Visionary Leaders For Manufacturing

Leadership Development in Support of MAKE IN INDIA

The Visionary Leaders for Manufacturing (VLFM) programme is a unique programme that aims at transforming India’s manufacturing sector. This path breaking programme is conducted in technical cooperation with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), along with active support from Government of India.


The initiative, called Champions for Societal Manufacturing since 2011, is now focused on contribution to Society and is an integral part of the Government’s Make in India initative.


VLFM participants develop a systemic thinking process and approach real-life situations with the BIG M perspective.  These leaders demonstrate skills such as better listening, note taking, customer focus, making observations, listening to the voice of customer, long term thinking and creating new concepts for breakthrough.


Companies have benefited in multiple ways by applying the VLFM learnings. It has resulted in development of breakthrough products such as Godrej Chotukool, Sona EPAM System, Kirloskar efficient submersible pump and the Godrej Edge Digi Refrigerator. More than 200 success stories are documented and available for the Society to learn from. See our section on Success Stories in the Knowledge Centre.

1000 VSME Programme helps build a "WIN-WIN relationship" between customers and suppliers. to achieve growth and profit both for Customer and Supplier. If your company is a OEM or a Tier 1 company from any manufacturing sector, the 1000 VSME programme can help you to transform your relationship with suppliers while bringing about an improvement in the OEM and Tier 1 or Tier 1 and Tier 2 and Tier 3 suppliers.


Through this collaborative approach Tier 1 and Tier 2 have registered productivity increase of 3.7 and 4.1 times respectively. Also the corresponding reduction in inventory has been more than 60% and 85% respectively. See our section on Success Stories in the Knowledge Centre.

Village Buddha is  an integrated programme consisting of systematic methods, approaches and mindset change aimed at engaging village communities and shaping a better and happier society. Organizations explore and enhance their capability to develop new businesses and services for fast-growing emerging markets in rural India. The entire programme is built around three pillars,

a. Today’s unsolved problems of the society are tomorrow’s business opportunities.

b. Society can be best improved through systematic and organized initiatives.

c. Business & Manufacturing/Services capability will enhance if business organizations work with society.

Since its launch in 2014-15, Village Buddha helped 25 companies through 116 participants to seed ideas of "Win-Win" relationship between Business and Society, by introducing new scientific tools and systematic methods to connect better with the society.  The two independent modules of Village Buddha are designed to cater to Holistic needs of companies working with the rural community at various stages of involvement,

a.Module A on Holistic Village Transformation – A Systematic Approach (Holistic engagement of business with villages).

b.Module B  on “Holistic Emerging Market Development” (Creating rural enterprises in villages).

Both Modules are independent of each other and are of five days each. These are held in the most innovative classroom in Bengaluru. A lot of the learning and skill building takes place in more than 300 villages surrounding this class room.

In addition, the Village Buddha programme is further strengthened by research based case studies. The Village Buddha research team is currently working on a new publication “On the Path to PROGRESS – The Journey of Three Villages” sharing their wisdom about the Holistic development with the community.

Mid to Senior level executives of companies looking for holistic development of the rural community will be mostly benefitted to participate in this programme.

The success stories of VLFM, 1000 VSME and Village Buddha programmes are shared with a larger audience in a Learning Convention held annually.

These selected success stories are also documented and printed in the form of case studies for diffusion to manufacturing enthusiasts at large.

For getting a complete list of the Success Stories and for ordering them please visit Knowledge Centre section on the website

Visionary Leaders for Manufacturing (VLFM) Programme is a flagship programme under the Indo-Japan Joint Technical Cooperation Agreement signed by the Prime Ministers of India and Japan in December 2006 and thereafter. The programme has its genesis in the request that Dr Abdul Kalam, then President of India made to Prof Shoji Shiba, world-renowned expert in Breakthrough Management, to initiate a process to transform India's manufacturing sector.


The Programme has not only developed more that 1800 Visionary Leaders but it has led to sustained interactions between Industry, Academia and Governments of the two nations. Also this projects sees the largest movement of people between India and Japan amongst all of the Japanese Government supported initiatives. VLFM has thus assumed National significance.

Prof Shoji Shiba, a globally-acclaimed authority on Breakthrough Management, is the Chief Advisor to the programme. Professor Emeritus, University of Tsukuba, Japan and Advisory Professor, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China, he was also the Adjunct and Visiting Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from 1990 to 2004.


