[India] A trio committed to the Indian Scorpène®

06 April 2021 International Defense Naval Submarines Human ressources Story

Nita Bajaj, Varsha Salvi and Sheetal Rao: to honour the commitments of the P75 submarine programme, three Naval Group India employees explain their mission, contributions and pride in supporting India's naval sovereignty.

Nita Bajaj, Purchaser has been a member of the P75 programme team since 2006, the year the construction of the Kalvari, the first of the six Indian Scorpène® class submarines had started. She works upstream to identify suppliers, establish contracts with them and ensure that delivery conditions are consistent with programme requirements. During the tendering phase, Nita consults technical experts to determine the criteria for parts, materials and services, and negotiates the price.

Her mission is considered as fundamental since she is the one "ensuring the provision of materials at the right time and at right cost. It is a bit like lighting a fire: you need fuel, oxygen and heat. If one of these elements is missing, you cannot light the fire". Nita is involved in all the stages of the P75 programme, right from the construction phase to tests and trials, maintenance and operation phases, as well as during the warranty period. "At the moment, I am working on the submarines that are under construction and on those undergoing trials, which calls for extremely demanding schedules that must be respected. Working on this programme is like working as a family. It is inspiring to be part of such a multicultural team. The bond we have created helps us rise to the challenge. There is excellent support and co-ordination between us, and we value each other's ideas."

Sheetal Rao, warranty quality expert, considers quality is a prerequisite for customer loyalty: "Quality rests on the product’s performance and on the perception of the service. Both of these aspects are also equally essential to reduce production costs and product non-conformity risks".

Sheetal has designed and implemented the quality processes for warranty claims and local purchasing, and has implemented the spare parts inventory process. Her vast responsibilities include "maintaining the quality of the repairs and services provided under any warranty claims, defining the quality organisation and processes, and managing ship configuration". At all times, Sheetal and her team ensure that products and equipment comply with Naval Group’s compliance requirements and that the correct quality process is implemented.

Another aspect of her mission is to establish, monitor and manage the configuration of the first two Indian Scorpène® submarines, thus adapting software interfaces and managing software modifications that are made necessary due to defective, non-compliant or design changes. "Because Transfer of Technology has such a predominant place in the P75 programme and with Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited’s (MDL) involvement, equipment and system conformity has been carefully monitored during each stage of the construction and trial phases. It was my responsibility to ensure that each of these steps were fully documented, reported and implemented".

Varsha Salvi, supply chain expert, explains: "My mission is to optimise the flow of equipment and ensure that tools and spare parts are available in order to eliminate any risk of bottleneck. I am also in charge of processing warranty claims in a timely, efficient and compliant manner while developing new logistic operations for aftersales support".
Varsha understands the importance of every single part, and, as she puts it, "negligence is not an option, especially when it comes to a complex naval defence programme such as the P75 programme". All the stakeholders in the programme are geared toward achieving the major milestones of the P75 programme. "Collaboration, commitment, flexibility are some of the core values that drive us. In the end, Naval Group’s reputation relies on every single one of us".

Managing materials means that Varsha works closely with the sourcing team, suppliers, technical advisors and external testing agencies, among others. They are also main sources of knowledge and expertise that allow her to grow professionally. "The day I put on the personal protective equipment to go on a submarine was like a dream come true. One of the best moments of my professional life! I feel that my job contributes to upgrading India’s defence system. And this opportunity that Naval Group has offered me also supports women empowerment".