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Old 16th September 2011, 16:38   #46
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Default Re: Forster resigns from Tata Motors

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Originally Posted by Daewood View Post
The 2008 data for the number of new registrations across India is,
that around 9.25 Lakh private cars and 1 lakh taxis were registered.

For 2010 i guess the private car numbers must have gone up significantly,
as the Taxi segment relies more on used cars, whereas the
private car market's preference is for a new one.
As per the Ministry of Road Transport, in 2009 India had ~140 L private cars + jeeps and ~44 L Taxis + Commercially registered private light passenger vehicles.
So that gives ~24%.

However, there are 2 doubts:
1. Are autos included in this?
2. This number just keeps on growing and does not show vehicles being junked. So I have a doubt as to the accuracy.
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Old 16th September 2011, 17:31   #47
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@ Sridhar: Thanks on all the insight.

We all here at Team-Bhp would want radical changes on all products that we like/dislike, but probably do not understand the effort, passion and size of operations that are involved in bringing out a good product.

TML sure is probably going the HAL/HMT way. Lot of stronghold, but not enough passion.
TML does not need a businessman at the helm. Instead, it probably needs a enthusiast.
Ratan Tata was one cool guy, passionate about TATA, and also crazy about cars. We probably needa Vijay Mallya sort of a guy at the top. And at all levels as well.

Car business is not like any other. People associate themselves with their cars. And it needs a lot of passion than dedication or talent to succeed.
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Old 16th September 2011, 17:37   #48
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Default Re: Forster resigns from Tata Motors

I did not imagine that a thread about CEO's resignation would throw up such an interesting discussion and insights into what inherently is wrong with Tata cars. We knew that they have niggles, that the initial versions are to be stayed away from, etc, but I believe this is the 1st time someone has pointed out the underlying reasons behind why this happens.

Thanks, sridhar-v for your posts. Now, you mentioned that Tata squeezes supplier margin to such a level that either vendors leave or cut costs leading to poor quality. But I would think that all companies would like to shrink the input costs and by this logic, MSIL/HMIL/Honda etc would also be wringing their vendors dry to the max. extent possible. But why dont their vendors quit or why dont they get sub-standard parts ? How do they manage to retain quality, but cut costs at the same time ?
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Old 16th September 2011, 18:30   #49
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Default Re: Forster resigns from Tata Motors

I keep hearing things similar to the ones told by Sridhar by people who are working at Tata Motors even today. They themselves recommend not to buy Tata vehicles because of the compromises on quality.
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Old 16th September 2011, 18:57   #50
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Originally Posted by supremeBaleno View Post
I did not imagine that a thread about CEO's resignation would throw up such an interesting discussion and insights into what inherently is wrong with Tata cars. We knew that they have niggles, that the initial versions are to be stayed away from, etc, but I believe this is the 1st time someone has pointed out the underlying reasons behind why this happens.

Thanks, sridhar-v for your posts. Now, you mentioned that Tata squeezes supplier margin to such a level that either vendors leave or cut costs leading to poor quality. But I would think that all companies would like to shrink the input costs and by this logic, MSIL/HMIL/Honda etc would also be wringing their vendors dry to the max. extent possible. But why dont their vendors quit or why dont they get sub-standard parts ? How do they manage to retain quality, but cut costs at the same time ?
Well I can give you one example to show how the others work:-

The Tata Safari & Ford Endeavour have basically the same rear axle assly. Only difference is in a couple of brackets, hypoid ratio & the brake drum size.

When Ford started their offtake from Spicer they were planning 50 axles a month whereas TML was lifting 50 axles a day. Ford insisted on a final Inspection gauge for the axle assly. (before centre section & half shafts were assembled - to check proper angles & positions of the brackets etc.). They paid the full capital cost of the gauge and other gauges. We managed to make a gauge that would also accomodate the Safari axle. Experts from Ford had come down & gone through our design with a fine comb. Once they were satisfied we were empanelled as approved gauge design vendor for Ford items in Spicer.!! Ford are very strict in periodic audits & calibration of the gauges. Their audits go down to component (stampings & material sources) levels and Spicer have learned quite a lot from them. TML do not care if there is a gauge and have never bothered to inspect it.

