Process improvement is a no brainer. It’s the only way for an organisation to survive and thrive in a competitive environment. Proactively devising and implementing better, more efficient ways of achieving an end result and doing away with all that’s unnecessary is an idea which should be at heart of any business’ growth philosophy. There’s no greater business truth than this.
At L&T, it’s the mantra we live by. For businesses across the group, no matter what the stream, continuous process improvement is, for the lack of a better phrase, a way of life. There’s a systemic approach to identifying better, more cost-effective methods of doing things. An unforced desire to exceed the benchmarks already in place. With a view to recognise process improvement initiatives, in 2017 the Company instituted Pi Awards to honour stand-out initiatives to encourage continuation of such efforts.
On August 4, 2017, at the grand finale of the 2017 Pi Awards held in Powai, six teams from across different businesses presented their case in a bid to be crowned the champion process innovator in front of an esteemed jury and senior L&T-ites. Chosen from 294 entries from businesses across the group from functions including design, engineering, manufacturing, quality, services, and project execution, the six finalists were shortlisted after a rigorous analysis by jurists comprising senior L&T-ites from different businesses of L&T. The top 6 teams which made it to the finals fell under three categories viz. Manufacturing, EPC and Services.
The event was graced by a number of seniors including Mr. Yogi Sriram, Sr. Vice President, Corporate Human Resources and Mr. S.C. Bhargava, Sr. Vice President, Electrical & Automation IC. There were also Prof. S Bhargava, Chair Professor & Head, S J School of Management, IIT-Bombay and Mr. Ravi Arora, Vice President, Group Technology & Innovation office at Tata Sons invited especially for to be the jurors for the grand finale.
Delivering the inaugural address for the finale, Mr. Sriram congratulated the six finalists and all the other teams which entered the contest but failed to make it to the last round. Noting that it was immensely heartening to see the high-level of interest in process improvement, he said that it was the secret to L&T’s continued success. Mr. Sriram spoke of “creative destruction” and how it was essential for moving forward. “Process improvement is a journey and in it one has to learn to let go of old thoughts and start with new ones. Innovation holds the key to any process improvement initiative and good innovators are ones who are constantly looking to learn and adapt,” he said.
Mr. Sriram also urged the attendees to learn from those around them and their competition and “copy” since according to him great innovations weren’t always the result of an original idea and it was better implementation that led to great things. “Innovation is about putting things into practice, better than anyone else,” he added. Learning, which is essential to any process improvement project, is another major theme encouraged by L&T. The company to help its employees learn, set up an online portal called ATL (short for Any Time Learning), offering online courses which can be accessed by employees easily on a device of their choosing at a time of their convenience. An extremely popular employee initiative, thousands have benefitted from ATL since its launch nearly a decade ago. Immediately following his speech Mr. Sriram launched ATLNext, the new revamped version of L&T’s e-learning platform. In its new avatar the portal promised to enrich the learning experiences by making content access more seamless and intelligent – the platform now employs a smart AI engine to recommend courses and content to users based on their profile and areas of interest.
Also released on the occasion was a compendium featuring the top six process improvement projects and the best entry from each business for the benefit of everyone wanting to learn from the successful initiatives. The jury members Prof. S Bhargava and Mr. Ravi Arora did the honours.
Over the next hour and half, the six finalists shortlisted for the finale presented their case studies one after another. They were each given 10 minutes to convince the jury of the worthiness of their idea. After each presentation the two member jury would grill the presenters on a number of key issues right from the uniqueness of the project and methodology used to the business impact and overall sustainability of the idea. The six teams to compete at the Pi Awards Finale included: Heavy Civil Infrastructure, Shared Services Centre (Head Office), Heavy Engineering, L&T Valves, Corporate Internal Controls & Corporate Audit Services (Head Office), and Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited.
After the presentations, as the jurors deliberated between themselves to decide the winner the programme coordinators acknowledged the 47 senior experienced jury members from across businesses for evaluating the entries during the previous rounds. Of all, those who could make it to the finale event were felicitated with special mementos. The CoE partners too were felicitated on the occasion for their cooperation and unstinting support to various training programs and consulting interventions.
Next, the teams that made it to the second round of the competition and were ranked as the best entry from their respective ICs were honoured. Felicitated by one of the jurors, Professor Bhargava the Best Entry Award went to projects on:
Total Employee Involvement through Kaizen at Industrial Machinery & Products
Relocation without disruption at Construction & Mining MachineryCoke Drum System Package (CDSP) for Delayed Coker Unit for Aishwarya Project at L&T Hydrocarbon Engineering
Development of narrow groove SAW welding at L&T Power
Innovation & implementation of Pole Climbing device with fall arrest system for 100 % fall prevention at Power Transmission & Distribution
In-house Design and Development of Exhaust Systems for Ships at L&T Shipbuilding
Improving process efficiency of Vertical Machining Center by reducing or eliminating the downtime losses in the machine at Electrical & Automation
Development of IT City, Mohali at Water & Effluent Treatment
A special award for ‘Most active IC in operational excellence journey’ was presented to team Electrical & Automation before announcing the winner’s name. After receiving the award, the representative from E&A gave the attendees an overview of how the IC ensures operational excellence through a firmly entrenched systemic approach for continuous improvement branded as ELITE (E&A’s Lean Initiative towards Excellence).
The team from L&T Valves was chosen as the winner for 2017 edition of the Pi Awards for its multi-fold capacity enhancement through Operational Transformation to meet surges in customer demand.
Mr. H Shunmugavel and his team comprising Mr. J Suresh, Mr. T P Viswanathan, Mr. M Raja, Mr. K Kulasekaran, Mr. K Shivakumar, Mr. P Sankar, Mr. K S Hari, Mr. K S Mahesh Kumar, and Mr. T Kalidass were felicitated by Mr. S.C. Bhargava and the dignitaries gathered on the occasion amid loud cheers and applause.
Towards the end of the ceremony Mr. S.C. Bhargava delivered an address in which he congratulated all the winners and the participants and called on all L&T-ites to continue to make process improvement an integral part of their routine.The programme ended with the core team responsible for the Pi Awards including Dr. Rajiv Sinha, M N Prasad, Nilesh Rathod, Ankur Chaudhary, Rohan Pachpore and Swapnil Mane joining the hosts Taresh Varshney & Shardul Toro on the dais for a celebratory photo op.