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Old 27th August 2013, 21:16   #181
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Default Re: Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)

if only tata would listen!! BTW in the pictures i have just shortened the length and added the back top from fortuner. The concept was done by TATA team in Australia i think.But dont think that should stop them from launching such a design in Horizonnext initiative!
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Old 28th August 2013, 11:59   #182
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@GrammarNazi, how did the meeting go? Did you get a chance to present the ideas to Mr. Karl Slym?
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Old 28th August 2013, 14:37   #183
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The meeting went really well. Must say Mr Karl Slym was really patient with an open mind.

Caught up with work right now. Will update the events by this evening. With some pics too.
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Old 31st August 2013, 22:59   #184
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Really Sorry, I got caught up with work AND I had to consolidate things I learnt that day, so I took my time & drafted 80% of the things I could remember.

"Disclaimer" : Given that it’s the first time in India atleast, that an Auto company of SUCH a massive scale, voluntarily invited regular people to ask them what they’d want in the next car made for the masses, it may sound like I appreciate some things a bit too little / too much, but I'm not trying to Judge anyone, this is but an honest attempt to try and draw a clear picture of how things were carried out.

SO, from the moment we (coz I guess its the same with others too.) left our house, we were under Tata's care. I don't know if people have heard of TATA's Legendary Hospitality for their guests, but search abit & you'll get it. A Manza was sent to picked me up, he was exactly on time, on the dot.

All the 6 'Ideators' were flown to Pune, some had direct flights, some didn't. They reached Mumbai & were driven down to Pune.
Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)-flight.jpg

At Pune, I was taken to Hotel Sayaji in a Teana.
The Ride
Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)-teana.jpg
It was 25 kms away, on the Bangalore-Mumbai highway. Its the same place Lukeskywalker was put up during the Storme Pre-Launch visit. Hotel Sayaji (I think this is Standard for TaMo, any guest visiting the Plant would lodge here):
The Stay :
Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)-room.jpg
The Window View :
Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)-window-view.jpg
Amidst the crazy development, its the awesome fluorescent greenery of the western ghats in the monsoon.

Prelude :
So the communications manager from TATA met us during dinner the previous day(1) of the Meet. I thought the topic for the meet would be kept restrictive, but I was happily surprised they didn’t attempt to “Set some rules” or “Give direction” to the meet – we were going to be allowed to say absolutely anything we felt (then again it struck me, these are the Tatas’, they stand for ethics, any other company probably wouldn’t even have bothered to keep up their word). Something gave me a feeling that TATA is doing this not solely because they're in "trouble in the market", but also because they simply want to make something the PEOPLE would want, yet it wasn't just "Market Research", it was something more.

Moreover, she was casual & co-operative towards trying to understand how the Communications Dept could be more effective in helping those who seek assistance over Twitter/Facebook/Youtube etc. The sincerity showed. She heard everyone out, discussed & explained things with humility and an open mind, not a hint of contempt. All this lasted from 8 all the way till 11PM.

The pastry at the end was really tasty, when dinner ends with pastry, its always damn good. (I'm like, 60% Work & Travel enthu, 30% Auto enthu & 10% Foodie).

Day 1 : The Showroom visit on Sunday was cancelled due to some unforeseen circumstances. There wasn't anything planned for that day.

Day 2 : Plant Visit in the Morning...

Last edited by GrammarNazi : 31st August 2013 at 23:27.
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Old 1st September 2013, 05:55   #185
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Really Sorry, I got caught up with work AND I had to consolidate things I learnt that day..Plant Visit in the Morning...
Can you please add couple of pictures of plant and the meeting ? Air-bus window and hotel room view was not something I was expecting :-)
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Old 1st September 2013, 08:21   #186
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Can you please add couple of pictures of plant and the meeting ? Air-bus window and hotel room view was not something I was expecting :-)
I was drafting the same overnight till 5:30am this morning, unfortunately my computer hung & I lost all the content I drafted. It was quite a bit. MODS : Is it possible, that from my activity in the night, a draft would've been auto-saved somewhere? like in some "assembly line" or something?

