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An increasing number of industries and companies in India are adopting the Lean Management technique to minimise waste on the shop-floor, which, feels Renu Rangela, is not just to their own benefit, but to that of their customers too.

Lean is about tools that create goods and services that offer precise customer value, but with less Dr James P Womack Lean Management Guru

ean is the new mantra for Indian industries.Suddenly, many of them are beginning to realise the need to shed weight.Faced by growing market challenges and realising the need to boost performance to increase sales, profit margins and market, these companies are now looking at the Lean Sigma technique to achieve their goals. They

know thats the only way to survive in this tough environment, marked by growing customer demands and limited natural resources.
Adding value to business

At Fiserv India, the identification of a Lean project is done by drawing the

Companies are increasingly becoming aware of their duty to be relevant to the customers changing needs. And they are performing in line with these changing needs, using the minimum number of people, space, inventories and machinery, and thereby leveraging the corporate assets to the maximum. While lean, as a concept or brand, has captured the imagination of many in different spheres of activity, it is the industry, most specifically the auto industry, that has most successfully applied the technique to the maximum benefit for itself and its customers. Japanese are known to be masters of lean manufacturing techniques. Indian automotive market is not new to Japanese manufacturers; they have been here for good number of years. But till today they have not been able to implement even in 20 per cent of their work lean techniques. However, there are a few exceptions. In the Indian auto industry, TVS Motor Company stands out as a shining example of the benefits of the adoption of the Lean Management route. As the companys Chairman and Managing Director, Venu Srinivasan, is on record as saying, India needs cost competitiveness, speed, productivity and quality to tackle the Chinese dragon. And the only way to get that is by going lean. Lean has to become our religion and has to come from the user through innovation, Srinivasan said, and added India needs a manufacturing revolution. The concept is now limited to the automotive sector with 150 companies practising lean manufacturing and following world-class standards and practices. But this represents just 10 per cent of the Indian manufacturing sector. Other companies in the automobile sector are also, slowly but gradually, taking to the lean philosophy. Munjal Showa Limiteds third plant in Haridwar in Uttarkhand, for instance, is fully equipped with lean manufacturing facility to ensure and achieve optimum efficiency and output levels. The machine layout at the state-of-theart plant, manufacturing shock absorbers and struts and catering to the needs of Hero Honda Motors Limited, ensures least human handling and single flow system connected through conveyors. These developments notwithstanding, the lean management revolution

current state of the business process and aiming for a higher degree of feasibility and efficiency. The typical step-by-step methodology followed has been:

Identify the Customer Identify the Product Value Items for Customer Draw End-to-End Process (as-is) Identify Value Creators and Wastes Identify Bottlenecks Identify Process Future State Form Project Team Process Reengineering/Innovation Deploy the improved process in Pilot Run Stabilise and Correct the Process Horizontal Deployment Publicise Achievement

At Fiserv, Lean Management has been applied in various processes within software development projects. Some of the projects to which the technique has been successfully applied include: Project Management through Testing Automation, Improving Review Effectiveness and Code Review Automation. "Implementation of Lean Management techniques has resulted in significant benefit for the company's

customers in terms of reduced delivery time and lesser post-delivery defects," says Rashim Arora, General Manager Quality Assurance, adding, "This became possible by adding more value to our own business processes." Fiserv India has successfully applied Lean Management techniques through various projects, which has created value from customer standpoint by improving the processes and reducing the chain of wasteful activities. The move was motivated by the desire to gain competitive advantage in the Indian software industry, which requires the company to move fast and exceed customer expectations, said Ms Arora. 'Lean' has been specifically applied by the company to areas where it has encountered bottlenecks in its delivery processes.

in India is still in its nascent stage. According to Mr M N Kumta, founder of Lean Management Technologies (LMT) an organisation dedicated to promoting lean manufacturing practices in India lean management is not a technique alone, its a philosophy of business that has to be imbibed by the top leadership of the company and percolated down the line. In India, unfortunately, people at the top mostly pay only lip-service to this business philosophy; they need to understand this philosophy and apply it wholeheartedly to their systems and processes for lean management to yield substantial and significant results, says Mr Kumta.

