Narrative of a Fijian productivity practitioner
Perseverance, and a slew of APO tools, helped Amrish Narayan to rapidly build his mark as an accomplished consultant and trainer.
It was the hunger to improve his knowledge and skills in productivity and quality tools that propelled Amrish Narayan to enroll in Asian Productivity Organization (APO) projects from 2011. At the time, he had just joined the Fiji National Training and Productivity Centre (NTPC), with zero experience in consultancy and very little in training. He didn’t have any international exposure to business operations or best practices by other organizations in APO member countries either.
“My aim was to learn to use as many productivity tools and techniques as possible so that when I eventually became a consultant, I could use this knowledge to diagnose real-time issues and problems within a business environment,” Amrish said.
“I learned about APO projects from National Training and Productivity Centre. I was strongly encouraged by my managers and directors to participate in related projects and apply the learning to benefit industries in Fiji.” Amrish followed their advice and has since built his credibility and cemented his position as a trainer within the NTPC, where he has been heading consultancy projects for the last two years.
His tireless participation in a slew of APO projects led to the amassing of an arsenal of productivity tools, including quality circles, quality management systems, Six Sigma, total productive maintenance (TPM), lean management, Green Productivity, and benchmarking.
“As a productivity and quality consultant, I was required to have knowledge and skills in a broad range of tools and techniques,” Amrish acknowledged, explaining the total of 10 training projects he has participated in to date. “Since we deal with different organizations and processes, we have to learn to diagnose different problems and use the appropriate tools to resolve them.”
Playing trainer’s role at the NTPC
In his current consultancy role at the NTPC, Amrish is responsible for providing training to industry in the areas of quality and productivity improvement. He also supports clients through consultancy services while promoting the improvement of quality and productivity.
“I intend to see best-practice processes for productivity and quality management outside my country,” he stated. “All the training has enhanced my knowledge and skills as a consultant and on best industry practices, primarily through field visits to various organizations in APO member countries.”
Since attending training courses between 2011 and 2015, Amrish has successfully imparted his knowledge to a total of 478 participants in five local training courses conducted by the NTPC. Most courses continued for between three months and a year, with five consultancy projects being completed within two years from 2014 to 2015.
The courses covered total quality management, TPM, understanding and implementing the ISO 9001 QMS, writing procedures and work instructions, and lean Six Sigma. Each of these courses was based on an APO multicountry project equivalent.
“The objective of each activity was to provide local training and promote the use of concepts through sharing, and there was a strongly positive response to the activities from both the students and clients,” he said.
Amrish has also revived a number of NTPC consultancy services like ISO 9001 quality management systems in five projects, one on developing standard operating procedures, and two on implementing quality circles.
When asked about the challenges encountered in offering the training, Amrish replied, “The level of participation and commitment of the organization was the most common challenge. The completion of the project within the stipulated time was another but a longer timeframe was sometimes necessary for the projects to deliver the expected results.”
Reaping the rewards
Despite the challenges, the training activities have enabled participants to gain more knowledge of relevant tools and techniques and helped them develop new competencies in their organizations. “Results from the consultancy project included improvements in organizational process performance, increased productivity, higher employee morale, and better market recognition of products and services,” Amrish noted.
“These results were very satisfying and brought on an entirely different feeling for me. I saw that whatever I had learned with the APO through the training and field visits in Asian countries was now being utilized by local companies to resolve real issues.”
Another source of pride is that NTPC trainers who assisted him in some activities were so highly motivated that they went on to head consultancy projects of their own.
“My position as Head of Training at the NTPC allows me to network with the APO alumni,” Amrish added. “This enables me to brainstorm and resolve industry-specific problems while also enlisting some alumni members as part-time consultants for the organization.”