About the Author: Maninder Singh, an MBA student from National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE), had an exhilarating experience as an intern at KEC International. Read on to find gripping details from his internship journey.
After working at TATA Motors for almost three years, I joined NITIE, Mumbai to pursue my MBA in Supply Chain & Operations (SCM). Like every MBA course, the first three months were very hectic and every moment was about getting through the interview process of the best companies in campus. After sleepless nights, group discussions, and knowledge sessions – I got placed at RPG group for their ‘Summer Internship Process’. I was so relaxed after receiving the offer; my hard work had managed to get me an offer from one of the best companies on campus. One night, at around 8:45 pm, all RPG 2016 interns got an email with their offer letters. That got me a bit nervous about what company and project I’d be allocated. I checked the email and it read, “Location: Halol, Gujarat; Company: KEC International; Project: Material consumption optimisation through SPC and VSM. To find OEE of machines and identify bottlenecks.” Being a mechanical engineer with a work experience of 3 years in the automotive sector, I was expecting something different with fancy MBA jargons and a corporate feel attached to it. But, then again, I think any internship is about new experiences.
My project guide was Vice President (Manufacturing) having an experience of more than 30 years! I was the only intern selected to work under him. I was all set to reach Halol, Gujarat and create value for the company. I joined KEC International on 5th April 2016. Little did I know, the company located around 40 kms away from the main Vadodara city, was about to give me such a fruitful internship experience! I met the VP and discussed the material over-consumption issues, and how there was no data analysis for the same. My project title got changed considering the real requirements. It was a cable manufacturing facility. It took me 15 days to understand the criticalities of the line, operations, materials, and the manufacturing cycle. I planned the project milestones and started collecting data for the project. After 30 days and a data collection of more than 1000 points, I presented my report. It consisted of the problem areas, concerns, current situation, and probable actions to the VP. In short, the data analysis was deep and detailed. The company was producing more than what they needed to. There was no realisation of how the different variables were affecting their output.
He was impressed! Next, he asked me to prepare the action list and ask for any support that was needed to rectify the situation. I had to go through my theoretical concepts of total quality management (TQM), operations optimization, and statistical process control for the same. My practical experience helped me a lot to understand the feasibility of my actions. The action list stressed upon 4 areas, namely – problem analysis from man, machine, method, and measurement perspective. I conducted a session for line operators to make them realise that what was going wrong on the shop floor and what actions are to be taken by them in the future. I gave personal training to line operators having more than 4 years of experience to drive the line operations in a controlled manner. I did the benchmarking from the automotive sector which resulted in the introduction of a new measuring instrument to control the process and implemented it in just 4 days with 100% usage. We improved tools, dies, line processes, standard operating procedures, and line formats. Regular meetings with the HOD Production, maintenance, and process to analyse the actions and their implementation led the project in a positive way. My recommendations and actions were supposed to be completed in 45 days, but I managed to finish it in just 35 days. 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 the new initiatives. I had to do double shifts to streamline things. I immensely enjoyed my work; I was doing work not because of the project but due to my interest in the field. I couldn’t believe how interesting the project had become for me till I prepared the knowledge management module for the company so that they could continue the work even after my internship. By 26th May 2016, I was ready with 6 months’ implementation plan of my recommendations, details of process performance, actionable areas with the method of solving issues, responsibility matrix for project execution, and financial impact of the project when material optimisation would be implemented.
The RPG Group conducted the ‘Arjuna Award Competition’ every year. The best interns of the year were awarded cash prizes, after strict evaluation by the project guides. The top 12 interns were required to present their final work at RPG house, Mumbai. I felt nervous to compete with the other 11 interns, that came from renowned institutions like IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Kozhikode, XLRI, amongst others. Nevertheless, it was time for the final verdict! I was not expecting it, but my name was announced as the “WINNER” (I was also awarded a cash prize of INR 1 Lac)! For a moment, I was not able to hear the cheers in the hall and then the HR VP said, “SaardarJi! Aajayo stage pe abh!”
Getting the ‘Arjuna Award Winner’ title is a very big thing for me! I have always looked for opportunities in difficulties and that is what led me to do my best. This internship experience has given me unforgettable memories for which I’ll forever be grateful to RPG and NITIE!
Editor’s Note – Maninder is a leading example of how one’s perseverance and hardwork can take them a long way in life! Check out these MBA internships to give your career a kick-start!