Manoj Gupta - Jindal Stainless
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Stainless Spirit

Manoj Gupta

August 4, 2019    

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Meet the stalwarts of the Quality Assurance team that work day and night to put the ‘stainless’ in our stainless steel. It is because of their unswerving dedication and attention-to-detail that the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) team applauded the quality of our products. From design to deployment, it is this team that ensures that the manufacturing standards are met with in every cycle of production to exceed the expected quality standards by the customers. In this story, we put the spotlight on these ultimate gate-keepers of quality.

Manoj Gupta, Deputy General Manager, Quality Assurance Team, Hisar

From being called a costing expert to a last-minute problem solver, Manoj has had a long innings in the company. Having served for 14 years, Manoj now shoulders the arduous task of ensuring top-quality of our finished products. A deep understanding of the steel-making process enables Manoj to successfully fit into this job criteria. His enthusiasm and passion for his work is almost infectious. He says he finds the sheer pace of activity and the immense learning at work simply exhilarating. For Manoj, Jindal Stainless Hisar has been nothing short of an adventurous ride…Here’s why we bring to you his inspiring stainless journey.

Tell Us Something About Yourself.

I was born and brought up in Jaipur, Rajasthan. I completed my education from National Institute of Technology, Jaipur with a degree in Metallurgical Engineering in 2004. I joined Jindal Stainless as a GET (Graduate Engineer Trainee) in 2005. Prior to this, I worked in Viraj Steel, Mumbai for a short stint of 9 months. On the personal front, I have a loving wife and am blessed with two sons.

You Have Completed 14 Years With Jindal Stainless. How Has Your Journey With The Company Been?

Stainless steel – that is the biggest reason I joined Jindal Stainless. It has been an exciting journey providing an opportunity to grow at every step, both personally and professionally. I worked in the steel melting shop (SMS) for three and half years. Then, I was shifted to the Raw material department where I contributed significantly in establishing a structured raw material department for our company. Raw material management is critical to the overall performance of our company, and during my stint there, we introduced the meticulous LINDO concept for raw material planning. I am also the core team member of Jindal Blade Steel committee – our flagship speciality product. I also happen to be one of the key members of the team which set up a record of producing 22 heats in a day. I still remember when Mr S Bhattacharya threw a lavish party to celebrate this success. As of now, I am looking after the Quality Assurance (QA) of Hot Rolling Division and Defence segment.

What Are Your Core Responsibilities In The Quality Assurance Department?

My core responsibility is to ensure top-notch quality of our finished products as well as raw materials. ‘Sab chalta hai’ – ye quality mein nahi chalta. (‘Anything will work’ attitude does not work in the quality department). Before heading HRQA (Hot Rolling Quality Assurance), I worked in the process control department of QA. At that time, our team had achieved many milestones for improvement in product quality. We considerably reduced the surface defects in JSLU-SD/DD grade, which are key grades in hollowware segment. In 2018, our mechanical lab-HRD (Hot Rolling Division) of the Hisar plant was granted NABL accreditation by the Ministry of Science and Technology, which brought potential increase to our business mainly in the Defence segment owing to enhanced customer confidence in JSHL test results. We were also awarded with Norsok M650 certification for duplex and 316 grades, which is the key requirement to sell the product in oil and gas industries in European (especially Norway) and Middle Eastern countries. We also minimized the surface defect in 304L/1.4307 grade which finds application in many segments, namely chemical and process industries, paper, pharmaceutical, etc., from 11 % to 1%, resolving a problem that persisted since many years. For this I was awarded by Mr J Sood in 2018. I also received the cost savings award in UTSAV 2017 for minimizing the grinding loss in ferritic stainless steel which led to savings worth Rs 80-90 lakhs per annum. While I was looking at the quality of the long product division, we were accredited with AD/PED & CPR certificate for the European markets. We established hot charging for IRSM, JT and 304 grades which led to immense fuel savings and made the operational process more efficient and effective. Apart from this, we have added various new grades such as 15CDV6, 430F, UNS17-4PH, 321H, etc., to our product basket with the help of STG (Steel Technology Group), Operations and Research & Development Team.

Recently, We Have Scaled New Frontiers In The Defence Segments. What Were Your Most Challenging And The Rewarding Moments?

Defence is definitely a challenging assignment. The most challenging aspect is satisfying the requirements of our customers since their quality requirements are very stringent. Quality is foremost and we cannot afford even a single deviation. The most rewarding moment was when the ISRO team appreciated the quality of our product. The feeling is exhilarating, and I feel proud and humble to be a part of such a fantastic team. We are also the first company in India to have installed Auto Ultra Sonic testing machine in Hisar to cater to strategic orders for ISRO and DRDO. Recently, we dispatched bright bars of grade 304L to Nuclear Fuel Complex, Hyderabad. I definitely want to thank my team who works relentlessly to ensure our quality standards remain consistently high. Along with Mr C P Aggarwal and Dr Poddar, I was awarded the Stainless New Vertical award in UTSAV 2017 for treading the uncharted territory of defence. A free hand to work, lots of trust within the team, faith by the organization and a pat on the back is always a great encouragement for an employee.

What Are Your Hobbies And What Is Your Favourite Way To De-Stress?

I love travelling as it opens me to newer horizons. Last year, I explored the raw beauty of North East. Till date, my most memorable experience was when I took my parents on a trip to Western India. It was their first flying experience. Apart from that, I love listening to fast beat music to release stress. I am a rambler and I can take a walk anytime and anywhere.

Your Career Trajectory Is Indeed Impressive. What Is Your Advice To The Young Professionals?

