How Ratan Tata Propelled Group CEO’s To Embrace Business Excellence ?

It is not an easy feat to handle the helm of a gigantic empire, such as TATA. In order to ensure the long-term sustainability of such enterprise, it is necessary to put generic framework in place. Ratan Tata, entailing ancestral charismatic attributes is considered to be the pioneer in institutionalized approach towards governance, which may last beyond any one man show. In one instance, GCC (Group corporate center) was established as the policy-framing board taking into account the government’s prevailing economic and industrial policies. Apart from interacting with group companies as voice of the promoters, it advised them to hone their suits for staying globally competitive.

Amidst all the restructuring reforms, Ratan Tata went one step ahead in giving tribute to one of the group forefather’s, J.R.D .Therefore J.R.D. QV award was instituted in July 1994 as the annual commemoration. MBNQA was selected as the core methodology to be embraced across the empire arms (over 100 companies).

After the depressing result of first company’s assessment, group realized that earlier it has been focusing in production targets, expanding manufacturing etc. rather than inculcating customer-centric approach through benchmarking. Moreover,  in the first meetings of eight quality champions across group companies, there was a common compliant – they were not receiving full support from company’s leadership.

Following it, Tata Quality management system was established as a mandate to assist Tata companies in achieving their business excellence and performance enhancement goals. Eventually it was christened to the TATA BUSINESS EXCELLENCE MODEL, which provided a structure scaffolding pathway for everybody.

As change has been associated with the most bothersome task, one of the incident narrated by former TATA group encapsulate the day when whole group CEO’s transitioned themselves from using (TBEM) mere words to the practicality of its application. It happened at the group strategy forum meeting where companies CEO’s interacted with directors of Tata group. A benchmarked presentation was made at the meeting about the group’s performance relative to world class companies. Upon its complete Ratan Tata asked the reason for huge shortcomings in complying with the excellence model. There went a pin drop silence, until one senior quality champion told him directly: CEO’s of many group   companies aren’t taking active part in its compliance and this change an only happened when top management is on board.

The stony silent in the room grew longer. Than Rata Tata proposed to disclose these slides in the general management meeting where other 600 senior leaders across Tata group were also present. During that meeting, he displayed those slides and illustrated the gap in excellence achievement. After a pin drop silence, he said:


Eventually, all the group companies started outperforming their earlier metrics by going all in with the tools of Tata Business Excellence Model. That’s how one line from the mighty Ratan Tata changed the course of Tata cruise. It led to the remarks of Baldrige Foundation president as “Tata group has become a global benchmark in instilling business excellence in scalable and repeatable manner.”


The Tata Group by Shashank Shah

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