Manufacturing for both local and global markets

The manufacturing industry can play a significant role in the vision of making India self reliant or ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’. This can happen if manufacturing units raise the bar of production and make products for both the local and global markets.

 The pandemic has nudged us from the familiar world of the physical to that of the not-so-familiar world of the virtual. The pandemic has also brought along a host of opportunities waiting to be tapped. For instance, the thrust for domestic products has never been as important as it is now.

“Given the country’s demography, it’s important to be self reliant, self generating and self sufficient. This can be achieved through a reversal of trends. We need to dovetail the export orders and instead, make products ourselves that are good enough to make a mark in the global market,” said Jayant Humberwadi, joint managing director, Ashok Iron Works.

The local industries should have the bandwidth for meeting the global demand as well as satisfying the domestic requirements. This is a challenge. In fact, there is an advantage in India now.

Everybody is looking at India as the next manufacturing hub. “The aspirational youth population is our biggest advantage. Nearly 65 per cent of our population is below 35 years of age. With this comes the startup culture. Many startups have created niche offerings,” Humberwadi said.

Scale is another important aspect which brings in the competitiveness and the industry. “The manufacturing industry contributes about 14-15 per cent of the GDP (gross domestic product). The sector can make a significant contribution to the GDP if scale is worked out. Synergies of volumes should go beyond making products for local usage to the export market in order to capture more scale, because with scale, the cost comes down,” added Anil Kumar, managing director (India), SEG Automotive India Pvt. Ltd.

Economics of scale can become feasible by creating a highly productive and innovative workforce. Scale needs to be backed by skill development. The skill development of engineers and operators working in manufacturing units is required to make them competitive in the global scenario. Collaboration between the government, the industry and Academia is essential to breach technology gaps in the sector.

“Like in the IT sector, it would be nice if manufacturing companies opt for a mixed workforce. Professionals from different disciplines can be recruited into the workforce. A multidisciplinary approach helps in generating ideas and giving a new dimension to the product portfolio,” pointed out Gurumurthy, CEO, Processware Systems. Today, this is becoming more common because it is felt that a mix of skill sets helps to deliver a product more effectively.

Research and development (R&D) also need emphasis. R&D should be oriented towards scalable and affordable solutions and products. “In terms of the research and development, the government is the most important pillar, through which R&D patents will become an enabler for business development. This is going to be a game changer,” said Humberwadi.

Seen from the operations point of view, there’s an ease of doing business with manufacturing units as platforms are becoming digitised and hence more accessible.

Cloud computing today has democratised technology. Unlike in the past, when the manufacturing unit had to spend lot of time and money to set up operations, today processes are relatively simpler and streamlined. Besides that, manufacturing units need to be sensitive to the environment and keep the surroundings clean and green.

“The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has envisioned India as a five trillion economy. This can be achieved if all manufacturing businesses shift to sustainable technology to address environmental challenges,” concluded Arunakar Mishra, CEO, GenserAerospaceIT Pvt. Ltd.

Apart from environmental concerns, the manufacturing segment should also open up to semiconductor units. An ecosystem needs to be created for encouraging the growth of semiconductors, as they find applications in diverse segments such as automobiles and aerospace. Investments in the semiconductor space are required.

These insights were shared at the CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) Karnataka Digital Manufacturing Summit 2020. ‘Building the Future & Accelerating the growth of Manufacturing Post COVID -19’, was the theme of the online event.