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Tata BlueScope Steel, Titan and Tata Steel share practices on Continuous Improvement

Published on August 14, 2020

In April, TBExG facilitated three best practice sharing programmes on continuous improvement for Tata companies. In these sessions, Tata BlueScope Steel, Titan and Tata Steel shared their practices with over 150 employees across the group. The initial request for these sessions came from Tata Power-DDL and Infiniti Retail. However, since continuous improvement was a common area of interest, the invite was extended to other Tata companies as well. A snapshot of these sessions is elaborated below:

Tata BlueScope Steel shares its practice of NI₹ANTAR - Continuous Improvement with 26 participants from Tata Power-DDL and seven Tata companies

Tata Power-DDL is working on updating its online continuous improvement platform. Currently, it has three independent continuous platform that are called Prayaas, Quality Control Circles (QCC) and SHINE. While Prayaas and QCC are primarily for field teams, SHINE is for back office teams. The existing platform is based on the DMAIC approach and there is an independent tab for each project type. Tata Power-DDL is now working to shift from the DMAIC approach to the 7 Step PDCA Cycle. Accordingly, it wanted to compare other continuous improvement platforms being used by Tata companies to improve the overall effectiveness of their new system. To assist Tata Power-DDL in its improvement journey, on April 17, 2020, TBExG facilitated an EPIC best practice sharing platform with Tata BlueScope Steel. In addition to Tata Power-DDL being the primary recipient, this knowledge sharing session had participants from Tata Steel Europe, Tata Coffee, ISWPL, Voltas, Nelco, mjunction and Infiniti Retail.

In the two-hour webex session Niranjan Rout, Head, Business Excellence from Tata BlueScope Steel touched upon the following aspects of NI₹ANTAR - Continuous Improvement practice:

1. CI Journey at Tata BlueScope from 2016 till date
2. Ideas/suggestions process workflows and key elements
3. Implementation: Kaizen and projects process workflows and key elements, project charter, methodology and tools used
4. Governance: Evaluation of usefulness of ideas and financial/non-financial impact of implementation, R&R at Functional, Council and Apex levels

Tata Power-DDL would now be evaluating the prospect of leveraging learnings from the session with Tata BlueScope to not only improve its online continuous improvement portal but also enhance employee participation and ensure completion of quality projects. Likewise, other Tata companies too had an opportunity to understand what Tata BlueScope is doing on the continuous improvement front, evaluate their existing process and connecting back to Tata BlueScope Steel in case they need further information.

Customer Speak:

We thank TBExG for its continuous support during the best practice sharing activity. Also, we express our sincere gratitude to Titan and Tata BlueScope Steel for sharing their well-established practices. We have successfully assimilated and institutionalised best practices at Tata Power-DDL through the revamped Continual Improvement Framework SHINE 2.0 and SHINERGY 2.0

—  Harsh Kumar Singh, Head of Group (Business Excellence) – Commercial, Tata Power-DDL

Titan shares its practice of Continuous Improvement through Total Employee Involvement with Infiniti Retail and 14 Tata companies

Employee involvement is a process for empowering members of an organisation to make decisions and solve problems appropriate to their levels. Titan launched this programme with an objective to benefit from the intrinsic motivation derived by involving everyone in organisational improvement.

On April 23, 2020, Paannerselvam C – Head of Operational Excellence & Innovation (Jewellery Division), Titan, and his associate Allwyn Kingsley, Manager, Supply Chain - Titan Fragrances, shared the practice of ‘Continuous Improvement through Total Employee Involvement (TEI)’ with 85 participants from Infiniti Retail and 14 Tata companies.

Titan’s TEI programme is inspired by Prof Tsuda’s model which talks about share of responsibility across the hierarchy. In a traditional organisation an individual’s role is split across stability, improvement and breakthrough ideas. Share of time spend by grassroot employees on improvement and breakthrough ideas is significantly low. Hence, Titan wanted to develop a programme which could involve all employees in improvement and breakthrough ideas.

After analysing challenges faced by current programmes, inputs from employees and external consultants and learnings from other organisations, Titan developed its own TEI programme and named it ‘Impact. Impact is a three-pronged ideation and improvement platform and generates ideas from employees at all levels through the following initiatives:

1. Suggestions: Self-suggested and self-implemented work-place improvement ideas
2. Kaizen: Address identified problems within one’s department through CFTs. Involves use of tools and techniques and leads to improvement in performance/deliverables
3. Innovation: Address unsolved challenges through innovation and research. Involves working on breakthrough ideas that have potential to change the business

The Impact initiative is driven in the organisation with the help of TEI champions, R&R and the online portal to capture all ideas and track status of implementation. Mr Paannerselvam and Mr Kingsley further elaborated on the process flow and implementation for suggestions, Kaizen and Innovation and showcased benefits and solutions implemented from this initiative.

Tata Steel shares its practice of Continuous Improvement with over 58 participants from Infiniti Retail and 10 Tata companies

The month ended with a session on continuous improvement by Tata Steel. While the primary requester for this practice was Infiniti Retail, the invitation was extended to other companies in the group as well so that they can also leverage from this best practice sharing opportunity.

Tata Steel has been pursuing TQM for business excellence formally since the late 1980s. With the vision of becoming a world-class steel company, it adopted various popular improvement initiatives practiced around the world. Most improvements from driven from the top and there was little participation of people on the floor. Therefore, Tata Steel started improvement groups, quality circles, and implemented ISO. While the initial phase of starting this journey was about creating standardisation and awareness, now the focus is to generate EBITDA improvement through its Shikhar initiative, digital and innovation. This journey has not only brought in growth and improvement but also resulted in recognition by various agencies from accreditation on ISO standards for quality systems, JRDQV award, Deming Award and TBEM Industry Leadership award in 2015 and 2018.

In this session, Jaya Singh Panda - Chief of TQM & BE Head, and S C Mishra - Head of TQM & Business Excellence from Tata Steel shared their practices around TQM – from the very beginning to big changes they had witnessed in the last two decades. The presentation elaborated in detail the following four Tata Steel’s TQM vehicles:

1. Policy Management: Systematic approach to decision making and strategy planning process
2. Cross Functional Management: Integrating quality across the value chain
3. Daily Management: Sustenance of current performance through variability measurement
4. Small Group Activities and Manthan on Shop Floor: Employee involvement to drive improvement

TQM is considered culture in the organisation. The concept of TQM is embedded into an employee at the time of induction. Tata Steel also conducts several competencies building and certification programmes on Six Sigma, Theory of Constraints, CCPM and daily management, to name a few. Specialised role based/need-based training is also conducted.

Customer Speak:

We thank TBExG and Titan for an insightful and enriching session. Structured approach, step-wise details of Continuous Improvement (IMPACT) and people involvement was very interesting and a food for thought.

—  Naresh Gavara - General Manager, Business Transformation, Infiniti Retail

These three sessions gave a helicopter view of continual improvement practices at Tata BlueScope, Titan and Tata Steel. It gave attendees an opportunity to reflect at their respective processes, if required connect back to the presenting companies, learn, and improve their processes.

About the EPIC Programme
EPIC (Excellence Practice Implementation Champion) carries forward the Tata Best Practices Programme by helping companies adapt best practices from the group through a structured collaborative process, under the guidance of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) from Best Practice organisations. EPIC is a platform that brings together the provider and the receiver companies together to enable successful adaptation and implementation of best practices.