For all Public Sector Units and most Private Companies in India; today, 31st March is the last working day of the current Financial Year. Every effort is made by the manufacturing units to execute the pending orders and reach or even cross their Sales target by this date. This would not only reflect well on the Company’s performance but also win promotions, incentives and bonus to its deserving employees, perhaps by end April!
To explain the extraordinary importance of 31st March I have a case study to narrate. This is about a Machine Tool Company with an annual turnover of around Rupees 300 million. At the beginning of the financial year that is in April the Company’s Assembly-Shop floors would be vacant. With not many orders on hand and all the orders of the previous year executed the Assembly Shop floors which were full of Machines under assembly in March and busy-workmen, would appear in contrast like deserts in April. Same would be the case with the Component manufacturing Shops where the raw material flow would trickle based on any new or predicted Orders.
The large number of Machine Tools dispatched in February and March of the previous financial year would be under erection and commissioning (E & C) from April onwards. This would keep the entire Service department of the Company, its Application Engineers and most of its production people running around the country in the E & C works and proving out the Machines supplied. Then there would also be teething problems of the Machines to be attended. By the time all this activity is completed it would be end June. Few fresh Orders would be coming in by now and as per that, component manufacturing would commence. As per component manufacturing and procurement of bought out items Machine Tool Assembly would commence in a small way from say July.
The efforts of the nation wide Marketing department of the Company in this highly competitive field are not always successful. By the end of half year that is by end September the Company’s Sales figures are not very encouraging. Then the Company would launch very aggressive marketing with lowered prices and offers of several optional features as standard to procure Orders at any cost. Ultimately it would be November by the time the Assembly Shops begin to look busy. From now on the production would pick up gradually. But with various manufacturing, procurement and working capital issues the Machine dispatches would pick up only in the last quarter that is from January onwards. All Shops would be working 24X7. With workmen entitled to overtime wages, their efficiency is much higher now. And in March the production activity is at its best to overcome the backlogs and current month production. This pace would continue until the last day – 31st March midnight.
On 31st March there would be more than the normal number of Lorries queued up at the Gate of the factory to pick up the Machines. Inside the factory there would be all out effort to complete the Machine assemblies. Machines which should be tested for at least a day would be tested for an hour and painted as it is being packed for dispatch. This activity would continue until midnight so that maximum possible dispatches are made (some Machines incomplete!) and the best possible Sales figure is achieved!