I Did Well Because I Loved My Work – Maninder Singh’s Internship Experience at RPG – NITIE, Mumbai
I was in HRC, Mumbai with my committee seniors for their farewell. At around 8:45 PM, all RPG 2016 interns got an email with their offer letters from the company and I was feeling bit nervous about seeing that letter. That nervousness was because of knowing the company in RPG Group for final project. So, I checked the email and it was written in big italic Calibri font 11 “Location: Halol, Gujarat; Company: KEC International; Project: Material consumption optimization through SPC and VSM. To find OEE of machines and identify bottlenecks”.
Frankly speaking, I was not happy with the allocation of project and company. Being a mechanical engineer, having experience of 3 years in automotive sector, I was expecting something different; something with fancy MBA jargons type title of project and corporate office. But I think internship is all about new experiences so I enjoyed the farewell with seniors that night and started checking details of my company. My project guide was Vice President – Manufacturing having experience of 30+ years and I was the only intern selected for that facility. First day (4th April 2016) at RPG House at Mumbai was great. I was all set to reach Halol, Gujarat and create value for company. For one moment think about this! People do MBA for changing their profile, getting new opportunities, to work in new domains and lot of other reasons. But in my case, my project was in operations domain same as my work earlier experience along with plant location, again same. So, I was really confused that am I doing something new with MBA or just adding one more degree to my linkedIn profile. Though I put all the things aside on my way to Gujarat and joined KEC International Vadodara facility on 5th April 2016 around 40 Kms away from main city to give my best in 2 months of internship.
I met my VP and discussed about material over consumption issues and how they are not able to handle the issues because of they don’t have any data analysis for the same. My project title got changed considering the real requirements. It was a cable manufacturing facility and whatever happens, my love for operations always come out when I go on shop floor. It took me around 15 days to understand the critical nature of line, operations, materials and whole manufacturing cycle. I planned the project milestones and started collecting data for the project and after 30 days with data collection of more than 1000 points I presented the problem areas, concerns, current situation and probable actions to VP. First thing what VP said after seeing my analysis “OMG! We are doing so bad in processes and we’re not supposed to do that. Maninder, this is just excellent! Prepare actions list and ask for any support you need to make this correct”. In short, data analysis was deep and detailed. Company was producing more than what they should be doing and that too because their process is not in control. They don’t know how different variables are affecting their output and how should they control that.
The action list I prepared had 4 areas in detail. I had to go through my theoretical concepts of total quality management (TQM), operations optimization and statistical process control. My practical experience helped me a lot to understand the feasibility of my actions. My actions included problem analysis from man, machine, method and measurement perspective. I conducted a session for line operators to make them realize the faults on the shop floor and what they can do to right the wrongs. Regular meetings with HOD Production, maintenance and process to analyze the actions and their implementation led the project in a positive way. My recommendations and actions were supposed to be completed in 45 days of internship, but I did that in just 35 days. We improved tools, dies, line processes, standard operating procedures and line formats. I gave personal training to line operators having more than 4 years of experience to drive the line operations in controlled manner. I did the benchmarking from automotive sector which resulted into introduction of new measuring instrument to control the process and implemented it in just 4 days with 100% usage. Knowledge sharing was done to other plants where same processes are being followed.
While doing all this, I was facing issues in monitoring proper execution of new initiatives so I had to do double shifts for making things streamlined. I was enjoying my work whole time and I didn’t realize it till my VP told me “Maninder, you’re motivating me to go on line and see the improvements. The energy level you’re showing is huge and I feel great to guide you on this project” in my third review on 16th May 2016. So that means I was doing work not because of my project but due to my interest in it. I couldn’t believe that how interesting that project became for me until I planned and prepared knowledge management module for company so that they can continue my work after my internship with all the details given in module for every trial or experiment I did. This was happening for the first time in my company that proper documentation for every trial was being maintained for future reference with all the reports, assumptions taken, results, team members, details etc. I did video conferencing with plant heads & teams of other plants to share the initiatives I took in Gujarat plant. With my practical application of scientific study in manufacturing operations to understand the relations of different variables with our produced product, company got exhaustive data to predict their process outputs. So, by 26th May 2016, I was ready with 6 months’ implementation plan of my recommendations, details of process performance, actionable areas with method of solving issues, responsibility matrix for project execution and financial impact of project when material optimization would happen. My final review happened on 27th May 2016 and I was done with my project requirements.
In RPG Group, we have Arjuna Award competition which goes to best intern of the year with prize money of Rs. 1 lac (Winner), Rs. 50, 000 (1st runner up) and Rs. 50,000 (2nd runner up). Group gives evaluation sheet to project guide for final scoring and on the basis of that top 12 interns get chance to present their project details in front of group leaders. From 28th May to 1st June, I worked on minor project of 5S implementation in my company and on 2nd June I was back to Mumbai. At 8:30 PM on 2nd June, list of top 12 interns out of total 33 was released. I was among top 12 interns who would present their work to get into top 3. I was feeling great and ready for final presentation on 3rd June in RPG house, Mumbai. My presentation was at 5 PM and I entered the room where all were in business suits except me in Pink patterned shirt with dark grey pants and red turban. I was feeling nervous to compete with other 11 interns (from IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Khozikode, XLRI, FMS, IIM Ranchi, TISS, IMI, NITIE and IIM Calcutta). All the presentations were completed by 7 PM and at 8 PM all assembled for the final results. When VP HR asked everyone to guess the top 3 then all expected me to get 1st runner up position. I was dead nervous (I hope you all can understand the intense time that could be). So final moment came, 2nd runner up – FMS, 1st runner up – IIM Khozikode and Winner – Maninder Singh, NITIE, Mumbai. OMG!! I was not expecting this and for one moment time stopped for me, I was not able to hear the cheers in hall and then HR VP said “SaardarJi! Aajayo stage pe abh!”.
Arjuna Award Winner, Best Intern of the year is very big for me. I’m writing this in flight on my way to home and I still can feel that moment when my name was announced. I am very happy and feel great that on the very first day I was too skeptical about plant project, but I did well because I loved my work. Nothing else matters, but one’s interest in work.
I have always looked for opportunities in difficulties and that has led me to do my best in this project. During this internship, I challenged every person whenever required with full confidence. I was live question bank with lot of queries in my mind always and I think those queries helped me to clearly reach the root cause of issues. This internship experience has given me unforgettable memories which I’m not sure I would be able to experience again. Thank you RPG, Thank you NITIE!
About the Author:
PGDIM 22– NITIE, Mumbai