TVS Motor Company (TVSMC) has been awarded the prestigious Deming award by the Union of Japanese Scientist and Engineers for achieving distinctive performance improvement through the application of total quality management. TVSMC is the first two-wheeler company in the world to get the award.
Industry considers the Deming award as equivalent to the Nobel prize in the field of quality.
In another feather on TVSMC’s cap, its parent, Sundaram Clayton Ltd (SCL) has been awarded the Japan Quality Medal by the Union for its brakes division. This division had won the Deming award in 1998 and the current award is in recognition of its achievement in its total quality management practices. SCL is only the second company outside Japan to win the award, and the first one in the country.
With the latest award, the TVS group has hit a hat trick. Earlier, SCL and Sundaram Brake Linings were awarded the prize. So far only TVS group companies have bagged this prestigious award in the country.
“There is a strong resemblance of the quality award’s requirements to the TVS way of life. These quality principles were in force when the TVS group founder had been operating a 400-strong bus fleet in the early 1900’s before their nationalisation,” says SCL and TVSMC managing director Venu Srinivasan.
“There is no instant mantra or extra effort that can prepare one for such an examination (required for the award), except the arduous and diligent process of consistently applying the process of TQM over a long period in every facet of operation,” he explains.
For the group, the journey towards the awards began in a crisis period. During the early 1980s, the recession and increased competition had led to a drop in the market share and profitability of SCL. The company embraced the quality mantra, which helped boost profit, besides improving quality, recalls SCL president C Narasimhan.
TVSMC was plagued by problems after acquisition of SCL’s moped division by the erstwhile Ind Suzuki in 1987. There was an incompatibility in the organisational structure, high fixed cost, poor financials and low morale among the workforce. The quality journey helped turnaround the fortunes, says TVSMC president CP Raman.
The key element of the TQM movement is total employee involvement. Everybody in the company is involved in activities like suggestion schemes. “Even the security and canteen staff are involved,” says a TVSMC official, adding other concepts like quality circles, cross functional teams, in-time production, total productive