Exclusive Grand Rounds- A Game changer
Bangalore Baptist Hospital

Anitha was admitted in the special private ward in a multispeciality hospital. This particular ward in the hospital boasted of facilities on par with a five star hotel. The rooms were air-conditioned single rooms with a remote controlled beds, microwave, television, nurse calling facility et al.

The patient and their attendee’s have options to choose from the set menu and also to order food on alacarte basis. Anitha ordered for a masala dosa, but was provided with an idli-sambar.

This information was shared with the floor manager who in turn gets in touch with the dietary in charge to handle this specific complaint. He also has to check with the dietary staff to verify if the complaint was handled to the patient’s satisfaction.

   This leads to a delay in the time frame for resolution of complaints. Similarly other patient related complaints pertaining to the rooms and facilities were handled in silos and independently.

We brought in a lot of changes in terms of patient service experience including a manager for the floor, dedicated dietary supervisor for the floor, dedicated customer relation executives to take feedbacks from all patients on that floor.

This also resulted in multiple staff visiting the patient at different times during the day to collect feedback about the different services offered, thereby disturbing the patients at multiple times during the day.

However we realised that we had a long way to go in terms of satisfying the patient and there was no reduction in the number of complaints received from these patients.

We brainstormed on the problem internally and we realised that we could work as a TEAM to handle this issue better. This resulted in the inception of the “EXCLUSIVE GRAND ROUNDS”. This team comprised of the nurse manager, customer relations executive and the dietary in charge and floor manager. 

We have a team visiting the patient on a daily basis and communicating with the patients regarding the patient experience on a daily basis with respect to each of their areas and taking measures on a real-time basis so the patient feels the compassion that we as a hospital stand for. This resulted in the team being sensitized to all the issues faced by the patient on a daily basis and taking our patient experience to a different level.

Features and Failures - A Bank Fable
Sample with Video

Multinational Banks are known to invest in excellent infrastructure and executives. The lowest designation for a new campus recruit two decades ago, in India, was nothing less than Vice President. Salaries matched the designation. The self esteem of these freshly recruited students was always at a zenith. They were the prize catch for the most popular campus recruiters - multinational banks.

I was invited by a multinational bank in South Mumbai, the fi nancial capital of India, to experience excellence. An autopsy of sorts. Yes, this branch of the bank had marble fl ooring, piped music, art that only a successful bank could afford, personal computers at every desk, and more. Perfect.

The head of the branch took me around to meet with several of his executives. I will focus on one 200 square feet section that was partitioned with a three feet high wall. This section seated four executives, in the four corners, facing the partition wall. All four in pin striped suits. Each of the four was very busy working on his dedicated personal computer.

I asked: “What is the activity of this section?”

Branch head: “They print the monthly statements of account holders.”

The qualitist in me: “Oh, they manufacture monthly statements.”

Branch head: ???

More of the qualitist: “What is the failure rate for these monthly statements?”

Branch head: “Can’t you see…it’s all computerized!!”

Yet more of the qualitist: “Oh. I see. Do any customers come back for a reconciliation?”

“Hardly any.”

“How many?”

“Perhaps one in 200.”

“Ah ha. That’s 0.5% failure rate.”

“So what’s the cost of failure?”


“Let’s find out”.

The branch head and I invested a half-day fi nding out what work the four executives actually did. As it turned out, one needed the equivalent of two persons to do 99.5% of the work right the first time and the equivalent of another two to correct 0.5 % failures!

So what is the cost of poor quality (COPQ) of this section? It’s 50% of the budget for that department plus the equivalent of marble flooring, piped music, and art.

The bank heard the alarm. They commenced their pilot projects by working on COPQ for the auto loan process in South India.

Fixed Costs need not be Fixed
Ashok Kumar Kurup

Winner - Quality Fables Competition 2020 for Individuals

Brahmadatta, the Prime Minister of Suvarnapura kingdom approached King Suvarna, “Maharaj, we have a shortage of 10,000 gold coins in our revenues this year due to the famine in the Central province of the kingdom.” King Suvarna was worried and called for his trusted Guru and Advisor, Yogi Gunavan.

Upon his arrival, the King received him with reverence and led him to the palace for a discussion with his trusted ministers. After perusing the reports of receipt of taxes and accumulation of grains Gunavan asked,” Accumulating grains is costing us 10 gold coins per mound of grain. It is higher compared to earlier periods.” King Suvarna replied, “Guruji, earlier we used to cultivate grains in the East and West provinces. However, we were successful in cultivating grains in the hilly terrain of the North provinces increasing output by 25% from the previous year.”

