In the quest of better future my work carried me from one challenge to another.
In Corporate career one needs to be upright in latest knowledge about your area of expertise day in and day out, as the innovations are flowing and not static ones. The management expects one to be productive in providing solutions not only to problems at hand but to tide over the unforeseen situations out of one’s bond as well.
If you fail to rise to the occasion your future is in jeopardy.
It was early February morning in 1980 I was being driven in company car from my residence, in Rishikesh Town to the Glass factory(BILT GLASS) in Virbhadra ,a distance of about 6 kms over the green hill slope .
The drive, a small one ,but quite picturesque with green hilly pastures all along the route.
The sun light was falling on to the trees lining the slopes ,the trees gobbled the light before scattering it down on to the car window panes , I squinching my eyes shut, reopening again when away from the splattering sun rays.
The driver finally honked the horn at the factory gate and it opened ajar allowing me to get down before parking the car at the right place.
“ good —- good morning sir” a few workers said as I strolled on the tarmac road leading to the production hall.
I continued my walk into the hall to my cabin in the farthest corner of the Inspection lines.
The view of machines was clear and the gobs of glass falling speedily on to the formation moulds presented a spectacular view of manufacturing. The hot glinting bottles were travelling on the belt in a sequence one after another without falling off the corners. A perfect co-ordination in place to watch and admire.
As I settled down in my chair in my not so tidy cabin ,bottle samples strewn everywhere ,I cleared my table of the knick knacks and looked at the daily production report with a sense of satisfaction ,the rejection percentage staggering between 8 to 10 percent on all m/cs.
“Good Morning sir” G S Rawat my assistant quality control officer said extending his hand for a handshake ,I held his hand saying “very Good Morning dear Rawatji”.
He briefed me about the quality reports of the night shift and apprised me for the quality clearance of the liquor bottles’ consignments on urgent basis to the dispatch section.
Tackling the quality Issues.
Tring tring tring —the telephone rang ,I picked up the receiver , “hello Good Morning sir” I blurted out .
“ Good morning Kaul sahib .will you come in my cabin for important meeting” . Mr Gupta sahib spoke hurriedly from the other end. I hung up the telephone and left the cabin to meet Mr S.C. Guptaji , our revered works Manager . Guptaji was highly qualified engineer ,experienced in the container glass manufacturing I.S.machines . He was very soft spoken but supportive and knew his job well. It was a great honour to work with him.
“ There is serious complaint in Rooh Afza bottles. you will have to go to Ghaziabad to find out the problem . We have supplied around ten lakh bottles and you need to study the problem while observing their filing line.” Mr Gupta Sahib said nonchalantly .
“Let us see the GM MR Bushan “ he continued.
Guptaji and myself had discussion with Mr Bushan GM. “kaulji the stakes are high .we have further order of 50 lakh for these bottles ,in case we fail to address the issue satisfactorily, we all will have to face an awkward situation leaving aside huge financial loss to the company.. So kindly do your best.” Mr Bushan emphasized upon the gravity of the matter.
“ With your and God’s grace I will do my utmost to resolve the issue amicably .” I replied with an air of finality.
“ Mr kaul go to H.O and meet Marketing head Mr CPSharmaji and then proceed to the plant in Ghaziabad. Donot go without meeting him.” Mr Bushan said cooly.
Meanwhile I asked my assistant G.S.Rawat to take up a large sample at random from different lots mouldwise of the particular stocked production and make a report for the following quality parameters
- Cracks /Neck /Body 2. perpendicularity.3. wall thickness variations. 4 wt, capacity and 5 Neck dimensions .
Rawatji was quick to make a detailed report and it gave me an idea of the quality of the product under complaint. The report was well within norms . A simple guide line to main action plan.
Taking leave of Gupta Sahib, promising to give daily reports on phone ,I accordingly proceeded to Delhi to attend to the aggrieved customer in Sahibabad industrial area.
The journey from Rishikesh to Delhi was not an easy one but dreary long one to be completed in about six hours taking recourse at intervals to roadside stands selling tea, coffee ,snacks, squash juice and at wayside restaurants for food rest and easing oneself in the wash rooms adequately maintained.
The Cheetal Restauarant with large accommodation ,scalloped counters with huge leather stools was the best wayside one for eating a sumptuous meal dinner or lunch .
