April 24, 2002

Tata International wins Rajiv Gandhi National Quality Award

The leather and leather products division of Tata International, the international business gateway of the Tata Group, has won the Rajiv Gandhi National Quality Award in the 'best of all' category for 2000. 

Mr Shanta Kumar, the Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, and also the President of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), presented the award at a ceremony held at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi on April 24, 2002. The award was received by Mr Sudhir Deoras, Managing Director, Tata International, on behalf of the company. 

Tata International's state-of-the-art leather manufacturing facility at Dewas (Madhya Pradesh) is the world's third largest goatskin tannery. The company is the leader for leather exports from India, and it’s leather division has evolved from being world-class manufacturers to becoming leading global supply-chain managers. 

The Bureau of Indian Standards instituted the Rajiv Gandhi National Quality Award in 1991 to encouraging Indian manufacturing and service organisations to strive for excellence, and to give special recognition to leaders of the quality movement in India. Past winners have included companies like BHEL, SAIL, L&T and Tata Bearings. The award has been designed in line with respected awards such as the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in USA, the Deming Prize in Japan, and the European Quality Award. 

In an industry where quality and process improvements have always taken a back seat in India, Tata International was the first to emphasise the importance of these in the leather industry. Taking the lead, the company was the first to get an ISO 9001 certification for its entire manufacturing set-up – finished leather, footwear and leather garments – at Dewas. 

Tata International sees itself as a responsible corporate citizen and is sensitive to the environment in which it works. Its sophisticated effluent treatment plant at Dewas is the only one of its kind in India. The manufacturing facility’s success in improving the air quality and keeping pollution under check motivated it to go for ISO 14000 certification. Subsequent to the audit that is currently under progress, Tata International will be the first in the leather industry to have achieved this. 

The manner in which Tata International builds its systems and processes to deal with the changing global business environment is the key to its long-term success and the enhancement of stakeholder value. Tata International has not rested on its laurels. A synergy was needed to drive business excellence across the organisation and improve its global competitiveness. With which end in view, the company began its journey towards business excellence in 1998 through the Tata Business Excellence Model. 

To have an integrated approach to business excellence, the company identified business excellence as a key business process to build a culture of performance improvement, which is the central theme of any business-excellence initiative. The company instituted the Balance Score Card (BSC) methodology to track and review performance measures at all levels. BSCs also form the basis for all reviews, and for identifying improvement opportunities in line with the organisation’s endeavor towards achieving excellence. 

The company initiated the evaluation and improvement of processes through regular reviews for performance improvement. Performance-improvement initiatives were implemented using various tools and techniques like QIPs, Quality Circles and benchmarking. These initiatives have helped the Leather and Leather Products SBU define its processes and make them customer-oriented, with the clear objective of business excellence.

Tata International’s objectives — to become a customer-driven and knowledge rich organisation, have internal processes and systems in alignment, and have a high performance work culture – were in line with the defined purpose of the Rajiv Gandhi National Quality Award. Moreover, the company realised that striving for this coveted award would also give it an external perspective on its business excellence journey, and help it assess direction and pace.

Tata International is honoured to win this coveted award. But, the company recognises that this journey towards business excellence is a race without a finishing line. Winning the Rajiv Gandhi National Quality Award has reinforced the company’s resolve to continuously pursue excellence for leadership, to paraphrase the idea behind the company’s e-logo. It is a journey that has now become even more exciting and interesting.