The Tata group accentuates the importance of Assessment, keeping in mind the evolving needs of the organisation. Assessment can be called as an annual health checkup of a Tata company. However, it is much more than that as during the Assessment all the systems of a Tata company are thoroughly checked vis-à-vis the Tata Business Excellence Model (TBEM). This is done to check what the company is doing right and where the opportunities for improvement remain unaddressed, particularly looking via the context in which it does business.
In a nutshell, the Assessment process uses expertise, within the Tata group, which is specially trained for carrying out such diagnostics to get a report on the health of a company. To get itself assessed, a Tata company writes out an Application of Assessment. This document encompasses three major points:
1. Organisational Profile - Backdrop of the company and industry
2. Process Descriptions - How the company runs its business
3. Results - What the company has achieved
Typically, a total of five to ten assessors are involved in the Assessment process of a particular company, with the number varying depending on the complexity and the spread of the business. The team of assessors comprises individuals with different business and functional backgrounds, thus bringing a pool of rich experience and exposure to the Assessment process.
In January/February, Tata Quality Management Services approaches the Tata companies giving them an indication of the Assessment schedule and the inputs required from the companies for the process. The companies are asked to express their intent to participate into the Assessment process. In general, around 40 to 60 organisations take part every year, with Assessment of one company taking nearly six to ten weeks to complete.
Tata Quality Management Services prepares for the Assessment by putting together a Potential Assessor Database. After identifying the individuals eligible to be assessors, invitations seeking their availability are sent for the identified assessors giving them an opportunity to participate in the TBEM Assessment. The participation in an assessment is a matter of pride and a source of immense learning. An experienced Team Leader leads the Assessment team.
After taking into account the functional background and experience of the available Assessors and Team Leaders, Tata Quality Management Services moves to the 'Teaming' phase carefully going through the permissible permutations to churn out the best possible combination for the Assessment process. Parallelly, the selection of mentors takes place. These mentors are CEOs and senior leaders from Tata companies who coach and guide the Assessment teams. After this, a schedule is prepared for the whole process.
The Assessment Process comprises three important stages:
1. Key Business Factors Consensus (first 2 weeks)
The Assessors study the industry of the Tata company being assessed and then interact with the company on the key business factors. The assessed company and the Assessment team reach a common understanding of the most critical, contextual issues that have to be kept in mind while doing the Assessment of the company.
2. Individual Assessment & Pre-consensus (3 to 5 weeks)
All the assessors in the team carefully study the industry and the company. After the completion of this activity, the assessors exchange notes and then decide the roles each one would be playing in the Assessment process. They all form a single view of the assessed company and give a direction to the process.
3. Site Visit
After completing a thorough study, the Assessment team identifies the critical issues and areas that need to be probed to the detail. For carrying out a through Assessment, the team moves to the final stage, which is the Site Visit and interacts with people within the company, right from the leader to the blue-collar worker. In certain cases, the team also meets the dealers, franchisees and the contract labour. These interactions are used to gather data on the critical issues that have been identified earlier.
The Final Feedback is prepared after refining the pre-agreed team report on the basis of the data and information collected subsequent to the interaction. They extract the important issues from the Final Feedback and make a quick presentation to the company about the key findings from their Assessment.