have to beat someone. When someone loses one wins.

But is this the true spirit?

Can we look at winning in a new dimension.

Where winning does not necessarily mean that someone else loses.

Where winning means that there is joy when someone else wins.

Where winning actually means redefining the very word.

Let me share an endearing story with you.

It was a sports stadium.

Eight Children were standing on the track to
participate in the running event.
* Ready! * Steady! * Bang !!!
With the sound of Toy pistol, all eight girls started running.
Hardly had they covered ten to fifteen steps, one of the smaller girls slipped and fell down, due to bruises and pain she started crying.
When other seven girls heard this sound, stopped running, stood for a while and turned back, they all ran back to the place where the girl fell down.
One  among them bent, picked and kissed the girl gently and enquired ‘Now pain must have reduced’. All seven girls lifted the fallen girl, pacified her, two of them held the girl firmly and they all seven joined hands together and walked together and reached the winning  post.

Officials were shocked. Clapping of thousands of spectators filled the stadium. Many eyes were filled with tears.

This is a true story and this happened in Hyderabad, India, recently!

The sport was conducted by National Institute of Mental Health.

All these special girls had come to participate in this event and they were spastic children. Yes, they were mentally challenged.

What did they teach this world?

What we as mentally stable people did not know.

Winning is when we are together.

As one.

Whether at home, in the organisation or as a nation.

Let’s emulate these special children and win hearts.

Ketna L. Mehta
[Ms Ketna L Mehta is editor of Nina Foundation’s One World –Voice of Paraplegics.]

If one were to go back and start all over again, the lessons learnt would hint at building all the above capabilities before venturing into a business of this nature. Such seemingly cautious and prudent approach would however have meant that we would have taken much longer to acquire the skills needed to be in this business. The fact that skills needed to be a competent nuclear equipment manufacturer would normally take over a decade to acquire serves as an entry barrier in this industry. In retrospect therefore the bold and audacious step of plunging into this business with no lifeline (in form of a sustaining business) appears to be a blessing in disguise.

So this in short, is the story of metamorphosis of a small private plane into a high tech jet during flight!!

After three years of being in business we can say that we have been listening hard to signals from Customers, Employees, Vendors and Management and list below some of the things that auger well for future.

Establishing an image of a High Quality Supplier / Partner: The customer has commended the quality of equipment going out of our plants and is much at ease.

Establishing a system that can accommodate varied / dissimilar project requirements right from Documentation to Technologies to Process Capabilities.

Nuclear Energy is being positioned as principal element in meeting the country’s energy needs. New technology to harness abundant source of input material Thorium augurs well for the future development. The fact that compared to Thermal energy, Nuclear Energy is seen as a much cleaner option means that the demand for Nuclear energy and hence for reactors will only grow.

Capabilities acquired can also be used for forays in Wind Energy and Steel Industry – again the two core industries who are poised for growth to meeting growing demand for a growing economy. With a need felt to develop indigenous sources for Defense Equipment there is a large business opportunity lurking there. Learning to listen to customers, vendors and employees is very important at this stage of the business.

Some examples of Listening to Employees are:
1. Observing Quiet Hour in the morning to help employees plan their day

2. Developed a system – Kaizen – creating a forum for employees to participate in improving work methods, practices etc. through innovative ideas aimed at improving throughput.

3. Soliciting employee feedback on various issues through internal surveys e.g. on the Performance Management System.

4. Recruiting graduate engineer trainees to support the projects and act as back – up for the project teams.

5. Regular feedback sessions with operators to take their inputs on process improvements and address the pain areas.

Some examples of Listening to Customers are:
1. Designed our internal Documentation system in sync with customer expectations

a. Documentation correlating Customer as well as Godrej Drawings
b. Keeping complete record of repairs done & repairs procedure component-wise
c. Keeping complete record of approved changed proposals

2. We’re in the process of evolving live capture of inspection data from CMM (Co-ordinate Measuring Machine)

3. Reconditioned and calibrated machines to improve machining accuracy to meet customer quality requirements, gaining customers’ confidence in machining operation

4. Developed healthy partnership with customer TPCL to help customer gain ground as Turnkey solution provider – from Design to complete Equipment Supply. We have been shouldering responsibility fulfilling his needs of mechanical systems manufacturing including his needs of developmental activities

5. Embedding the knowledge acquired in our processes.

6. Though we shifted the focus of Business from machine Tools to Precision Equipment, we have continued to serve our customers with greater service levels and increased the offerings to other interested customers

Some examples of Listening to Vendors are:
1. Leveraging our procurement strengths and helping our vendors by supplying critical Raw Material as Free Issue Material thus creating a win-win situation.

2. Educating / training vendors and enabling them to meet stringent quality standards.

3. Helping vendor by offering help in inspection in various ways - by providing non-standard measuring instruments; advance payments in exceptional circumstances.

4. Vendor meets for soliciting their pain areas and providing solutions

5. Development of a Ready Reckoner for sub-contracted items’ vendors to make it easier for them to do Business with us

We still have a long way to go before we become ‘Preffered Suppliers’ world wide for the scope of equipment we produce.

K.G. Shukla