looking at. We have a good maintenance reminder system
where we track mileage and the customer’s driving patterns
because there is a tendency, especially in urban areas, to skip
some of the preventive maintenance schedule.”
For the =rst ten years, TKM had only one plant producing
around 80,000 vehicles. “When we opened our second plant to
produce the Etios and Liva, the production increased
threefold,” says Salkar. Currently, we are aiming for 300,000
units as we move towards 2014. We suddenly realised that we
should focus on our core jobs and give tasks like warehouse
management and logistics to the specialists. We looked at
many options and we came across Unipart who were working
with Tata Motors India.
We could clearly see the competency and capability of
Unipart’s management. Our philosophy and that of Unipart go
well together; our working styles are almost the same. Unipart
is also a part of our employee development, communication
and motivation. We look for continuous improvement and
respect for people. They introduced visual management tools
which make things very visible; what is normal and what is
abnormal within the various KPIs which they developed.
Through such visible management we can clearly understand
where our weak areas are and what we need to do to improve.”
Two things immediately struck us when we started,” says
Unipart’s General Manager India, Jon Horton. “Firstly, how
impressive it was as an operation. Often, when people
outsource operations they are in massive dif=culty or the KPIs
are really struggling. What Toyota did was to have developed a
warehouse in India of the highest international quality. The
health and safety and quality measures would stand
comparison with anywhere in the world. Also, some of the KPIs
are among the toughest I’ve seen. Toyota have said that they
are not satis=ed with that, and that is a very Toyota-like
attitude. They have a lot of KPIs which other companies would
really like to have.
Secondly, we thought what a challenge it would be to take
things one step further. The key thing for us was engaging with
the employees. We are developing a team there and we are
very much focused on health and safety in the warehouse.
Toyota have a saying, ‘health and safety =rst, quality must.’
With this new team that we have recruited we are taking
Toyota’s very impressive base and trying to improve on it. We
have also taken the very demanding KPIs which Toyota have
given us and we are working very hard to better them. The
visual management tools and techniques we use mean that
anyone in the warehouse can understand the situation at a
glance; whether we are on or off target. This empowers the
employees to take control of their own operation.”
The typical automotive parts warehouse is characterised
by a high volume of small orders with many items stored in
bulk. The additional complication of differing sizes and
awkward shapes impacts on the ease and speed of picking. The
frequent need for body parts adds an additional challenge for
In the last two years we have been moving towards a
system where the supplier packages the parts,” says Salkar.
Earlier, we used to do this for all the parts. We are trying to
standardise and make use of palletisation to reduce unwanted
packaging and move towards returnable packaging.
Standardisation is really the key factor here. We still have a
challenge with body parts. We have started to package them
very close to the plants where they are produced so that we
can take care of service and standardisation. The way forward
is standardisation and good warehouse storage.”
TKM has three ordering systems, the normal process,
emergency orders which are ordered three hours before
shipment and a VOR system for vehicle off road orders which
the dealer can make use of with the payment of a small
The VOR system takes care of unforeseen circumstances
at the dealership and allows us to supply the part quickly by
air or by special logistics,” explains Salkar. “In terms of total
parts management, our warehouse operation needs to be very
ef=cient. It is very important to have an integrated system so
that we have good coordination and can ensure ef=cient, just-
in-time supply. Our system calculates monthly and daily
average demand from the market to the warehouse. We have
started a daily ordering system with our suppliers and we have
a completely integrated process from suppliers to warehouse
to dealers.
India is a growing market and we are constantly reviewing
the capacity of suppliers to produce the required volumes for
production and aftermarket parts. There are seasonal
>uctuations, for example during the monsoon period the
demand for wiper blades is very, very high and we need to have
a strategy for that and to work very closely with suppliers with
good communications and good planning.”
There are a signi=cant number of older models on India’s
Jon Horton, General Manager India, Unipart