Summary:Suzuki Motorcycle India takes a hard look at its manufacturing line and weeds out manual processes.Highlights:Reducing customer complaints from 10 a day to zero Eliminating human intervention and error factor Reader ROI:Reducing customer complaints through automation in manufacturing businessThe Organization: Suzuki Motorcycle India is riding hard on a growth highway. But if it wanted to do better than the 40,000 two-wheelers it manufactured in 2011\u2014and still keep customers happy\u2014it would need to do away with some manual processes.The Problem: Every Suzuki bike comes with a unique frame and a unique engine number. Once these numbers are paired, they become part of a bike\u2019s identity, and hence, have to stay linked.The problem was that, sometimes, engines needed to be dismounted from a frame and sent back for repairs\u2014after they were paired at the invoicing stage. And because Sukuzi relied on a manual process to couple the two, when an engine came back from repair an operator could mistakenly mount it on the wrong motorcycle.\u201cThe finished product is a perfect bike, but a customer wouldn\u2019t be able to register it (because of a frame and engine number mismatch),\u201d says Angshuman Roy, manager-IT, Suzuki Motorcycle India.The human intervention and error factor has been reduced to zilch and we have cut out any possibility of losing information by cutting out dependency on checklists.The Solution: To get around that problem and other manual processes, Roy and a team from production, quality, and dispatch put their heads together.\u201cAfter three months of brainstorming, we divided the production process into six steps and decided on the level of automation and integration needed,\u201d says Roy, adding that this was a larger project meant to bring multiple benefits.They also figured that an operator re-mounting an engine depended on a piece of paper\u2014or his memory\u2014to ensure that the right engine was paired to right frame. Although both engines and frames had barcodes on them, these were not used for the manufacturing process but for the invoice team, which used them to couple an engine to a frame.They decided that engine and frame numbers needed to be coupled earlier in the manufacturing process\u2014at the point when an engine was actually mounted on a frame. This would safeguard the engine-frame identity downstream\u2014including when engine was dismounted and sent back for repair.The human intervention and error factor has been reduced to zilch and we have cut out any possibility of losing information by cutting out dependency on checklists.The team also decided that the barcodes should be used by operators within the factory. Then by introducing a scanner at the point when an engine was mounted on a frame, Roy ensured that a pairing was created early in the manufacturing process.He also gave scanners to operators who were responsible for re-mounting engines. So now if an operator wanted to know which frame an engine belonged to, all he had to do was scan the engine\u2019s barcode and he would be pointed to the right frame.The Benefits: The project had an immediate effect. The number of compliants from the production team because of mismatches reduced from about 10 a day to zero.\u201cThe human intervention and error factor has been reduced to zilch and we have cut out any possibility of losing, misplacing or damaging information by cutting out the dependency on checklists,\u201d says Roy.