When green is groovy
On a plant visit to Nippon Paint India, Mahesh Anand, president, decorative, explains the lean and green manufacturing process it has adopted
BY INDRAJEET SAOJI & JAYASHREE MENDES
When the president of a company that has been operating in India for exactly a decade tells you of his ambitions for the local market and adds that they are not pursuing to expand aggressively, you begin to wonder at what exactly he has in mind. Scratch the surface a little and one begins to understand that there are minute details that are often overlooked by larger and established players in the industry and which Nippon Paint India is looking at seriously.
Mahesh Anand, president, Nippon Paint India – decorative, says, “This plant, situated on 11.37 acres, is the first green field project in India. Here we have both water-based and solvent-based manufacturing facility and the plant employs 100 people.”
Way back in early 2009, when it started commercial production, it put in safety measures as a first thing. It then went in for the mandatory ISO 9000:14001 certification, followed by Kaizen and other things.
In 2014, the company started its GreenCo journey and a year later went in for a strong manufacturing programme. “Strong manufacturing is nothing but a group initiative across all the Nippon Paint plants that highlights the Nippon way. So every Nippon Paint across the globe has a similar process. Then we went in for TQM (Total Quality Management) and in 2015 were the first paint manufacturing company to receive the GreenCo rating, and in 2016 were awarded GreenCo Gold,” adds Anand.
The Japanese paint manufacturer has drawn up a strategy to become a dominant player in the southern market in India by end 2019. The expansion plan will include increasing the production volume, introducing more water-based products, penetrating into Tier-III cities of southern states and rolling out skill training programme for painters, said Anand.
The commitment requires a mindset across the entire team in making the world a better place to live in by contributing in all ways possible. “Green philosophy is in our DNA. Right at the product design stage itself, our objective is to meet market needs through a product that is also eco-friendly. Hence ensuring low Volatile Organic Compound is a basic hygiene at Nippon Paint. But we don’t stop with this. We take all efforts in bringing products that reduce heat and also products that maintain better air quality by abating formaldehyde,” says Anand with a hint of pride.
Nippon as a group is present in almost 17 countries in Asia-Pacific. So every country has at least one manufacturing plant and they are governed by a centralised process management department based out of Singapore. Within the company, they share ideas and learn from the initiatives taken across the board. For example, in China, it has about 20 plants. “That’s one of the biggest market for us. The team there regularly conduct a peer competition and though they are not competing with the Indian factory, there are benchmarks set for factories that follow the stringent processes. We try to learn from that,” says Anand.
Speaking about R&D, the president said that while every individual company in the world has an R&D department, there is an innovation center that is a centralised resource for the global company and constantly discuss innovative products, disruptive products, new technologies, etc.
Ending with some achievements, Anand said that Nippon Paint India has reduced its energy consumption by 40%, managed a highly successful water reuse project and invested in rainwater harvesting.
Today the company uses close to 30% of its installed capacity. It currently focuses only in the southern markets. So one can imagine the vast field that it has kept open for itself to increase investments.