Gunavan perused the reports again and asked, “Given that the cost of transport and storage has remained the same, why is it that our costs have increased by 34%?”. Brahmadatta replied, “Guruji, the cost of transporting grains from the hilly terrain is higher because our carts can only take smaller loads and hence, we need to hire more carts to transport the grains to our central granary in the Southern province.”

Gunavan said, “Do we still store all the grain in the central granary inside the Southern Fort?”. “Yes Guruji. We have increased the capacity for storage by moving some of the soldier barracks to the rear of the Fort.”, replied Brahmadatta.

Gunavan further asked,” Why do we store all the grains in the Southern Fort? Don’t we have Forts in the North, East and West now?”. King Suvarna replied,” We have been doing this since the time of my father and it was you who initiated this practice when you were the Prime Minister.” “That is right. Grains are precious and will be protected inside the Fort. But we only had one Fort during that period. Now we have 4 Forts. Can’t we store grains from these provinces in their respective Forts?”, Gunavan asked.

Everyone said in unison,” Guruji, that is a good idea! This way every Fort will have enough provisions and we need not transport grains from central granary to all Forts. This will bring down transportation costs both during accumulation and distribution.”

Brahmadatta conferred with his Revenue secretary and announced, “Maharaj, this should save us about 35,000 gold coins in transport and we would require 15,000 gold coins to set up 3 granaries. Net saving 20,000 gold coins!”

Gunavan then addressed everybody, “Noblemen, always remember our fixed costs are based on our practices and practices are based on assumptions. So always question your assumptions for the fixed costs and then fixed costs will no longer be fixed.”

Fraud Terminator
eClerx Services

Chetan received a worrying phone call from one of his clients. The client had raised concern, over the dropping performance of the team and the lack of tool feedback. This was something that he had been expecting from the last two months. Thinking about the same he started walking towards the cafeteria.

On his way to the cafeteria, Chetan started recollecting the initial days when the process – GSD Fraud Monitoring was transitioned to his team. The client, a global leader in computer manufacturing, was facing severe financial losses due to the fraudulent warranty claims in the market. To curb this, the client had designed a system that would assign a unique service tag to each product being produced and then the product would be tracked using this for its lifetime. Since then the process of uploading the service tags into the newly designed tool was managed by Chetan and his team. The team was also tasked with doing sample audits on the uploaded service tags and provides regular feedback to the client on the functioning of the tool.

This process ran smoothly when the team had to process service tags of a single product class per day. However the situation changed once the team was asked to manage five additional product classes which increased the volume by 300%. Owing to this increased volume, Chetan estimated that, this would require tripling of the team size. However, the client agreed to only double it owing to the budget crunch. This led to team members not being able to manage the upload of service tag and the audit of upload volume at the same time. Not knowing what to do Chetan reached out to the black belt for support.

The black belt analyzed the process and suggested that a six sigma project be initiated. Subsequently the project team was put together and senior management approvals taken. The problem was defined, measured and analyzed on all the possible aspects. Solutions were developed, but they needed to be tested. Hence a pilot test was initiated to test the solutions. However, the pilot was a failure and the solutions had to be redesigned. The project team got together to understand what went wrong to ensure that they come up with unique solution for the problem resolution. All available alternatives were thoroughly analyzed and studied. This led to implementation of out-of-the-box ideas, which finally led to extraordinary result.

The client appreciated Chetan and the black belt by rewarding them with gift vouchers.

From Surface Ocean to Surface Oxide
Vedanta, Sterlite Copper, Silvasa

The best thing living in Silvassa is to get some soul satisfying moments driving just 25 odd miles to Daman beach. Sitting at the sea-side rocks, I watch and enjoy the playful waves. Rushing and gushing forward as they slow down their pace, moving back as to gain their energy to hit back with more force. Crashing and racing with each other … that … who will splash at me. I know that the perseverance of waves will eventually win and they will reach me certainly. Waiting for that ultimate wave, I got lost in thoughts-Isn’t it similar to our life?

Everyone is in race with one another… our suppliers, our competitors, our customers, etc. Expectations are always high. I recall, earlier our customers were happy with 1 break/MT while drawing copper at speeds of 20 m/s. Now 0.3 breaks/MT and drawing speeds less than 28 m/s is unacceptable to them. Courtesy a gigantic advancement in wire drawing industry and dumping of superior imported rods. To match that rod quality and sustain in market, we knew we had to improve our Piparia rod quality – To reduce high Surface Oxide values (SOD) in rod which has hindered its performance.

