Tata air powered car

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Profile of Company:-

Company established in 1945, Founded by Jamshedji Tata is currently India's largest automobile and commercial vehicle company. With over a compound revenue generation of $14 billion in 2008 -09 it will be an understatement to call them market giants/leaders. Tata Motors is not only limited to Indian sub continent, Tata motors has spread across the world during the course of time and today are 2nd largest Bus manufacturers and 4th largest truck manufacturers across the globe.

Tata Motors is a part of Tata Group of companies, employing more than 23000 employees in this sector. Tata Motors are focused on their vision statement "best in the manner in which we operate, best in the products we deliver, and best in our value system and ethics."

Tata Motors manufacture around 245,000 cars in a year, and more than 5 million Tata vehicles are on road since its start in 1945. Major 5 engineering & manufacturing units are spread across India, in Jamshedpur, Pune, Pantnagar, and Dharwad. Tata Motors was listed in New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in 2004. Tata with its associate companies has been running its successful operations in UK, Korea, Thailand, and Spain.

Tata motors have been successful in covering most of the geographic area around the world since 1961. So far Tata has been successful in making a major impact in European, Africa, Middle East, & South American Markets. Since last 50 Years Tata has been able to offer best end products depending on customer needs, economic conditions of the market.

Tata Majorly focuses on its R & D departments that are located in India (Pune, Lucknow). Tata captured the major market share of Indian car market in 1998, with the launch of Tata Indica, "India's first fully indigenous passenger car". Tata has set a benchmark in small segment cars with the launch of "TATA NANO" the family car prices @ 100,000INR ($2500) in March 2009. The motto behind the launch was to provide safety and comfort of a car to common people.

June 2009 was the biggest day in India Luxury Car segment as Tata launched the premium British cars in the market, Range Rover sports, Land Rover, Jaguar XF, XFR, & XKR.

Following the tradition TATA Motors, a part of TATA group, is a Corporate Social responsible company that is committed to improve social initiatives of labour & environment standards in context with global horizon. Additionally Tata believed in developing and providing various facilities and improving livings standards of communities nearby to its manufacturing plants.


Tata motors being the leader and leading the automobile market in India, don't have any issues until next five years. The products they are coming up will support them to stay on position one. But here raises the question what next?

As we all know world is getting flatter and flatter day by day. Tata motors are investing in US, UK, South Africa. The govt. In these countries are aware about the issues of Carbon emission and Carbon Foot prints. As all the vehicles of TATA Motors run on Gas, there is very little they can do about the carbon foot prints.

So in order to survive in these markets Tata has to come up with a sustainable solution, so that they can survive in Indian market as well as foreign markets for a long time.


The Latest Innovation

"Air Powered Car"

"Change is the only constant". Start of year 2000 was Information Technology Boom, in today's circumstances going green; being environmental friendly is the only medium to sustain in a business for long term prospective. Tata's R & D department has been working towards this goal of manufacturing a - Zero Emission Car.

The car is named as "one cat Air Car", car will be manufactured in such a way that it will only run on air and will release no harmful emissions into the atmosphere. The car is meant to runs@ 35mph with the air compressed engine easily and can push it to 90 mph easily. The car will be on road in early 2010 in US.

The oil prices are running high at a record level, this car in the market will give Tata a competitive advantage over rest of the competitors and an upper hand to control the market.


It is a strategic project that needs to be completed within a fixed time frame in order to get competitive advantage in the market and look at long term sustainability. The project started in February 2008 and is meant to finish in early 2010.

Different Approaches towards the Project:-


It is a tool used to plan, schedule, and monitor project process[1]. A network is developed using Work Breakdown Structure information and its graphic flow chart of the project plan. The network characterizes the activities that must be completed in a fixed order as most of the activities are interdependent. And these activities should be finished on time in order to complete the project on schedule. The longest duration path of activities during a project life cycle is known as Critical Path. No project manager can afford to delay critical path by even one day as it effects the whole project life cycle. Whereas few it is as well possible to delay few activities that in order to improve the productivity of other activities, this is called as slack.

Project can be developed using two approaches that are activity on node (AON) and activity -on -arrow (AON).

Most of the organisation now days before starting a project review their strategy and follow a simple rule of Plan, DO, Check and Action. This simple process that goes under various stages in order to develop a flaw less end product is known as "Stage Gating". This process was developed and pioneered by Dr. Robert G Cooper. This is the most popular and accredited process used worldwide.

