Visionary Leaders For Manufacturing

Leadership Development in Support of MAKE IN INDIA

Designing breakthrough products, that meet the latent needs of the customers, require jumping into the fishbowl, swimming with the fish and making observations. Listening to the Voice of the Customer gives deep understanding of the customers’ lifestyle, their behavior, social dynamics amongst others. The insights achieved during the process when analysed using the Five Step Discovery Process bring out new insights. Over the last nine years 1800 senior managers from India’s manufacturing companies have learnt these skills through CII’s VLFM initiative, and many have received global recognition and accolades.

The most recent breakthrough product to receive global recognition is the Godrej Edge Digi refrigerator, which received the prestigious G-Mark Award from Japan. India’s first hybrid Auto Defrost Refrigerator had been developed, and it remains unchallenged in the Indian market even by the middle of 2016. The target Indian Customers for this product often consider a Refrigerator as a status symbol and keep it in their drawing rooms. The Edge Digi was thus given a fascia design, a departure from the industry norm at that time.

The G Mark award places importance upon selecting products that contribute to and make a positive impact on society and industry. The screening is done taking into account aspects of humanity, honesty, innovation, aesthetics and ethics. And the Godrej Edge Digi Refrigerator came out on top on all these aspects. The development of Edge Digi enabled Godrej to move from the Mass Market to the Premium Market in Single Door Refrigerators. In 2014, the mass market was a Red Ocean characterized by fierce competition.

The Edge Digi Team at Godrej was being led by Suhas Kulkarni and Bhasker P S, both VLFM Graduates who have also been faculty on the VLFM programme. In this eight-year journey of learning, practicing and training, the VLFM tools became second nature to both of them. They achieved a breakthrough unlocking of mindset which enabled them to take a larger perspective of the business and develop a product that ultimately won international recognition. Suhas Kulkarni says that the opportunity to learn as a VLFM faculty was a unique learning experience. Teaching is the best way to learn; each opportunity to go back to VLFM as faculty led to clearer and deeper understanding of the concepts.

Prof Shiba emphasizes that from acquiring knowledge to becoming a master is a continuous process of practice. It is practice that creates understanding leading to skill and then mastery.

The team got the motivation to challenge this award from a very simple but thought provoking question raised to them by Mr Jamshyd Godrej, Chairman, Godrej & Boyce – “What Next”, he asked them when they had presented to him the concept after winning the India Design Mark. This completely changed the mindset of the team and they now follow the “What Next” philosophy and practice VLFM Tools to scale newer heights.