Thought Leadership ft. Sunil C. Panchbhai

All eyes are on the Manufacturing Sector and a lot at Peppermint depends on the same. We’ve been actively meeting [virtually] people and asking questions and getting insights.

One of our best interactions recently was with Mr. Sunil C. Panchbhai, who had visited our factories earlier this year and we had kept in touch post that as well.

Sunil C. Panchbhai

Mr. Sunil is the founder of AscenTrack Consulting, Pune, and possesses almost 3 decades of work experience. An alumnus from VNIT (VRCE) in Mechanical engineering, he persuaded MBA later and holds Six Sigma Black Belt. Prior to founding his consulting company, he has headed Product Development(R&D)  for consumer Durable sector MNCs like LG Electronics, Electrolux and Indian companies like Voltas, after starting his career in Thermax, Pune.

Mr. Sunil’s company provides technical consulting service to 3 majors out of Top Ten Indian Companies, in addition to few local and overseas organizations. He is associated with technical bodies and shares his experience. Sunil is on the Board Of Studies (Mechanical Engineering) for VNIT, Nagpur, mentoring start-ups at SINE in IIT-B Mumbai, and been on Academic Councils for Engineering Colleges. He holds Secretary Position for Process Industries India Technical Centre, IMechE (UK).

Here are the excerpts:

  1. How does delegation of work in real-world business work when remote working. Would you consider technology as an enabler or a bottleneck?

The technology had reduced all barriers of connectivity related to business work. The new platforms for meeting are creating and getting more and more developed to a real office like environment for performing office work. The development of technology indeed is an enabler to improve the efficiency, it takes seamless connect, flexibility of working hours, sharing of documents with ease. In addition it is increasing efficiency by avoiding the NVA (Non Value Added) time of commuting, traffic jams and fatigue thereby.

2. In the post-COVID-19 times ahead, how would you gauge hygiene at home and at work?

Thanks to TV and social media information during lockdown period, especially for a creating a great level of awareness (Leaving apart the confusions in some conflicting shares) there is fairly good understanding of the hygiene and Do’s and Don’ts.

The households will follow the Indian way of Back to Basics concept; ie footwear limitation inside house, cleaning of fruits/vegetables with extra care and food preparation too. Household helps will also be strictly asked to follow the hygiene norms.

At the work, it will be less dependence on canteen food (more of home food), entry points with all sanitizing cares as we see. However, the meeting culture will change, including number of attendees and only need or requirement based. The manpower density will be reviewed for working, if adhering to new distancing norms that will make a review of WFH and Office attendance routines. E trainings and learning shall be more and also the E reviews by management.

3. What is your strategy to address automation/technology at work in the times to come?

The technology has given an excellent access to understand the environment in this time. Review of core strength, added with adapted/ gained strength to Survive first, then Stabilize, Secure market/profit and Spread (growth). Continuous review of strategies is required as the environment and psyche of the customers is changed and shall keep changing over a period of time. In addition to traditional ways, more stress on innovative ways for product or services is required to quickly adapt to changed environment.

So staying in connect continuously with market, customer, understand the changing requirements of products or services and continuously upgrading self will be helping in coming times.

4. In your journey, what makes a Manufacturing company successful in India?

Being proactive is the key, in my view. This starts with customer requirements anticipation, reaction faster and staying lean. In other words, the serving time to customer requirements to be minimum for your products or services, ease of manufacturing and total Turn Around Time to be as low as possible and at the lowest cost of manufacturing. Efficient and customer oriented designs, ease of manufacturability, increased automations will automatically lead to Quality Product or Service to make it successful in short or long run.

Off Couse, management soft skill such as leadership and teamwork are required to accomplish these initiatives on continual basis.

5. What are the Top-3 learnings for you through the lockdown period? How do you intend to inculcate the same at work?

  1. Importance of work-life balance: You are actually able to manage the work and also the family time. Staying all the time together strengthens the bonding, as we always try to do in management workshops for team building
  2. Learning is continuous: E-learning has made it easy to access many courses of your interest and profession. It not only sharpens your tool but gives good satisfaction. I could also do a few certification courses, including learning foreign language basics.
  3. Connect is life: It’s the most important point from the biz point of view. Connecting to old acquaintances, friends, families, strengthens the relationships and also brings opportunities for business. It also helps to revitalize and helps to bring up a solution to complex situations.

6. Do you think, self-driving cars, service robots, etc are closer to reality? How many years do you think before these become mainstay and would you like it to happen?

Self-driving cars are almost a reality now, we know about a food delivery trial car in the US , which is working for almost over a year now. Technology has taken it to the intelligence of the human level. However it will also be dependent on the many other aspects as a discipline, the environment in which it is working. So before it takes real commercial level.  I guess it will be a decade from now, that acceptance mode should be supported with discipline changes.

Service robots can be sooner implemented on mass scale – say 3-to 5 years from now. It will be great to see this happen. Firstly, there is less risk, cost efficiency and almost it answers drive of manpower optimization across industry or establishments. In the current situation, the concern of cleanliness and hygiene will be USPs for the service robots. At a later time, the household helps can be replaced with household robots with more capabilities developed and a good amount of AI. The way computerization has not affected clerical jobs on a large scale but opened more employments, similar will happen to the concern of job loss of helps at home.

7. What are your top 3 books that you will recommend to the readers?

In the context of industry and present situation I will suggest as below

  1. The Goal (Eliyahu Goldratt): For the struggling enterprises, look for opportunities in a weak situation, with teamwork and implementing manufacturing excellence, turn that into success. Also the book touches the point of family importance that takes attention to work-life balance.
  • Good to Great (Jim Collins) : For the established players, it’s not just the matter of existence now, but to demonstrate the thought leadership. Learn that, how others have done, and grown. It can help with few tips to overcome the current situation for sure.
  • The 5 AM Club (Robin Sharma): For aspiring individuals, I will recommend, it will speak about self-discipline and maximizing personal level efficiency with a commitment and putting that extra hour.

Thank you so much, Mr. Sunil for sharing your views and I’m sure the readers loved reading them as well.

Incase you’d like to read other articles in our Thought Leadership Series click here.

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