SOS in Bangalore: the real experience

A local Bangalore paper announced Monday that a factory in Electronics City caught fire Sunday and suffered big losses. It said that no cause was stated and that the Fire Department rushed to the scene and put out the fire.

I met the fire-fighters; they had put out in a few minutes the fire that our inexperienced people had bravely struggled against for forty five. I thanked them, patted their shoulders, for, besides being truly grateful, I wanted them to come quickly if we had another disaster. I couldn’t bring satisfaction to their faces which crinkled into smiles when praised, and turned blank when thanked. The next day I thought dully that they had taken forty five minutes to come and our whole facility could have burned down and anywhere else in the world they would have arrived far sooner. I feel only a resignation: but they will have a fire station next month in Electronics City; we are making a financial contribution along with our neighbours.

Two customer teams, both from Europe, visited us this week. The factory that caught fire has the more mature quality-management-system. From Sunday night until Thursday morning, our people from that factory worked to restore the infrastructure. Luckily, the main production hall was not touched by the fire. Not also the stores, thanks again to a valiant effort by the second-shift staff. Painters, the electrical contractor, the civil contractor, all chipped in, day and night. One European team that had come in Tuesday, we brought to this facility Thursday; also, the second team spent Thursday there. The shop-floor was gleaming, the machines were humming, and our people, our wonderful people, after all that labor, were in fine trim as they did production: it was as if nothing had happened. We pointed to a thin black streak in a far corner and and told customers the fire caused it. They praised us for the speed of our disaster-recovery.

A tough Italian customer we wrote to - a fine manager and gentleman we have known for ten years - answered our alert immediately and said not to worry about the revision of delivery schedules, is anybody hurt?

Nobody is hurt. Our team-character has grown stronger.

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