The Summer in the Hills………
Immediately, after the completion of my first year at IIM Lucknow, I was excited to start off my internship at Procter & Gamble. Operations is a field which I always wanted to work in but at the same time had a liking towards marketing also. So, Procter & Gamble, an FMCG firm was the apt place to be in as I was selected for an Operations profile.
April 7, 2014, the first day of my internship at P&G in Mumbai. We were 60 of us, selected for different profiles. I had an opportunity to meet some of the brilliant minds from some of the reputed colleges in the country. We had a very structured 2-day induction program where we had an opportunity to interact with some of the senior most executives in the organization. We had many sessions briefing about the organization, its values, cultures and the overall functioning. The best part of the day was the induction party which we had in the evening. This was the time where we could interact with the employees and at the same time had lots of fun dancing, singing and capturing these memories forever. The day was pretty hectic as we had to report to the office by 8 a.m. and the party finished by 10 in the night. I also had an opportunity to interact with the CEO of the organization which was the best part of the first day of my internship.
The second day was a half-day session and then we had to move to our respective internship locations from the third day. I was posted in Baddi, a place in Himachal Pradesh which houses around 10,000 industries. I was excited about the place, especially after watching the Hindi movie “Highway”, which depicts the mountainous terrain and the industries established in the hilly areas. The place is very close to various hill stations like Shimla, Kasauli, Kulu and Manali among others. Myself, being from the southern part of the country wanted to explore these northern foothills of the country.
Baddi being an industrial area, I had to accommodate myself in Chandigarh. I fell in love with the city, especially with the climate and the infrastructural facilities available in the city. The journey from Chandigarh to Baddi is tiresome but thrilling at the same time as you go through the mountains and the hilly regions to reach the office. The experience gets even more wonderful if there is a thunderstorm or a heavy rainfall. P&G has a Gillette plant in Baddi where I was put up. Although, being from a mechanical background, I had never worked in a manufacturing plant before. So, I was looking forward to understand the nature of the work I would be doing in the plant. Just then, I was introduced to my guide, who took me into the plant and briefly explained me about the various processes happening in the plant. I also had a brief introduction with the complete leadership team on the first day in the plant. The same day, I had a meeting with the guide, mentor and the sponsor about my deliverables and the project scope.
I was assigned to 2 live projects, both of which were challenging but at the same time doable in a span of 2 months.
“Operations Start Up at Contract Manufacturer’s Site” – The Company was planning to outsource some of the manual intensive work which was presently being done in-house. By doing so, the company can free up some of the resources who can then be used to generate additional volumes for the next financial year. My work was to set up the complete operations at the Vendor’s site which included area calculation, manpower requirement, transportation decisions, infrastructure requirements, process improvements to deliver increased productivity, layout optimization and working with the vendor at various points during the implementation phase. The most challenging part of the project was getting the required amount of data from the various departments. The project required me to interact with the various departments including purchase, production, finance, warehouse and transportation. I also got a first-hand experience in negotiating with the vendor in various aspects. The processes had to be designed in such a way that the cost incurred due to outsourcing should be less than that incurred by doing it in-house. Through this project, the company can generate huge amount of cost savings through the generation of additional volumes without hiring extra resources.
“Blades and Razors Production Intelligence, Baddi” – This involved digitization of the data entry at the first level (shop-floor operator level) so as to provide the information required at the time it is needed. Presently, all the data entry is manual. Digitization would eliminate the effort duplication and also contribute towards sustainability through paper savings. It would also touch and improve the lives of the operators and provide an enhanced employee experience. I had to map the current information flow and identify the areas where the effort can be reduced. Based on the information collected, I had to envision an end state. Then, create dummy interfaces for the various zones in the plant and conduct trial runs. Finally, work with the vendor to bring that vision to life. The main challenge was interacting with the operators about the present process and arriving at different solutions for simplifying the information flow. Digitization would provide a huge database which the managers can use for problem solving and also further analysis. The managers will have access to real life data which is not available through the present system.
The best part of both the projects was the involvement with the various stakeholders and the interaction with the vendor to achieve the task. The final and the most important part of the internship was the final review which went on smoothly. I also got some goodies on the last day of my intern. The internship experience was simply great and enriching. It provided a great opportunity to learn various concepts because a lot of complexities creep-in in actual practical situations which we are not exposed to when we are taught the same in the classroom sessions. I had a wonderful experience working with some of the best people in the industry.