Mercedes Benz……. Continuation of my previous blog

Last week, I had blogged aout the growing sales of Merced cars in India.


Sunday New Indian Express reported – in a small report – Ashok Leyland sold 7878 Commercial Vehicles in November !  A mere 53% increase YoY !!!


If vehicle sales drop, or if there is even a minor blip in the IIP, we will see Screaming headlines in Newspaper – not only of the pink variety – and TV anchors of even mainline TV channels would have shouted themselves hoarse.  But an important news of a big jump in sales in a sector that is supposed to be facing a slowing market, seems to deserve only mere mention  at the bottom of the page !  Strange are the priorities of some people.


Anyway, if we re-look at this piece of news, one thing that comes to mind is that the market seems to have shrugged of the impact of high interest rates, and there is greater demand for transportation !


In a similar vain, another piece of news on Monday quotes an Audi official saying their sales are on course and that they are confident of achieving the target.

This brings me back to what Eli Goldratt said in 2009, some parts of the economy is affected, but it doesn’t mean there is a recession.  Lets focus on producing more, selling more and creating more wealth which alone in the the long run will ensure peace and prosperity for every Indian.




Shigeo Shingo and his Revolutionary SMED

A Revolution in Manufacturing

It is rightly said “Necessity is the Mother of Invention”. This is what led Dr. Shigeo Shingo, a manufacturing expert who served as consultant in TOYOTA and several other Japanese Companies and is widely known as the father of Toyota production, to think of a methodology that can reduce, if not totallyeliminate, any  wastage in the manufacturing process.

Dr. Shingo, rated as the 2nd best industrial thinker of the 20th century, after Henry Ford, introduced the methodology of SMED – Single Minute Exchange of Dies.  This method is also called, “Quick Change Over (QCO)” which solved a very major problem of changing the dies for TOYOTA in the late 1950’s. The dies on the large- transfer stamping machines that produce car vehicle bodies must be changed for each model which took a minimum of twelve hours and a maximum of three days to complete earlier. Shingo improvised his QCO methodology and placed précised measurement devices and installed the die against the measurements recorded for each model die. This process of quick change over and accurate measurement cut down the lag time to mere hour and a half.   Later, under Dr Shingo’s guidance the Toyota Manufacturing team, led by Taiichi Ohno, were able to bring it down further to under 10 minutes !  Today, they easily do it in abut a minute !  

Dr. Shingo has introduced many methods for improvement in the manufacturing process and was the author of many path breaking books in the field of industrial manufacturing. His book “A Revolution in Manufacturing: The SMED System” explained the QCO methodology in detail and is being used world over to save time and wastage. A similar example is of a motorcycle factory that makes mudguards by pressing the metal sheets. In this case too, the die in a mammoth press machine has to be changed for each model. This process of changing the die and starting the machine for the next production took almost ten hours. With the adaptation of SMED methodology and further consultation with experts and reworking the system, the chagover time between the production of two models of mudguards reduced from 10 hours to 2 hours and further to just 1minute 22seconds.

Another great piece of work by the effective implementation of internal and external setup methodology devised by Shingo and explained in detail n the book cited, is the Aravind Eye Hospital at Madurai in Tamilnadu, India. Aravind is the largest provider of eye care services and trainer of ophthalmic personnel in the world. Generally, 1 eye surgeon can perform 5 cataract surgeries in a day. The Aravind eye hospital with its aim to eradicate needless blindness adopted the internal and external setup methodology. It made several changes in their setup like placing multiple operation beds in a large hall, 1 surgeon was allocated to only 2 patients to be operated consecutively, also 2 helping nurses and 2 running nurses were appointed for both the patients. Today 1 surgeon of the Aravind Eye Hospital can perform 25 cataract surgeries in a day without compromising the quality. There is a case study based on Aravind Eye Hospital at the Harvard Business School that discusses the effective implementation of processes to ensure that quality and quantity are maintained at the Aravind Eye Hospital. The hospital earns a surplus every year in spite of performing nearly 70% of its surgeries for free.

All these are the perfect examples of effective implementation of methodologies. Several companies worldwide are adopting Shegio Shingo’s process and methods to reduce the time and wastage of resources and improve the production capacity and results for their organization.

‘ToC abandons local measures and focuses on global picture’

‘ToC abandons local measures and focuses’

So says the title of Vikram Chaudhary’s interview of my good friend Sanjay Ghoshal in The Financial Express of 12th Dec 2011.

In this interview, Sanjay a founder director of Avenir Management Services articulates in his own distinct style noted for its clarity and directness the basic principles and applications of Theory of Constraints.

Sanjay is long time practitioner of ToC in India.  He’s rated so high that for a brief while, at the request of Dr Goldratt himself, Sanjay was the Regional Director of Goldratt Consulting.  Over the years Sanjay has deepened his knowledge of ToC by applying across businesses and across various functions.  

