World class plant is the end result of world class work culture. There is a lot of difference between desire and act. In India, many entrepreneur speaks to their employees that they want to build up a world class organization, but in real life the way they operates doesn’t leads the organization towards that goal.
I have seen in my four decades of work experience in Indian companies driven by small, medium and large entrepreneurs that these organizations are greatly focused on immediate results and business realizations. To achieve those immediate goals they don’t mind to disrupt/demolish the previously laid down good rules to move towards world class.
Now, what is our understanding about world class standard? Since India is a developing country, I have not seen any operating standard which is developed indigenously. We traditionally look towards Europe, USA and Japan to find out a better way of doing things. That is not bad. These countries have done lots of research, experimentation, innovation and trial and errors and finally arrived at a level of standard which is saleable to under develop or developing countries like ours.
That is good and acceptable in my thinking, but I think we really can’t adopt those systems and cultures straight way on its face value. That doesn’t yield the same end result in our country, as it was delivering at the other part of the world. I have lots of example to support my opinion.Way behind 1992, I had been working in an organization, which was a renowned Indian machine tool manufacturing company having six or seven collaborations with world famous German manufacturers and was literally a very well organized set up. That time ISO9000 system was paving it’s way in to India and that company was probably one of the first few to implement it.
There was a great mismatch between real life situation and life described/documented in papers. People liked to work as the way they were comfortable to do their job and later documenting it in the paper for the sake of compliance, so that they don’t get caught during internal or external audit on the wrong foot. There was a fear in mind that bad result in audit will have negative effect in their salary revision and promotion. I have seen people requesting auditors for reduction of number of non-conformities (NCRs).
What I want to emphasize that, no doubt ISO9000 is a great system but does it absolutely gel with prevailing way of doing business in India? Are India matured enough (even after so many years) to embrace the soul of this system? Or alternatively, do we need to evolve this system completely aligned with the Indian style of working and make it come out of the A4 size sheet and walk on the floor in real life?
Another well discussed and well known topic is 5S on the shop floor and office .I was first exposed to it in1995 when I joined a professionally managed medium scale Indian manufacturing company. The company hired renowned consultant/s, who gave extensive training to the work force, published reading materials for the workers and 5S got implemented on the shop floor with much vigour and ecstasy. Again within next couple of weeks or may be within couple of days, it was visibly started going back to its pre 5S status despite of occasional push from the senior officials. And after that 5S was only living in the mind of few, who used to say that “we are eager to maintain 5S but the workforce are not at all aligned. They keep on deviating from it.”
Finally 5s became an occasional ritual before the visit of any top officials or important customer. People would stop regular work for half a day before those visits and put back everything in place, clean up unwanted materials, dust the floor and machinery, brush up paints at places in an attempt to make the visitor believe that this is a model plant.
Since then, I have worked with three Indian big and medium size companies, out of which one was among the top player in its field across the globe, but the situation were never different anywhere.Why this was so or still the same situation is prevailing across the organizations is a million rupees (not dollars) question and probably need an in-depth socio-cultural research.
(Reproduction of Publication on October 22, 2015 in LinkedIn, in order to get all my scattered write ups in one platform.)