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India Inc. at quality checkpost

Storage and shrinking losses in a government warehouse are known facts. But getting an estimate of the annual loss of food grains from various warehouses is something that requires special skills.

Enhancing productivity of respondents is a must for call centre success. But routing calls to respondents in a way that minimises callers’ waiting time and maximises the productivity of the call centre executives is not quite an easy task.

From the shop floor to the software development centre, quality has leapt up the priority list of India Inc. And facilitating the process of minimising defects and improving quality is the consulting arm of one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the country, Indian Statistical Institute (ISI).

“Our main purpose is to help industry achieve efficiency by smart and intelligent use of statistical tools,” says Ranjan Seth, in-charge of the SQC & OR (Statistical Quality Control and Operations Research) division of ISI, Calcutta.

From manufacturing majors like ITC and Exide to new economy companies like Infosys and Skytech, the list of companies benefited by the motley group of statisticians at the division’s Park Street office includes the best and the biggest of corporate India. Besides troubleshooting exercises like drawing up sampling methods to identifying defective items, and ensuring various quality and environmental compliance for the client companies, the division also conducts training programmes for executives and offers M. Tech degrees in quality management.

“Companies have always been drawn to us by our reputation. But now, we seriously believe that we must market ourselves better to have higher visibility and also contribute more to the business and industry,” observes Amitava Banerjee, who specialises in tackling quality issues in software companies.

With the advent of concepts like six-sigma, the importance of quality has already hit home with CEOs, but the challenge lies in developing mechanisms to facilitate its trickling down in terms of tasks for the various departments. “We organise training programmes for both the top executives and the workers,” adds Banerjee.

So, proper “deployment of tools” assumes tremendous importance, stresses Sukalyan Sengupta, one of the senior-most members of the division, conceived by Prashanta Chandra Mahalanobis in 1953. “Over time, our role has changed from an implementing agency to that of a facilitating body and we are all geared up to meet the challenge,” sums up Sengupta.

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