A Framework to Attain Operational Excellence
- Harshal Y Desai

TRACC is a very cost effective solution, which, in most cases would provide tangible ROI within a space of 12 to 18 months. The entire process begins with an assessment of the current situation and quantification of the benefits to be received by the customer. Hence the client has a complete business case for internal approval and buy-in, before investing significant amounts of money, reveals Sharad Mittal, Business Partner, Competitive Capabilities International.

Competitive Capabilities International (CCI) is a global operations excellence management company that helps clients accelerate their operations and supply chain excellence journey through TRACC, its Integrative Improvement management framework. The company has implemented TRACC in over 20 sites in India and over 2000 sites globally. Recently, Asian Paints, India’s largest paint manufacturer, selected TRACC as the foundation for the operational excellence programme at of one of its plants. CCI is well geared to provide implementation and consulting support to its clients in India.

Making Life of Chemical Manufacturers Easy
While responding to CEW on how the system can make the life of a chemical manufacturer easy, Mittal reveals that TRACC is a knowledgebase of best practices encompassing various facets of operations and supply chain. The knowledgebase is divided into 5 steps of maturity so that it addresses all companies, irrespective of the level of advancement in their continuous improvement programme. “Reduction in Energy consumption through elimination of Loss and Waste; Improvement in OEE (overall equipment effectiveness) leading to reduced costs; and Reduced employee attrition are some of the advantages for chemical companies,” Mittal comments. He further adds that TRACC best practices work together to help companies develop and implement an improvement strategy, manage the transformation and provide a roadmap for the continuous improvement journey. This helps companies achieve sustainable, replicable world class business performance improvement.

Mittal emphasises TRACC is a knowledgebase of best practices which are divided into 5 stages of maturity (from ‘do nothing’ to ‘world’s best’). According to him, companies are leveraging the system to create a vision and a compelling roadmap for operational excellence; Benchmarking their systems and processes against global (and intra company) best practices and standards, through the TRACC assessor, Monitoring the value delivered and the progress of the improvement programme; Improving the leadership effectiveness to implement and support the efficiency improvement programme; Managing the cultural change; Building on existing improvement initiatives which could be leveraging known approaches like TPM, TQM, Six sigma, etc; Moderating the rate of change, as per organisational appetite for change; and Improving standards of health and safety through driving awareness at an operator level.

Enhancing Skills and Competence
The TRACC content provides the knowledge needed for achieving higher levels of efficiency. “At each step of the process, TRACC provides the content explaining “What to do”, “Why to do” and “How to do”. The level of detail (templates, charts, examples, step-by-step guide) hand holds the employees through this journey saving precious time in research and experimentation. TRACC content includes multiple training programmes, which are customised to the audience,” explains Mittal. He also mentions about ‘Train the Trainer’ programme conducted by CCI. CCI emphasises on enhancing employee potential and improvement through internal resources, reveals Mittal.

Reducing Waste
The first step on the road to operational excellence is building awareness regarding the potential for improvement. “TRACC helps your company gain knowledge about the potential losses and wastes that are present in the current manufacturing and supply chain processes. These could be from simple machine downtime, pump stoppages or excess steam losses, all the way through to excess time to attain process stability from short production stops. It is our experience that there are often hidden losses within the process and the reduction of these will assist reduce the cost of manufacture per tonne,” Mittal states.

Does the system provide training material and workshops to support employees to uncover hidden wastes by routinely scrutinising their processes? Yes, Mittal replies. “The system also encourages them to develop innovative solutions for waste elimination, through problem solving skills enhancement. The result is production of quality products on time, every time with refined processes and a vigilant workforce,” he adds further.

Changing Trends
The response towards adopting latest systems is increasing. “Traditionally the Indian chemical companies lagged behind in adopting such programs but there is now a visible urgency to improve efficiencies across the entire value chain, to be cost competitive,” Mittal comments. He explains that India has become an integral part of the global economy and the Indian companies are no longer ‘shielded’ by protectionist policies and rules. Many Indian chemical companies are now either customers of or vendors to large MNC companies. “This imperative has further been exaggerated by the rising energy and raw material costs. The managements of Indian chemical companies of all sizes are therefore focusing on running efficiency improvement programmes. Programmes like TRACC are therefore receiving tremendous response from these companies.”

CCI is also in discussion with medium and large scale manufacturers to extend the benefit of the system. Mittal claims that CCI can address specific areas of improvement through an approach from the basics thus laying the foundation for improvement. The area and scope depends on the strategy and business imperatives of the prospective client.