Mahindra & Mahindra
It is 7:00 a.m. and the siren sounds high at Kandivli (asuburb of North Mumbai) plant of Mahindra & Mahindra’s (M&M) Tractor division, signaling the starting time of the morning shift. Hardly any workers have turned up. Reporting late on duty is a norm for the workers here. Seldom does the morning shift start before 7:30a.m. During the day shift, it was an ominous scene to find workers stretching out under the trees and relaxing during the working hours. The union leaders hung around the factory without doing any work at all. A few days back, the workers in the night shift had beaten up a milkman for creating a lot of noise in the wee hours of the morning and thus, disturbing their sleep during their working hours. Things were worse at the other plant of M&M in Nagpur. But this was all in the 1980s. M&M has come a long way since then – it has worn the most coveted Deming prize for quality, and started a farming equipment assembling plant in the USA. After the huge success there, the company opened a second assembly plant and a distribution centre in Georgia. Now, the company is in the process of establishing assembling units in Canada to locally produce and market a range of low horsepower cab tractors with features such as AC heater (keeping in view the cold weather conditions for the farmers there), personal stereo, and even a sun roof. It has also acquired jiangling Tractors in China, which it would use to develop low cost products suited to plough deeper into the US farm equipment market. Now, the fourth-largest tractor company n the world, M&M has four tractor plants in India (Mumbai, Nagpur, Rudrapur in Uttranchal, and Jaipur). It has been maintaining its market leadership for the past two decades. During the late 1980s, the company tried to apply TQM concepts such as quality circles without getting any success. M&M was the market leader in the tractors segment at that time, but in view of the looming...
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