Working of Stage Gate Process

As explained it all starts with an idea for one reason a sustainable future, and all ends with the launch of end product. The whole process includes various steps and the process can be classified into various steps known as "stages" and right after that is a check point known as "Gate"

Working in a Stage Gate Process

Stage 0:-

Company reviews the current market demands, and issues it will be facing in long term perspective. For that a team of creative managers is set in order to review market status, and come up with a possible solution for the growth of company.

Gate 1

The first gate in the process that checks the outcome of stage 0 and gives green flag to move ahead on basis of following checklist.

  • Capability to develop new product.
  • High Quality standards.
  • Future value/sustainability of the product.
  • Market demands.
  • Policy and procedures of the company.
  • Project needs to be approved by higher management and shareholders

Stage 1

Generation of new ideas is the most crucial part in any project management process. There are various ways in which new ideas can be brought into practice. This is the most important stage where a brain storming session is done and the best proposal is selected which meets all the terms and conditions of the company. Project managers have to be really careful in this stage as one wrong step can lead to problems in future.

Tata motors being one of the largest automobile companies in the market right now are looking to develop a product that can provide them sustainability in future and complies with the company's new commitment of being green. That has led to the innovation of this new "AIR CAR".

Gate 2

This is the gate where all the unclear ideas are stopped, as it can lead loss of resources and capital. At this point the ideas for product development are considered again as per customer needs and financial status of the market. If any of the values (Customer or Financial) are not up to the standards, project again goes to stage 1 or redevelopment. At any point in time if there are any modifications to the original plan, project manager can do the same using a "Change request Form" in order to meet the scope of project, this form has to be approved by higher management.

Stage 2

Detailed Investigation:-

In this stage emphasis is on detailed planning and research. In this stage a business plan has to be developed in order to satisfy business needs and critically investigate all aspects of the market background. Any kind of legal or regulatory concerns should be addressed at this stage.

The major focus should be on following

  • Market Demands.
  • Business rivals
  • Allocation of jobs, roles and responsibility.

Gate 3

In this gate it is reviewed that our new product AIR CAR fits in the current business needs and is it a priority to develop this product or not.

  • Is the market going to welcome AIRCAR
  • What is the Possible Risks Involved?
  • Will this be developed in our budget?
  • Is this the right time to launch the product
  • Is this the right product for gaining competitive advantage?

If all the above mentioned conditions are satisfied we move to next stage.

Stage 3

Demonstrate facts that shows all the issues in stage 2 are resolved. The business plan that was developed in stage 2 is implemented, that means AIR CAR is passed on to production. That means in this stage the real hard work starts and we are talking business now, that means huge amounts of capital is being invested. Project managers have to be really careful in this stage and monitor ever sphere of the cycle. The car goes through several tests so that it can pass the local health and safety regulations.

At this stage the public announcement is made for the launch of car and reviews are collected on daily basis, how it is going to impact the market. And if there are any changes that have to be done according to the current marketing strategy.

Towards the end various test are conducted such as crash effect, high speed evaluation, and mileage of the car ETC.

Gate 4

In this stage major decision is taken whether to bring product to market or not. Was so much of investment worth or not depending on the reviews of previous stage? The only reason for the termination of the project can be

  • Not meeting future value/ sustainability.
  • Customer Expectation.
  • Over Budget.
  • Market Value.

AIR CAR from Tata is an innovation for future, a step towards the motto of going green. Project manager has to be really careful at all the detail during the development of this product because this is the key to success reason being FUTURE IS GREEN.

Stage 4

All set to go, - Product is ready to come in market, marketing campaigns are launched to check customer's response. Risk analysis is again performed to make any future changes

Gate 5

Last point to review the whole process and figure out all the values are met or not. This is the last point to take a U turn, if needed.

In this stage Full scale Production just need a green signal and marketing campaigns are launched, press releases are done.

Stage 5

Tata's AIR CAR will be launched in market and production will be in full swing. At this stage after the first stock of car hits the market, Project managers can figure out the any flaws if there, or what could have been done better. There is always a scope of improvement a report can be made for the further production.

A car that runs on compressed Air @ mileage of 300kmpl with zero emission is not a miracle, just the hard work of few humans.

Value Driven Project Management:-

This is a new concept in the field of business or project management. Traditionally if a project achieves its goal with in triple constraints it was considered a success. According to modern project management concepts "if a completed project fails to achieve its anticipated value in eyes of customers and stake holders, it would be seen as a failure". As a result now, it's a must requirement for a project manager to get armed with such qualities that look beyond triple constraints that is value.