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Old 1st September 2013, 09:47   #187
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:(
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MODS : Is it possible, that from my activity in the night, a draft would've been auto-saved somewhere? like in some "assembly line" or something?
Absolutely ! You could have created it here, and then got the post moved to this thread.
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Old 1st September 2013, 21:43   #188
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Default Update :

Day 2 was packed tight.
The Plant Visit, drive to Mumbai AND the Meet at Bombay House @ 5.

We'd been informed well in advance that Photography will not be allowed in the Plant. They even engaged photographers who’d take our pics wherever specifically allowed. But then eventually they softened abit & allowed us to click specific parts of the factory.

My day ‘Started’ at 6, waited loitering around the lobby from 7-8. As soon as a fellow contestant appeared, had breakfast & checked out by 8:45.
The camera crew had come in an Innova but as per the recent change of rules, vehicles other than of TATA make weren’t allowed inside. The communications manager made some calls and within 15 mins, an Aria and a Storme arrived to pick us all up.
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The Plant was 20 mins from the Hotel. Inside the plant we were to board a sort-of semi-open Tata Winger.

Upon arrival, Mr. Rama Rao welcomed us and briefed us about the plant, its capacity, history (& geography) and the methods used for designing. We were shown a 9 minute video in a semi-auditorium. He is an encyclopedia when it comes to knowing the plant and how it works like clockwork.

We were to be driven around and explained the processes in the factory by an expert, Mr. Bhavani Patil.
As we entered the first factory floor, we saw the 12th Passout recruits were undergoing training. Also on display was a working model of the Internal Combustion Engine was on display.
All the cars made there (Especially the Indica and the Sumo) were showcased with sectional view of the engine, interiors etc.

A Vintage Rolls Royce was Showcased
:
Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)-img_7698.jpg
Driving us from one factory floor to another, he explained how each process was carried out. Clearly this was something that’d take 2 days to explain to any layman, but we were limited by time, so he explained all that he could within 2 hours.

The plant complies with the operational safety norms set up by DuPont especially for the TATAs’ & safety standards being compiled at the factory were supposedly a benchmark.

It covers an area of 800 in Pimpri + 130 acres in Chinchewad. The layout design is actually VERY well planned.
Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)-img_7743.jpg Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)-img_7744.jpg

It houses 2 Testing tracks and a torture track. The plant can produce 15x3=45MW of power through the generator houses. The vehicle assembly line has a cycle time of 67 seconds and production capacity of 1000 vehicles per day on a 2 shift basis.

They also had India's first full vehicle crash test facility, capable of conducting all types of frontal, side and rear impact tests. Mr. Bhavani Patil explained how each crash test could cost 6-7 crores. That the dummy alone costs almost 3 crores, and the equipment used, the controlled environment etc would add up to the final figure of 6-7 crores.

Advantage being, a highly advanced design could save lives. The basic things were computerised, although the final design would sometimes need 2 crash tests. Each time they’d have to go back to the drawing board, rework designs (rework costs even) as they just wouldn’t compromise on safety.

They also have India's only pedestrian test facility capable of conducting all types of pedestrian tests. Also, India's only full vehicle climate test facility for vehicles from small car to intercity bus to carry out vehicle development work from -40 to +56 degrees Celsius with humidity, sun, wind speed etc. A sound (NVH) - acustics lab which is Asia's first semi-anechoic chamber. BSR (Buzz, Squeak and Rattle) testing is done to improve interior noise of vehicles, helping in improvement of engine insulation, design of body and suspension.

The factory is equipped to build 60+ kinds of vehicles (effectively 200+ variants).
Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)-img_7699.jpg
Extreme Right : The number of customers they serve. Note they even serve Toyota (maybe its 'Legendary Reliability' stems from a TATA Plant).

With Mr. Karl Slym’s concept, Don’t – Accept – Build – Ship – Defects, the manufacturing process is based on world-class quality. Those who’re familiar with JIT(Just-In-Time) form of material distribution would deeply appreciate how the factory floors are so very well organized even with so many variants being put together. Especially for the Indica – for the sheer variants offered. Also, they use some kind of SAP Siebel software that’s implemented online (ERP).
Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)-img_7709.jpg
Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)-img_7712.jpg

NOTE :
To see the kind of passion they had towards explaining things, it clearly showed how such people cannot be “employed”. They had a certain spirit to themselves, a certain something that I saw in all the employees at TaMo – from the absolute bottom upto the MD. This explains why even after the drastic production cuts, TaMo hasn’t laid off people. Seems “Monthly wages” is just a format of paying them in an organized way.

