21 September 2010

The Rise of India

For VISTA 2011, India has continued its rapid growth and has put together its biggest team yet. With a new VISTA-inspired internal competition also underway, the standards are growing just as quickly, and Indian teams could be the dark horses of this year’s competition.

India’s involvement in VISTA 2011 has stretched to an impressive 174 teams and 685 participants, making it the biggest participating market in Asia and one of the biggest in the world. It also represents a significant rise on the 102 teams that took part in VISTA 2009.

“Volvo began its operations in India in 1998, and we’ve been participating in VISTA since 1999,” says Senthil Kumar, Market Leader for India. “We have seen tremendous growth both in terms of participation and acceptance to this type of friendly initiative.”

Senthil Kumar has firsthand experience with VISTA, having been a competitor in three competitions, and in 2007 he even had the privilege of taking part in a World Final in Gothenburg, Sweden. He therefore has little doubt as to the benefits the competition will have for participants.

“It is a fantastic learning event and it is the friendliest way to get connected to information sources at Volvo. For employees it enhances passion for quality and helps uphold the Volvo brand and image. But most importantly VISTA means customers get unrivalled quality of service from workshops.”

VISTA has proven to be so successful in India that they even started up a similar competition of their own. “Inspired from what they learned from VISTA, the top three teams from India during VISTA 2007 called a meeting and came up with the fantastic idea of having a local competition within India, which alternates with VISTA in the even years.” The new competition has been named KITEC (Key Indian Technical Excellence Competition) and has already proved to be a huge hit. The first KITEC in 2008 attracted 89 teams while KITEC 2010 brought in an incredible 150 teams.

The extra competition will be vital in improving the expertise and skills of India’s VISTA teams, and no doubt this will lead to improved performances in VISTA 2011. Considering the size of India’s VISTA contingent, up until now they have generally been underrepresented in regional and world finals. However they have also been somewhat disadvantaged by the competition format as Indian markets are typically comprised of different models to those used in Europe. “This is one reason why we feel that the teams from India were not able to secure good positions in the world final,” says Kumar. “However this year, with the proposed changes to include common parts, systems, tools and processes, I feel that we’ll have a fair and better chance.”

This rapid growth and extraordinary enthusiasm all bode well for the prospect of a future VISTA championship winning team coming from India. All other competitors have been warned.