Stepping into The Tata Industrial World – A Life-Changing Experience
Saravanan.S and Joe Arun J.
Bachelors’ in Leather Technology, Final year students, ACT campus.
Tata International Ltd, Dewas, Madhya Pradesh.
Interviewer: Janani Kannan (GT)
Interviewees: Saravanan.S and Joe Arun J
GT: Was an internship with the TATA group of industries always on your list? Why did you choose to do an internship with TATA?
Joe: The companies which produce leather on a large scale are very minimal. When we explored further, we identified that there were three top companies. TATA is one of the leading exporters and manufacturers of leather and have been in business for a long time now. We were curious to know about how leather is manufactured here in such large amounts. In the prospect of gaining vast experience, we decided to do the internship in TATA.
GT: Please elaborate on the domain of your work.
Joe: TATA has two main divisions - FLB (Fashion Leather Business) and PLB (Performance Leather Business). We worked in the R&D domain of FLB. We were assigned to the NPDC (New Product Development Cell), where we researched and tried to design a product that will cater the requirements of our clients and demand in the market.
GT: Can you tell us something about the project you were allotted?
Joe: The project we worked on was handbag leather development from cowhide. This dealt with making handbag leather with raw materials that are not routinely used for this purpose. It was a challenge and TATA has loads of these raw materials which were not used for many years. So, the mission was using these raw materials to design handbag leather, which is in extensive demand. But the problem was that the stock leather had the property of heavy-weight which is not suitable for handbag leather. Our superiors supported us. By the end of the internship period, we had almost finished the research.
GT: Can you brief us about the overall experience? What were the challenges you faced and how did you deal with them?
Saravanan: This internship was a life-changing experience for me. Like many aspiring interns, I wanted to enhance my technical skills. But in TATA, we also got to know about company management, customer approach and many other fields. My perspective on corporate companies, changed altogether when I started to learn about TATA's approach to its workers, safety measures, time management etc. When we did experiments in college laboratories, we processed a maximum of ten leather pieces. But in industry, 5000-10000 leather pieces are processed at a time. Preparing low quantities of leather and analyzing their properties is easy. But one cannot expect the same for 5000 pieces. Along with ensuring the integrity and worth of the material, managing expenses is also vital. We also have to take into account the technical and chemical costs. This is a long-term learning process and experience is the only way to overcome these types of problems. Travelling was also a major problem we faced initially.
Joe: We had a lot of questions in mind when we started the internship. TATA is a perfectly organized company. They gave us clear guidelines on how to react during emergencies. For a whole week, our in-charge in the production line introduced us to each and every department in TATA. So, we became familiar with the people we were going to work with. We could feel the cultural differences in various aspects like lifestyle, food etc. The language was also a huge concern. We could not communicate properly with the workers, since most of them speak only Hindi. However, the people around us were very amicable and we were able to manage these problems too.
GT: What is your advice for students who wish to intern in TATA? What do you think are the salient skills required to bag the internship?
Joe: TATA does not demand any special qualification. They expect the intern to be a student pursuing the mainstream course. There were also interns from other sectors like management, fashion technology etc. Applying for this internship is very easy and can be done through our college. In case of any problems with accommodation, the company is ready to help us. TATA is a senior company in leather sector and an engaging place to work. This gives an idea not only on leather manufacturing but also on how a company operates. So, I recommend everyone to give this a try.
GT: This is the third season of our Intern Diaries. What is your thought on this series?
Joe: Intern Diaries is a righteous platform to share our internship experiences. This also motivates and guides our juniors, especially during this pandemic. Since we are unable to communicate with them in person, this will help a lot. We get to know about the internships of students from diverse departments.
The Guindy Times thanks Saravanan and Joe for spending their valuable time and wishes them all the best for their future endeavours.