Srishti Kaushik and her mission to perfect factory management

Srishti Kaushik, senior manager (PPC), Nutech Print Services, and winner, Factory Champion of the Year, shares her experience of perfecting the workflow

15 May 2024 | By PrintWeek Team

Srishti Kaushik of Nutech Print Services

How did you celebrate the Award?
This award was a moment of pride for the whole Nutech team, so we celebrated together at our facility. It was a small, intimate celebration where I took the opportunity to express my gratitude towards my colleagues and mentors. It’s their support that has truly made this possible.

You hold the vital roles of planning, coordinating, and controlling Nutech's production flow. You ensure the books exceed client quality standards. What is the method you follow?
To optimise production, I begin with a comprehensive analysis of all tasks involved. The analysis is translated into a clear flowchart that maps the entire production process. Throughout the process, I closely monitor actual performance, and compare it with the set target. 

Rigorous quality checks are implemented at every stage to ensure consistency. Deviations from the plan are promptly addressed through immediate decision-making and corrective actions. By analysing the root causes of frequent issues, I can recommend process improvements for enhanced efficiency and quality control.

The jury members were very impressed with your problem-solving capabilities, evident in the 30% turnover increase over the past three years and a reduction in turnaround time from 30 days to 15 days. How did you achieve this?
It was a concerted effort of streamlining our processes, focussing on team training, and embracing technology. Regular performance reviews allowed us to pinpoint areas for improvement and adapt our strategies accordingly.

Your goals included reducing turnaround time, implementing continuous improvement to reduce inefficiencies, nurturing a thriving workforce, and designing a fair performance evaluation system. What is the key to your success? Is it being detail oriented?
Attention to detail and a relentless pursuit of continuous improvement have been my mantras. It’s about never being complacent, but about constantly looking for ways to do better, and ensuring that the team is engaged and motivated.

One of the reasons women stay away from the industry is because of the factory element of the work — lifting weights. It’s something that still puts women off. What would you say to them? That it is a technologically advanced industry rather than when people would just associate it with oily rags?
The printing industry has evolved tremendously. It’s no longer just about manual labour but also about innovation and technology. It is a field where your brain is the biggest muscle and creativity meets technology to produce magic. I would also like to share that our company, Nutech Print Services, is a place where every hurdle is surpassed by women, because here, women are not just limited to desk jobs like marketing, procurement, and PPC. Instead, they are working in all departments like folding, binding, QC checking and even packing. In fact, they all are doing a commendable job in their fields. We always motivate them to work confidently, cooperatively, and with utmost precaution.

Describe your typical day at the Nutech book factory? 
Every day is a mix of overseeing production, problem-solving and strategising for improvement. I generally spend the first two hours on shop floor — monitoring all production processes, output, and random in-line quality checks. This is the time when I have real interactions with the workforce — which helps me understand the challenges they are facing. It helps me strengthen my bond with them. 

I spend the next one to two hours in a production meeting with representatives from all departments, to finalise the plan for all the processes for the next 24 hours. Here, we also discuss and solve the challenges being faced on a daily basis to be able to achieve the target goals.

I spend an hour responding to emails and queries from the marketing team, and I close the day by having discussions with the PPC department — to ensure that all tasks are completed on time and correctly.

I am lucky to have flexible working hours, and I don’t need to be on the premises for eight hours. Ravi Shroff trusts my working style, and has allowed me to work flexible hours. I ensure that I don’t break that trust.

Many women who work on the production floor say it can be quite intimidating at the outset, coming into a predominantly male industry. What were your initial days like?
Yes. I agree that it can be challenging for women to prove their work in the office because they don’t get as many opportunities to excel. I got lucky. I had cooperative colleagues and seniors who always inspired me to do better. I focused on my strengths, sought to learn everyday, and gradually, my contribution began to speak for itself. It was about earning respect through hard work and dedication. Surely, at times, it has been challenging to strike a balance between family and work. Of course, family is our first love, but the love for work has made it possible to balance both. The famous quote, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life,” suits me well because I love my work and I am passionate about it.

How can the industry work on building up a skills base, new designers, and new types of working style? Your view.
Investing in education and training is crucial. We need to encourage young talent by creating an inclusive environment that welcomes diverse skills and perspectives. Frequent interactive sessions with industry leaders for the students helps in upskilling based on industry needs and trends.

What is a book project that made you smile in these grim times?
I would like to share two projects. One is from the early days of my career at Ajanta Offset & Packaging. I wasn't given much responsibility. I was fabricating black paper albums, and I noticed the potential for paper waste based on the standard cutting plan. Driven by a desire for efficiency, I devised a more precise layout that minimises waste. 

This saved the company roughly eight reams of paper, and more importantly, caught the attention of the managing director, Siddhartha Todi. He was impressed by my initiative and took me under his wing. He placed me in the material procurement cell. This early recognition and mentorship set the stage for my growth in the industry.

Now at Nutech Print Services, I see the fruits of that growth. Ravi Shroff, the owner, recently confided in me that the team trusts me to solve issues within the factory. He added that I have earned their respect — not through title or seniority — but through my dedication to going above and beyond. Hearing those words brought tears of joy to my eyes. This sense of trust and respect is the true measure of my success, and it reinforces my passion for connecting with people and exceeding expectations.