CASE STUDY : Improving the process of Bus Body manufacture



Tata Steel drives Value-in-Use (VIU) as a customer engagement initiative to address issues and enhance value delivered to customers of Tata Steelium and Galvano. A team collaborates to diagnose customers' processes in detail and ideas are generated through brainstorming, to identify value leakages and plug them.

Take the case of a leading bus body manufacturing company who was keen on identifying and resolving issues in the manufacturing process. The company embarked on an exercise with its supplier of steel (GP) to jointly identify the areas for improvement.

Product Segment

Bus body

Shop floor visits and planning

  • Cross functional team formed with customer representation , sales personnel from the distributor, Tata Steel application engineer and coating expert
  • Shop floor processes analysed
  • Idea generation meeting conducted on the shopfloor

Understanding the process

The team started by understanding the customer's manufacturing process in detail. No element was overlooked. The bottommost sheet on a bus is made of aluminum. The customer had been procuring 1250 mm coils and using two 1250(wide)*1500(long) blanks after joining them by fixing each other without welding. Where MIG welding was done, it used 1 mm electrode wire.

Four opportunities opened up here


In place of two 1250 mm sheets , one 1500 mm sheet could be used, which would reduce the rework of sealing


Aluminium could be replaced by Galvano sheets. The aluminum sheet costs around Rs 40,000 more than Galvano. An 8 ft by 4 ft sheet for a standard bus costs Rs 1600 while Galvano costs Rs 1125. The customer manufactures around 15 to 20 buses each month and substitution by Galvano was a cost saving opportunity.


Two 1250 mm sheets could be replaced by one 1500 mm sheet to reduce sealing rework. Welding wire dia for MIG could be reduced from 1mm to 0.80mm for better welding, reduced grinding losses as well as reducing labour cost and time


Galvano can be directly powder coated obviating the need for sandering.

The results were as follows

  • Dispensing with sealing cut labour cost by Rs 1 lakh
  • Replacing aluminium with Galvano for the bottom sheet led to savings of around Rs 1.2 lakhs
  • Replacing 1mm electrode wirewith 0.8 mm, led to savings of Rs 1.44 lakh per year
  • Eliminating sandering saved manpower cost by around Rs 1.6 lacs

In the process of improving this own manufacturing process, the customer unearthed opportunities to harness additional savings. Willingness to replace material, collaboration and an open-minded approach were instrumental in achieving the outcomes, resulting in savings, better efficiency and enhanced productivity. The overall result - customer delight!