Lately Spicer have made Inspection gauges for the Aria axles out of their own pockets as they found it worthwhile for maintaining quality.

Mahindra are also very particular in process control & validation. Our gauges for the Xylo axles are used at various stages (welding, machining & final). It always is a tripartite meeting when any issue has to be resolved and the mahindra team at times also includes the product designer. And their rates do cover the costs of the gauges.

I remember another case that happened in Kolhapur (forget the exact year - it was 2009 I think). My client was supplying castings to TML & Mahindra. Steel prices had gone thru the roof. TML was refusing to give any price rise. When I was at the client a team from Mahindra came & negotiated a price increase. They actually gave slightly more than what my client needed. When I asked the mgr. of the Mahindra team how it was possible for them he explained that the total cost increase, due to material casts increase, in the price of a Scorpio was coming to Rs. 8,000 and that they planned to raise the price of the vehicle by Rs. 5,000 and save the remaining by internal efficiencies. Client stopped supply to TML & switched to Mahindra.

As for those who continue to supply - there are way and means. I know of one particular component. The forging cost is Rs. 275 or so. TML supplier has sourced a forging for Rs. 110. There is no way the new forging supplier has such lower overheads. So obviously there is a drop in the alloying specs. Suitable dummy material & test reports are submitted. As TML does not do any deep audits or cross-checks they seem to be happy that the vendor is agreeing to their yearly price reductions. Why does the vehicle not break down? Because the component is over designed so all this nonsense does not show up immediately. But tyre wear, alignment issues & random problems (typical of TML) crop up - niggling issues!!.


Almost all the better manufacturers pay for quality & the systems that are required to attain the quality. I have come across quite a few chaps who said supplying 1/10th. qty to other car manufacturers is more profitable than supplying to TML. The others also squeeze - but with proper working and in a fair manner.

I could go on and on. Will stop here for now.
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Old 16th September 2011, 19:09   #51
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Default Re: Forster resigns from Tata Motors

Quote:
Originally Posted by sridhar-v View Post
Well I can give you one example to show how the others work:-

The Tata Safari & Ford Endeavour have basically the same rear axle assly. Only difference is in a couple of brackets, hypoid ratio & the brake drum size.
I am spooked!

Phew! I am a Tata Safari customer currently. And only lately my enthusiasm for Tata products has begun to be on a STEEP decline (read niggling issues of the type mentioned by Sridhar, that I am unable to rectify). Reading these insider tit bits while interesting are also enlightening.
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Old 16th September 2011, 19:34   #52
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I think this discussion is getting one-sided and needs a balanced view.

Now I am not necessarily a Tata Motors fan, neither do I own a Tata vehicle or have ever driven one in my life, but honestly there is always the other side to every story.

Honestly, look at the strides of improvement Tata has made over the years -
From the Indica to Vista
From the Indigo to Manza
From the Estate/Sierra to the contemporary Aria

Is the tremendous improvement in quality not visible?

Quoting GTO's review the Vista/Manza have gone through 25L/23L Kms respectively. Would you still say Tata does not care about quality of their vehicles? Are we getting carried away with all this pessimism that seems to sounds like its all over for Tata Motors?

Even the Team-BHP thread about the improvements made by Tata/MM on Vista/Xylo shows that majority (over 60%) votes support the strides Tata has made in terms of product development. Just read through the Team BHP official review of the Manza with an "open" mind and would you associate it as a TATA car that you would visualize after all the comments in this thread?
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Old 16th September 2011, 19:35   #53
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Default Re: Forster resigns from Tata Motors

Its apt to mention an adage I hear very often in the organization I work for... that quality is remembered long after price is forgotten. I think it was Sir Henry Royce that coined this phrase. And it rings true a century later.

