CII Western Region recently organised its flagship event, the 18th edition of Manufacturing Summit and Expo 2020 on the CII Hive Platform, based on the theme ‘Achieving true potential of Indian manufacturing: Building sectoral learning ecosystems’. The two-day summit brought together manufacturing leaders and top innovators from allied industries to strategize the future roadmap to unlock the true potential of Indian manufacturing and to create a new identity for India as a global manufacturing powerhouse.
Speaking at the inaugural session, Jamshyd Godrej, Summit Chairman & Past President, CII and CMD, Godrej & Boyce, said, “Although the economy has been affected severely by the pandemic, it has got insights on where India stands and where it needs to move ahead when it comes to manufacturing. The current farmers’ agitation highlights the fact that a large portion of population is dependent on farming and the only way to improve the quality of life of people is by doing more value-added work, which in farming includes food processing, which is part of manufacturing. It is important to recognise that India cannot be disassociated with global supply chains and that sustainability and innovation are essential for the long-term success of businesses”. Godrej emphasised that while talking about Atmanirbhar we must remember that manufacturing can be vibrant only if it is competitive.
Arun Maira, Mentor, CII Manufacturing Summit, former Member Planning Commission of India and former Chairman, BCG, said, “In 2020, India needs a new industrial strategy to grow more competitive industries, to provide more citizens with decent incomes and to trade more confidently in the global world. The only sustainable source of competitive advantage in the industrial world lies in the ability of the enterprises in the country to learn faster than enterprises in all other countries. India cannot be a developed country, no matter how large its GDP is, unless all its citizens do not have good incomes. Therefore, India should develop thousands of competitive enterprises that provide Indian citizens with work, opportunities to learn and pathways to increase incomes”.
Dr Pawan Goenka, Chairman, CII Mission on Atmanirbhar Bharat and MD & CEO, Mahindra & Mahindra, emphasised that if every company in India starts thinking that what is good for India is good for the company, Atmanirbhar Bharat will happen. Business is about adding value in a different way, it’s not just about increasing shareholders value. It is important for companies to think how they can make India Atmanirbhar. One of the reasons for the success of the auto industry in India is due to strong partnerships between OEMs and suppliers/ dealers and also between the government and auto industry, which is not seen in many other industries. India has an advantage of being Atmanirbhar due to the large domestic market, large manufacturing industry, abundant raw material available, low labour cost etc, however, factor cost, high cost of doing business, underdeveloped MSME sector, low private sector investment in R&D and poor ease of doing business may cause disruptions.
Kris Gopalakrishnan, Past President, CII and Founder, Axilor Ventures, said, “To have quality, you need to make defacto standard as to how manufacturing needs to be done. Creation of an industry involves companies working together and looking at regulations, quality, branding India and any challenge faced by a company is treated as a challenge faced by the industry. There is a need to pick sectors including pharma and electric vehicles and select focus areas”. He stressed on the need to have the best factories, best technology, best brand and world class technology which India can later scale up towards becoming largest manufacturers in the world.
B Thiagarajan, Deputy Chairman, CII Western Region and MD, Blue Star, said that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced manufacturing companies globally to think of innovative solutions to protect and grow their businesses in a highly challenging environment while also ensuring safety of employees. Many companies globally have started analysing their supply chains in a bid to minimise future risks. He stressed that despite the colossal disruption, COVID-19 has offered Indian manufacturing an opportunity to revisit its competitiveness. There are some parts of talent development initiatives which have taken a backseat. The development aspect for manufacturing leadership or senior level is a big problem. He stressed that for manufacturing companies, it is important to have a manufacturing expert at the board level to fulfill India’s aspirations of being ‘Atmanirbhar’.
Dr Janmejaya Sinha, Chairman–India, Boston Consulting Group, stressed on the need to talk about what needs to be done on policy, incentive, piracy and data localisation to encourage a real partnership between India and USA on technology which encompasses manufacturing. He also emphasised on thinking about how to get out of old discussions on logistics and cost of capital to the new discussions on bandwidth, etc, and to allow for learning and skilling which spreads deeper and sharper so that we also start competing in the businesses of the future as much as running businesses of the past. Dr Sinha said that the important challenge for India is to unlock its potential and become a full participant of the global economy.
Soumitra Bhattacharya, MD, Bosch & Regional President, Bosch Group in India said that India wants to move up in the practical part of EoDB and an important challenge is being competitive. He stressed that, to become competitive, India needs to enable data-driven decision making and fill the huge gap in digital competencies. There is a need to reset and benchmark against the best. He emphasised that it is important to do jugalbandi of industries, institutions like CII and the government to understand what is good for India and have a solution base. The current reforms announced by the government are welcome but there is a need to create long-term reforms which are sustainable. He said that the world is changing in terms of the geo-political situation and India with its non-aligned approach can create a special position for itself in the revised geo-political situation.
R Mukundan, MD & CEO, Tata Chemicals, said that it is important to invest in technology and the workforce to attract and retain talent. SMEs require limited number of people to create an environment of excitement and where learning becomes easy. It is important for SMEs to reach out to those people who have retired and are passionate about manufacturing to mentor young talent. He stressed that the big thing for manufacturing will be how is it going to cope with the high rate of implementation of automation, AI and analytics and the important question will be whether the Indian industry is investing enough in the same.
Ashwath Ram, MD, Cummins India, said that the pandemic has allowed the industry to take decisions on a lot of global technologies available, accelerate the rate at which it is being used in India and get people ready to use the same. India is not open to many Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), which serves as a barrier. However, countries perform better on when they open themselves to competition. To become a major player in the world, it is important for India to work together with the government to ensure that roadmaps are implemented on the ground.
Bhaskar Mandal, Head – Process Industries & Drives Division, Siemens India, said,“Technology will help manage complexities across all areas of manufacturing. A major game changer is the availability of technology that was not available 10-15 years ago. For an entrepreneur, the availability of high-end technology is not necessarily expensive because of the value that can be created using functional expertise and technology.”