The waves bobbled many times before reaching the shore….

Last year a separate team already worked on reducing the SOD value but couldn’t succeed. So, we called OEM. According to them, Piparia plant design was the constraint. They said upgrade the plant which meant a long shutdown and capital expenditure of Rs.90 crores! However Senior Management formed a new cross-functional team to beat the unimaginable challenge -‘To improve the rod quality by reducing the SOD value in rods’. They showed faith in the capability of the team and said ‘’You run the plant! You understand it better! You’ll deliver, don’t worry!

I realized the waves just touched my feet, breaking my thoughts…I guess… they were advising me to forget the past and take up this challenge. With an extensive data analysis and statistical tools like dispersal analysis, stratification, MSA, Correlation and Regression, DOE, Test of Hypothesis, reference to technical papers, etc. , our team implemented some innovative Kaizens (without any shutdown or CAPEX) in the rod plant.

Like persistent waves, without any prejudice, oscillating between faiths and expectations of the management, our team took the challenge head-on! Finally our actions resulted into breakthrough in SOD values.

Yes, target was achieved and we were sailing on euphoric waves of success.

Now, the ocean is calm and serene like it has undergone some retrospection.  But deep-down, I know waves are restoring its energy to propel back for a new challenge… a new target…

Game of Clones: A Success Story…!
Max Life Insurance

Winner - Quality Fables Competition 2017

Empire of Max Life was ruled by the famous emperor Akbar. His soldiers were trained to sell insurance and secure the lives of its subjects. Max dynasty spread its wings across 205 cities and was divided in six provinces, East, West 1, West 2, North 1, North 2, and South. Hiring quality soldiers was a difficult task.

During the city visits, Akbar observed that one of his courtiers was offering the soldier’s job to a person who came to resolve his query and was convinced to take up this job. Akbar observed that quality of soldiers hired this way is far better than other sources.

The king called Birbal, his most trusted minister, and said “Birbal, recruiting soldiers from the subjects who come for query resolution is a fantastic idea. Go in the west province, implement the idea and come back to me with a progress report in 3 months. It’s an order “

Birbal tested the idea in West 2 and was delighted to see the success. Results were reported to the king who then ordered Birbal to clone this idea across all the regions.

Witty Birbal understood at instance that it’s not a easy job. He called the meeting of all six province heads for discussion. One of the heads from east province said “Your Excellency, idea is good, it’s working in West 2, but challenges will be different for all provinces. What worked in West 2, may not work for other territories. My lord, in East, very few people walk in to ask queries, people walk in from outskirt locations and go back to their towns once the work is done. It will be a difficult task to convince them “

Birbal, aware of these facts appointed a committee of ministers from all the regions and formed the team of experts. He convinced the east province head to implement the idea in east and assured that he will get all the support from him. These ministers then studied various aspects like type of locations in their province, type of people visiting for queries and presented the detailed report of observations to Birbal.

Upon the detailed study of each report, Birbal created a strategy where learning from West 2 was cloned as it is where applicable and also added some region specific solutions to help other provinces to maximize their results. Birbal and his ministers implemented all the ideas in their regions and shared the success with Akbar. 21% soldiers were hired collectively through this initiative across India with wealth generation of Rs 21.54 cr.

Birbal updated Akbar about game of clones, the team work and the relentless efforts of his ministers. Akbar was extremely delighted and declared the handsome prize to all who worked hard to make this idea work. Most satisfactory moment for Akbar was to see new job opportunities for his subjects through a career of becoming soldiers.

Akbar: COO
Birbal: Black Belt
Ministers: Greenbelts
Soldier: Agents

Go Big (on quality) or go back to your kingdom!
Kansai Nerolac Paints Ltd.

Once upon a time there lived an emperor by the name of Harsh. Harsh ruled Kingdom of A and was known for his impartiality & for his commitment towards development of his state. Happiness of the people in the state was evident to all the visitors.

King Utkarsh, Emperor of B, was very curious to know the reason for the prosperity of empire A. Since King Utkarsh was busy spending his quality time in resolving the complaints of his people, he sent few of his key members to investigate the reason for prosperity of empire A.