At the end of the day the Quality culture within an organization needs to be driven & imparted both top down and bottom up. For Quality to be part of an organizations DNA in every facet of its operation it must be driven from the Top. To empower employees with the right skills, equipment and 'mindset' training & awareness has to be imparted from the bottom up. Not literally ' up the bottom ' as is sometimes done when short-sighted solutions are implemented for quality related issues.

Organizations that have realized the importance of quality do not stop at parts, processes and products. Even seemingly mundane stuff like the maintenance of restrooms in the plant to the taste and presentation of the coffee served at the dealership - everything is governed by the quality principle.

A trouble free car is only the starting point for creating a truly quality driven brand. It does not end with it.

With specific reference to Tata Motors, its not possible that management does not recognize the importance of quality. That just does not make sense in this day and age where the Indian auto market is rife with products from around the globe. Its probably a combination of bad apples within TMLs chain of command coupled with the natural inertia within any organization to resist change (even if it is for the better) that result in quality either moving up very slowly or not changing at all.

The only other explanation is that TML has set its sight on the bottom of the pyramid for some of its smaller car models and price is the sole driver.
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Old 16th September 2011, 20:28   #54
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Originally Posted by sridhar-v View Post
It is mainly a matter of company culture that determines the product quality.
Hey Sridhar, Pretty Good insight of yours. I have worked with Tata For sometime (Not TML but an associate Tata Company) and I am surprised at this kind of culture being cultivated by TML top management. Goes completely against the ethics outlined by Tata Group in TBEM. As far as my Tata company was concerned It had a the top of the line quality in all aspects of businesses and processes it was following. One of the top few in TBEM.

I hope not every company is like TML as far as quality and cost targets go. I am sure you have worked with most of the OEMs so you must have some bit of idea about everyone. It will be really heartening to know who fares how on quality when it comes to discussing with supplier. I had my understanding that Maruti is very high on quality, Toyota, GM, and Hyundai too were A graders. Would be happy to know how was yours experience.
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Old 16th September 2011, 21:40   #55
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Default Re: Forster resigns from Tata Motors

Quote:
Originally Posted by sachinayak View Post
I think this discussion is getting one-sided and needs a balanced view.


Honestly, look at the strides of improvement Tata has made over the years -
From the Indica to Vista
From the Indigo to Manza
From the Estate/Sierra to the contemporary Aria

Is the tremendous improvement in quality not visible?

Even the Team-BHP thread about the improvements made by Tata/MM on Vista/Xylo shows that majority (over 60%) votes support the strides Tata has made in terms of product development. Just read through the Team BHP official review of the Manza with an "open" mind and would you associate it as a TATA car that you would visualize after all the comments in this thread?
I am not denying that they have not made improvements. As I keep saying, they are pretty good in product design. VFM & suited for Indian conditions. Where they loose out is in the process & QC. So, when the customer has a choice more often than not he ends up paying more for buying a better ( reliability & peace of mind wise) car for a slightly higher price. Just compare the prices & delivery of the Indica Vista & the Maruthi Swift. People do not mind spending more for what after all is a major capital purchase. It is a very difficult to strike the balance between cost & quality - those who succeed flourish.
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Old 16th September 2011, 21:43   #56
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Default Re: Forster resigns from Tata Motors

Hey fellow Bhpians - what started out as a thread on Mr. Forster's resignation has really turned into a full blown quality debate!

I do believe that every story has two sides. While I have owned and driven Tata products amongst others over the years (both personally and professionally), I will admit that some of ownership experience does need a fair bit of sorting out.
And after over a decade of being an auto enthusiast (and a passionate auto-hack) all I can say in this public forum is that while there are issues that need sorting out - they are doing it. And yes, enthusiasts are finding their way into the company too

I'd like to think of what is currently happening in TML as a metamorphosis. Just give it some time!

GTO - The head of Corp Comm at Tata Motors couldn't create an account in time for this message to be posted after he read this thread - so I'm posting it on his behalf.

