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Voltas adopts practices in quality management from Tata Steel Downstream Products

Published on April 09, 2021

Voltas wanted to improve its quality management and HR practices for contract workmen and wished to learn best practices in these areas from Tata Steel Downstream Products (TSDPL). Accordingly, in September 2020, Tata Business Excellence Group (TBExG) facilitated the sharing of TSDPL’s practices around quality management and HR practices for contract workmen with Voltas.

Quality management and continuous improvement

Voltas has three manufacturing facilities — two at Pantnagar, Uttarakhand (one each for air conditioners and commercial refrigeration) and another one at Waghodia in Gujarat for high-end central cooling equipment. These are medium-scale manufacturing units in terms of workforce and physical size of the facility. Voltas was critically analysing the deployment of quality tools such as Six Sigma, Kaizen, 5S, quality circles and total productive maintenance (TPM) in these plants.

Accordingly, on September 15, 2020, Ashok Balyan, Chief of Operations, Faridabad, TSDPL, provided insights on ‘Quality and Continuous Improvement’, to Voltas employees. He elaborated on TSDPL’s experience of deploying TPM — Jishu Hozen Pillar, Quality Control Circle and Daily Work Management.

After gaining valuable knowledge through the interaction, Voltas initiated deployment of 5S in its UPBG-Product Solutions Waghodia manufacturing plant in a structured manner. The following improvements have been made to 5S deployment:

  • Created 5S implementation roadmap
  • Created a step-by-step implementation stage:
    • Created Apex body and governance team to monitor the 5S programme
    • Identified 12 zones in the plant layout. Zone leaders, members, champion and Chairman were selected for each zone
    • Shared the 5S implementation roadmap with the team
    • Assigned roles and responsibilities to each zone leader, member and champion, and shared it with the team
    • Involved each member of the Waghodia plant in the 5S implementation
    • Provided classroom training to leaders, members and workmen
    • Created an audit committee and assigned the audit schedule where auditors have frequently audited the zones
  • Implemented 1S successfully and 2s and 3s are in progress. Implementation of 5S is likely to be completed by May 2021
  • Team members who have contributed towards the implementation of the 5S journey at Waghodia plant will be recognised through the High5 R&R programme
  • Learnings and best practices around 5S implementation are being shared with other manufacturing plants of Voltas through internal knowledge-sharing sessions

Participant Speak

The 5S implementation journey at Waghodia plant is our moral responsibility. We will perform with spirit and determination.

Kanubhai Brahmbhatt, Head - Production and Maintenance, and Ratan Kalal, Safety Officer, from Voltas

HR practices for contract workmen

Due to high attrition, the HR team at Voltas is faced with the challenge of having to train recruits regularly. It was desirous of understanding how TSDPL addressed the issues of grooming the contract workforce, as well as ensuring their productivity and engagement.

On September 21, 2020, in an engagement facilitated by TBExG, S Anantha Rama Krishnan, CHRO, TSDPL, shared the company’s practices regarding learning & development and regularisation of contract workforce, with employees from Voltas.

Members from Voltas were able to appreciate the concept of ‘Dronacharyas’, who are experienced associates responsible for training and developing fellow associates and the contract workforce. Upskilling of the contract workforce becomes more convenient as they learn through the experience of these ‘Dronacharyas’. To create a culture of continuous learning and improvement, TSDPL has also instituted a Dronacharya award.

Other concepts discussed in the session were:

  • House-training modules for classroom training
  • Offline practical training
  • Conduct of examinations
  • Issue of skill card
  • Need and skill-based training
  • Multi-skilling
  • Involvement of skilled workforce in upcoming projects

After this session, Voltas has started the in-house training programme at the Waghodia plant for contract and general staff. The company has nominated its management staff for classroom and offline practical training. General staff (Dronacharya concept) have been identified and will help with offline practical training as and when required. This initiative is improving plant output, productivity, reduction in rejection, rework and multi-skilling.

Participant Speak

We have trained 40 contract workmen including eight women for the brazing skill. Earlier availability of brazer was a major challenge for us, for our production line. Now we have no issue as we have developed it in-house through classroom, practice training and qualification as per AASME section IX. We are in the process of developing a team for welding, pressure testing, vacuuming, gas charging, wiring and painting.

Kanubhai Brahmbhatt, Head - Production and Maintenance, Voltas, UPBG-Product Solution, Waghodia Manufacturing Plant (Factory Manager)

The level of expertise and knowledge brought in for the sessions significantly contributed to our exercise. In addition, I appreciate the encouraging attitude of TSPDL and their willingness to explain details. I would like to thank TBExG for helping us in driving continuous improvement programmes towards the path of excellence.

Shivarudrappa Biradar, Senior Manager, Business Excellence, BIG, Voltas