There are no shortcuts to going lean, says Mr Kumta, who embarked on the lean journey when he joined Mahindra & Mahindra as a consultant in 1993. Having travelled extensively in Japan and having had the opportunity to observe Japanese management practices from close quarters, Mr Kumta feels India still has a long way to go so far as application of lean management techniques goes. The cornerstone principle of lean, to quote Lean Management guru Dr James P Womack, is you always start with the customer and ask what the customer really wants. It sounds like the easiest thing in the world but most companies dont do it. Lean is about tools that create goods and services that offer precise customer value, but with less human effort, less human space, less capital and less time. Use of the Kaizen process, as the Lean Management technique is called, can help companies save energy and also help in the green movement. Lean Management basically means reducing waste from all the walks of work involved in the work place. On its part, the Indian government has initiated several programmes adopting this technique for the uplift of the Indian Small and Medium enterprises.
Lean has to become our religion The Toyota way to go lean

and has to come from the user through innovation. Venu Srinivasan Chairman & MD, TVS Motor Company

The Toyota Production System is also termed as Lean Management / Manufacturing by some quarters of the industrial analysts. The term Lean Management was coined after a study conducted by the MIT research team, as it found out that the TPS was based on the basic principle of taking maximum output by wasting the minimum resources. So, the Toyota Production System has many tools/ ways to manage their daily operations, like inventory management and production planning, control etc. Hence, TPS can be used for any type of industry as this system has been tried and tested by Toyota successfully for so many years now that the company is now the number one in its field automobile. Toyotas journey with Lean Management may have actually started back in 1934 when it moved from textiles to produce its first car. Kiichiro Toyoda, founder of Toyota, directed the engine casting work and discovered many problems in their manufacture. He decided he must stop the repairing of poor quality by intense study of each stage of the process. In 1936, when Toyota won its first truck contract with the Japanese government, his processes hit new problems and he developed the Kaizen improvement teams.

The Bengaluru-based Indian public sector aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) is now planning to go lean in its management hierarchy. We currently have around 10-11 officer levels and we intend to reduce this to five, Ananth Agasthya, HALs Executive Director (Training), was quoted saying recently. The company, meanwhile, had earlier gone lean in its manufacturing processes. Seeing global aerospace majors embracing the lean process, HAL decided to adopt the process back in December 2003. Starting the project at its foundry unit, HAL has since extended its implementation to other units in a systematic and phased manner. The company also formed lean resource teams (LRT) whose members now around 100 conducted lean awareness training. HAL followed this up with 5S drive and Kaizen events called Parivarthan Chamatkar in 2006. In management terminology, the 5S refers to a list of five Japanese words, namely, Seiri (Sort),

These methods are so hard that companies will only try them when they are desperate. Taiichi Ohno Architect of Toyota Production System

Seiton (Set in order), Seiso (Sweeping), Seiketsu (Standardizing) and Shitsuke (Sustaining), that together denote a philosophy of organising the workplace. With the implementation of the lean manufacturing process, HAL has been able to cut its aircraft engine dismantling time from 72 days to 39 days, engine overhaul to 99 days from 149 days and servicing a full aircraft to 3.78 months from 5.48 months, revealed Agasthya.

Lean is about more than just cutting costs in the factory. Companies must often look beyond the shopfloor to find opportunities for improving overall company cost and performance. An excellent example of how this can be effectively done is provided by Fiserv, a Fortune 500 company that provides IT services to the BFSI sector worldwide. The company, which started its India operations in 2005, works on the core philosophy of striving always Quality in all things. We believe that the quality of products we deliver to our customers is the indicator of how well we operate and manage, says Rashim Arora, General Manager, Quality Assurance, Fiserv India Pvt Ltd. The challenge in moving lean to services is the lack of widely available reference implementations to allow people to see how it can work and the impact that it has. This makes it more difficult to build the level of belief, seen as necessary for strong implementation. Moreover, the manufacturing examples of techniques or tools need to be translated into a service context, which has not yet received the level of work or publicity that would give starting points for implementers. The upshot of this is that each implementation often feels its way along, as must the early industrial engineers of Toyota. This places huge importance upon sponsorship to encourage and protect these experimental developments.