Satish Kumar Kashyup, Managing Director of Chittaranjan Locomotive Works (CLW), strongly believes in what his company produces. “Our locomotives are absolutely world class in terms of technology, especially propulsion technology,” he says. As the world’s largest locomotive builder – the company is listed in the Limca Book of Records for producing 431 locomotives in 2019-2020 – looks to ramp up production, Satish hopes more people will attest to this statement.
At the height of COVID-19 restrictions in 2020, CLW could only build 135 locomotives in the first half of fiscal year 2020-2021. Bouncing strongly in the second half of this fiscal year, the company manufactured 255 locomotives in just six months, breaking all previous records and meeting its goal of making 390 electric locomotives in just 264 working days. It could be a sign of things to come for Satish and his 10,000 employees.
“In the short term, we are increasing the production capacity to around 500,” he says. CLW was established in 1950 and began manufacturing steam locomotives from its base in West Bengal. It switched to electric trains in the early 1960s and is now part of an elite group of global manufacturers making high horsepower 9,000 horsepower locomotives.
CLW is unique in India in another way as well. It has its own “township,” which includes worker colonies, community and health centers, schools, playgrounds and parks. The working community is considered to be one of the best of its kind in India, while its conservation efforts have been recognized by the World Environment Foundation. “Basically, it’s a city on its own, and we nurture it.
And we have several layers. It’s a great environmental setup and ecosystem here and shows how a unit of product can work in harmony with nature. I have taken a lot of initiatives to preserve nature, to clean the region and the lakes. Our lakes are home to many migratory and local birds, and we have many hills and forests, ”says Satish proudly. The township is an important part of the CLW employee proposition, providing a benefit few companies can match.
Our locomotives are absolutely world class in terms of technology, especially propulsion technology.
“They don’t care where they live, where their children go to school and also how they get to their workplace,” he says. “So they are happy to work. In fact, he calls his 10,000 employees a “very big family” and says that “the biggest challenge is to connect with these people, because they are a huge asset”. Building a long-term relationship with his staff has been one of Satish’s main goals since taking on the role of Managing Director, while increasing productivity, reducing costs and streamlining processes with suppliers.
Satish is proud of the locomotives his company makes and compares them to those produced in Europe. “We use state-of-the-art technology based on world-class IGBT. And the locomotives that we make are absolutely the same reliability as what is produced in the world, but we produce them at a lower cost, ”he reveals. In fact, costs are the second area he wants to focus on as production increases.
“My idea is that we reduce the workforce. I will get the result with less labor. So this is an area where costs will drop while productivity will increase, ”explains Satish. Another item on her to-do list is quality. While CLW’s locomotives are cost competitive, Satish wants to improve their quality. “I’m just starting the look and finish of the cabin interior. If you look at a European locomotive, this cabin looks very classy and very comfortable, ”he emphasizes.
“This is an area that I would like to tackle, improving the aesthetics of locomotives. Satish knows a thing or two about trains and railroads, having become the managing director of the Indian Railway Institute of Electrical Engineering, and also playing a leading role in various electrical construction projects in the railways and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. He also worked as a division manager of Varanasi Railways.
“Being in the Indian railways, I had the opportunity to work in the ministry, in the PSU, even in the various production units. I worked in maintenance and in operations too. So I had a mixed experience of different organizations and configurations, ”he says.
This extensive experience has helped Satish navigate the complex world of materiel and vendor management, of which CLW has a pool of approximately 1,200. Its pool of approved vendors is selected through a “process of sourcing”. very rigorous quality control to establish their capabilities ”. One of the benefits of being a CLW supplier is the bulk orders they receive, which are supported by the Indian government.
“Most of the suppliers have been with us for about 20 years. This has evolved into a very unique concept of partnership. These long-standing relationships will be vital for Satish and his team as they move forward with ambitious growth plans for CLW.
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