Monday, September 03, 2012
By Manoj Kumawat
Maruti to increase automation to insulate itself from labor issues
Sensing that manned manufacturing plants are irksome, Maruti has reportedly decided to increase the automation of the Manesar plant. Notably, the recent lockout at the plant has attracted severe disruption of the production of Maruti Swift, Swift Dzire popular cars and export model car Maruti A-Star and the luxury sedan Maruti SX4. Due to the loss of production for almost a month, Maruti’s sales growth targets have become unachievable. In order to make sure that labor agitation and labor unrest has no effect or little effect on the production of cars, Maruti has decided to automate its plant to as high as 99 percent. This will also make production faster and there will not be any room for human error.
Maruti plans to put in more machines and robots on the lines of its plant at Hamamatsu in Japan. At the Manesar plant, the steel moulding and door frame press shop will be automated. Not only the Manesar plant but the Gurgaon plant will also be automated and production of other cars such as Maruti Alto, Maruti 800, Maruti Wagon R and other popular cars will be done by robots and there will be supervisors and assisting staff. The move is believed to result in a major labor cut at the two plants and it is expected that in due course of time, Maruti could be decreasing the size of its labor and other staff.
The automation is also believed to make the complex process of manufacture latest model Swift, Swift Dzire and A Star cars easier and it will also become cost effective for the car maker. It is also believed that the car maker will also get an advantage as automatic means freedom from labor and labor wage issues. Meanwhile, ensuring quality and expenses on post production quality checks will be lowered as the machine built cars will need lesser quality checks as there will be less margin for any error. This way Maruti will be following what Hyundai is doing for its Hyundai Verna and other cars and what other car makers are doing for their cars in India.