Project Management

The Cost of Quality: Tata Group Case Study

Prasad Menon

When India-based Tata Group adopted an aggressive strategy to become a global business leader in the 1990s, one of the key recognitions it made was that to thrive, it needed to meet global standards for business excellence.

That concern for quality across the board is still a key competency of the organization, which saw US$100 billion in revenue last year.

“People are very quick to get into the hardware of the project,” says Prasad Menon, chairman of Tata Quality Management Services. “They think they can make do when problems arise, but that approach can come back to bite you.”

The organization uses the Tata Business Excellence Model (TBEM) across its companies to measure how each is performing. Mr. Menon calls the TBEM the “glue that has helped bind companies together.” He says that a quality-driven program is essential to good project management, because it enables teams to proactively evaluate and overcome risks before they impact success.

Can you give an example of Tata’s approach to project management in a current project?

Tata Power is currently doing a US$4.5 billion, 4,000-megawatt power plant project in Gujarat, India. It includes shipping raw material from Indonesia, getting specialized equipment from South Korea and Japan, and putting together more than 150 packages of work and integrating them all …

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