"Blended learning helps provide a taste of real-life work-experience alongside the theoretical class room inputs."

Wednesday, 16 January 2013 06:20 administrator

Industry expert, Pramod Vashist, speaks to The Other News on HR practices in the manufacturing sector.

HR challenges and practices vary across different industry sectors. TON caught up with Pramod Vashist, VP - Corporate HR, Sunstar Overseas Ltd, to know more about the way HR functions in the manufacturing sector.

Tell us about the HR best practices that you follow at Sunstar?

We belong to the industry, where there are few organisations who have structured HR interventions. Therefore, having structured HR function with well defined policies and procedures at various locations and spearheading it in such an environment at corporate level, is itself a best practice by industry standards.

How is learning and development different in manufacturing compared to service sector?

Learning and development opportunities in manufacturing sector are entirely different from those of service sector. Although the speed of action (response time) and customer satisfaction are important determinants for any business requirement, but in manufacturing sector we aspire to improve them all the time while in service sector we can't exist without them.

If a customer gives us feedback about our product or services, in manufacturing sector improvement can take some time to realise, but in service sector it is expected to be immediate or sometimes on the spot.

The skill and potential required to manage these needs is the differentiating factor between these two sectors which makes them unique in terms of their L&D requirement of their human resource.

Do you feel blended learning is here to stay?

Blended learning is definitely a way forward in developing our future managers, where they get the taste of real-life work-experience alongside the theoretical class room inputs. However, the current level of facilities or infrastructure at most of the management Institutes is not sufficient to keep pace with industry needs. This surely will improve over a period of time.

Growth is an important consideration for many people, what growth opportunities do Sunstar offer to its employees?

Growth is definitely an important consideration for most people. However, Growth has a relatively different meaning for different people. Some people think getting salary raise or handsome incentives is the growth, and for this purpose they might frequently change organisations. On the contrary there are people who think that learning new skills and developing their individual potential is growth, which they could achieve by staying in single organisation also.

At Sunstar, we do not claim to be best pay masters, but for an employee who has skill and potential to learn and take on additional responsibilities, there is no end to growth. Internal candidates are preferred for the senior positions through transfers or job rotations; trainings are provided to bridge any skill gap. Employees get fairly compensated over a period of time for their additional responsibilities.

Probably, this is the reason why there are many ex-employees in the industry, who wish to join us back.

What would be your HR focus area in 2013?

Talent retention and developing system's approach in day-to-day functioning at managerial level. This could be achieved by implementing effective PMS, training on soft skills and ensuring open communication and employee engagement throughout the organisation.

What kind of HR challenges do you face in the manufacturing sector?

Sourcing and retention of right kind of talent is always a HR challenge in any industry. However in manufacturing sector, HR faces a challenge in training the available manpower on specific systems orprocesses which takes time and is specific for an Organisation.

Multi-skilling and multi-tasking is also an area where consistent HR interventions are required to keep a balance between high productivity and the employee motivation.