Like everywhere else, Covid-19 has wreaked havoc in the manufacturing industry as well. For the first time ever, demand, supply, and workforce – have been disrupted at the same time, all around the world. As the lockdown is being lifted gradually, it’s time for the industry to reopen but the “New Normal” demands a paradigm shift in every aspect. Here are a few approaches that can help the sector to surge ahead.
Safety at the Workplace
The basic things are most important here. Maintaining a safe distance and making sure people have their masks on is must. Astute pre-planning must be done to ensure that there are only permissible number of people present at any specific area at any time. Higher and stricter vigilance is the only way to do this. Especially in shop-floors, storage, and material areas people tend to forget about the distance as they have to unlearn what they have been doing for years. Stringent monitoring and repeated instructing are the only ways to tackle this.
Less is More
The crisis helped many leaders realize how efficiently the business can function with a lesser number of people. Several inefficiencies came to limelight and measures were taken to address the issues. This has been a great learning and the manufacturing industry needs to adopt this approach moving forward.
Adoption of Technology
Technologies like AI, robotics and IOT arrived long back. Businesses were reluctant to adopt them on the pretext of cost pressure and also because it was not an immediate necessity. Covid has broken that reluctance. Businesses must adopt technology innovatively. For MSMEs it might not be a complete upheaval but in some parts at least automation should be adopted. Government has launched programs to aid engineers in adoption of automation. This will help the industry at a holistic level and improve product quality, speed of production and over-all productivity.
Embracing Digital Whole-heartedly
Enterprises have to imbibe digital at all levels. The pandemic has proven that communicating digitally is equally effective. But to make digital communication the new norm proper staff training must be done. With a lower domestic demand, this is the perfect opportunity for MSMEs to explore the world market and to do that effectively digital product catalogues and digital company platforms must be put in place.
Exploring New Markets
Several opportunities are available in the export arena. Businesses can find potential buyers in several markets in Africa and South East Asia. The purchasing capacity is present, companies must explore the possibilities by attending virtual exhibitions and B2B meets. Getting an export deal can boost the cash flow and help in over-all advancement of the company.
Covid has thrown unprecedented challenges and to adapt to the new circumstances Indian manufacturers need agility, speed, innovation and a fresh new mindset. One must unlearn everything and look at things from a new perspective. Smart manufacturing is here to stay, and it is up to the companies to decide how they benefit from it. Multiple companies can collaborate to integrate the facilities for manufacturing. Adopting remote working permanently for the majority of the staff can be another step in this direction. The possibilities are endless, but the objective is to manufacture world-class products at competitive costs and take Indian manufacturing to the global platform.
The above article is a compilation of thoughts as put forth in the session “Fire Side Chat: getting your workplace post COVID ready” moderated by Shekhar Jitkar, Chief Editor, Publish Industry India, participated by Ramchandra, Chief Operating Officer, AMCO Batteries and Ravi Sehgal, Chairman, EEPC India; held at ET Smart Manufacturing Summit 2020.