The Manpower :
Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)-img_7700.jpg
Apart from that, theres even a practical point of view. Those owning/managing a factory would know how difficult it has become to get skilled labour in these times, especially the guys who’d work dedicatedly. Laying-off people is actually easy, but when they come back with a chip on their shoulder, it becomes all the more difficult to manage them. Another advantage of the current method is that, during operational ups & downs, workers would somehow co-operate and keep the ball rolling. That’s the labour psyche – atleast the kind in most factories.

We were also supposed to visit the Design center but since there were some actual designs, ‘crucial to strategy’, being planned there with some top designers, they regrettably had to cancel the plans.

Another thing Mr. Rama Rao had explained is that they’re now moving from Thermocol for vehicle designs to Epoxy based moulding polymers. The disadvantage with thermocol was that it wasn’t Bio-Degradable (it’d take 200+ years to degrade), and the advantage of Epoxy based designing materials is that it could just be melted & reused countless times. They said LONG ago, wood was used for this designing which was terrible for the environment.

When you see the plant in person, you'll understand why they say you need Rs.1,200+ crores to build a plant.
Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)-img_7713.jpg
Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)-img_7714.jpg

Its enormously massive, the machines are GIGANTIC. Their very GINORMITY will BAFFLE you. Each time sheet metal is moulded/pressed by a die, it sounds like a cannonball was fired!
Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)-img_7705.jpg

Some Dies' were 20+ year old. Once it gets worn-out, it's melted and another die is made out of that. Its usually made of Iron unless there are some technical specifications, if so they are specially made with an alloy.

You'd believe, GOD FORBID if some machine gets spoilt and you have to un-assemble... it'd be a Nightmare! I CANNOT fathom the trauma they'd have had to go through to shift the Nano plant from Singur to Sanand.

Recruitment : Amongst others, they bring in 12th pass-outs from Tier II & III cities, give them Industrial training for 3 years, WITH stay, food & a 4,500/- monthly Stipend, the students Specialise in certain areas in their 3rd Year. Give a CG approved exam & get a recognised Degree.

Result
: An YOUNG, TRAINED Industry-Ready Employee. Ctsy : Tata Motors, AFAIK they’re allowed to work anywhere they like, they all choose to stay.

The Tata Group spends a massive 60% of its profits for CSR. But they Particularly do not advertise/promote such info. In a world where companies don't miss a chance to boast of their miniscule CSR activities, the Tata Group chooses to stay silent and has never promoted or boasted about these activities. Had a fellow participant not mentioned, even I wouldn't have known. Yet I heard TCS is soon goint to become a $100bn company.

Its said that once when a finance manager proposed to JRD Tata that rather than paying 30%, they could get away with 20% tax if they followed a certain devious plan, he replied that on the contrary he'd want to pay twice the tax they were paying then, and that the finance manager would get a promotion if he found such a scheme. Another fact he's famously made is that if they persued business solely to seek profit, and never bothered to give back to society, then the Tata Group would've financially been twice the then size. If true : Kudos to the Tata Group for that!

OT : Guess how much the NEW COMPANIES BILL Stipulates? 2% !!! You don't need to be a Finance Manager to know how MASSIVE the implication of spending 60% on CSR is.

This is a statue of JRD Tata built voluntarily by the workers in appreciation of his labour-friendly policies.
Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)-img_7728.jpg

So, back to the Factory floor : Massive amount of computerisation.
The commercial segment is where Tata rules the roost... they have 60-74% of the marketshare.
Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)-img_7730.jpg

Their Scorechart :
Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)-img_7720.jpg

Then we were shown the Safari Storme, Aria & Xenon assembly line. They explained how the (Safari18 turned 42) Storme was an extremely advanced and important product for the company and every car was being thoroughly checked.

I MUST mention, the Double door version of the Xenon looked awesomely butch. It wasn't the one showcased recently in Australia, but I could visualise how they could add these modifications.
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Pic Ctsy : Google, some website.

