An educative section in ‘Daily Management the TQM Way: A key to success in Tata Steel’ by Yukihiro Ando and Pankaj Kumar (www.pqp.in) is about the discrepancies found in Tata Steel in 2005.
“The roles and objectives of all the departments/ sections were not clearly established and understood, and therefore the identification of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) was not systematically arrived at on a scientific basis,” reads the first point in the list.
Further down in the list are findings such as – that KPIs were monitored and analysed mostly for average values, without paying attention to dispersion/ spread and variability; that there was no system to ensure that all the abnormalities were captured and corrective and preventive actions were taken based on a systematic root cause analysis using data and fact; that KPIs were being monitored under various improvement initiatives separately with no integration, resulting in duplication of efforts; and that the knowledge of SPC (Statistical Process Control) tools (e.g. control charts) among the employees was inadequate.
All this despite the fact that prior to 2004-05 the company had implemented ISO 9001/TS 16949 Quality Management, ISO 14001 Environmental Management, and OHSAS 18001 Occupational Health and Safety Management systems at all its divisions and departments; also, TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) had been implemented in all the manufacturing and maintenance departments.
Daily Management activities during this period comprised tracking and monitoring of various KPIs to meet their goals and objectives on a regular basis at various levels of the organisational structure, and taking corrective and preventive actions wherever required (in cases of non-conformities) as per these systems, the authors narrate.
The objective of Daily Management, as Anand Sen of Tata Steel outlines in the foreword, is to maintain and sustain the current level of performance. He rues that the importance of Daily Management is often undermined owing to the general assumption that current practices and systems are always consistent and therefore do not require regular tightening. “Presence of a good working system is often not appreciated or experienced; however, the absence of the system creates a lot of pain,” Sen reminds.
Though the basic ideas of Daily Management are very simple and may sound commonsensical, it is not easy to implement commonsense in your daily job, caution Ando and Kumar. “If you have some experience working as a team or a member in an organisation, you may know how difficult it is to realise this commonsense in your practical job.”
Post the diagnosis in 2005, the company established a standardised approach for integrating daily management activities in various functions such as operations, maintenance, and services, one learns. The result was a ‘Daily Management Workbook,’ communicated to all the units and departments across the organisation for uniform deployment.
The major challenge, as the authors inform, was to migrate to a system of identifying and tracking the appropriate process KPIs and stabilising them, which in turn would help deliver the products and services with the quality specified by the customer in a consistent manner.
What is significant is that the company has established multiple platforms to enable the sharing of best practices among the departments. For instance, each month, one department shares its practices on the ‘MD-online network,’ which connects the managing director and all the employees of the company through an audio-video system. Another example is the annual one-day Daily Management Conference, in which more than 500 employees at all levels participate and best practices from within the company as well as from other Deming award-winning companies in the country are discussed and shared with all, for horizontal deployment.