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Friday, January 27, 2006

Taking A Page From Toyota's Playbook

A year ago, executives of Wipro Ltd. (WIT) got a glimpse inside a Toyota (TM) assembly plant. During a guided tour of the factory that produces Corollas near their headquarters in Bangalore, India, Wipro execs hoped to pick up fresh ideas for their businesses of developing software and handling clients' back-office operations.

There were plenty of lessons to learn, but for Sambuddha Deb, Wipro's chief quality officer, one stands out. Deb began to take a shortcut when the safety path painted on the factory floor made a sharp turn. The Japanese manager walking behind him reached out, took his shoulders, and gently guided him back onto the path. The message -- all the little rules count. "They had that sort of discipline. It's second nature to them," marvels Deb.

Before the Toyota tour, Wipro had been struggling to get on track in back-office services. That might sound odd: With $1.7 billion in revenues, 42,000 employees, and a U.S.-traded stock that has advanced 230% in two years, Wipro is the embodiment of India's info-tech revolution. It's not only a leader in software development but also a pioneer in business-process outsourcing, where it does everything for clients from running accounting operations to processing mortgage applications. In that business, the company was respected for its low prices and dependability, but the work was too labor-intensive. Wipro wasn't doing enough to improve the way it did its clients' business.

posted by Brian Moran @ 9:05 AM   1 comments

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