A short stop to see who started it all :
The Man : The father of Indian Industry, Jamsetji Tata.
Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)-img_7732.jpg

Next, enroute the Lake House :
Enroute we saw their dogs. The TATA’s love their dogs. Ratan Tata has 2. JRD Tata had the street-dogs around their house taken care of (in the literal sense lol). Even to date, the street dogs around Bombay House are fed & provided medication. These are trained dogs. They’re even lent to the police incase theres a requirement.
Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)-img_7733.jpg

Amazing Labour policies, CSR, Protecting the Environment (planting trees, waste mgmt), Animal Welfare - They're doing it all!

The Lake House
Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)-img_7734.jpg
Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)-img_7735.jpg
The route to the Lake House was BEAUTIFULLY SCERENE & IMMACULATELY MAINTAINED. Never guessed a factory plant could be SO GREEN & Environment Friendly. I’d say it’s the HEART of the plant, showcasing the ethos of what TATA stands for and what a company dedicated to society could do.

The Lawn at the Lake House. Once every year, the most important of the TATA family gather here.
Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)-img_7736.jpg

The Lake
It’s a Man-made lake, fed from treated & purified water used by the plant. They’ve seem to have taken waste management VERY seriously. The place is kept SO very pure, there are many Protected Animals there. They're regularly visited by migratory birds. Even currently, the lake had wild ducks swimming around. The lake also has some rare species of Fishes too.
Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)-img_7740.jpg
The other solid waste is supposedly used to make bricks.

IIRC It was 12:30 and before we set off to Mumbai. We chose to have a quick 'Satvik' lunch at the VIP canteen in the factory. Although simple, I'm sure every member found THAT food as the most satisfying meal since we'd had atleast till then. No pics, VIP area, actually could've taken, but didn't have the heart to.

Getting a glimpse of how the factory operations work, with the explanation by Mr. Rama Rao & Mr. Bhavani Patil gave me/us quite an Insight into the how a car is brought from conception to Design to Large Scale Production.

The discussion with the communications manager, Ms.Mathew, over the EXTENDED dinner, revealed what sheer effort and patience they’re willing to put forth to manage Post-Sales issues – Talking to the customer, guiding them, dealing with the dealerships, keeping a check – random sampling etc. The intent exists, they're working on the execution, atleast they promise so.

It actually surprised me how they’re open to going to quite some lengths do all they can for a customer to be happy with their product. For the Top-Most Corporate Communications Manager, the dedication was genuinely impressive, one doesn't get to the top for nothing.

This was actually a 3 day plan, with the arrivals on Day 1 - first half, the Concorde Showroom Visit the second half, Plant Visit - All throughout the Day 2 and the MD meet on Day 3. It was supposedly due to time constraints & unforeseeable circumstances that the Sunday Concorde showroom visit was cancelled, and things were to be wrapped in 1 day (i.e. the Plant Visit & Meet). Else we'd quite surely be able to understand things better at the plant as well as the showroom. That would've reflected for the better on our observations & wishlists during the meet.

Having a fair overall picture changed my initial perspective a bit. I did somewhat get an idea after reading moralfibre’s Factory Visit thread. But ACTUALLY going there and speaking to people, I realised how some of our demands & expectations as ignoramus customers were quite unviable and far from reality. These companies aren’t Supermen, they’re just like another company limited by finances. The one currently in discussion takes a seemingly ethical stand and claims to put their best efforts to execute their plans. Somehow, things like 'the bumper design', 'the grille' will matter MUCH less given I know its been designed for safety.

Part of my pitch was something I found to be too nave about them, they reduce prices. That too, when they’re fortunate to be in a business where people have deep regard for the final product. Yet, most of their promotional offers are based on price reductions. Why reduce product prices (and therefore, value) when competitors’ products, having essentially the same, similar or fewer features, are able to command a higher value? Why address something which is NOT an issue with the product? If the customer has ‘Trust’ issues, provide that trust through Warranties, AMC etc – like Mr. Karl Slym did for Chevrolet with the Chevy Promise.

I had analysed twice as much last night. I’m no English wizard but atleast that was decently articulate & somewhat structured. #Heartburns when you lose data. BACKUP YOURS, NOW!

Whatever else may be, this ‘meet’ definitely made me a better person as to be willing to take better, smarter business decisions. I’ll take back home not just a picture of me with Karl Slym, but also an experience of having observed & analysed how a business of a massive scale could function.