There is a wrong perception amongst young engineers that, at SMS, you do not get a chance to use your expertise in metallurgy. My perspective differs here, as according to me, it is the best department to start your career with! SMS put me at close quarters with the stainless steel making process and that has taught me to look at the challenges in a very structured manner. I am still captivated by the sheer magnificence of steel making. For an energetic person like me, it is difficult to move at a snail’s pace. So I am a bit demanding from my team. That’s reason enough for me to owe my success to my incredible team and my seniors. We take pride in being India’s largest stainless steel manufacturing industry. This also places a huge responsibility on each of us, to ensure that we back this pride with consistent performances that prove that we are worthy of the trust that has been reposed in us.

Dhananjay Mohanty, Manager, Quality Assurance & Technical Services, Jajpur

Meet the trustworthy, gentle and amiable tech wizard of our stainless family whose reputation precedes him. Mr Dhananjay Mohanty, the backbone of the Quality Assurance Team in Jajpur. A man who has shown extreme devotion towards his work and is a renowned problem-solver. Not only his colleagues but also the customers of Jindal Stainless go gaga over the technical skills of Mr Mohanty. He has been heroic in tackling issues raised by customers. He is a true Jindalite in his behaviour and demeanour and his story is bound to motivate us.

What Was Your Life Like Before You Began Working With Jindal Stainless?

Well, you can call me a local guy, since I am originally from the Jajpur town. I spent my entire childhood here and graduated in BSc Physics along with a Diploma in Mechanical Engineer from Jajpur. I also acquired certificates in NDT(Non Destructive Testing) Level III (in Radiography, Ultrasonic, Magnetic Particle, Liquid Penetrant, and Visual Methods) from American Society of Non-destructive Testing (ASNT) and CSWIP 3.1 in Welding Engineer from TWI UK. Growing up, I have loved maths and solving math equations has always been a stress buster for me. I was actively involved in student political movements and social activities during my graduation. But, everything changed after the sudden demise of my mother. I broke down emotionally, and decided to leave Odisha to distract myself from the pain that mushroomed in my heart. It was then that I started working in Mumbai in a testing lab. Following that, I worked in Jindal Saw Pipe, Shamshi Pipe, Punj Lloyds, and Thermax for a few years and finally in 2009, I went to Doha, Qatar, where I worked for Qatar Petroleum (Rasgas Company Ltd) as a Mechanical Quality Engineer. I was in-charge of procuring raw material, fabrication and installation in both onshore and offshore projects. In 2015, I decided to come back to India for better opportunities, and that is when Jindal Stainless happened to me.

What Are Some Of The Responsibilities That You Have Shouldered In Your Four Years Tenure At JSL?

Initially, there were quite a few challenges. I was allotted the task of customer inspection where I needed to assure our customers on the quality aspects of our products. It’s a challenging job since you need to prepare yourself well in advance before meeting the customers. I used to solve their product related technical queries. Then I was involved in mild steel conversion, where I worked closely with Jindal Steel and Power Ltd, SAIL, Rourkela Steel Plant and Bhushan Steel.

At Jindal Stainless, we majorly work on non-destructive methods which are ultrasonic testing, liquid penetration and visual inspection. To perform this exercise, one needs a certificate from American Society of Non-destructive Testing (NDT). When I joined the Company, I was the only one who had ASNT-NDT level III certificates. After the demand and requirement from customers for quality testing grew, there was a dire need for well-trained employees. So, one of the major tasks that I undertook in the company was to train and certify more than 50 employees to gain ASNT-NDT level 2, with the help of HR department. If someone gets training from external sources, it will cost them around Rs 15,000. To eliminate this cost, I also plan on training more employees so that we can cut our costs and promote our in-house talent.

Apart from this, I was also pleased and humbled to drive other teams after which our company acquired several accolades such as the Grant of Licence – Bureau of Indian standards for mild steel and stainless steel, Bureau Veritas and DNV marine offshore shipping plant approval certification, JIS (Japanese) plant approval certification, Pressure Equipment Directive certification and ISO certificate for Jindal Stainless.

Tell Us Some Incident That You Will Never Forget.

I remember when I joined Jindal Stainless, there was a small Quality Lab which did not meet the requirements of our critical customers. We undertook the difficult feat of revamping our lab. It was our dream project, and the entire department contributed their daily time to upgrade the lab. I distinctly remember the excitement and anxiousness pulsating in my veins just days before the inauguration of the lab (Nov 17, 2017). It was my best day in this company, and we received much praises for this achievement.

Gentle, Calm, Trustworthy And Taskmaster, There Are Plenty Of Adjectives To Define You. How Do You Want To Define Yourself?

I’m a family man and despite my busy schedule, I make sure to spend some quality hours with my family. You may feel down, now and again, with the demands of your job, but after all, you have to deal with it in your own way. I go for a movie with my family, or watch cricket, as I love the sport, so much so that I’ve never missed a single match in this ongoing cricket World Cup! I even squeeze time to read books relevant to my field, and I’m well-versed with the European, Japanese and American standards of quality. It feels great when your revered colleagues approach you for work related queries. Knowledge is a two-way street, and I enjoy learning from others too.

What Message Do You Want To Convey To Your Stainless Family?

It is always heartening to work at a place with a feel-good factor. My reporting manager, Mr Jibanendu Tripathy has always supported me as a consultant, guardian and guide. I will truly be grateful to him forever. I would also like to thank Mr Nagaraj and Mr AK Singh, because of the positive energy they exude. For the rest of my colleagues, I would like to convey the message that our company is genuinely concerned for its people. I’ve worked in a lot of companies, but I’ve never seen any company like Jindal Stainless. This company gives you adequate space to learn and achieve whatever you want. My message to all of you is to be helpful, friendly and respectful to others. You will soon realize that you do not need to hesitate to ask questions, as everyone here is a great team player.


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