Vijay Kumar Goel
Driving Performance and Quality to new levels!
Vijay Kumar Goel
Interview: September 2017
Few independent glass-plants have achieved the astounding performance levels of lightweight glass bottles such as those frequently achieved by Al Tajir Glass Industries. GPC talks to Vijay Kumar Goel (simply known as ‘Goel’ to his Western associates) - long-time Quality Manager at this unique glass facility located on the outskirts of bustling Dubai city.
Goel was born in Pune (Maharashtra) and raised in Sonipat (Haryana) India. He entered the glass-manufacturing industry as a young man in 1981, when joining India’s largest glass-container manufacturer Hindustan National Glass Industries at Bahadurgarh (Haryana) as Quality Inspector.
After 10 years at HNG, Goel joined Ballarpur Industries Limited – ‘Bilt’ (a part of the Thapar Group) from the project stage in 1991. The Bilt plant was the most modern and automated glass-manufacturing facility in India at the time and was a turnkey project supplied by Owens-Brockway in Pondicherry, Southern India. In this glass plant, all machinery/technology/training and start up assistance (and on-call backup) were provided by Owens-Brockway. At a later stage (in 1995), this plant was taken over by Owens-Brockway itself. The joint venture company between Owens-Brockway (USA) and Ballarpur Industries (India) featured extensive western technology, allowing Goel to expand on the 10 years knowledge already gained at the Hindustan Glassworks.
After a total of 15 years in the Indian glass-manufacturing scene, Goel was inducted to the position of Assistant Manager - Quality Assurance during the project stage of the Al Tajir Glass plant in Dubai, UAE. It was here that Goel moved quickly through the ranks to establish himself as the Quality Manager at the plant - a single-furnace operation featuring three state-of-the-art triple gob forming machines and a client-list the envy of most large-scale glass manufacturers.
The rest is now history, with Al Tajir Glass cementing itself as one of the best glass-manufacturers in the world, providing beer & beverage bottles to all corners of the globe. A great achievement for a company established in 1996.
The performance of Al Tajir Glass’s NNPB beer and beverage bottles on the filling-lines of both medium and large-capacity breweries and beverage plants has earned the company its reputation as one of the world’s quality glass suppliers. The plant consistently achieves failure-rates in filling-plants as low as 5 bottles per million, far exceeding the performance of many Western glass manufacturers.
GLASSPLANT CONFIDENTIAL asked Goel a few questions about his performance as Quality-Manager to date, and his objectives for Al Tajir Glass in the foreseeable future:
- GPC: Being located in the Middle East, how do you stay aware of your customer needs given the vast distances to many of your core customers??
- Vijay Goel: “We have a marketing division that constantly visits our valued clients around the globe. I make an effort to visit our customers on a regular basis with the marketing team – getting first-hand feedback about the quality of our bottles, and viewing myself the filling-lines on which they run. We aim to ensure that our customers are totally satisfied with all aspects of Al Tajir Glass operations”.
- GPC: How do you juggle ‘performance in the glass-plant’ with ‘performance on customer filling-lines’? Does achieving failure-rates as low as 5 per 1000K on customer filling-lines mean packing-efficiency in the glass plant is reduced??
- Vijay Goel: “I strongly believe that ‘packing-efficiency’ in the glass plant is directly related to ‘performance-efficiency’ on customer filling-lines. Packing-efficiency in the plant is a by-product of Quality. Quality is achieved through continuous improvement in both the process and the product, and we rate ourselves highly in these areas. This ultimately results in greater filling-efficiencies on our customer’s filling-lines”.
The current furnace at the Al Tajir plant runs ‘flint’ and ‘dark emerald-green’ campaigns throughout any given year. The three 12-section triple-gob forming machines it services produce mainly NNPB (lightweight) bottles for the demanding beer and beverage industries. Over 80% of the total production is exported to all corners of the globe – a significant proportion to high-profile customers who are prepared to ship from long distances to ensure quality of product.
- GPC: With exceptional performance already achieved on customer filling-lines, do you believe there is further opportunity for improved performance?
- Vijay Goel: "Zero defects is our target. I know that ‘zero defects’ is a concept rather than the result of sampling against a population of bottles. However, zero burst on customer filling-lines is my dream. I am happy to have achieved extremely low failure rates with several of our key customers. They have reported rates as low as 0 to 2 bottles per million during major filling-runs. So, the ‘zero failure rate’ on customer filling lines must remain the target”.
To put ‘bottle-performance’ into perspective for readers outside the glass-manufacturing/glass-filling industries, many glass-plants deem 3 failures per 100,000 on customer filling-lines to be an indicator of excellent quality (3 per 100K, or 30 per million!). Given that the vast majority of bottles manufactured at the Al Tajir plant are ‘pressure’ containers (containing carbonated product and therefore more prone to failure), their performance is even more remarkable.
- GPC: Al Tajir Glass has already achieved world-class performance with lightweight NNPB bottles. What are your thoughts on further reductions in bottle-weight, and the ability of your customers to fill them on their current filling-lines?
- Vijay Goel: Is the bottle weight is the only contributor for bottle strength and online performance guarantee? We say “NO”. There are a number of factors that have a direct or indirect bearing on bottle quality/strength and online performance. We strongly believe that bottle weight is just one contributor rather than the ‘whole’. In short, bottle quality and performance are the only targets that we keep in mind when light-weighting. We continue light-weighting until we meet our quality & cost targets, and our customer is satisfied. At the same time we are committed so share any cost advantages with our customers.
Al Tajir Glass Industries LLC – Dubai – UNITED ARAB EMIRATES