Learning Kaizen, and the art of vehicle maintenance

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Published: December 5, 2016 6:00:26 AM

The Japanese organisation for HR development, HIDA, is providing two-week intensive training on global best practices in vehicle service and repair at ITI Pusa

Mohd Zakir is a second-year student of the two-year Mechanic Motor Vehicle trade at the Industrial Training Institute (ITI) Pusa, New Delhi. (A ‘trade’ is a course a student studies at the ITIs.) A 10th pass-out, he understands CVT technology better than most people who own cars equipped with a CVT do. “Short for continuously variable transmission, CVT is an automatic gearbox that changes gears seamlessly through a continuous range of gear ratios.

It doesn’t have fixed gear ratios,” he says.

He understood CVT, and various other automotive technologies, courtesy a Japanese trainer who has been invited by Maruti Suzuki, India’s biggest passenger car company, to train students of ITI Pusa. “This is for the first time a Japanese trainer is imparting technical training at an ITI in India,” says Ranjit Singh, GM, CSR & Sustainability, Maruti Suzuki.

The initiative has been supported by the Overseas Human Resources and Industry Development Association (HIDA) of Japan—an organisation for human resources development in developing countries to promote technical cooperation through training, experts dispatch and other programmes. Among other things, HIDA aims at contributing to the mutual economic growth of developing countries and Japan. “This training commenced on November 21. It will continue for two weeks, covering two batches of students. It aims to benefit over 50 students, and 15 faculty members and trainers,” adds Singh.

This two-week intensive training programme is aimed at imparting knowledge on global best practices in vehicle service and repair, and enhance the knowledge of students on latest automotive technologies. “Students will also get trained on soft skills like discipline, punctuality, cleanliness, safety, and quality in the field of service,” Singh says.

“Another objective is to train the trainers in the Japanese way of automotive service training, and best practices followed at Suzuki Training Centre, to make the training methodology at par with Japan,” says a trainer at ITI, who expects to learn a lot from this initiative. “We will then apply this learning when we take classes.”

The training for students includes a mix of classroom lectures and technical sessions. “Classroom lectures are not one-way communication. These include practical sessions with videos. A handbook has been developed in Hindi by HIDA for better understanding of the students. The soft skills module consists of sessions on evolution of global automotive technology and the basics of work culture, such as safety, and Japanese practices like Kaizen (continuous improvement) and 5S (a workplace organisation method),” says another trainer.

Farman and Sunil, who are classmates of Zakir, believe that the technical training being provided on the basics of engine, transmission, clutch, etc, is important. “We are learning engine assembly and disassembly, and how to inspect an engine without opening it up completely,” they say.

Their trainer adds that modern technologies such as automated manual transmission, CVT and automatic transmission are also being taught during this two-week programme. “Technologies are changing at a fast pace in the automotive world, so it is important that students of ITIs are kept updated. In addition, the Indian auto industry is growing, and with the growth in vehicle sales, the industry will need a strong after-sales support, which can only be provided by a skilled service manpower. We, as a responsible corporate, are doing our bit,” says Singh. “We want to be a significant contributor to Skill India initiative.”

Maruti Suzuki has been engaged with over 141 ITIs across 27 states in the area of skill development. The company offers support in infrastructure improvement, faculty training, exposure to manufacturing facilities, training in acclaimed Japanese work practices, and soft skills like personality development and teamwork.

In 2014-15, the company started setting up Automobile Skill Enhancement Centres (ASEC) at various ITIs. The ASECs are model service workshops that are equipped with vehicles and the latest tools and machinery. As of today, the company has set up 52 ASECs across the country.

In 2015-16, Maruti Suzuki started a new initiative of setting up Auto Body Repair (ABR) and Auto Body Painting (ABP) facilities at ITI Pusa and ITI Dhoraji (Rajkot, Gujarat). ABR and ABP are specialised courses under car service and repair. Recently, these workshops were added at ITI Tollygunge (Kolkata).

Annually, over 6,000 youth from company-partnered ITIs have benefited and gained employment.

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