In this edition of iFaber, we bring to you another tale from the floors of one of our clients, which is a pioneer in heat transfer solutions and precision engineering products. We had a chat with Mr. Yash Shah – Director and CEO at Apollo Heat Exchangers Pvt. Ltd. Excerpts of this interesting interaction are as mentioned below –
Faber Infinite (FI): We have a subscriber base of around 20,000+ readers across 8 countries, our readers would want to know more about Apollo Heat Exchangers Pvt Ltd.?
Mr. Yash Shah (YS): Established since 1952, Apollo Industrial Corporation & Apollo Heat Exchangers Pvt. Ltd. is a part of Apollo Group of Companies operating from Vasai, Maharashtra, India. Apollo Group is an innovative technology-driven engineering company led by Mr. Naresh R. Shah, Chairman & Managing Director. I, Yash Shah, am currently working as Chief Executive Officer.
Apollo Heat Exchangers Pvt Ltd. is a pioneer in heat transfer solutions and precision engineering products for mission-critical applications such as Railways, Defence, Aerospace, Cryogenics, and others. We design & develop, manufacture, test & validate and supply diesel engine precision components and cooling solutions. Our cooling solutions comprises of Aluminium plate-fin Heat Exchangers, Axial impellers, power drives, and other accessories. We have been one of the reliable suppliers to Indian Railways & Defence for more than 40 years.
Apollo Group has a varied product portfolio, strong brand presence and wide distribution network across and outside India. At Apollo Group, all the products are manufactured in compliance with Indian & International manufacturing standards. We are certified for quality management systems as per ISO 9001:2015. Aluminum welding is one of the critical manufacturing processes, and we are certified as per European welding norms (EN 15085-2 CL 1) for welding of Railway components. Recently we have also started the journey to achieve operational excellence via Lean and Kaizen practices. (Source – http://apollohx.com/)
FI: We understand every industry has its own challenges. What are the challenges unique to your industry?
YS: Challenges are plenty. Right from detailed product design to precision manufacturing process control. Another set of the challenge is aluminum welding and qualified welders as per EN 15085-2. From the business front, there are challenges for a player like us to compete in the government sector, due to the slow nature of approval cycles for product development. The gestation periods for product development to regular manufacturing are very long. Also, direct supplies from manufacturers in China are a big challenge.
FI: We understand you supply to the Indian Railways and other public sector organizations, how is it different than supplying to other private players?
YS: The process and procedures of business operations in Railways and other public sectors are very different from that of private firms. You need to prove the capability to develop a product by means of adequate infrastructure, even before securing an order. As I said earlier, there have been challenges for us to compete in the government sector due to the slow nature of approval cycles for product development. The gestation period for product development to regular manufacturing is very long. It is a game of patience and the right strategy. Once your company is approved by the end customer, there is a good potential for continuous annual business. Also, the payments are largely dependent on the availability of funds. Still, they are much secured and faster than most private players.
FI: Over the years, there have been a lot of changes in the engineering industry. Companies are working on innovation, improving operations and driving efficiencies across the supply chains. Can you share more about the organization transformation initiatives at Apollo, to stay ahead of the competition?
YS: As I mentioned earlier about the availability of aluminum welders being a challenge, we are actively working on installing robots for welding soon. This would reduce dependency on manual labor. To improve our operations parameters such as Cost, Quality, Delivery, and Productivity, we have embarked on the Kaizen and Lean journey.
We aspire to deliver greater value to the customers by reduction of overall cycle time and improving the quality with the same or lesser costs. Also, investing in the right ERPs and making data available for interpretation and then taking informed decisions based on the data. We are also investing in a new plant for new product development and manufacturing new product lines for Indian Railways, looking at their growth potential.
FI: As a part of the organization transformation journey, Apollo has been working on improving the material velocity, throughput, and overall productivity across different sections. We would be glad to know your views on Faber’s role in strengthening the initiatives.
YS: We started on the journey with Faber Infinite Consulting to improve our operational numbers, PCQD and transform the way we carry our operations. Faber has been greatly responsible for starting the drive of transformation. We started our journey with Value Stream Mapping (VSM) activity and understood each process cycle time, value-adding and non-value adding time along with many other parameters of production. Team Faber has helped us improve manpower productivity by ~32%, reduce shop floor WIP by ~10%, reduce overall throughput time and many more.
Gradually, Team Faber has helped us align our teams to a new way of thinking about operational excellence. We took quarterly milestones like productivity improvement of most bottleneck operations. We could see the problems getting resolved and the shift in the bottleneck is evident. We had our share of success and failures too but got very good learnings from each one of them. The journey of lean and kaizen is an on-going journey of improvement. We are thankful to Faber for instilling this continuous improvement mindset at Apollo.
We sincerely thank Mr. Yash Shah and team Apollo Heat Exchangers Pvt. Ltd. for being a part of iFaber – the official newsletter of Faber Infinite and sharing his valuable insights.