Background: The Government of India recognizes 'Manufacturing' as an important contributor to the national economy besides being a source of employment for the emerging young population. The National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council (NMCC) was set up by the Government of India to serve as a policy forum for credible and coherent policy initiatives in the manufacturing sector. One of the long term strategies identified by NMCC is the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Programme (NMCP), aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of micro, small and medium enterprises through a number of interventions that help these enterprises to modernize and become competitive.
Introduction: Under the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Programme (NMCP), a component 'Lean Manufacturing Competitiveness Scheme' (LMCS) has been conceptualized, and the main objective of the scheme is to assist Indian MSMEs reduce their manufacturing costs through proper personnel management, better space utilization, scientific inventory management, improved process flows, reduced engineering time etc., with the application of Lean Manufacturing techniques.
Coverage and Eligibility: The scheme is open to all MSMEs throughout the country with the prerequisite being that the units should be registered with DIC or with any other agency (professional body, association, government agency, department etc). The units are required to form a Minis Cluster (MC), in the form of Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) or sub-group of an Association, comprising of 6-10 units by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to participate in the scheme. The units must be located in same geographical location and producing same or similar range of products.
Implementation Approach: The approach involves identification of mini-cluster(s) within clusters, to which Lean Manufacturing Consultants (LMCs) are engaged to assess the existing manufacturing system of member units of the mini cluster(s) and stipulate detailed step by step procedures and schedules for implementing and achieving various Lean techniques. National Productivity Council (NPC) was assigned the role of National Monitoring & Implementation Unit (NMIU) and is entrusted with the task of Monitoring and Implementation agency for the up-scaled scheme. NPC, along with MSME, audits the performance of implementation of Lean Manufacturing techniques on a frequent basis.
Financial Assistance: Government of India provides financial support upto a maximum of 80% of the Consultant fees for each Mini Cluster. Remaining 20% is to be borne by the beneficiary MSME units. The payment to consultant will be made in equal installments on the basis of completion of specific milestones over the implementation period.
Achievements: The scheme was launched in July 2009 on pilot basis covering 100 clusters across the country and owing to the success of the pilot phase, the scheme has been up-scaled to 500 clusters in the year 2013. So far, 163 mini-clusters have started implementing Lean Manufacturing as a part of the LMCS. Five mini-clusters have successfully completed the 18-month long and five-phase level implementation, and other clusters are in different phases of the implementation. The units have realized benefits in terms of Setup-time reduction, Layout modification, SMED implementation, Reduction in In-house rejection, On-time delivery improvement, Reduction in Customer complaints, 5S, Visual management, Workplace cooperation, Kaizen events etc., and stand as a testimony to the successful implementation of the scheme.