Published on January 25, 2019
‘We take pride in our past but also stretch our hands to the future’
These words spoken by R Mukundan, MD and CEO, Tata Chemicals, truly reflect the sentiment with which Tata Business Excellence Group (TBExG) recently concluded its annual symposium the Advanced Programme for Leaders (APL) at Taj Fisherman Cove. It was held from January 21-22, 2019.
Now into its 25th year of existence, TBExG finds that its customer profile is fast changing. While several Tata companies are now making strong strides in their march towards attaining an industry leadership position, the existing industry leaders in the group are at the cusp of crossing the next level of excellence. CEOs of Tata companies, Team Leaders of Tata Business Excellence Model (TBEM) assessments and process consultants deliberated on ways to further enrich the TBEM process in the two-day conclave.
The agenda for the meet was crafted based on inputs TBExG had received from its various stakeholders. While the proceedings on Day 1 focused on ‘listen and reflect’, on Day 2 the participants deliberated on ‘co-creation and gearing up’ for the assessment 2019 cycle.
Day 1 started with a welcome address by M Nagabhushan, VP, TBExG, and was followed by a presentation by Saurav Chakrabarti, AVP, TBExG. In his talk, Mr Chakrabarti highlighted the mechanisms through which TBExG obtains feedback from various stakeholders and the improvements made to the TBEM process based on the inputs received. He also elaborated on the imperatives for the 2019 assessment — how to make the assessment less effort-intensive, and right scoring and assessment of key scores.
Further, to understand the expectations of a CEO from the TBEM assessment, a panel discussion was chaired by S Padmanabhan, Executive Chairman, TBExG, with Mr Mukundan and Sanjay Pattnaik, MD, Tata Sponge, as speakers. While Mr Pattnaik articulated improvements which propelled Tata Sponge Iron to a 650 plus score, both leaders suggested novel approaches to make the TBEM process more robust.
Post lunch, Anand Sen, President, Tata Steel, enlightened the audience on Tata Steel’s journey with Deming. The Deming Application Prize is a prestigious annual quality award presented by the Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers to companies that have achieved distinctive performance benchmarks through the application of Total Quality Management. Articulating the merits of TBEM and Deming methodologies, Mr Sen said that while TBEM encouraged soul searching and energised the entire organisation, Deming facilitated attention towards daily management and policy management.
Day 1 ended with an insight into the Danaher Business System (DBS) by Jai Shankar Krishnan, President and CEO, Danaher Corporation, India. Like TBEM, with core values as its foundation, DBS drives the company through a never-ending cycle of change and improvement: exceptional ‘people’ develop outstanding ‘plans’ and execute them using world-class tools to construct sustainable ‘processes’, resulting in superior ‘performance’. Superior performance and high expectations attract exceptional people, who continue the cycle. Guiding all efforts is a simple philosophy rooted in four customer-facing priorities: quality, delivery, cost and innovation. From this session, the participants learnt how a company can take strategic decisions on M&A using just one page of condensed information.
Day 2 began with an interactive talk on the topic TBEM@25 by Mr Nagabhushan. He highlighted the attributes of TBEM which make it relevant even after 25 years of existence. After this, NK Sharan, SVP, TBExG, introduced break-out sessions to discuss improvements which can be incorporated in the 2019 assessment season. In the break-out sessions, the APL participants were organised into four groups to brainstorm on the following topics:
- Enhancing team business orientation
- Balancing effort versus quality
- Assessing key results
- Reaching the right score
Post lunch, a representative from each of the four teams shared their respective findings with the wider audience. After the break-out sessions, Monika Agarwal, BE Head, Tata Steel Processing and Distribution, and Neelesh Tungar, Tata Power SED, presented the approaches that helped them to successfully deliver Tata Elxsi and Tata Communications assessments. While Ms Agarwal talked about the effective use of Belbin, Mr Tungar showcased innovative approaches that can be leveraged across all phases of the assessment.
After all the sessions, the participants got an opportunity to interact with Mr Padmanabhan and get answers to their questions and suggestions. During his interactions, Mr Padmanabhan said that TBEM has stood the test of time and described it in the following simple words: ‘It is a living, codified way of life.’
Towards the end of Day 2, Gautam Gondil, AVP, TBExG, summarised the proceedings of the two days.
While the two days were intense in terms of thinking and sharing, the participants found time for fun also. In the midst of nature, people played games and enjoyed Bollywood songs sung live by Abhijit Mitra from TBExG.