I was introduced to Sanjay many years ago by our mutual friend Ravi Gilani.  One days, Ravi called me and asked me to come over to Le Meridient hotel in Madras at 4 pm.  He said, “Cheenu please take the trouble to come down because I want you to meet someone interesting”.  When Ravi says someone is interesting, thenhe must indeed be someone who Ravi holds in high esteem.  So off I went.  They were sitting in the lobby.  Ravi introduced Sanjay and described him as the master of SoS, which when expanded means, Solutions for Sales.  SoS is the ToC solton for Sales.  In those days SoS was an independ

Social Media Marketing and the Consumer – the Reality

Everyone is writing about it, all Marketing Gurus and Marketing Experts are talking about it.  Seminars, Workshops, Webinars are being conducted all the time on Social Media Marketing. Every company worth its salt has opened a FB page. It’s the in thing these days.

My experience with Social Media pages of companies throughout this year has been rather disappointing. The reality I encountered makes me wonder if any of the parties mentioned above take the whole idea of Social Media Marketing seriously.

Leading Through Empowering People

An  article in a recent issue of The Mint titled, The best book on leadership that I have read: 10 Must Reads On Leadership

Read more at:

interested me a lot.  Mr P R Sanjai, who has written this piece talked to Ms Abanti Sankaranarayanan, Managing Director of Diageo India, who made a surprise pick of this book, which she says truly inspired her.  She selected Harvard Business Review’s 10 Must Reads on Leadership, which contains 10 selected chapters on Leadership.  Written by leading thinkers like Peter Drucker, John Kotter and others.  After combing hundreds of HBR articles, the editors have compiled these ten pieces which seek to help one’s own and one’s organisation’s performance.

This book will inspire the reader to motivate others to excel, build self confidence of team members, help bring about positive change, encourage smart risk-taking,, manage with empathy, increase self-awareness and draw strength from adversity.  All important to every successful leaders.

No wonder Ms Sankaranarayanan helped her in developing her own leadership style.

The book analyses the challenges in managing people and identifying what really motivates people. It also discusses how to deal with problem employees and how one can build a team that is greater than the sum of its parts.

important to any successful leader.

No wonder

Rubber the naturally occurring wonder material

Rubber is a naturally occurring winder material.

Some historians sa Rubber has been in use since 1300 BC ! Wow that’s a long long time

Rubber was originally found in South America

But it is the invention and subsequent growth of the automobile industry that gave a fillip to the use of rubber.

Today, rubber is an important raw material in the manufacture of automotive tyres, rubber sheets, mattresses, several bushes washers and other industrial products as well as adhesives.

Today it is grown mostly in Asia.  Currently Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, China, SriLanka and Vietnam are the major Rubber growing countries As the demand for Rubber grows, Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh and some African countries may also become big growers.

Natural Rubber (NR) is a pure biopolymer since it obtained entry from a tropical plant.As it is an agricultural product, NR is renewable.  It is carbon neutral like all plant products.  With depleting oil reserves NR will assume greater importance.

I recently came across a rally high quality book about Natural Rubber titled: Chemistry, Manufacture, and Applications of Natural RubberDr Shinzo Khjiya who is Emeritus Professor at Kyoto University and Dr Yuko Ikeda an Associate Professor of Chemistry and Material Technology at the Kyoto Institute of Technology.  It is comprehensive book with each chapter being contributed by well known experts from around the globe.  Contributors includeDr K Cornish of Ohio State Univeristy, Dr J E Puskas of Akron Engineering Research Center, Prof P Phinyocheep of Mahidol University in Thailand, Dr a Kato of NISSAN ARC LTD., Japan, Prof T Nakao of University of Tokyo, A  B Nair & R Joseph of our own Cochin University of Science and Technology, and Prof Hashim of Universiti Kuala Lumpur.  The above name is only a partial list.

The growing demand for more sustainable materials has led to increased research on the properties of natural rubber. Chemistry, Manufacture and Applications of Natural Rubber summarizes this research and its significance for the industrial applications of natural rubber.

Chapters in part one explore the properties and processing of natural rubber, including the biosynthesis of natural rubber in different rubber-producing species, chemical modification of natural rubber for improved performance, and the effect of strain-induced crystallization on the physical properties of natural rubber. Further chapters highlight hydrophobic and hydrophilic silica-filled cross-linked natural rubber and computer simulation of network formation in natural rubber. Part two focusses on applications of natural rubber, including eco-friendly bio-composites using natural rubber matrices and reinforcements, soft bio-composites from natural rubber and marine products, natural rubber for the tire industry, the application of epoxidized natural rubber in pressure sensitive adhesives (PSAs), and the use of natural rubber for vibration isolation and earthquake protection of structures. Finally, chapters in part three consider environmental and safety issues associated with natural rubber, including improving the sustainable development of natural rubber, the recycling of natural and synthetic isoprene rubbers and of sulfur cross-linked natural rubber, and recent research on natural rubber latex allergy.

Chemistry, Manufacture and Applications of Natural Rubber is a comprehensive resource for academics, chemists, chemical engineers, mechanical engineers, and other professionals in the rubber industry, as well as those industries, including automotive, civil, and medical engineering, using natural rubber products.

With growing concern for the environment, and anxiety about the depletion and possible eventual exhaustion of Petroleum, the quest for naturally occurring, renewable materials is speeding up.  In this context, the importance of natural rubber will continuously grow.