Asian Paints’ continuous improvement journey: An interview with Arun Saravanakumar, former General Works Manager

Asian Paints is a multinational Indian company that manufactures, sells and distributes paints, coatings, home décor products and bath fittings. They’ve been India’s largest paint company for almost 50 years and are one of the top 10 decorative paint companies worldwide.

Arun Saravanakumar, former General Works Manager at Asian Paints, recently attended a global TRACC event where he shared these insights.

What are the key areas in your organization that have been impacted by TRACC?

“Leading and Managing Change. I think the alignment it was able to bring to the Site Steering Committee and the leadership team in the plant is a big game changer. TRACC is research based and is implemented across all sites. The fact that it has really proven itself is something that’s given us a lot of conviction to follow.

“The second area where TRACC has really helped us is in terms of bringing the team together, the whole Teamwork foundation best practice. Seeing the team come together for 10-15 minutes every day, every shift, and talk about what their priority is has really empowered them. Previously, the vision and direction of the plant was something that only a few of us would know. But the Teamwork best practice has really taken it to the team, and it is a very empowering feeling that we have now.

“The third area is Focused Improvement and this is where I think the money is. We have been able to integrate a lot of profit improvement projects (PIPs) with the actual vision we have in the plant. As a result of these PIPs, we have been able to put some money on the table in the last two years that we have been on the TRACC journey. And that I think has created the impact that we wanted from TRACC.

“I think these would be my top three picks as far as TRACC is concerned.” – Arun Saravanakumar

What impact has it had on your balanced scorecard?

“I would say the impact is largely through the PIPs. Also, a bit of Focused Improvement. Maybe putting a number to it is difficult, but I would still call it about 2-3% in my overheads, which is substantial for a plant the way we have done it - that is, already quite an automated plant and low on costs. I would think that the 2-3% that TRACC has been able to put on the table is quite substantial.

Also, I think the fact that the 5Ps (Purpose, Passion, People, Place and Profit) in terms of how it has helped people do their 5 Whys and solve problems would have a lot of benefits - not financial - for us too. I'm sure it has had its role to play as far as productivity is concerned in terms of the ease of work and the stress that is reduced. So, I think there are intangible benefits too.” – Arun Saravanakumar

Arun Saravanakumar, former General Works Manager at Asian Paints