The Drive to Transform

How EPCOS India Pvt Ltd became a frontrunner in the global market

Engagement Period: 2003 - 2006

Sector: Engineering

Client: EPCOS India Pvt Ltd.

EPCOS, a TDK Group Company, develops, manufactures and markets electronic components, modules and systems. EPCOS India Private Limited established in 1996 is the premier supplier of film capacitors that include DC capacitors, AC capacitors and Power Factor capacitors.


The EPCOS plant at Nashik was a relatively young enterprise. In 2003, the company was facing considerable business loss.  Quality, cost, and delivery targets were not being met, and they were hard pressed to meet market demands.  Even though their technology was high grade, the capability of the work force was not in tandem.

A change in leadership within the company was imminent. Mr. Balakrishnan, the upcoming President, had a background in marketing and was eager to turn things around. His drive was to transform the new plant and make it dependable for world supply. He realized that a quantum shift needed to be made and new paradigms established in order to meet the pressures and need of servicing global accounts.

That’s where TAO came in.

What we did

The mission was quite clear: to implement Lean Manufacturing Practices as both a practice and as a culture of working within the company. We weren’t just looking at increasing profits, but also at building an institution that was committed to producing quality products for the market. The work would be implemented in four units within the plant at Nashik.

Our initial step was to carry out an assessment of the company to gain a better understanding of the problems at hand and possible solutions. The transformation journey was modelled around the ‘learning through practice’ approach and we used our ‘Teach, Train, Transfer’ methodology to ensure that best practices were not only understood, but were also implemented.

Following the lead of the top management, each process within the intervention was aligned to the goals of the company so that results were evident, and best practices were quickly adopted as the rule and not the exception. The work at EPCOS was carried out across all levels of management, namely the top level, middle level, and shop floor level. Our initial workshops on Transformation through Lean Practices yielded such significant results, that enthusiasm for the interventions caught on quickly throughout  the plants.

Although the challenge seemed daunting at times, the atmosphere surrounding the workplace was engaging and to put it in simple terms, fun. Mr. Balakrishnan’s  formidable drive to transform the company soon had everyone involved and willing to go the extra mile. We even compiled a compendium called The Book of Lean, which we handed over to the company so that future generations could be guided in the practices.

We also institutionalized the practice of having regular reviews, chaired by the President, where each team would share the work that had been achieved, insights and breakthroughs, their successes and failures. It was a space in which teams could give inputs and suggestions to each other to collectively improve performance, and receive appreciation and recognition for their efforts.

By harnessing the power of sharing with a view to institution building, we helped create a process of review that was inclusive and encouraging, rather than solely revolving around facts and figures. These reviews encouraged camaraderie and created a sense of ownership amongst  employees of the company and the work itself.


The company began to make significant improvements in their manufacturing process and employees began to innovate solutions to go further.

Along with quality improvement and improved workplace discipline, revenues increased from 21.5 million Euros in 2003 to 32.3 million in 2006. Efforts towards institution building helped the employees sustain the best practices even without push from leadership.

Today, EPCOS India Pvt Ltd. is identified as one of the most highly profitable plants of the EPCOS family worldwide. The plant enjoyed significant success and went on to win many awards, both from customers and professional bodies like ELCINA, Quimpro, and NIMA to name a few.

Following the first intervention, we were invited to work in a new plant that was set up in Bawal, Maharashtra, on their factory layout and setting up of the basic operational team. Through the years 2008, 2009 and 2011, we continued our interventions with EPCOS, helping the company grow from strength to strength.

Any process of sustainability requires internal regulation, discipline, and a willingness to move out of one’s comfort zone. This can sometimes seem like a tall order, but it is necessary if one wishes to move towards excellence.  

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