A coffee venting m/c in the corner ,the hot black fluid pouring down and when stopped, a squirt of milk coming down with sugar cubes beside the cup. A real treat to watch and enjoy the hot cup.
Such centers for food rest were maintained beautifully with lawns and flowers. At the front near the gates were huge parking places for vehicles to be lined up . we parked ours and straightway walked into the main hall.
I had a hurried dinner in the most delighted place, with Bollywood background music.
The night was dark but pleasant enough to lull oneself to a sweet slumber. The cab driver drove past the heavy loaded trucks that moved on the roads; suddenly there was rain and it rained incessantly ,the rain drummed on the roof of the car and wind-shields wipers moved rapidly allowing the driver to see through the large hazy window pan.
we reached Delhi early morning and made straight to the Bilt H.O on Janpath Cannaught place.
Mr C.P.Sharma GM Glass Marketing was in his usual affable spirits.
“Kaul sahib ,kindly see the complaint is resolved.
Mr Bhalla will come with you but you need to manage on your own as he is going to see other customers for more urgent work.” Mr Sharma said briefly.
“ No issue Sharmaji , I will manage if he is too busy.” I snapped
I started to move but Sharma ji asked me to have some tea and snacks. However I managed to take leave of Sharmaji finally.
At ROOH AFZA Plant Ghaziabad I and Mr Bhalla met the GM ,a bearded hefty man in his fiftees ,welcomed us in a very friendly manner “Hello Mr Bhalla pleased to met you .” The gentleman said without moving from his chair. “ we have some problems with your consignments. as conveyed to you already kindly look into the same .” he pleaded. He called for his engineer , and asked us to interact with him .
“ Hello Mr Kaul , do you remember me Javed Akhtar ” the gentleman said extending his hand towards me “ yes I think we have met somewhere.” I replied briefly.
“ way back in 1976 in Mohan Meakin Breweries Solan” He elaborated.
‘ Yes got it you are Javed ,oh ,I see ,how come to be here” I enquired
“ I am working here as Maintenance engineer now. You are from Kashmir kaul sir” He continued, pointing to Mr Bhalla.
“Kaul sir is an expert in glass line I learnt a lot from him”
Mr bhalla nodded in assent.
After discussions it was decided I should stay back to study the problem at the trial run .
Mr Bhalla took my leave and I went to the plant to run ROOH AFZA bottles.
I judged that the main conveyor belt was not in tune with the speed of the filing m/cs and some of the bottles wobbled especially around every turn table and thus fell off the corners giving huge breakages.
I requested Mr Javed to adjust the speed to reduce wobbling and thus salvage the breakage of bottles. Meanwhile I got the turn table revolutions synchronized to the movement of the bottles.
Javed was quick to understand the problem and put his junior engineer on the job.
Soon after these adjustments the breakages were considerably reduced and I could envisage a definite possibility of resolution of the issue.
Now the second issue was to enhance the production to the required level of packing 60,000 bottles per day. we checked with the current speed and improved situation nearly 50,000 bottles could be packed. The m/c speed was to be increased by nearly five to eight bottles per/minute in order to reach the required level of production taking a negligible breakage into consideration.
Javed promised that he would increase the speed after making requested maintenance work of both filing m/cs as well as conveyor belts .
Next day we started fresh with much improved conditions sought after seeking maintenance of the equipment . The filing m/c speeds were enhanced to be in tune with adjustant conveyor belts .It worked wonders for the bottle line , rarely a stray bottle now wobbled and broke off the corner.
At the end of the day Javed informed me that production has been packed to optimum level with almost no breakage.
I conveyed to Works Manager Mr .Guptaji about two days results. He was glad to hear that bottles were being filled problem free and the issue largely resolved.
I told him that we could think of having knurling on the bottom of the bottles to give stability and thus avoid wobbling completely. Mr Guptaji agreed not only to make some changes like one I suggested but also made some design changes in the blanks for better durability to the ware.
Mr S.GUPTAJI was brilliant in engineering innovations of glass container Industry, thus Bilt Glass had double whammy advantage to their competitors in terms of technical superiority..
Needless to say not only the current stock was consumed during my stay at the plant but our Marketing people managed to get repeat orders as well.