“Being innovative and green”

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Godrej Appliances is one of the first refrigerator manufacturing companies in the country. Can you please tell us about the company’s journey since then?

Godrej Appliances started its operations in the year 1958 with the setting up of a manufacturing facility for Direct Cool refrigerators in Mumbai and became the first company to manufacture refrigerators in India. It further added Frost Free refrigerators to its product range by adding another plant for Frost Free refrigerators and in-house compressor manufacturing to promote indigenization. In order to cater to the increased market demand and also optimise operational cost, it expanded its operations in the year 1996 by setting up new manufacturing facilities at Shirwal (Maharashtra) for washing machines and air conditioners, and Mohali (Punjab) for Direct Cool refrigerators. As the cost of operation in Mumbai was continuous rising, in 2005 Godrej Appliances shifted its complete manufacturing operations from Mumbai to Shirwal and Mohali.

This strategic initiative not only controlled the operational cost but also helped in increasing utilisation of both the off-site plants. It has truly evolved since then and made us realise what “Big M” is all about. Where manufacturing is not restricted to just production but also encompasses the process of supply chain & suppliers, R&D and design and after sales service & warranty. It also includes external factors such as global changes, environment changes, technology changes, regulatory changes and societal changes.

The manufacturing strategy of Godrej Appliances is four pronged: Operational excellence, Employee involvement, Supplier development, Sustainable growth and contribution to society. This strategy was formulated out of the learnings of the VLFM program mentored by Prof Shoji Shiba and executed being part of the CII led Manufacturing Excellence clusters. The cluster journey followed a tailor made roadmap and was based on Total Employee involvement, which helped the locations transform physically and culturally, whether it be 5S, OEE improvement, inventory reduction, quality improvement or space optimization. Godrej Appliances has now embarked
on the TPM journey to strengthen and build further on these fundamentals.

Please tell us about Godrej’s manufacturing capability and capacity with regards to consumer durables.

Godrej Appliances’ manufacturing facilities at Shirwal and Mohali are designed and continuously upgraded to deliver products of long lasting quality, latest relevant technology and style to suit today’s lifestyle needs and expectations. The manufacturing team focuses on zero impact to environment by innovating and improving to ensure that Lean and Green co-exist. Today, the plants are benchmarks for green operations and are close to benchmarks for lean operations.

We at Appliances Manufacturing believe in continuously exploring what’s happening around the world in the appliance industry. Starting with PUF in our refrigerators, the journey never ended. We were the first to introduce a completely green refrigerator and an HCFC / HFC free foaming and refrigerant material. We have been the first to introduce lokring in India a method used for joining sealed system joints without using any heat or flame. Now, practically everyone in the industry uses lokring. We have been first in introducing stretch hood packing, a solution which not only saves cost but is environment- friendly.

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Godrej Appliances has made strategic investments in key manufacturing processes to adopt latest technologies that offer high process capabilities, improved fit, feel, finish and provide flexibility of operation. E.g. ITW Gema system for Powder coating, QS Metal lines for side panels and doors, QS pressure thermoforming machines for plastic sheets, Cannon and QS PU foaming machines. Investments are also planned to support manufacturing of new products like Multi door refrigerators, chest freezers and medical refrigerators. With an annual manufacturing capacity of 30 lakh refrigerators, 4.5 lakh washing machines, 2 lakh air conditioners and 23 lakh compressors, the plants are equipped to support customer demand even in peak season. To counter the seasonal demand of product categories the plants are moving towards multi- product manufacturing at both locations.

The company has emphasis on “green manufacturing”. Can you please tell us more about it?

To ensure sustainable growth, Godrej Appliances has adopted CII’s Mission on Sustainable Growth as the guiding principles. Targets are taken on all the commandments of Mission on Sustainable Growth, which are in most cases more stringent than company level targets. These include energy efficiency and use of renewable energy, water conservation, greenhouse gas reduction, material conservation and waste management, green supply chain, product stewardship and life cycle assessment of products.

