GPE Wins The Coveted CII-EXIM Bank Award for Business Excellence
A story of grit, determination and perseverance
by Prashant Borgaonkar
with inputs from Team GPE
As we persevered against all odds, the award truly tests the resolve, character, leadership and teamwork of an organization
A higher level of excellence cannot be achieved without sincerely accepting discomforting feedback from third party assessors and taking diligent actions to eliminate shortcomings.

It was a proud moment for all of us when on 27th Nov. 2020 we learnt that the prestigious CII EXIM Bank Award for Business Excellence 2020 was awarded to Godrej Precision Engineering (GPE).

The Award and Criteria:

We all know about the extremely tough and stringent assessment process leading to the coveted award. Equally tough is the Model and Award criteria that calls for an all-pervasive pursuit of excellence, attending to all stakeholders’ needs and expectations, consistent and improving trends to be evidenced for all results, relentless pursuit of the refinement of approaches, analysis of results and the like. As we persevered against all odds, the award truly tests the resolve, character, leadership and teamwork of an organization. Right from identifying the purpose of an organization, to creating a vision, strategy formulation and deployment involving various stakeholders can be an onerous task as we experienced. We realized early in the journey that instead of focusing on the goal / objective of winning the award, if we focused on improvement and excellence, we would enjoy the journey more. It did make a difference.

We resolved that we would strive to pursue excellence in the conduct of our business, and not merely pursue the Business Excellence Award.

Interestingly we did not create any special organization structure for this journey. Of course, some of us had to take up additional responsibility to understand the requirements of the model and award criteria and to guide the rest of us on what more was needed to be done for improving our business processes. In a way, the award criteria acts like guiding lights. What is expected of us is clearly spelt out, how it will be evaluated is also known. Good understanding of the EFQM Criteria and the RADAR logic helped us self-assess better. And know this – even after we have thought over all angles and addressed the criteria, assessors do come up with a certain perspective that we may have missed.

So, in a way, assessments we faced over the past few years helped refine our understanding.

This iterative process of self-assessment and introspection, assessors’ comments / perspective and opportunities for improvement helped make our processes richer, comprehensive, robust and predictable. The above can be tiresome and demanding, but if we train ourselves to accept feedback as a bundle of opportunities for improvement, then the process becomes doable. We become better as we assimilate the insights gathered into our processes. The assessment in FY ‘19- ‘20 was special in more than one way. The Business Excellence Model had undergone substantial changes. The CII had asked us how we would like to be assessed; i.e., as per the previous EFQM model - 2013, or the revised EFQM model - 2020 or a hybrid one. During our internal discussions we quickly concluded that if the new version is going to be applicable going forward, the sooner we adopt it, the better. This decision had its own risks as we would be venturing into the uncharted seas! We took the decision to be assessed according to the latest version (2020) as our resolve has been to pursue excellence irrespective of how we were to be assessed. The onset of the pandemic had affected us severely. While all of G&B’s businesses were affected, ours were affected even further as our projects tend to gather momentum towards the end of the financial year. Consequently, our results at the year-end were truncated. Secondly, under the lockdown the assessment process was a challenge for us as well as for the assessors.

We debated if we should take a break from the assessment this year or continue to forge ahead.

We decided that it would not be in our interest to lose the momentum built, hence we decided to challenge the award. Preparations for the assessment coincided with extra unplanned work of restarting and managing the operations during the lockdown. Even a minor task like preparation of a position report, printing it and dispatching it to reach in the times specified was quite a challenge because of the lockdown.

True to the GPE spirit, all team members rose to the occasion to overcome these challenges.

As the assessment was conducted virtually, we created several videos to give the assessors a feel of a walk-through of shops. All the videos were made in-house and were appreciated by the assessors. Overall, the assessors were impressed with the indomitable spirit displayed by Team GPE all along the assessment process. It was indeed a very satisfying moment for all of us when we successfully completed the assessment according to the 2020 version of the EFQM model and that too against the backdrop of the pandemic.

Characteristics and Challenges of our Business:

As you know, GPE is the youngest business of G&B with unique characteristics which give rise to challenges, making it demanding in many ways.
1. Demand
The Demand for the solutions that we offer arises from the programs of the government. Consequently, the levels of demand are uncertain and chunky - famine or floods.
2. Nature of Work
Many orders are ‘Engineered to Order’ and are the first-time developments in the country. Often, these are from niche / specialized segments. Quantities ordered are small and varied with no commonalities across projects for size, specifications, bill of materials, manufacturing processes and acceptance standards and the like.
3. Order Placement Process
The Government or the Government owned entities procure their requirements through a tendering process. From among the technically acceptable bidders, the lowest bidder wins the order. Previous performance does not count, and no premium can be claimed for previous successful executions.
4. Quality Assurance
Quality assurance plans (QAPs) are mandatory. Surveillance is by third party inspectors who dictate the stages to be inspected. Infrastructure, processes, and the workforce are required to be qualified frequently with every new project undertaken. Documentation required is extensive for both, the processes followed and the outcomes achieved. br 5. Developmental Projects
These projects call for successful realization of prototypes, mockup trials and 1st part approval. Based on the outcomes, there may be changes in materials, specifications, manufacturing processes and acceptance criteria making the managing of changes cumbersome.
6. Efficiency & Productivity
A large and varied infrastructure, both in terms of equipment and workforce, is required to be kept fit for deployment at a short notice, all the time. At any given time, there may not be sufficient workload for machines or men to have higher productivity. Regimented approach of the buyers towards the processes to be used, often precludes the use of more modern and efficient processes, leading to inefficiencies.
7. Business Results
Changing composition of orders in terms of complexity and value-addition is the reality. Often, excess of capacity over demand leads to taking orders at lower profitability. Also, as the timelines for project completion are uncertain, it is difficult to predict the billable business for a given period. In the face of such daunting challenges, GPE has been able to traverse the journey of excellence and emerge as the winner.

