Driving Breakthrough Business Results

Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) along with Breakthrough Management Group International (India) as the Knowledge Partner organized the 5thedition of the Lean Six Sigma Summit in March 2014 at The Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi. The theme for the summit this year was “Driving Breakthrough Business Results” to showcase how organizations are achieving business goals and making breakthrough results happen through Lean Six Sigma.

Summit Highlights

Inaugurating the Summit, Mr Prateek Garg, Chairman, CII Western UP Council & Managing Director & CEO Progressive Infotech, talked about the Lean Six Sigma Summit becoming a forum to learn strategies, methodologies and perspectives for increasing competitiveness and creating opportunities that can contribute significantly to businesses. He observed that the Summit has been a success accelerating sustainable business advantage ie meeting the needs of the present without compromising future needs. He elaborated on how organisations accelerating on Operational Excellence extensively and continuously explore new methods and techniques for driving visible change in businesses. Lastly, he talked about how Lean Six Sigma provides a strategic edge in the market place by getting organizations to think systematically and holistically in identifying the highest value solutions and planning for future change.

Mr Naresh Raisinghani, CEO & Executive Director, BMGI shared how organizations can make transformation happen. Sharing his quarter of a century analysis of various companies that underwent change, he talked about three best practices that have enabled businesses to deliver breakthrough results.

The first one is to take up critical projects that are directly linked to corporate goals and help their achievement. The second best practice pertained to the role of the Leadership Team in the Operational Excellence journey. According to Mr Raisinghani, the Leadership Team has to be at the forefront and actively involved in selecting projects aligned with business, assigning the right people, and finally conducting project and program reviews. His third best practice pertained to “Embedding Transformation into Practitioners and not vice versa”. Although it is critical to have a Team of Improvement Practitioners, what is more critical is to have the larger organization believe and actively participate in the Excellence journey. Only then can a Culture of Excellence be created within the organization.

Mr I V Rao, Director, Maruti Automotive Centre of Excellence (MACE), shared how Lean Six Sigma has emerged as the most successful Operational Excellence methodology globally. He iterated that Lean Six Sigma provides tangible gains in compared to other methodologies that provide visionary roadmaps and concepts, but do not match up in terms of results. Considering that the manufacturing sector in India is now beginning to matter at the global stage in the midst of changing global realities, Operational Excellence will be a key factor in providing an edge to this sector in the face of global competition. As a case in point, he shared that MACE was formed by Maruti &its key component manufacturers with an effort to take its Supply Chain to a much higher level of performance.

The inaugural address was given by Mr Ajay Shankar, Member Secretary - National ManufacturingCompetitiveness Council, Govt of India. He talked about the need for a transformation in manufacturing, which was an imperative and something was well within the country’s grasp. He highlighted the need for Excellence in manufacturing in order to drive inclusive growth. Mr Shankar cited examples of China, Japan and Korea as examples where their focus on Excellence has enabled the country’s transformation and their arrival at a global stage. Referring to a study that was aimed at understanding the perception of global CEO’s on different countries with respect to their competitiveness in manufacturing, he shared that India was ranked in the fourth position and was expected to reach the second spot in 5 years (even ahead of Japan and Korea). Manufacturing Excellence would have a key role to play in India making the climb.

Mr Jason Gates, Instantis Specialist – Asia Pacific Oracle, Australia, talked about the deployment roadmap and the result-oriented focus of an improvement initiative in an organization. He stressed on the importance of thinking as an outside-in organization, keeping in mind the needs of the customer at all times. He talked about the Continuous Improvement Maturity Model which would help in cascading improvements across the organization. The CIMM model gives a life-cycle view of the entire deployment in terms of five levels against which an organization can benchmark itself. He also talked about the importance of Leadership’s involvement in the continuous improvement initiative. Lastly, he summarized that improvement initiatives should speak through results and their impact on the bottom-line of the organization and only that would sustain the culture of improvement in an organization.

Mr Malolan Sarangapani, AVP- Delivery Excellence& Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Cognizant Technology Solutions talked about the need for cost effectiveness due to high input cost, rising customer demand & expectations and the ever rising pressure to improve operating margins. He then went ahead to explain the manner in which costs could be cut in a radical manner. Mr Sarangapani provided an integrated approach based on his past experiences in the domain of cost cutting. The approach consisted of traditional productivity improvement, continuous improvement approach through Lean Six Sigma & pure-play financial control. He stressed on the importance of an effective synergy between the three approaches which would lead to the success of the integrated approach. In terms of execution of the integrated model, Mr Sarangapani listed four important aspects: linking projects to a time-bound approach, piloting in one area and then the effective roll-out throughout the organization, involving all functions of the organization and go as far as even involving the suppliers and customers to the extent possible and selecting the best people to lead the initiatives.

