This year’s Best Practice Tour to India was a roaring success, giving fourteen individuals from a diverse range of industries new insights into optimising business and manufacturing methods. From 23 September to 2 October, the group engaged with Indian enterprises that have actively adopted measures and methods that have led to increased productivity, efficiency and profitability. The tour is fully endorsed by the AIDC and the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency.

The companies represented in the tour group include the AIDC (Gauteng and the Eastern Cape divisions), Fry’s Metals, Autoliv Southern Africa, Omnia, Auto Industrial, WST Automotive, DS Engineering and Babase Trading. The group was led by the AIDC’s Rickus Lubbe and Sydney Theko, who have been to India on a number of exploratory trips beforehand to learn about the nation’s powerhouse automotive and manufacturing sectors. With the Best Practice Tour now in its fourth year, the results are showing: the attendees are taking their observations and implementing them in concrete ways in the South African industries and OEMs they represent.

The focus of the trip was on TPM – Total Productive Maintenance – and manufacturing processes and principles, predominantly in the automotive sector in India’s Northern Manufacturing Hub. India and South Africa have several shared challenges: an abundance of unskilled labour and a shortage of critical skills. However, India is still more competitive in the manufacturing sector than South Africa – this tour aimed to establish exactly what can be done locally to raise South Africa’s competitiveness on the world business stage. A key consideration for all of the represented companies was how to enable and empower the workforce in the way the Indian manufacturing sector has done so effectively.

As a result, the group visited Munjal Showa (shock absorbers and struts manufacturer), Sona Koyo Steering (steering systems), QH Talbros (gaskets, heat shields, suspension, anti‑vibration systems and hoses) and Lumax Industries (automotive lighting). These companies are globally-recognised best-practice businesses with world-class facilities. To offer practical value and experience to the tour, the group attended a training session with the Confederation of Indian Industry, which hosted the Quality Circle Competition. In addition, the group toured some of India’s most historic and magnificent landmarks – including the Taj Mahal and the sights of New Delhi.

The organisers chose India for specific reasons. First, it is an ideal setting for observing how language differences can be much less of a workplace obstacle through enabling and empowering workers, which can be similarly applied South African working environments. Second, India has a high number of major players in the automotive and manufacturing industries, and each day of the tour included a business lunch where the tour group could engage directly with Indian business leaders and stakeholders in the automotive and manufacturing industries.

Ivor Burgess, Group Logistics Manager of the Auto Industrial Group, says the tour “is the vision to endless improvement opportunities”. The AIDC Eastern Cape’s Bianca Ehlers adds that “knowing TPM and seeing TPM in practice are two different things. The TPM Best Practice Tour to India allows you to see TPM implemented and sustained through involvement of all employees and I would recommend each company to send at least one representative to learn from the tour.” Thys Jordan, Engineering Manager at Fry’s Metals said “This tour is humbling in every way and experiencing the passion that these companies show towards Lean, TPM and life in general is amazing.”

The tour organisers are already planning the 2017 edition of the Best Practice Tour – and we look forward to hearing about the results!

For more information, please contact Rickus Lubbe on +27 82 872 4562, or


CII Head Office

Confederation of Indian Industries – 1st visit

Front row (seated):

Cynthia Sekhoto (DS Engineering), Bianca Ehlers (AIDC EC), Abdul Wadood (CII TPM Club India), Leazle van Rooi (WST Automotive), Nina Magobotla (Babase Trading)

Back row (standing):

Rickus Lubbe (AIDC), Sydney Theko (AIDC), Tjaart van den Berg (Omnia Fertilizers), Gcina Mapoma (Autoliv), Wilson Thusi (WST Automotive), Thys Jordan (Fry’s Metals), Christo Greyling (Omnia Fertilizers), Job Masilo (Fry’s Metals), Stefan Koekemoer (Autoliv), Biju Raj (CII), Ivor Burgess(Auto Industrial)