What helped us:

Strong Foundation of Integrated Management Systems, active participation of all departmental heads (Divisional Management Committee), criteria wise assigning of responsibility and establishing ownerships were the key factors that helped kickstart the BE journey in 2011. We learnt a lot from the BE Council and the Corporate BE cell.
We also adopted good practices shared by other G&B businesses who were ahead of us.
Adequate training for our teams was facilitated by the corporate BE cell with the help of the CII. We began by carrying out a gap analysis and added about 75 new processes to integrate BE into our management systems. In the same time frame, we had also started our TPM journey to become lean and improve resource utilization. This helped us streamline our processes, making them robust. All these efforts helped us derive benefits from the multiple initiatives under way.

Steering the  Organizational Culture and Nurturing Values :

We believe Organizational Culture and Values are crucial for persevering and pursuing excellence. Senior managers lead the process of building organizational culture, nurturing values, demonstrating ownership, displaying customer-centricity and providing encouragement. We strongly believe in respecting, uniting behind and engaging with our stakeholders. Ensuring transparency with our customers as well as engaging, developing and recognizing our people is also a part of our belief system. Mission on Sustainable Growth and GreenCo initiatives were pursued by us on the environmental front. Active participation of our people in Kaizen movement for incremental improvements, Project Management Office (PMO) for transformational & risk mitigation initiatives and TPM for resource utilization was promoted vigorously, all along the journey.
Our Improvement approaches are based on ‘no blame attitude’ and ‘freedom of expression’ for all our team members.
Our belief in results through processes, tenacity to prove processes in mock-ups and Operational Process Sheet (OPS) based working helped us get the desired outcomes.

Engaging Stakeholders:

We have passionately pursued to be known as an Organization of Choice for our customers, employees and partners. Customers have rated us best in class, bestowed good CSI scores and showed their willingness to give repeat orders in almost 100% of cases. On the people front, GPE is consistently amongst the best businesses in ‘Let’s Talk’ surveys, with highest engagement scores and lowest attrition rates in G&B. We believe in long-term relationships with our supplier- partners to create sustainable value. They are involved through partners’ meets, project execution meets and customer visits. We encourage improvement in their operations through training, performance monitoring and feedback. We complement their capabilities through our expertise, facilities and financial help if required.

Driving Performance and Transformation:

GPE is a process driven organization. We have been improving our management systems, from time to time, to stay contemporary through our Integrated Management System (IMS). Our IMS consists of Quality Management System (QMS), Environmental Management System (EMS), Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS) and accreditation of our testing laboratories (NABL). Other performance improvement and management systems implemented are TPM, ERM, PMO, KMS and ultimately BEM.

Harnessing creativity & innovation:

We are a business with a start-up mentality – big on dreams but frugal on resources. This ingrained frugality, passion and risk-taking ability in our team is manifested in actions / achievements like reconditioning machines rather than buying new ones, implementing low-cost automation, out-of-box welding automations, weavers and the like. We believe in being emotionally intelligent in our dealing with people i.e. heart felt, heart-to-heart. This is evidenced by the felicitation of students in different ways. Recognizing our people through a family connect by their visits and awarding their achievements. GPE is the business having to its credit several first executions in the country. This provides us with a fertile territory for innovative Kaizens, developing as well as assimilating of new technologies in every such project.

Achieving and Sustaining Outstanding Results

Sustained efforts have yielded impressive results over a three-year period which are :

Revenue: 3 Year CAGR: 44%

ROCE: > ~ 20 %

Profitability: > 10% Orders

Healthy order bank for predictable performance – 3 years

Foundation laid for repeat orders – 200 crores per year


Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI): > 95%

Repeat orders – Over 100 crores. Nearly 100% of customers willing to buy again

On time delivery – 100%

Quality – Nearly 100%, rework less than 2%


People Satisfaction Level:    > 90%, Highest within G&B

Supplier Satisfaction index: > 90%

Environment – Platinum rating in GreenCo

Continual improvement in processes to retain and enhance competitiveness.

TPM Consistency award

Kaizens – Among the top performers in G&B

Operational efficiency – Year on year improvement.

Overall, our well thought-out strategy is backed by strong execution leading to impressive top and bottom-line results as well as other financial and non-financial results.

Path Ahead:

While we draw a sense of pride from this award, we realise this is a mere milestone; a very important one, but nevertheless, still just a milestone in our journey of pursuit of excellence. The pursuit of excellence is perpetual. The current achievements will become the new norm and we will have to strive more to go beyond. Our job is never done.
Once we reach a summit, new vistas open, urging us to continue our journey.
Isn’t this the beauty of pursuing excellence? We humbly offer ourselves for sharing the insights we have gained to other businesses of G&B and are open to learning new insights and perspectives from the others for progressing further. Let’s all contribute to making G&B a role model organization in the coming years.