Mr John Flintham, Senior Managing Director, Amtek Auto Limited talked about the resistance of people to change as being the biggest roadblock in terms of implementation of an improvement initiative. He talked about Lean Six Sigma as a tool to raise the bar of quality and its importance for Indian companies to resist international competition and retain market share. He shared how Lean Six Sigma provides companies to respond faster to changing market conditions. For effective Lean Six Sigma implementation, Mr Flintham stressed on the involvement and commitment of Senior Leadership to the improvement initiative.

Mr Balaji Rajagopalan, Executive Director - Operations & Lean Six Sigma, Xerox India, shared his views on how to make Customer Delight happen. His first message was the importance of understanding the customer requirements and re-confirming the same; as simple and obvious as it sounds, this point is not always followed through on. Further, he advocated the need to carry out only those activities that truly added value to customer. This could be addressed by asking a question of each process/activity: Is the customer willing to pay for this process / activity? “Customers don’t see averages, customers see extremes”, highlighted Mr Rajagopalan. The goal thus is to ensure that there are minimal extremes in customer experiences. This can be achieved by knowing what the customers want and by reducing variation in final delivery. Lastly, he talked about Xerox’s 3R + V model, which stands for Reliable delivery to customer, being Responsive to their needs/requests and building Relationships with customer; the combination of these three would translate into increased customer value.

Mr Shrikant Savangikar, Director - Business Excellence, Quality & Sustainability, SKFIndia talked about how to use Excellence related means to create engaged employees. Mr Savangikar stressed on the need for making work enjoyable for employees that would enable them to drive improvements. He also warned against too much standardisation that could lead to employees working in a mechanical way.Citing SKF’s example, he suggested various methods to build employee engagement. He highlighted SKF’s practice of Daily Management as an effective way to get employees together to discuss the happenings of the previous day and planning the current day. Mr Savangikar also talked about building a true suggestion scheme as another engagement method that involved all employees across the hierarchy.

Mr Saurabh Gupta, Head – Process Excellence at ABD-ILTD, ITC, shared his experience of how Lean Six Sigma was being used to drive a cultural breakthrough at the Agri-Business Division of ITC. As part of their approach, Mr Gupta highlighted on the need for Excellence efforts to be aligned to the organization’s business goals as well as the need to link improvements made to the P&L statement. Leading from the front in ensuring this alignment and in pushing the culture change is the Chief Executive Officer at ILTD. Citing the need for creating a critical mass, Mr Gupta showcased how their cultural transformation was being fuelled by ensuring participation of over 35% of the mid-to-senior employees. Lastly, he talked about the need to reward success, which was being done through a “Star of the Fortnight” as well as by formally recognizing the efforts of all the successful Project Leaders.

The last session at the Summit was an interactive thematic discussion amongst the participants. The goal of the session was to have the participants share best practices on specific focus areas. A snapshot of the best practices is provided below:

Theme 1: People Productivity & Efficiency

Theme 2: Sigma Designing a Lean Plant

  1. Reduce human intervention by low cost automation and technology upgradation
  2. Simplify the processes / Design processes in a manner that all employees can understand and follow
  3. Educate employees on how their job links to business objectives
  1. Establish a pull system
  2. Establish single piece flow
  3. Improve process speed by eliminating non-value add activities

Theme 3: Sustaining Lean Six

Theme 4: Radical Cost Transformation

  1. Select projects that are aligned to business objectives and long term mission & vision
  2. Work to make Lean Six Sigma as part of the organizational DNA
    • mandating it through KPI’s / KRAs
    • introducing Reward & Recognition schemes
    • provide recognized certification for Improvement Practitioners as an incentive
  3. Invest in employees through training that the Leadership Team is an active part of
  1. Reduction in large waste in manufacturing through the introduction of a flag (auto-stop) that prevents inducing further waste in the process
  2. In case of service businesses, work to have the customer carry out specific tasks that would otherwise require company personnel (such as Internet banking / Mobile banking)

About BMGI

Breakthrough Management Group International (BMGI), a global consulting firm with a strong focus on delivering results, partners with organizations in various stages of their business life cycle to transform their business performance. BMGI enables businesses drive growth and improve profitability. Headquartered in the US, BMGI has developed a loyal clientele that today exceeds 200 active clients. BMGI has delivered cumulative benefits to its clients worth several billion dollars with an ROI of 5:1 to 20:1.

In India, BMGI is located in Mumbai. BMGI clients are leading Fortune 1000 Global companies and leading Indian companies from diverse industries such as financial services, IT/ITES, airlines, chemicals, FMCG, discrete manufacturing, telecommunications, petrochemical, textiles, biotechnology, healthcare & energy. Few of the major BMGI global clients are Hitachi, Siemens, Philips, Unilever and DeBeers, Indian clients include Vodafone, ICICI Bank, Asian Paints, Reliance Industries &Cognizant.

BMGI is known to be one of the most effective thought leaders in the Business / Management Consulting space and has gained world-wide attention through its several international bestselling books such as The Innovators Toolkit, Design for Lean Six Sigma, A Team Leader’s Guide to Lean Kaizen Events and many more.

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