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Deming journey led to zero warranty claims: Siemens

Chennai: City based Siemens Gamesa Renewable Power Private Ltd (SGRP), the first wind turbine company in the world to win the prestigious Deming award, faced the challenge of not having any ready toolkit to adapt from unlike the automobile industries, said a top company official.

However, over a period of time after starting the Total Quality Management (TQM) the company started seeing benefits in the form of reduced raw material inventory turnover, zero rework and nil warranty claims.

The Indian company is a subsidiary of the global wind power major — 9.1 billion euros turnover Spain-headquartered — Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy.

“Being the first wind company in the world to challenge this award, we didn’t have any ready toolkit to adapt from. Every aspect of TQM practices were totally tailor made to suit our wind turbine manufacturing processes and operations,” Ramesh Kymal, Chairman and Managing Director said.

The Deming Prize is one of the most prestigious global awards on TQM given by the Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers (JUSE). Kymal said the Deming tag further adds credibility to their products and in the current market scenario, it will certainly place us in a better light in the eyes of our customers.

Queried about the tangible benefits derived after starting the TQM journey, Kymal said: “The productivity levels had improved by 1.8 to 2 times as compared to our previous recorded levels.

“We have achieved zero rework and our warranty claims has been reduced to zero. Further, we have reduced our raw material inventory turnaround time to two days for local suppliers,” Kymal said.

According to Kymal, renewables as an industry has become extremely cost competitive, forcing companies to reinvent themselves.

“We were growing steadily and expanding our manufacturing footprints where creating a common quality culture was imperative to ensure best in class products and solutions to our customers. That sowed the idea for implementation of TQM processes and challenging Deming Award,” he said.

Though SGRP did not have any benchmark in the wind turbine industry to challenge the Deming award, it was advised by Yasutoshi Washio — professor emeritus of Keio University, Japan and who had won the Deming prize for Individuals in 1993 for his contribution of implementing quality control in Japanese industries.

On the company’s TQM journey, Kymal said that it started in 2015 for its industrial operations division, which included nacelle and hub manufacturing facilities in Chennai, integrated manufacturing facility in Nellore and a blade manufacturing facility in Halol.

“Our TQM journey commenced with benchmarking ourselves with various Deming companies in other industries. In 2015, we had our plant and functional heads visiting few Deming companies like Toyota, Aisin in Tokyo, Japan,” Kymal remarked.

On getting the confidence to challenge the Deming prize, Kymal said: “In 2018, we underwent the Deming diagnosis examination, the results of which were quite encouraging from which we gained the confidence to apply for the award in 2019.” On involving the suppliers in their Deming/TQM journey, Kymal said that as part of the process, 10 key suppliers were trained on the TQM fundamentals and concepts like plan-do-check-act (PDCA), Kaizen, seven quality control tools (check sheet, control chart, stratification, pareto chart, histogram, cause and effect and scatter diagram) and others thus ensuring that their processes are benchmarked to Siemens Gamesa Renewable Power’s operations.

Further training on TQM fundamentals, quality control story approach, Kanban and others were provided for around 90 suppliers based at Chennai, Coimbatore and Vadodara region to improve their performance, Kymal said.

On implementing the suggestions made by JUSE, Kymal said: “Generally JUSE presents its final feedback report during the award ceremony and we are expecting to receive the same on November 6, 2019. We will work towards implementing the same.”

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