Dear Team BHP members,

I take it that all of you are well-wishers of Tata Motors. You would like us to do better and that is the fundamental reason for your views and comments.

Without getting into specifics, your comments broadly are:

· on our product development, their quality, their communication, and the customer service that we offer

and

· on our leadership and intent

Let me first make the submission on our products, and related issues. Yes, of course, we ourselves are acutely aware that there are aspects, where we have to be better – in some, far better. The question is: are we working towards that goal? I submit that we are.

We do believe that cost is a factor advantage for us, and we will further deepen it. But, simultaneously, we are conscious that affinity for a product equally stems from the technology-quality-communication-customer service combine. In some of these respects – the Nano, the Vista, the Manza, the Aria, or the Ace and the Zip, the Magic and the Iris, the Starbuses and the Prima are examples – Tata Motors already reflects that progression, building on the company’s inherent strengths, cross-pollination from within the fold, and most importantly customer preferences and feedback. The task, we know, is to make equal progress in the total combine and we are continuously on it.

That brings me to the factor advantage of our leadership and intent. As in any institution which desires perpetuity, the sole intent in the Tata Group and Tata Motors also is to take the organisation to a level higher than one has found it in. It is certainly not a moot point that Tata Motors has scaled new heights through every decade, at times overcoming odds which would have felled many others – the severe downturn of 2000-01 or the global crisis of 2008-09 are examples. Nothing else but the ability and resilience to achieve that have been the only yardsticks for leadership choices, and Tata Motors’ leaders have lived up to the challenges. They will continue to.

In summation, both in intent and implementation, Tata Motors’ goal is that we be the preferred product, purchase after purchase by choice, in every category/segment we are in. Be assured that it hurts us that some among you have written that you do not want to be seen in a Tata vehicle. Be assured that we are being purposeful, even as you read this should you do so, that we are doing everything within our command to see you in a Tata, and delightfully so.

With best wishes,
Debasis Ray

Head - Corporate Communications
Tata Motors
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Old 16th September 2011, 22:28   #57
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Originally Posted by anu21v View Post

I hope not every company is like TML as far as quality and cost targets go. I am sure you have worked with most of the OEMs so you must have some bit of idea about everyone. It will be really heartening to know who fares how on quality when it comes to discussing with supplier. I had my understanding that Maruti is very high on quality, Toyota, GM, and Hyundai too were A graders. Would be happy to know how was yours experience.
There are 2 aspects to quality - basic design characteristics & process quality.

Some quick takes(these are generalisations, so don't flame me):-

German designs are the best. Also they tend to be the most open and share information without reservation. Though lately I have started to sense that they are also making mistakes and sloppy designs- possibly offloading some work offshore. German machine Tools are the world's best & costliest also. The german way of manufacturing gets the best quality but at a comparitively high price. So they do not succeed in most markets.

Japanese are a step behind the Germans. However they are very guarded about the information they reveal and are very snobbish. You need to squeeze the info out of them bit by bit. Japanese are very very good at process control and are absolutely fanatical about hierarchy, cleanliness, process & order.

The Americans have mastered the art of mass production. Their designs consider manufacturability, process variations & express it very clearly in GD&T. However they are comparitively weak in process control.

All these countries are used to high levels of automation, disciplined workers and availability of high end equipments. So they do find it difficult to adapt to low volumes production and the typical constraints of our environment.

The Koreans buy or copy technology from the others. They are at a stage where possibly Japan was 20 years ago. They follow the Japanese model but are more adaptable. My limited experience with them is that they have imbibed the plus points of all other cultures and created a unique khichadi and possibly have a temperament to adjust better to our environment.

The french - well they are artists & wine drinkers. Their designs & drawings
are horrible and one wonders how they have managed to hang on as a manufacturing power.

No experience of the Italians.

My exposure to Russians is limited to the defence items. They are our best friends and their designs are rugged, simple and designed to be mass produced in humungous quantities.

