Learning from the Practitioners: Visit to ITC-PSPD

The students of MA Human Resource Management had an opportunity to visit ITC-Packaging and Specialty Papers Division (PSPD) on the 22nd of August, 2015. The visit, which was to ITC-PSPD’s unit at Bollaram, was arranged courtesy Mr. Nanda Kumar, Former Divisional head HR, PSPD, ITC. Mr. Nanda Kumar is also currently associated with the School of Human Resource Management, TISS, Hyderabad. The students were accompanied by Mr. Nanda Kumar and Dr. Ashutosh Murthi, Assistant Professor, TISS, Hyderabad.

ITC

The purpose of this visit was to observe the functioning of a factory and also for applying the learning that we receive in class. The students were granted an audience with the complete top management of the unit, including the current unit head and unit head in-designate. The students were first explained about the complete structure and strength of the unit by Mr. Subramaniam. The students were extremely impressed with the accolades the unit and the company had received from various authorities, both from India and abroad. The students were also impressed with the fact that ITC-PSPD has a commitment of not cutting down forests, which inherently means a concern for the communities that derive their livelihood from the forests. ITC-PSPD plants its own forests and makes products for its two brands – Indober (for hot and cold beverage cups) and Indobarr (food catering, chocolate, ice creams). It has around 2 lakh hectares of own plantations, along with a buy back procedure from the farmers in place.

ITC PSPD team also explained the manufacturing process and human resource practices of the company. ITC-PSPD follows level 3 Lean Manufacturing Practices (LMP). ITC-PSPD also likes to follow a more process based organizational structure than a traditional organizational structure. It also takes requisite and in some senses even more care as far as contractual workers are concerned. It provides wages which are several notches above the prescribed minimum wage.  Contractual workers are also provided with better facilities as well as on the job training. As a new HR policy ITC-PSPD has also introduced performance based pay in the recent past.

The students were also audience to a brainstorming and highly interactive session with the current and outgoing plant head, Mr. Pranav Sharma. Mr. Sharma discussed a range of issues, starting with the HR policies of the company to the current market scenarios, which is also important for an HR manager to be in touch with. Post the session, the students were taken around the plant, which is basically a value addition plant i.e. the incoming paper is processed for further use in the industry. The paper industry being highly labour intensive needs to have robust HR policies for its workers and ITC-PSPD is doing just that with systems such as KAIZEN in place to motivate workers. ITC-PSPD calculates its loss per hour of down time to be INR 2.3 lakhs and hence places high value on punctuality and work ethic highly.

Post lunch, the students were also granted further audience with the management so as to curb all doubts relating to the visit. The students are extremely grateful to the management for patiently listening to all the inquisitive questions arising from the new entrants to the field of HR.

It was an enlightening visit filled with rigorous discussions and the students were mesmerized with the quality practices in place in ITC-PSPD. We are thankful to the TISS, Hyderabad administration and Mr. Nanda Kumar, who has been a highly motivational figure for all the students, both inside and outside the classroom for this wonderful opportunity. It was heartening to see the kind of respect and admiration that people in the unit, who have worked with Mr. Nanda Kumar, have for him. It has motivated all our students to strive and achieve that level of admiration and we are sanguine the students will do so with the ever-present support from the esteemed faculty of TISS, Hyderabad.

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