Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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The manufacturing industry is one of the most important drivers of economic growth of India and one with high participation in global value chains. With the thrust on “Make in India”, the growth of this sector is set to embark on a growth trajectory.

However, manufacturing sector has its own set of challenges like low productivity, talent and skill shortage, inefficient supply chains and lower levels of supplier competence. Many Indian tier-1 and tier-2 suppliers have not invested in improving their product development or quality control capabilities.

While these challenges seem daunting, best practices can help manufacturers address the issues and be competitive. It is extremely important to build a framework where the organisation is aligned with the customers and build processes and people capability to anticipate and meet customer requirement. The key is to adapt and innovate to stay current in the industry while utilising the available resources and asking for guidance when needed.

Technology is our friend

Technology enables long-term competitiveness. Learn to use it in small operations and get benefits by adopting new ways of working. Be it supply chain, sales and marketing, customer experience or R&D, the manufacturing landscape is now equipped with the latest technology. Huge efficiency and productivity gains are now being realised through the innovation of new products, research, personalisation, and quantum leaps in quality.

Digital manufacturing

To put it simply, digital manufacturing is the use of an integrated, computer-based system comprised of simulation, 3D visualisation, analytics, and collaboration tools to create product and manufacturing processes. Similarly, Industry 4.0 refers to this present age of industrialisation where we use automation, IoT, data collection, sensors, real time data in the factory and shopfloor to change the way manufacturing has been working so far. Numerous benefits can be achieved using the technology like:

• Improved operational efficiency and productivity
• Reduced cost because of time savings in processes. This means fast turn-around and more profits.
• Quick adoption of market changes
• Faster data-based decision-making

The benefits are so many that adapting digitalisation is not optional. The sooner we do it, the earlier we can reap the benefits.

Leveraging Industry 4.0

Many manufacturers are already leveraging industry 4.0 technologies that streamline processes in the supply chain, logistics and production. Remote collaboration is an important prerequisite for this. As these companies continue to dip into the shared pool of resources driven by analytics, more plants will be managed online.

At NBC, we have used industrial IoT platform to connect our machines which generate data for production, process and machine health and have started visualising the real time data into dashboards for meaningful interpretation by our shopfloor managers and manufacturing heads. This has given us visibility to take actions in a pro-active way rather than to wait for next day to know what has happened in the plant. This has significantly boosted the morale of people and they are enthusiastically participating and driving efficiency in the whole process. However, technological intervention should not be limited just to manufacturing or the shop floor. Since it can also be leveraged to ensure the seamless flow of information from order to dispatch scenario, technology plays a key role in streamlining processes enterprise-wide.

Rohit Saboo
President & CEO, National Engineering Industries Ltd. (NBC Bearings)

Conclusion

Uncertainties and volatility are order of the current times. To thrive and prosper, manufacturing companies must commit to the unknown path. For companies that are yet to join the digital bandwagon – if you do not ride the wave, the wave will ride you. To stay relevant in this storm of events, being foresighted is the differentiator.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members