Our Good & Green activities in achieving excellence in sustainability emphasise our approach that Lean can be Green and Green can be Lean,

  • When Lean in not implemented as a short term strategy for short term gains
  • When  the scope of Lean is not limited to an internal environment but includes the external environment.
  • When innovation is the approach not improvement Godrej Appliances achievements in Green,
  • Use of producer gas for ovens has reduced consumption of fossil fuels and Zero SO2 emission.
  • Waste management – Zero waste to landfill. Reduce, Reuse & Recycle is applied to all type of wastes.
  • Water positive through rains water harvesting and has a water body to collect rain water
  • 23 percent reduction in Specific Energy Consumption
  • 24 percent share of renewable energy in the total energy used for the plant operations

Both manufacturing locations of Godrej Appliances are oases of green and heaven of flora and fauna. The Plant teams have been constantly working on enriching the biodiversity at the locations by creating green areas, water bodies and planting trees and shrubs.

Apart from a variety of seasonal wild vegetation growth, the campus at the manufacturing site is home to more than 1000 trees and shrubs, out of which more than 95 percent are native & adoptive species. We also have in our campus, few resident wild animals, butterflies, reptiles and amphibians.

The manufacturing unit has won Platinum GreenCo certification from CII-Green Business Centre. Please tell us more about it. What is GreenCo Rating?

CII works to create & sustain environment conducive to the growth of industry in India. CII initiated the voluntary programme “Mission on Sustainable Growth “, and sought voluntary commitments for reducing consumption of energy , water and other natural resources . More than 450 organisations joined this voluntary commitment. This initiated a demand
from companies to formulate a system to evaluate the actual performance on the Green front & companies pursuing ecologically sustainable growth. This led to the birth of the GreenCo rating system. The Green Rating System for companies encourages a performance based approach. It provides guidance to businesses on how to implement Green strategies.

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Godrej Appliances’ Shirwal plant embarked upon its GreenCo journey in August 2013. The journey gained momentum and in barely two months, the entire documentation was complete and offered for assessment. With all its past efforts taken on the green front, Godrej Appliances easily achieved the Gold rating in the first attempt. Godrej, however, did not stop its journey here but went on to get the platinum in another six months. This achievement gave Godrej the unique distinction of becoming the first factory and company in India to get the Platinum rating. Horizontal deployment of all the learning of Shirwal plant at Mohali plant, made them achieve the Platinum rating in the first attempt itself.

Godrej Appliances has launched range of ‘green products” including air-conditioners, refrigerators, etc. Can you please tell us about these products?

The company has moved from strength to strength when it comes to Green technology and has set a number of benchmarks for the industry including the launch of the first green refrigerator in India (2002), the first inverter AC in India (2005), the first 5 star range of DC refrigerators (2008), first green AC in the world (2012), the first refrigerator with 6 Star Performance (2012) and India’s first ACs with 7-star performance.

Some of the green products from Godrej Appliances are:
Refrigerators: Godrej Appliances became the first and only company in India to manufacture 100 percent CFC, HCFC and HFC- free refrigerators way back in 2002.

Direct Cool: In the Direct Cool segment, which comprises 70 percent of the market, Godrej Appliances boasts of the Godrej Edge Pro Refrigerator, offering 6 star performance across parameters like Maximum Energy efficiency (15 percent more energy efficient than other 5 Star Refrigerators in its class), Maximum Space (44 percent more vegetable space than other 5.

Star Refrigerators in its class) and Faster Ice Making (50 percent faster) as compared to any other refrigerators in a similar segment. GODREJ EDGE PRO REFRIGERATOR is the undisputed leader in its segment.

Frost Free: Godrej Appliances’ energy efficient refrigerators promise best-in-class cooling with the best in class features like Stay Cool technology for cooling retention despite power cuts, i-Fresh technology for advanced freshness and best-in-class energy efficiency. Godrej refrigerators are not only green because of the environment-friendly refrigerant, but also significantly energy efficient. Godrej Appliances are the only ones in the industry who boast of 100% Green range of refrigerators.

Godrej Appliances has recently launched an entire range of 4-star rated energy efficient frost free refrigerators and as per the current energy efficiency regime, they have the largest range of these energy efficient models.

ACs: Godrej is the first brand in the world to manufacture ACs with green gases. Their green balance ACs have zero Ozone Depletion Potential and Global Warming Potential of only 3 which is lowest in the industry. The Green Balance range of ACs make use of the greenest refrigerant R290 and have been awarded with the coveted India Design Mark award as well as the internationally acclaimed Good Design award by Japan Institute of Design Promotion.

What expansion plans does the company have in the pipeline?

Two new manufacturing sheds are being constructed, one at each location. This will be to expand our washing machine and Air conditioner manufacturing capacities. Also to expand in new categories like medical refrigerator, deep freezers and big capacities refrigerators. We are also expanding our compressor manufacturing capacities.

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