The investigating team came up with a surprising fact that “Prosperity of empire A is due to their good taxation system, which was implemented precisely at all levels without any bias & negative impact on common people”.

Investigating team shared common people feedback on taxation system as:

“Barsat Harsat Sab Lakhai, Karsat Lakhai Na Koi,

Tulsi Praja Subhag Se, Bhoop Bhanu So Hoya”

(Meaning: King should take tax from everyone like sun. Sun takes water from Biological cells to sea and gives in reverse wherever pressure difference occurs in the form of rain. Similarly king should provide for development of state.)

After getting feedback from investigating team, King Utkarsh immediately called his ministry and instructed them to implement good points in his kingdom.

Subsequently, kingdom B prospered. Not only were the people happy but it also witnessed positive growth in sales and increase in buying power of the people, thereby increasing the tax collection. Soon, Empire B became popular for their Quality, Delivery and Cost of their products and acquired significant market percentage of empire A as well.

Worried by the concerns of reduction in sales, minister of empire A met emperor Harsh. He immediately deployed Improvement Ministry on the task to investigate and come up with a sustainable improvement plan to regain customer faith.

During investigation, Improvement Ministry team observed that customer sentiment towards their products had reduced due to defects and multiple follow ups for rework, which in turn increased cost of buying the products & led to customer dissatisfaction. On the other hand, products of Empire B had no defects.  Thus, they quickly gained customers’ confidence.

Improvement Ministry team shared their finding to emperor Harsh & suggested the idea of First time right (FTR). King Harsh instructed & initiative of First Time Right (FTR) was launched in empire A to facilitate all producers to regain their market leadership position.

Soon, their hard work benefitted & manufacturers of empire A implemented all actions that were identified for improving the process of FTR. It also helped them to reduce their operating cost for better profit margins.

Saving in lacs realized through FTR improvements. This benefit was again transferred back to customers by reducing cost as per their legacy in state, led by emperor Harsh.

Empire A regained the position of market leader & became a model empire for all the neighbouring kingdoms.

Green for Next Generation
Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.

“Green for future” is associated with corrugated box scrap reduction & Reusing of wooden scrap for packing body parts to save the trees & save the greenery for the future

Once fine morning, went for Operational team meeting, while crossing through, I seen a person packing some parts in Mahindra branded packing, he was throwing the box to Dump bin & when I saw the bin, it was full, surprisingly – I have enquired this to my team members, who told its scrap, but for me it was opportunity to save the trees with potential cost savings 

So I have decided to reduce this scrap to save “trees” which gives us oxygen, explained this concept to my cross functional team members who were very impressed with this theme,

First we have prioritised the parts list which were coming in normal brown non branded corrugated boxes in huge qty, so we have decided to go ahead with bulky parts First , so keeping this in mind, we chosen seats & when we observed wooden scrap we have decided go ahead for recycling woods pieces. 

Seats & Body parts are important parts of Spares business , which has good volume sales, with driving positive change in current process of sourcing of these 2 important commodity parts , it brings good scrap reduction to save nature & to grow business by cost savings

We approached Suppliers and asked them to change the brown corrugated box with Mahindra branded boxes which turned in to Eureka, we have got succeed in this & with WIN – WIN situation with vendor , we implemented prepacking at vendors end,

For body parts we have asked our team to reuse the wooden scrap, which we were getting from suppliers, accordingly our team started using the same & this changed the drastic reduction in wooden pieces scrap reduction across the Mahindra warehouses also it reduced the man hours of packing, as double packing process avoided.

Warehouse team was even having some scrapes in terms of outer cartoons , which our team has advised to go ahead as cushioning material for packing of outgoing parts , with help of BOX SHREDDER MACHINE, we have reused the scrap to reuse these scrapped boxes which have given potential savings.

Project is having potential content  as its include eco-friendly & cost savings with sustainability development , Horizontal deployment from this project is already in process as Farm division parts.

Words From Admin Department of Mahindra - Mahindra is  planting 1.5 LACS of TREES/Year across the India as CSR, 

With this Savings of Rs 32 lakhs/ year is saved & Helped  Avoid transit damage of body shells, Savings 270 trees/ year by recycling scrap wood, 270 trees will generate 70,200 pounds of oxygen/year,

270 tress will absorb 3510 pounds of Co2 /year, Scrap Reduction of 2.6 tones, which helps environmental sustainability for seats  , improvement & process lead time reduction, Parts processing & packing time reduced to 6 hours from 72 hours, Warehouse space utilization.