It had been more than a year since I traveled to Guwahati to work with Dilip and his team on various improvement opportunities for the Fabric Plus organization and factory. While I arrived and first met with Ronald, Nepal and India were just starting to understand the huge devastation of the earth quake in Nepal and it was shocking to be nearby and hear about the anxiety and despair of a whole country. We were blessed that nothing happened to us, although many had felt the earthquake and 45 seconds trembling gave a huge feeling of insecurity.
Encouraging to Plan, Do, Check and Adjust
When we met with the factory management and visited the plant, I was positively surprised by the progress they had made and the couple of advices they implemented. We could make a next step with the factory management and first line supervisors. We talked about 8 types of waste which are the main basis for LEAN operations. Key thinking behind it: our customer doesn’t like to pay for waste. We should focus on the customer needs and improve your productivity. We can do that by reducing every type of waste you can identify, from waste of raw materials to waste of transportation, waste of time etc. etc. The tool “5S” was introduced as a means to optimize and reduce waste and the team was encouraged to Plan, Do, Check and Adjust their actions – what gets measured gets done.
Meeting the national president of BJP
In the evening we met with mr. Amit Shah, the national president of political party BJP in an informal meeting with entrepreneurs for which Dilip was invited. Interesting opportunity as the BJP and Prime Minister Modi launched their campaign for the Congres 2016 elections to “look east”. Dilip handed over a nice shawl and shared the Fabric Plus mission.
Gearing up for expansion
The next day we worked with the office team in the new office of Fabric Plus in Guwahati. Great to see also there that progress has been made, the team is gearing up for big expansion in 2015 and we discussed how to improve performance, for instance when it comes to connecting the various departments better. Currently they feel that they need to wait too much for each other. We also worked in detail on a potential investment in a second factory in North East of Assam, great opportunity is emerging to increase work for women and success for Fabric Plus. After an intense day, I traveled back to Shanghai, and met with Ellen (Tacoma, co-founder) on the airport. She just arrived in Guwahati and planned to continue the conversation with Ronald and the Fabric Plus team on Marketing and Sales.
Jan Anne Schelling