Skill Development

Beyond Competence: Nurturing Expertise and Collaboration at BharatBenz National Skills Contest

Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV) has recently concluded the BharatBenz National Skills Contest 2023, an initiative that has evolved to become a pivotal force in upskilling the workforce, driving operational efficiency, and positioning the CV brand at the forefront of technological advancement. In this interview by N. Balasubramanian, Sreeram Venkateswaran, President & Chief Business Officer, DICV, shares why the BharatBenz National Skills Contest stands as a beacon of innovation and commitment to excellence.

What is the purpose and aim behind the National Skills Contest? What are the top 3 takeaways from the initiative?
The BharatBenz National Skills Contest is a dynamic initiative aimed at enhancing knowledge, skills, and fostering a competitive yet collaborative environment. It signifies our commitment to excellence, recognizing competence as an ongoing journey and serves as a platform to assess and elevate the team’s expertise while promoting cross-learning and networking. The BharatBenz National Skills Contest 2023 witnessed over 3400 participants this year, including sales and service executives from esteemed dealerships, exemplifying BharatBenz’s dedication to competence and customer-centricity.

Top Three Takeaways:

  • High Engagement and Commitment
  • Impressive 99% participation rate from eligible dealer sales and service executives.
  • Demonstrates a thriving culture of continuous improvement within the dealership network.
  • Impact on Operational Efficiency:
  • In March 2023, BharatBenz launched ‘BharatBenz Rakshana’ – an industry-leading uptime assurance program with an objective to help customers enhance business productivity and profitability.
  • The program covers scheduled services, running repairs or vehicle breakdown cases and ensures timely servicing and delivery of trucks and buses within 48 hours. This swift turnaround time benefits customers and translates into nationwide profitability and success.
  • In case the service delivery exceeds 48 hours, BharatBenz will compensate the customer as per the terms and conditions of the Rakshana program, making it one of the most unique customer service initiatives in the Indian commercial vehicles industry.
  • Driving Technological Advancement:
  • The contest acts as a catalyst in fostering a culture of technological advancement and innovation.
  • Positions BharatBenz is at the forefront of the evolving automotive landscape.

Since when has DICV been doing this event? How has it grown over the years and what does the event’s future hold?
Since its inception in 2017, the BharatBenz National Skills Contest has significantly expanded, evolving from a program focused on upskilling technicians to involving over 3400 participants in 2023, including sales and service executives nationwide. Achieving a 99% participation rate highlights our dealership network’s deep commitment. Recognized as a competent brand, BharatBenz is dedicated to meeting the high expectations of our customers through our service network. This contest is integral to preparing our workforce for the evolving commercial vehicle industry, which is increasingly adopting new technologies and stricter emission standards. By prioritizing continuous upskilling and improvement, we are equipping our teams to navigate this dynamic sector, ensuring the integration of advanced technologies and reinforcing BharatBenz’s leading position in the industry.

With the CV industry seeing dynamic & acute changes, how important is skilling/upskilling, especially since vehicles cannot be serviced/maintained properly without the right skill set?
Given the dynamism of the CV industry, from transitioning to BS-6 standards to the integration of alternative powertrains, skilling and upskilling are now more crucial than ever. The Regional Training Centers established by BharatBenz, strategically located in Chennai, Cuttack, Daruhera, and Pune, have played a pivotal role in ensuring that our workforce is well-prepared for these advancements. Each Regional Training Center (RTC) is equipped with 500+ tools and equipment, along with 2 vehicles and 10 aggregates of trucks and buses dedicated to training. This infrastructure ensures that our technicians gain practical, hands-on experience, essential for servicing a wide array of vehicles. Equipped with extensive tools, vehicles, and aggregates, around 15,000 technicians and drivers have been trained in the last four years.

Complementing these efforts, we have also introduced the ‘BharatBenz Simulated Driver Trainer’, a high-end technology-backed simulator providing an immersive, multi-sensory digital experience. This simulator, housed within a real BharatBenz truck cabin, replicates various road and terrain conditions, enhancing the driver’s skills in handling different weather conditions and obstacles.

The introduction of such advanced training tools signifies the depth of our investment in upskilling, ensuring our workforce is equipped to meet the evolving demands of the automotive landscape.

Any thoughts on how this OEM-specific initiative can be scaled up to a broader level where more industry stakeholders can come together and ensure the industry readies itself with the right kind of skilled workforce?
In order to expand this initiative to a wider industry scale, it is imperative to foster collaboration and knowledge exchange among key industry participants. One approach could involve establishing a platform or consortium that brings together OEMs, training institutes, industry associations, and government bodies. This collective effort could facilitate the development of standardized training programs, best practices, and accreditation systems. Additionally, leveraging digital platforms and e-learning modules can help reach a wider audience and provide accessible training resources. We believe that this initiative will make a significant impact on upskilling the workforce for the entire industry if we are able to harness digital platforms and develop e-learning modules that can enhance outreach and make training resources more readily available to a broader audience.