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The rigour of housekeeping at an auto components plant

Service Matter 1
Rahul Vora

Rushabh Vora, Co-founder & CEO, SILA

In this interview, Rushabh Vora, Co-founder & CEO, SILA takes us behind-the-scenes of housekeeping at the manufacturing facility of a leading automotive components company.

From a service provider’s perspective, what are the pain points of housekeeping in an automotive components facility?

  • Cleaning oil leakage from the machines
  • Pits: Cleaning the sludge
  • Sludge formation on shop floor
  • Staff needs to clean fine metal dust and chips

What are the special machines, tools and chemicals used?

We use triple disc metal pads scrubber, heavy duty mistral vacuum, auto scrubber, vacuum machines, jet spray, and single disc machines. Our cleaning is automated and mechanised throughout the site.

What makes pit cleaning difficult, and how do you go about it?

These pits are like 10-foot deep underground bunkers. Waste from the metal forging process falls into the pit, which forms a thick sludge. Eventually, the entire pit fills up with sludge; the plant’s machinery cannot be used when this happens. From the housekeeping point of view, this sludge needs to be dealt with without direct contact. Given the amount of sludge, cleaning is not easy.

We use heavy duty vacuums to suck out sludge from the pit. When most of this has been removed, a janitor clad in proper PPE enters the pit to use high-pressure jets on the walls of the pit.

Cleaning schedules need to be synchronised with when the pit is getting full. Since pit cleaning requires the machine to stop working, we need to follow the plant schedule.

A monthly schedule is set with the plant head and duty managers. The plant’s production is ramped up or down or every month, and the number of machines and pits varies accordingly. From time to time, a machine will temporarily cease to be used and another one is used instead. If we miss this window of downtime for cleaning, production will take a hit, which we are careful to avoid.

Hence, we need to have manpower and the vacuum ready in time. This special vacuum is available only at select sites; hence, we have to make sure that it is always well-maintained.

Service Matter 1

How do you carry out shop floor cleaning?

On the shop floor where CNC machines operate, sludge tends to end up on the floor. Unlike in the pit which is warm, the slug tends to become almost solid. Here, we use a special type of scrubbing machine which has three discs instead of one, and brushes made of metal spikes instead of nylon brushes. These scrubbing machines scrape off the almost-solid sludge layer; these scrapings are then sucked up by a heavy-duty vacuum.

The shop floor tends to be littered with fine metallic particles and metallic chips, which if sucked into cleaning machines, would damage them. Careful dry mopping is done first, only after which cleaning machines are deployed.

Metal chip collection and disposal is also our responsibility. Our staff uses heavy-duty gloves to transfer the chips to containers on trolleys, which are then safely disposed of.

What do you use for cleaning lubricant/grease stains and battery leaks?

Soap, oil and scrubbing machines, and environment-friendly, biodegradable cleaning consumables, keeping in mind our ESG goals. Considering the amount of sludge, conventional cleaning chemicals cannot be used in certain areas, as the quantity required would be too great. In these areas, we do more dry cleaning than wet cleaning. We use soap and oil. On Epoxy floors, we use eco-friendly chemicals.

How and where is the team of personnel deployed?

Manpower is utilized on the shop floor, office block, production area and outside area. On the shop floor, the task is to clear the fine dust, oil leakages and keep the epoxy flooring clean. We have a dedicated team to clean the pit which usually has thick silt accumulation over a period of time. For overlooking and monitoring the site, we have supervisors on site and have installed QR codes to automate the operations tracking process.

How is SILA Connect integrated into the overall operations, and how does it help?

Technology has been a key focus area for us since inception. Our proprietary platform – SILA Connect enables our operations teams to seamlessly delegate, supervise and integrate processes on-ground.

Automation: Geo-fenced attendance with real time tracking, employee payroll processing, background verification and quality and compliance management

Digitised Processes: Paperless checklists with the implementation of QR Codes, performance analytic dashboards, audits, site performance tracking and feedback reports

Interview with the client –automotive components supplier

Please describe the facility and SILA’s role there.

The facility is divided into 6-7 units and has 95 people employed on site. SILA services the internal as well as external areas. Its responsibilities include pit cleaning, floor scrubbing and cleaning, cleaning across all bays and regular training on site. At least 30 women janitors are deployed on site.

What makes SILA the best choice of FM partner?

One needs to have expertise and technology instead of just manpower for going into the pit for cleaning. All of SILA’s cleaning is mechanised. SILA also has a pan-India presence and the strength of the organisation in terms of finances ensures salaries are paid on time. SILA’s quick action and technology guarantee that we don’t have to run after them for issues; they are proactive. Everything is streamlined, making it an end-to-end service provider. We have been working with SILA for three years and are extremely happy with the service delivery.


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