India File

Going silent for a solution

| Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on November 23, 2015

Efficient The PwDs have shown higher productivity BIJOY GHOSH

French MNC Valeo finds a saviour in its 'special' employees

At Valeo India Private Limited’s plant in Sholinganallur, in the outskirts of Chennai, a problem was becoming a headache for the senior team. It was mid-2014, and the logistics department was getting an increasing number of customer complaints on the packaging of clutch, which is used in automobiles.  Though the job was simple, mistakes had crept in. “We analysed the problem and realised that because of the simplicity, there was a tendency to take the work casually. Also, there was a high attrition in the job,” says Ramesh Sampath, National HR Director.

About the same time, the company was beginning a new initiative as part of its inclusion drive. “We wanted to start our pilot project on disability,” says Sampath. Working with Meera Shenoy’s Youth4Jobs, the Valeo team defined a road-map. And it decided to employ five PwD employees in the packaging section in September, and check if the errors reduced.

“Within two months, the productivity increased by 23 per cent. By February 2015, we could see a 43-per-cent increase in productivity,” says Sampath. With the higher productivity and fewer mistakes, Valeo’s clients are no longer complaining. Attrition has become nil, and the success has seen the company recruiting 20 more PwDs. “Because of the higher productivity among the PwDs, we have reduced the manpower in the packaging section by 12,” adds Sampath. The successful project has seen the India unit getting a Valeo Group Award during the company’s Global Leaders Meeting in France, in October.

Tweaking the workplace

The PwDs employed in the manufacturing unit are speech and hearing impaired. This meant that the safety measures had to be altered to maintain the standards. For instance, during an emergency, a siren goes off in the plant. For the PwDs, the company installed a red beacon, which lights up during an emergency, alerting the special employees.

The company also conducts workshop for the entire team, including the senior management and shop floor supervisors. Initially there were apprehensions. Would the work flow on the shop floor get affected? But the successful pilot project has convinced the doubters.

S Rajan is one of the PwD employees. “Earlier, it was tough getting a steady job. But now it is ok. My family is also happy,” he says.

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Published on November 23, 2015
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