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Lean operations key to survival and growth, says Honda CEO

— Photo: S.James

Masahiro Takedagawa, president and CEO, Honda Siel Cars India, addressing a ‘Star Trek’ session, organised by the CII in Madurai on Wednesday.

MADURAI: Maintaining lean business operations in terms of manpower, stocks and supply chain is the key to survival and growth in a difficult business environment, according to Masahiro Takedagawa, president and chief executive officer, Honda Siel Cars, India

Addressing the ‘Star Trek’ session organised here on Wednesday by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Madurai Zone, he said this strategy would allow for flexibility to change plans. “This has been the corner stone of Honda’s business strategy and success globally.”

Speaking in the context of the global economic slowdown, he said it was only natural that Indian economy also faced the impact, as it became progressively integrated with the world.

While the good news was that the financial mechanism was not so weak as it used be in 1997, the bad news was that the economic slowdown was global.

“We are confident that the fundamentals of Indian economy are sound and as a business community, we will all tide over such temporary slowdowns,” he said.

As for the company’s growth in India, he said its first plant was established at Greater Noida (Uttar Pradesh), with an initial capacity of 30,000 cars. It was increased to 50,000 in 2005 and doubled to 1,00,000 in 2008. Furthermore, Mr. Takedagawa said, the company had a second plant coming up in Rajasthan. “We recently inaugurated Phase I operations, including the unveiling of a state-of-the-art press facility and an advanced power train unit for engine components.”

The company also planned to have more than 100 dealerships by the end of the current fiscal. Many of these, he said, would be in smaller cities and towns, in preparation for Honda’s compact car in India.

The response to its premium hatchback, Honda Jazz, at the ‘Auto Expo’ in New Delhi was tremendous. It would be launched in 2009.

R. Dinesh, chairman, CII Madurai Zone, and K.S. Bharath, vice-chairman, spoke.

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