Tata Group being a family oriented business and Tata motors is in effect from last 50 years, has always focused on how can they do something better for the end user. More focused on customers and dreams of common man. Recently Tata launched world's cheapest car worth £1500, dream of a common man, who can afford to get all the luxuries of the life. The car has all the comforts and safety features of a high end car. Focusing more on customer value has been the mission of Tata Motors.

Structure of the Company

"Project Management isn't just about delivering on time, scope, budget and quality. It's about developing people- teams and individuals"

Structure of Project management provides a platform for instigating and executing project activities within the organisation. A good system proportions the requirements of the organisation and the project by explaining the relation in terms of jurisdiction, allocation of resources and the result of end products[2].

Tata Motors is a part of family owned business that is in its 5th generation. The most appropriate structure that fits this organisation is of "Dedicated Teams", which means creating independent project teams. This structure best fits Tata because any project running at any time does not distract operations of Tata. This kind of structure explores the skills and capabilities of the employees and motivates them to the highest level. The employees understand the bigger picture and importance of the project. As a dedicated team is assigned to each project, projects tend to get over fast without any distractions and customised as per the requirements.

Best Approach that fits the production of the AIR CAR

After critically evaluating the conventional networking with stage gating process and with Value driven Project management approach, I believe value is at every stage of the project, from its start till its launch and after its launch what will be the future value of the car. As the AIR CAR is developed keeping sustainable future in mind, it has got a future value, but what about conventional networking and stage gating?

Networking is a procedure where a project is broken down into various stages where one activity is lead by the other activity. There is an option where two or more activities can be started at the same time in order to save time and money. In networking a critical path can be drawn that is the longest path in the project life cycle and is most important path that must not be delayed. Using a networking approach we can develop a product on time and make sure that at every stage is completed within the time span provided. The only thing it lacks here is to check the quality of the product. After every stage we cannot check the quality of the product. We have to start a project and then just keep going on with it. The flaws and any problems that we will come across will be only after the launch of product. The network diagram representation is in the appendix.

Whereas if we compare stage gating with the conventional networking it provides us with the tools that we can monitor the quality of the product at every stage, From the start of project till the end and thereafter. As explained above in stage gating every stage is checked and then further action is taken and the new concept of Value driven Project management fits stage gate process, we can check the value of product at every stage

Tata Motors mission is to focus on customer needs and demands, moreover this project of AIR Car is to make future sustainable and get competitive advantage in the current market situation. I believe Stage Gating plus Value Driven Project Management Approach best Suits this Project of AIR CAR


Project need:

It has been noticed that companies now are days are focusing more towards eco-friendly cars, with low carbon emission, to support the Green Movement and control carbon footprints. In order to get competitive advantage Tata has come up a new concept of zero emission car.

Project description:

Tata motors Air Car will differentiate this car from rest of the cars in present market, which will use compressed air as fuel and will be a Zero Emission car. This car will provide Tata a competitive advantage over rest of the cars in market and few in its segment


The Main goal of this project is to make Tata's future in automobile industry sustainable as well as contribute towards the global cause of CO2 foot prints.

Assumptions, constraints and risks


To achieve the goals of the project smoothly,

Exchange rate will remain approximately same for next 2 years.

Raw material will be easily available.

Employees will be highly skilled and with good knowledge about the product development.


Being a new technology, an innovation the main constrains will be time and money. There will be lot of research and development to develop the AIR CAR.

  • Need to launch a zero emission car by early 2010 for long term sustainability in the market.
  • Number of employees will be increased from 23000 to 28000 by mid 2010.
  • Review sales of Tata nano and make any improvements if required.

"Uncertain or chance events that planning cannot overcome or control, if it occurs has a positive or negative impact on at least one project objective such as time, scope, or quality" [3]

As this is a completely new concept that has come up and it will completely change the technology, there are lot of issues that need to be focused. As we have to set a new production plant, there will be lot of challenges such as new machinery and various other aspects that can be controlled. So a project manager has to be very careful about the approach he takes.

Analyzing Risk.

  • Research and Development
  • Outdated Designs
  • Storage Plants
  • Transportation Issues
Risk Monitoring and Control

The process of identifying, planning and analyzing for newly identified risks, and those who were already on the list. This process keeps repeating throughout the life of project.

It determines:-

  • Assumptions are still correct.
  • Any development in risks or its trends.
  • Are the procedures for managing risk being followed?