Product Benchmarking is the process of comparing one’s products and performance evaluations to industry bests and products from other industries. The products are assessed by comparing parameters such as quality, time, and cost. Improvements from learning result in making one’s product better, faster, and cheaper. Companies with knowledge of industry benchmarks and competing products have a better opportunity to design better products.
The constant pressure to shorten time-to-market, provide innovative solutions and at the same time having tight control over product development costs, demands a company to be consistently innovative and imaginative. As a result, FEC has identified few products and services for its member partner companies to offer the right expertise to help the business grow continuously and smoothly.
Control of raw material prices is absolutely necessary for the health of the industry. Since raw material requirements of most of the members are similar in terms of sizes, specifications etc., there is ample scope and opportunity to establish a Raw Material Bank in the cluster by the Consortium. The Consortium has already taken a policy decision to establish a RMB. Govt. of Kerala is providing Rs.5.00 lakhs as interest free Margin Loan.
Availability of skilled workforce in the cluster is a major issue. There is no immediate solution to this issue. The Consortium should explore the following options:
Create awareness among members of the importance of IT in business. There are many service providers in the IT industry who could offer customized software, common server usage facilities on time share basis to make IT affordable and trouble free to MSMEs. Their service should be used on a win-win platform.
Develop and launch a web portal for marketing, knowledge dissemination, sharing of manufacturing facilities and orders, effective use of spare capacity and so on.
Establish a CFC with foundry making use of the extensive financial support given by the state and central governments for creating hard facilities in MSME clusters.
All the enterprises in the cluster require Grey Iron (GI) and Steel Castings. The grey iron castings requirements of the cluster are met the small foundries in the cluster. But there is no foundry for making complicated, heavy weight steel castings in the cluster. The proposed foundry in the CFC will, therefore, focus on steel castings required by the cluster enterprises. The capacity of foundry is based on the
In future, if the demand exceeds the installed capacity it will be possible to increase production with the same installed capacity by subcontracting some of the activities like fettling. The installed capacity of the foundry, on single shit basis, will be 1500 tonnes of net castings per annum on 100 percent utilization. Since the demands of the cluster enterprises cannot be met with single shift operation the foundry would operate for 2 shifts.
Quality of castings produced in the foundry should be of free of defects and good quality to ensure that machinery produced with the castings as major and critical parts perform well adding value to the cluster enterprises and customers of that machinery. A foundry needs to types of laboratory, namely, one for testing the castings and the other one for testing the sand and other materials used for core making as this is the most critical job in making good quality castings. With this objective in mind it is proposed to set up a laboratory in the CFC so that quality of castings is checked at every stage to ensure that the final product is of high quality.
The functions of the laboratory will be standardized, the testing procedures laid down as per internationally accepted standards and documentation of tests done carefully to link complaints, if any, to the quality checks made and results of those checks. The broad objectives are:
The laboratory will carry out the following tests:
An Electricity Sub-Station with breaker and 1500 KVA transformer will be installed to meet the power requirements. The SPV has already had informal discussions with the Kerala Electricity Board. The Board has assured the SPV that enough power supply would be made available to the CFC as and when an application was made.
No water is required for foundry processes. Water is required for general purposes only. An open well has been dug at the site. It has enough water supplies. The quality of water available is good and hence will be used for general purposes.
Compressed air is required for various manufacturing operations. Compressed air requirement is estimated to be 100 cfm. To meet the above requirement, it is proposed to install a new compressor of capacity 105 cfm.
The CFC will have pattern storage and repair facility. Generally, new patterns may be procured from outside. However, depending upon exigency, few patterns may be manufactured internally. Pattern shop will be strengthened by adding storage facilities and tools & tackles.