Almost all the foreign origin companies have imported their rules & methods into the Indian work place. Sometimes it is not a good thing as our conditions are different.

By and large Japanese quality & process control is a couple of notches above the rest.

I have found that all of the foreign companies pay for quality and are very supportive of their vendors. Costing is also very fair and they support the vendors in cost reduction & efficiency enhancement programs. So it becomes a win win situation.

Mahindra is leagues ahead of TML in this regard. Their main weakness is that their product design is at the critical part of the learning curve and they do not have a foreign mentor to guide them.

TML on the other hand got all its technologies, processes & production systems form Mercedes Benz & other german companies when the palnts were being set up and till as late as 2002. So their base is very strong. Facilities wise they would rank number one in India.
Mr. Moolgaonkar's visionary investments are what is carrying them thru today. But the current bunch is squandering the advantage.
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Old 16th September 2011, 23:09   #58
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Post deleted by the Team-BHP Support : Please do NOT post one-liners that add little or no informational value to the thread. We need your co-operation to maintain the overall quality of this forum.

Please read our rules before proceeding any further.

Last edited by GTO : 17th September 2011 at 02:35.
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Old 16th September 2011, 23:59   #59
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Thanks Sridhar for giving us these intricate details. Sincerely hope that the right folks in TML are following this thread to take remedial actions soon.

I do NOT believe any of us are critizing TML here. There is a reason why the sales of TML are going south each month (Manza/Vista/Nano) and the details provided by Sridhar give an insight of why it might be happenning. I do not believe that we would be having this thread/discussion if the company were doing bumper sales.

Definitely agree that there are issues/politics in all companies. But that is not the reason why many folks (including me) have not bought product from TML inspite of it being the best in that segment/VFM.

Looking at what happened to Logan (Even Verito sales have been to taxis as well), sincerely hope that TML does not end up being a taxi-only manufacturer.
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Old 17th September 2011, 01:27   #60
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Default Re: Forster resigns from Tata Motors

Quote:
Originally Posted by sridhar-v View Post
There are 2 aspects to quality - basic design characteristics & process quality.

.
Quote:
Originally Posted by andromeda View Post
I do NOT believe any of us are critizing TML here. There is a reason why the sales of TML are going south each month (Manza/Vista/Nano) and the details provided by Sridhar give an insight of why it might be happenning.
Thanks Sridhar for the insights. It was an eye openor.
We are not critisising TATA as such, or TATA haters. I, as an Indian, would love to hear a product from India appreciated else where. Heck even today I was fighting with my british friend over the Indian ownership of Jaguar. He was claiming that it was the result of Ford's foresightenedness which is making profit now . Not to mention I tore him to bits. but the point is the company should understand the weakness and try to improve. As I have posted before I have first hand information about what is happening in Corus in Spain. They are seeing the same bloody politics in their once professional office after the take over.
Given an option between a Polo and a Vista quadrajet, how many would buy a TATA even if the price was same? I am sure it will be next to nil. My point is why do TATA have to price their stuff lower to sell. Why can't they make a product better or equal to a German car. I don't think we Indians don't care for quality. Our market is mature enough to pay more for quality. Why don't people realise it?

Even the corporate communication from the TATA group was like an ad. I don't see anything in that statement other than a typical corporate statement. They have lost that feeling, urge to improve, prove to be the best, some time in between.
heck I was looking for a Xenon for some time. It was best suited for my use (partial load carrying ability and travelling in comfort). But read through the forum, poor guys who bought them first hand had to go through leaking canopy, change in clutch, dealer torture and virtually nil support within an year. That too after paying 7-8 lakhs for their vehicles. Did they curse the company or crib? No they only gave a suggestion that the next facelift/upgrade will be better !. That is immense good will. I, like them, have a thing or two for TATA. But the company is hell bent on spoiling it.
Look at sridhar, he was a part of the problem, tried to improve it and finally gave up. Will he be a part of the good will group anymore? I hope he does. Wake up TATA do your bit. make us Indians' proud
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