Indian manufacturing India: Making India Stronger!

Author / Editor: Nedra Pereira, Deputy Editor / Lisa Saller, Lisa Saller

Chief Adviser, Champions for Societal Manufacturing (CSM), Prof Shoji Shiba discusses sustainability and attitude change necessary in the Indian manufacturing sector.

“The sustainable development of industry comes from collaboration between industry and academia.” Chief Adviser, Champions for Societal, Manufacturing (CSM), (Earlier VLFM), Prof Shoji Shiba
“The sustainable development of industry comes from collaboration between industry and academia.” Chief Adviser, Champions for Societal, Manufacturing (CSM), (Earlier VLFM), Prof Shoji Shiba
(Photo: Confederation of Indian Industry (CII))

After your meeting with the late Dr APJ Abdul Kalam in 2004, you decided to stay in India and help improve the Indian manufacturing sector. Please give us a brief overview about the initiatives you believed needed to be taken in India?

Prof Shoji Shiba: Post meeting the late Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, I believed it was necessary to create ‘locomotive companies’—symbolically pulling the Indian manufacturing industry towards future breakthroughs—similar to how Japanese companies such as Honda, Sony, etc., carried out their operations during the 1960–70s. During 2004–2006, we launched a pilot program for a ‘learning community’ where 12 companies were brought together to create visible success stories and demonstrate encouraging results in a short span of time. The success of this program made it possible to initiate the national program after 2006.

In my view, India has many innovative owners and CEOs, but the weakness lies in not possessing immediate subordinates that support these leaders. A leader alone cannot make a transformation; they need people who can drive the transformation. Hence, I created the ‘Real Change Leaders’ program; it is meant for those who will support and help implement the innovative ideas by their CEOs/founders. Today, we have 1,885 ‘Real Change Leaders’ from more than 300 companies in India.

Based on your experience, how do you understand the Indian mindset in manufacturing? What needs to be changed?

Prof Shiba: There are three types of mindsets that need to evolve to make Indian managers globally competitive. The first one is changing the ‘small manufacturing mindset’ to the ‘big manufacturing mindset’. Earlier, Indian managers in manufacturing primarily focused on production. In addition, popular tools that were used in the industry were incremental improvement tools, which had been mainly introduced by CII since 1982.

Manufacturing companies were mostly working to create a product that was designed by someone else or given by a customer. This is called the small ‘m’ mindset. What Indian managers required were tools of breakthrough management—to lead their organizations through drastic changes.

They need to transform themselves to cater to the larger picture in the manufacturing sector by embracing concepts such as total value chain and many aspects of technical and societal changes. This concept is the big ‘M’ mindset—to create a new future perspective.

The second one is the weak execution mindset. I also observed that personal behavior mindsets such as the ‘Me First Attitude’ (MFA), ‘Talk, Talk, Talk’ (TTT) and ‘Pass the Buck’ (PTB) were prevalent in the market. I felt that the introduction of breakthrough management, new concepts and tools, supported by a behavior change can help companies contribute in a bigger way to the growth of the manufacturing sector. With the help of CII and noble minded companies, I created unique learning classrooms, which became the temple of learning for 1,885 visionary leaders from more than 300 manufacturing companies in India. These visionary leaders are practicing these concepts and tools to help their respective companies grow. Today, seven such classrooms have been established. The first one being set up by Godrej in Mumbai followed by Tata Motors in Pune, Lucknow and Jamshedpur, TVS and Gabriel in Bengaluru and Sona Koyo in Gurgaon.

The last one is the weak ‘Jump into Fishbowl’ mindset. As the Indian society is changing drastically, customer behavior and preference is also changing rapidly. In this scenario, it is necessary to always ‘Jump into fishbowl’ in order to understand the changing fishes. Hence, I always push Indian managers to jump into fishbowl by themselves. These seven classrooms provide us the opportunity to instill this practice in the minds of our participants every day.

According to your experience, how will the Indian manufacturing sector change in the coming years?

Prof Shiba: There are two major change drivers that will impact the Indian manufacturing sector in the years to come. One of them being technology change in terms of innovative new technology, wider penetration and in depth usage of IT, mobile connectivity across India, etc. The other is societal change such as no disparity of information throughout the country, diffusion of education, drastic expansion of a new middle class, better quality of life, wider experience of foreign visits, etc.

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