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Next-Gen Manufacturing Must; Prudence Advised At CII Chandigarh Forum


Industry leaders, experts and innovators at ‘Next-Gen Manufacturing Forum 2024’, organized by CII Chandigarh on Thursday (23.05.2024), were one in emphasizing that adoption of Industry 4.0 is absolutely necessary for the industry to survive and thrive, but cautioned that adoption of new technologies and processes should be well thought through and done in critical processes in which technology will make a real difference.

The forum, with the theme ‘Unleashing Manufacturing Potential through Technological Breakthroughs,’ held at the CII Northern Region Headquarters in Chandigarh, highlighted the crucial role of Industry 4.0 technologies in transforming India’s manufacturing sector into a global leader. Keynote speakers and panelists shared valuable insights and experiences on how emerging technologies can drive growth, efficiency, and competitiveness in manufacturing.

 In his keynote address during the inaugural session focused on ‘Exploring the Boundless Potential of Technology in Industry Expansion, Mangal Dev, Head – Hitachi Rail Systems (India & South Asia) and Director – Hitachi India Pvt Ltd, stressed the need for MSMEs to integrate modern technologies and processes to increase efficiencies and global competitiveness. If India is to become a global hub for manufacturing, then MSMEs will have to play a crucial role. They should be able to directly access the global markets without the involvement of middle layers, he added.

Impressing on the need for skilling and re-skilling the work force in the country, he said value addition per capita is very important to drive sustainable growth. Here India is lagging behind countries like China, USA, Japan and Germany, he observed.

Abhijit A Nanoti, Conference Chairman & MD, Indian Steel & Wires Ltd (a subsidiary of Tata Steel), talked about the need to engrain smart manufacturing into the DNA of every organization so that efficiencies and productivity can be improved along with achieving international standards of quality and economies of scale for global competitiveness.

He gave the example of the success of the toy industry in China, where efficient toy-making machines were mass produced and toy-makers were encouraged to scale up leading to economies of scale and reasonably affordable price of toys.

 V Ramachandran, Conference Co-Chairman and Director & Chief Operating Officer, V Guard Industries Ltd, focussed on the need for developing and strengthening digital supply chains and standardising operating systems on the shop floor for optimum outcomes.

Moderating Session I with the theme ‘From Legacy Systems to Smart Factories: Implementing Industry 4.0 Solutions in Manufacturing’, Pallab Kumar Dutta, Managing Director, Accenture Consulting, said the world is transitioning from instant decision making to data-driven decision making. He informed that a recent study undertaken by Accenture had revealed that the maturity level in adoption of Industry 4.0 received a big push during the pandemic, increasing from 40% to 50%. But, at the say time, the study also highlighted the large gap in its adoption between the MSMEs and the big companies.

Next-Gen Manufacturing Must; Prudence Advised At CII Chandigarh Forum, Lifeinchd
Yatinder Nath, Plant Head, Mahindra & Mahindra (Swaraj Tractor Division), participating in the session on the theme ‘From Legacy Systems to Smart Factories: Implementing Industry 4.0 Solutions in Manufacturing’ in the Next-Gen Manufacturing Forum 2024’, organized by CII Chandigarh on Thursday (23.05.2024)

Participating in the session, Yatinder Nath, Plant Head, Mahindra & Mahindra (Swaraj Tractor Division) shared his company’s own experience to say that as volumes increase and various variants within tractor models increase, the complexities of managing the hundreds of components on the shop floor also increase substantially, necessitating assisted manufacturing.

Ashok Kumar, Director, Deloitte Touche Tomatsu India LLP, highlighted the track and trace process to keep a tab of the thousands of components which go into the making of electronic products to keep costs involved in fulfilling the warranties under check. If such track and trace processes are not employed, false warranty claims and litigations can play havoc with the warranty off takes of the manufacturing companies, he added.

Another panelist, Karan Vasa, Director, Contech Power Products Pvt Ltd, an energy efficiency start-up, gave the example of a chemical plant client, which achieved a 9 % reduction in energy consumption with the deployment of a machine learning algorithm and use of sensors and energy management system.

Sharing an experience of a large automotive original equipment manufacturer (OEM), Nishant Kumar, Pre-sales Head – Digital Manufacturing, Siemens Digital Industries Software, said with the integration of a planning & scheduling system, the materials manager of the large factory was able to more efficiently manage the inventory of various materials, which otherwise was a chaotic exercise.

Dwelled on issues of maintenance of machinery raised during the session, the panelists informed the audience about the availability of affordable predictive sensors which can detect in advance when a machine is expected to go sick so that proactively measures can be initiated for its maintenance. Then there are also sensors which can monitor the quality of parts, components being manufactured.

Addressing the various concerns of the audience regarding modernization of processes, automation, induction of technology etc, the panelists informed that technology adoption is not as expensive any more, as is generally apprehended. The only consideration for success is that technology adoption has to be well thought out, whole-hearted and executed within defined tight timelines. Getting stuck in pilot projects is not an option, they added.

Among other points highlighted by the panelists were that MSMEs should not be afraid of failures in the process of upgradation of technologies, but rather be prepared to learnt lessons in midway appraisals and make course corrections.

Regarding the concerns of the workforce in the adoption of modern technology, the panelists suggested that the workforce likely to be rendered redundant should be reassured that it will be re-skilled and suitably redeployed.

In Session II, on the topic ‘Charting the Path of Excellence: Overcoming Challenges, Building Capabilities in Smart Manufacturing and Cyber Security’, moderated by Shabal Goel, Vice President, Avalon Consulting, reference was made to a recent study which has estimated that India needs to create 115 million jobs by 2030 to be able to accommodate the rapidly growing new entrants into the job market. A large part of this huge ask has to be fulfilled by the services and manufacturing sector, it was highlighted.

In the process of technology induction, the panelists advised the MSMEs to draw up a clear short, medium and long term roadmap. In the implementation stage, feedback needs to be taken at regular intervals for any corrective actions that may be required.

The MSMEs were also given tips like initiating small and simple steps with focused business objectives in the modernization process, and not attempt too much too soon. Since these small and medium enterprises are very conscious about the costs involved and possible hidden expenditure, these manufacturing units would be well advised to identify critical processes in which technology will make a real difference.

The panelists in this session included Pradeep Naik, Head – Business Strategy (Oil & Gas) Tata Communication Ltd; Taranjeet Bhamra, Vice Chairman, CII Chandigarh and CEO & Founder, Agnext Technologies Pvt Ltd; Rakesh Atre, Associate Vice President, Munjal Showa; Kunal Mehta, Global Product Owner Digital & Data Platforms, Kimberly Clark; Dr Pushpendra P Singh, Dean (R&D), Project Director (iHub –AWaDH), IIT Ropar; Ashit Saxena, Partner – Supply Chain & Operations, PwC India; and Raghav Grover, Director of Strategy, JREW Engineering Ltd.


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