It is work as usual at the Brakes India the Deming
Prize or not. The company''s foundry division became
the first foundry in the world to win the Deming Award
a bonus the company''s foundry as well as the brakes divisions
won the Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) Excellence
First Category Award from the Japanese Institute of Plant
Maintenance (JIPM) this year. Yet there is not much of
a celebration. Perhaps due to the fact that winning quality
awards year after year has become a habit for the TVS
group has several firsts in this field. Sundram Fasteners
is the first Indian company to get an ISO certification.
The company has been winning the Supplier of the Year
awards from the US auto giant General Motors and has won
TPM awards from the JIPM.
Clayton won the honour of being the first Deming company
in India. In 2002 Sundaram Clayton''s brakes division got
the Japan Quality Medal from the Union of Japanese Scientists
and Engineers (Juse). And this year, TVS Srichakra Tyres
has won the TPM Excellence Award-First Category from JIPM.
group can now boast of four Deming winners Sundaram
Clayton (brakes division), Sundaram Brake Linings, TVS
Motor Company and Brakes India (foundry division). It
is certainly the Indian Deming group.
Brakes India foundry turns out about 42,000 tonnes per
year for ductile iron and permanent mould castings and
earns over Rs 200 crore with a growth rate of 15 per cent.
Forty-eight per cent of the revenue is from exports to
Europe, the US, Japan and South Africa.
V Narasimhan, executive director: "Our quality assurance
manual was written out within two years of our starting
operations, that is 22 years ago. We were the first foundry
to align our quality systems to ISO 9002 standards, which
was in 1992 and QS 9000 in 2001."
of the early companies to get the ISO certification, Brakes
India''s initial orientation was more towards documentation
compliance. "The focus was only on customer drawings
and specifications and not on the implied requirements.
Further, there was no integration across various departments.
The focus was on the quality of incoming products,"
we had established a reputation as a reliable supplier
with accent on quality, our cost competitiveness was always
under threat especially from the emerging economies,"
the change for better came about when the foundry became
a member of the vendor cluster formed by Maruti Udyog
with the help of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)
to learn total quality management (TQM) from the quality
guru professor Y Tsuda from Juse. The car manufacturer
got 11 of its vendors to adhere to quality systems and
processes. The idea was to showcase couple of units so
that others too can follow.
group of companies shared their knowledge by leveraging
collective learning for greater individual benefits."
According to him the division embraced TQM first with
an idea of improving the performance to survive and prosper
in a competitive environment.
TQM journey started in 1998 and decided to challenge the
Deming Prize only in 2002 when we decided to undergo TQM
diagnosis by the Deming Prize committee. It was our guru
Tsuda who encouraged us to go for the Deming."
TQM is synonymous with participation, involvement, accountability,
ownership and empowerment, the division also formed a
TQM council comprising senior management to facilitate
in cascading the vision down the line and aligning all
the activities towards realising the vision.
then "operating the business and not managing it
in the real sense". Narasimhan and his team made
a fundamental shift towards systematic analysis, pre-planning
and blue printing of operations with focus on habitual
improvements with the controls embedded within the system
and the processes driven by the divisions own culture.
the involvement, commitment and dedication of all the
employees there were not any roadblocks nor any additional
investments were made," he remarks. It should be
mentioned here that never in its history has the foundry
division lost a single manday due to labour unrest.
1999 the division also kicked off TPM under the TQM umbrella.
This year the foundry division has won the TPM Excellence
Award-First Category. "Ours is the first outfit to
get the TQM and the TPM award in the same year,"
says a proud Narasimhan.
the process the division also helped its suppliers to
follow the quality path by disseminating and sharing its
learning by conducting workshops. Vendors are encouraged
to obtain ISO 9001 certification for their quality systems.
Brakes India foundry''s quality journey started contributing
to the bottomline. Customer returns came down to one third.
"Our concentration on new product development and
application of computer-aided technology helped us to
reduce lead times to almost 25 per cent of the original."
there areas that the division should focus more despite
the awards? Narasimhan is open enough to say: "We
have benchmarked ourselves against the best practices
which reveals that we have to improve in the area of energy
efficiency and output to input ratio whereas we are on
par with the best with regard to external failures, product
life cycle management, process control, productivity and
to him, the Deming Prize is only a license to practice
TQM in the manner that they have chosen. "We still
have a long way to reach the destination. Our future plans
are to work towards becoming one of the best foundries
in our class globally. Our intention is to achieve business
excellence through technological leadership and thereby
ensure total customer satisfaction."