India, which has now surpassed China on the population front, is the world’s fastest emerging economy. Poised for significant growth, India has become the world’s third largest automobile market, surpassing Japan and Germany in terms of sales in January 2023. As a core sector, India Auto Inc. contributes 49% to Indias manufacturing GDP, 7.5% to the overall GDP, and provides around 32 million jobs.One of Spark Mindas Manufacturing FaciltiesThe auto component industry is also a key driver of macroeconomic growth and employment in India. Its turnover is projected to reach $200 billion by 2026 (Source: InvestIndia). Recent industry reports show that the industry has grown 23% year on year, driven by strong exports performance and replacement market growth. (Source: ACMA)Think of top-quality Indian automotive component manufacturing and Spark Minda drives into sharp focus. Components drive the wheels of the automotive industry. Spark Minda is now upping the ante when it comes to manufacturing excellence and adding value – on the shop floor, in use of the latest technology and deploying Industry 4.0.Spark Minda’s growth story began in 1958 with manufacture of automobile ignition switches and amp meters. Six decades later, it has become a major player with a strong presence in domains such as locksets, die casting, wiring harness and clusters. More than 95% of Minda’s product Portfolio is ICE to EV change agnostic, which gives significant headroom for quickly scaling up in EV segment. The company focuses on products such as DC-DC convertors, battery chargers and power electronics which are specific to an EV vehicle. Our latest joint ventures and Technical Licensing Agreements are focused on products like shark fin antennas, micro pole antennas, ADAS and telematics software.Having evolved from mechanical to mechatronics, it is now transitioning towards electronics and software in line with the global transformation of the automotive sector. Its innovation hub – the Spark Minda Technical Centre is pushing the envelope in mechatronics, mechanical, electrical, electronics and software competencies to ensure Spark Minda is future-ready.Spark Minda in Pursuit of ExcellenceSpark Minda has three key pillars of growth – Business Excellence, Manufacturing Engineering and Quality Excellence – each with different objectives but a common cause to nurture a culture of manufacturing excellence.Business Excellence drives industry-proven initiatives to enhance manufacturing capabilities, operational efficiencies like TPM, lean implementation, total employee involvement through Learn, Share, Grow, and a safety-first culture.Manufacturing Engineering focuses on implementation of cost-effective manufacturing through low-cost automation as part of Industry 4.0. One such project is manufacturing capability enhancement through low cost automation and Industry 4.0.Quality Excellence aims to bring about a shift of culture and mindset through multiple in-house projects aligned with our quality vision. Key initiatives include Zero Defect project, standardisation and benchmarking.Smart Initiatives, TPM, KaizenSpark Minda is also implementing a number of smart manufacturing initiatives. These include an Electronic Manufacturing Excellence Unit in Pune, India equipped with MES System and end-to-end traceability, a fully automated assembly lockset line, automated processes control in the Die Casting Division, robotic paint shops including RFID-based and fully IOT-controlled operations and real-time Machine/Line (Original equipment effectiveness, energy performance monitoring and alarm system).The company has in-house low-cost automation and equipment design/development facilities across business verticals. 90% of customised machineries/equipment like SPMs, assembly lines are developed inhouse.TPM or Total Productive Maintenance is where Spark Minda excels. Our Pant Nagar plant’s Lockset Division was the first to bag JIPM’s TPM Excellence Award in 2019 and was followed by six more units. Another unit has won CII’s TPM Commitment Award.Spark Minda’s ‘Learn Share and Grow’ mantra involves multi-layered initiatives to promote team leads, managers and associates. Tie-ups with industry bodies like CII and ACMA enable senior leadership team members to stay abreast of the latest trends in manufacturing excellence while external meets, plant visits, cluster meets and technical conferences ensure cross-industry learnings.Spark Minda’s team of associates plays a vital role with Quality Circle and Kaizen competitions. Its participation rose 7.85% this year and is expected to increase by 20% in FY2024. Seven Quality Circle teams which participated in a global QC Competition by QCFI in Jakarta bagged gold awards.Stringent ‘Zero Defect’ policyAs part of its new-age manufacturing approach, Spark Minda is making rapid strides towards rolling out zero-defect products. This calls for employee training and development programs and identifying the areas of improvement through stringent product development process, structured review mechanisms, Gemba walks, employee training on root cause analysis and recurrence prevention, periodic audits and assessments (internal and external).This focus extends to Spark Minda’s supply chain partners towards the organisational goal to deliver the right product, first time. Ten such partners are now part of this journey.Achieving Sustainability and CircularitySpark Minda’s all-embracing sustainable operations strategy towards reducing the carbon footprint encompasses responsible materials, water, effluents and waste management, energy management with focus on renewable energy and GHG emissions reduction.The company promotes sustainable and local sourcing of products. With changing market dynamics, the focus has sharpened on lightweight construction, carbon emissions and transition to electric vehicles and maximum utilisation of solar energy at all plants.To achieve circularity, most of the metal scrap generated during manufacturing is recycled or reused. Spark Minda works closely with its suppliers to reduce its carbon footprint. This includes replacement of ‘single-use’ boxes with reusable bins and reusing packaging materials.In 2022, Spark Minda saved 13,45,869 kg of CO2 by planting 27,670 trees, saved 11,228,115 sheets of papers and 1,347 trees, and prevented 13,474kg of CO2 emissions. Also saved was 4,764,953 kWh of energy, while 21,182, 270 kWh of solar energy was generated. And around 2,16,880.9 kl of water was recycled.By 2030, Spark Minda aims to achieve 70% reduction in carbon emissions, add over 60% of solar energy in its energy mix, 100% wastewater recycling, becoming water-neutral and generating up to 50% recycled waste.The company plans to implement end-to-end IOT, digital threading beyond manufacturing silo starting with connecting vendor portals with its Enterprise Resource Planning System.As one of the leading players in the sector, Spark Minda is driving towards an exciting future which banks on cutting-edge technology, digitalisation and manufacturing excellence. Mr Arvind Chandra who heads the Mechatronics and Vehicle Access Systems, is fully committed and invested to taking SM to the next level of manufacturing excellence. Mr Chandra was recently selected as the Brand Ambassador for ‘The Festival of Manufacturing’ which was organised by The Times of India.