DISCUSSION Tata- the triple context made real

by Yolanda Villafuerte _______30th November 2009
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by Tony Manwaring

Today I have had the great joy and privilege of spending time with and at Tata Motors in Pune India.

In this time:
– I drove a Nano;
– talked with the Mr S N Ambardekar, in change of the plant, who shared his vision but above all the values which permeate every aspect not only of the facility, over generations, but also the wider community, including rural villages;
– talked with shop floor workers about quality circles in which continuous improvement is assessed against multiple criteria of safety, quality, cost and also morality and now environment: and were both able to demonstrate real time improvements made from the shopfloor up feeding back to the design team, as well as justly sharing their regional ‘Kaizen award’;
– saw the Indigo Manza being put together to put together the car from pre-assembled components: think about this,187 workstations, each on a 67 second cycle, resulting in a new car every two and a half hours.  Contemplate just for a moment the precision and planning that enables continuous flow of such different operations, from fitting bonnets and bumpers to installing engines and testing wheel alignment;
– visited the quite beautiful Sumant Sarovar Lake, a sanctuary for nature, started by the facility’s founder in 1966 on barren rock, for three years before the plant was erected; with the planting of trees from which the most glorious ecostem and biosphere over 20 years took root, captured in the beautiful photo below.  This extraordinary space is maintained by the ‘water’ from the effluent treatment of the waste from the motors facility.  It is home to many migrating and rare birds, bats (driven away by the ambient light in the city) and other species.  These animals are regarded as the ‘primary citizens’ of this extraordinary place, so to visit it at all is very special;


– talked with the extraordinary team responsible for nurturing these partnerships with nature and excluded communities, women’s inclusion and empowerment through co-operatives that can scale up by being linked to the Tata Motors supply chain;
All this barely does justice to the depth and glorious complexity and diversity that encompasses these experiences – but what underlies them all, I am in no doubt, is the sense of purpose and values that permeate Tata, and have been rooted in Tata for generations: values that shine through from senior leaders, middle managers and shopfloor workers.
We argue for going beyond the triple bottom line to understand how sustainable value can be created through the ‘triple context’ – the zone of overlap and inter-dependency between the economic, social and political sub-systems on which we all depend for our lives and prosperity.
Today, I saw all the dimensions of the triple context being fully expressed – in their full glory.

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