In 2002, he was awarded the Deming Prize for Individuals and nominated as member of the International Academy for Quality in 2003. He has been honored by the Emperor of Japan with the ‘Order of the Sacred Treasure’ for his work with Indian academia and industry in 2011. He was conferred the Padma Shri Award by the Honb’le President of India in 2012 for his significant contribution to Indian manufacturing industry while strengthening India Japan relationship.


Prof Shiba has authored several books and manuals including "Breakthrough Management", "Four Practical Revolutions in Management", and "Five Step Discovery Process Manual". He has been associated, for more than a decade, with the very successful programme   "Leaders for Manufacturing Program" (now known as Leaders for Global Operations) at the MIT.

Mr Furuhashi Takeyuki is a JICA expert under whose guidance the 1000 VSME programme was initiated for the first time in the world. This programme is of a transformational nature with a very positive impact on SMEs and their customers.


The success stories of 1000 VSMEs include companies from the Anand Group, Sona Group, TVS group and more recently Tata Motors have taken early steps for adopting this initiative.

“7 Dreams to Reality: Transforming Indian Manufacturing” is a book about manufacturing transformation in India. The book relates to the work done by Prof Shiba – who began his tryst with Indian manufacturing in 2003. Prof Shoji Shiba, the renowned Japanese management guru and Padma Shri awardee gives us seven exemplary locomotives of change for Indian manufacturing.


The seven stories demonstrate leadership skills to create a Dream and realize it by building competencies and a practical way by which all aspiring individuals can learn from. It is a must buy for CEOs, Senior and Middle Level Managers, Government Officials, NGO Owners, individuals, students, faculty from academia, entrepreneurs, micro, small and medium enterprise owners and managers.


To secure a copy please visit our Knowledge Centre.

The VLFM programme is started by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in partnership with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Government of Japan and with support from Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) and Ministry of HRD, Government of India.


The other partners in the programme include Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.


For more details about the Strategic Partners click here

The Senior Managers Programme, 1000 VSME and Village Buddha programmes are conducted under CII’s VLFM Initiative at different times of the year. Details of these programmes including eligibility, duration, fee structure etc are available in the respective brochures.

To get a copy of these brochures you may visit the programmes section of this website or write to us at or


India is undergoing drastic changing, especially in areas related to society, environment and technology. Awareness of such factors is critical for senior managers to effectively lead their companies in periods of drastic change.   VLFM is designed to focus on transforming the mindsets of Senior Managers from “small m” to “BIG M”.  In our experience, most Senior Managers tend to think of manufacturing as being limited to production i.e. they have a "small m" mentality. It is necessary for Senior Managers to break such “small m” mentality and understand the “Big M” picture. “Big M” goes beyond production encompassing design, R&D, sales, supply chain. In addition, it includes societal and environment related changes as well.


Some of the tools taught in VLFM are:

  • Five Step Discovery Process (FSDP)
    • Fact Vs Opinion
    • Move up & down the Ladder Of Abstraction
    • Model Building/ Concept making
  • Communication
    • by Non-verbal Behavior
    • by Excellent Comments
  • Observation Skills
    • Open-ended Questions
    • Active listening & note taking
  • Visual Mapping (VMAP)
    • Visual Flow Mapping
    • Pull System
    • Continuous Improvements
  • Understanding Customer Requirements
    • Image Data Processing
    • Translating Voice Of Customer(VOC) to Quality Requirement
    • KANO Questionnaire

The VLFM Symbol – Three eyes of Buddha


Three eyes of Buddha refer to the eye of control, eye of incremental improvement and eye of breakthrough. The first eye is the eye of control. This eye refers to maintaining the set standards and the current situation.  


The second eye is that of incremental improvement. This refers to the approach of making improvements day by day, step by step helping one to achieve a higher status.


The third eye is the eye of breakthrough.  Globally the business environment often undergoes 10X change. Some companies are unable to maintain their business levels when such drastic change occurs. Control and incremental improvement styles of management are not sufficient in such a situation and require something dramatic to be done to counteract the decline of the existing business in the face of 10X change.



TTT (Talk, Talk, Talk), MFA (Me First Attitude) and PTB (Pass the Buck) are three characteristics often observed amongst some Indian managers. But it is necessary to transform this behavior to become a global leader. Therefore, these symbols were created in VLFM to serve as reminders of the behavior change participants are expected to display. These symbols have become common language of the VLFM community.