Next Destination : The Historic, BOMBAY HOUSE

The Ride : Aria. It took ~2 hrs to reach Mumbai, it took 1 hour to negotiate traffic IN Mumbai. 3 of us in Aria & other 4 in Storme. I almost barely slept since 36hrs. So I slept almost all the way.

We eventually reached there at ~4:30, waited at the lobby for 1/2 an hour. We're then escorted to the conference room. Within 5 mins, the meet with Mr.Karl Slym, Managing Director of Tata Motors, begins...

Last edited by GrammarNazi : 1st September 2013 at 22:26.
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Old 2nd September 2013, 01:31   #189
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Extremely interesting insights on what is a fascinating company, especially for Indians.
Can't wait for the next instalment of posts in your series
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Old 2nd September 2013, 09:11   #190
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Originally Posted by GrammarNazi View Post
I MUST mention, the Double door version of the Xenon looked awesomely butch. It wasn't the one showcased recently in Australia, but I could visualise how they could add these modifications.
...
This means The new Xenon refresh in pipeline? GOOD
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Old 2nd September 2013, 14:23   #191
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Really looking forward to the part describing the actual meeting with Karl Slym. Hope its coming up soon!

I had the good fortune of working for a Tata company, though not Tata Motors. I can, therefore, agree that there's a lot to be fascinated by the way they work. And how most of it is not publicised, just carried out in all sincerity for the good of the society...
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Old 2nd September 2013, 19:37   #192
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I heard from the taxi drivers from my office saying that the SUMO and all sorts of variants of it (Spacio, Victa and Gold) do not have interchangeable parts. Don't know which sort of parts he was mentioning but judging by the lack of time and money the spend on maintaining their cars they would be referring to the most critical parts like suspension bushes, filters and clutch or other smaller things like the spring in the ABC pedals, door lock mechanisms and wiper blades.
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Old 3rd September 2013, 00:19   #193
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I do not idolise any person, but if there is one person I have utmost respect for than it is Mr. Ratan Tata. Just want to add my 2 cents here to what people have already mentioned about the CSR work done by Tata Sons.

A couple of years back I came across this article of how the Tata's helped the Mumbai blast victims. Not just their own employees but even vendors, pedestrians etc.

Reading that just elevated the respect I had for Tata's. Just google 'tata helped victims bombay blasts' and see the results. It is hard to find such people in today's day & age.

Putting one link here, MODS please delete this line if this is against any rules:

Others-have-god-we-have-the-tatas/20120713.htm

And for this reason alone, I hope Tata Motors come back in the market with a vengeance and gain their market share back. (Of course with better vehicles, better build quality & better A.S.S)

(I hope this post is not way off topic. If it is, MODS please delete)
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Old 3rd September 2013, 03:57   #194
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This means The new Xenon refresh in pipeline? GOOD
3 of us "Ideators" have PLEADED they release the 2 Row - XENON in India in a better Avataar.

Specifically asked him for a MUV - GTO's opinion.

Quote:
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I heard from the taxi drivers from my office saying that the SUMO and all sorts of variants of it (Spacio, Victa and Gold) do not have interchangeable parts...
Learnt this about SUMO from the Factory Expert (FIRST HAND info from him) : This was their FIRST MUV for India and is named after Mr.Sumant Moolgaonkar, (Su-Mo), who was instrumental in a number of revolutionary changes in “TELCO” and brought about significant progress. TATA has also set up a charitable trust named after him etc.

SO, somewhat in Honour of him (yes, they're that kind of a company), TaMo has done & will do its Absolute Level Best to make Sumo as reliable as the word gets. They've even updated the design in their recent Horizonext event.

Others : WILL post the MD Meet details in a few hours.

Last edited by GrammarNazi : 3rd September 2013 at 04:03.
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Old 3rd September 2013, 09:58   #195
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Default Re: Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)

Excellent pictorial review of the TATA Motors plant Bhavin. It was like a virtual tour for we readers.

Way back in 1999 itself, my relative during his Industrial visit as part of Automobile Engineering curriculum had visited their Pimpri plant and when he came back I remember him telling me that with all the patience and attention, one requires at least 3-4 full days to completely tour the plant. He had mentioned me about the Paintbooth and crash testing facilities even with their minimal presence in the passenger car segment then.

Thank you for this wonderful set of Photographs that only signifies the might and excellence of an Indian giant.
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