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4 Principles of Maruti Suzuki Skill Development

Have you ever taken a step back and looked at your business, your job, or even your personal life, and thought: What am I not doing right?!

The bright young minds at the Japan-India Institute of Manufacturing (JIM) may have some answers. At this state-of-the-art Industrial Training Institute (ITI), established by Maruti Suzuki at Ganpat University in Mehsana, Gujarat, the students have perfected the Japanese art of discipline.

At JIM, students are exposed to an environment that mimics the factory where they will eventually work. One of the core focus areas at the JIM is soft skills training. Beginning with basics like grooming and dietary habits, the training covers English communication, and the history of Japanese Technology.

Every year, Japanese trainers are invited to provide students with training in the latest technical developments, and Japanese best business practices. These principles offer four unique perspectives to the students:

Principle No.1 – Kaizen

Kaizen means continuous improvement. Mehul Waghela, who graduated from JIM with flying colours and now works at the Suzuki Motors plant in Hansalpur says, “I have been working here only for 2 months, but I’ve already managed to submit 3 suggestions for improvement.”

Identifying wastage and potential losses becomes second nature for someone who is committed to this principle.

Principle No.2 – 5S

While this may sound like the new model of the Maruti Suzuki Swift, for students at JIM, 5S is a philosophy to live by. Simply put, it consists of:

• Seiri (sorting): To distinguish between what is and isn’t needed;

• Seiton (setting in order): To get ready to pick what you need when you need it at once;

• Seiso (cleanliness): To keep your workplace clean by removing rubbish, dust or dirt;

• Seiketsu (standardising): To repeat Seiri-Seiton-Seiso according to a predetermined schedule and improve & maintain the workplace environment.

• Shitsuke (sustaining the discipline): To observe what has been decided; To train people to observe it;

On the shopfloor, 5S helps to improve productivity, promote behavioural change, and exposes problems. Siddharth Sonvar, Manager of Skill Development at Maruti Suzuki says, “Before, there would be complete chaos when the students were leaving the institute for the day. We created a system where the punching out could be done in an organised manner using the 5S principles. In all the classrooms, you will never find a single thing out of place.”

Principle No.3 – 3G

While this sounds like a form of internet technology, 3G is a very important Japanese management technique.

3G is made up of 3 simple rules: Genchi: Go to the actual place; Genbutsu: See the actual thing; Genjitsu: Take necessary action.

According to G.S Bairwa, a trade expert with over 3 decades of experience at Maruti Suzuki, the 3G principle allowed him to identify a problem that saved the company an entire day’s worth of production- i.e, 500 cars.

Principle No.4 – Ho-Ren-So

At JIM, there is a strong emphasis on teamwork. And this is where the principle of Ho-Ren-So comes in. It is an acronym made up of 3 Japanese words:

• Hokoku, which means to always report to your supervisor to ensure transparency.

• Renraku, which means to inform your supervisor and teammates. Sharing of information is crucial in an organisation.

• Sodan, which means to consult. It is not necessary that even as a supervisor, you will have the answer to everything.

The skills imparted to the students by these principles allows for a smooth transition from learning in a classroom to working in a professional capacity. For Mayur, an aspiring automobile technician, his training in keeping his workplace neat and tidy using the principles of 5S translates into an uncluttered living environment where he is able to be at peace.

Armed with a strong syllabus developed by the Association for Overseas Technical Scholarship (AOTS), Japan, under the guidance of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Japan, JIM provides a holistic learning environment. It transforms students into industry-ready, global workers. And thus they are prepared to take on any challenges that the outside world throws at them!

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