In this article, Kanav Gupta, from TISS Mumbai's Co' 22 talks about his summer internship experience at ITC Limited. Read on!
A Factory Stint at ITC Ltd. ft. Kanav Gupta
“Embrace Uncertainty. Some of the most beautiful chapters of our lives won’t have a title until much later” - Bob Goff
Amidst all the uncertainty posed by the pandemic, the question of deciding the mode of summer internships had perplexed the organizations. After ensuring adequate measures for safety and keeping in mind the nature of my project, I got the opportunity to have an offline internship in the Factory HR role at ITC Ltd. Being at the heart of the beloved ITC food brands made my summer internship all the more fascinating!
ITC is one of India's largest and diverse conglomerates with a presence in FMCG, Hotels, Packaging, Paperboards & Specialty Papers, Agri & IT Businesses. ITC Group’s core values of innovation and excellence are acclaimed by the industry. ‘Respect for people’ is a value deeply ingrained in the employees in a culture of co-operation and mutual respect. I experienced this with the extra mile that the people went in to help me adjust to the new environment.
We had an amazing onboarding experience with a comprehensive orientation program distributed over 4 days. It included – Introduction to ITC, leadership sessions, safety and health discussions, function-specific mentoring, and fun icebreaking sessions for the interns. These sessions were candid, insightful, and thought-provoking, and marked the beginning of an epic adventure over the next 2 months.
I was intrigued by the nature of the project detailed in the project charter provided since it involved extensive study of the line operations at the factory and apply industrial and operational knowledge. Although I had no prior experience of the factory setup, I took up the challenge with continuous guidance and motivation from my Project Mentor and Buddy. I remember my project mentor encouraging me: “Spend your time at the Gemba!”. Accordingly, I spent the majority of my initial few weeks at the shop floor learning the operations, technology, and manpower distribution in the food factories. During this time, I interacted with various stakeholders, including workers, line managers, engineering, production, and operation managers.
My project had a unique mix of research, analysis, and implementation with tangible deliverables in terms of cost efficiency and improved productivity. We also had the opportunity to interact with the Divisional CEO who highlighted the implications of my project especially with regards to automation and scalability at other plants. The best and perhaps the most critical part of my project was to secure buy-in from all the stakeholders and implement the recommendations. I am grateful to my mentor who offered me immense freedom, autonomy, and support throughout the internship.
The project helped me get real exposure to stakeholder management, industrial processes, and various facets of factory operations. The massive scale of operations helped me appreciate the meticulously crafted systems and processes. It was exciting to relate and translate labour law theory to practice. Moreover, the process changes and the new protocols adopted to fight the pandemic was a lesson in change management. Working with incredibly talented people at ITC helped in no less measure to the overall learning experience.
In conclusion, my experience at ITC truly had enduring value in letter and spirit!
Kanav Gupta is currently a final year student at TISS HRM & LR, Mumbai. He is an engineering graduate and an erstwhile consultant. An avid cinephile always up for a travel quest.