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GK Pillai

Director & Advisor

Walchandnagar Industries

1 Rating

FUTURE TRENDS IN INDIAN MANUFACTURING SECTOR Advanced technology adoption is a must

Jan 28, 2021

GK Pillai, Director & Advisor, Walchandnagar Industries - The Indian manufacturing sector is looking into a future of great opportunities in 2021 (Interview by Juili Eklahare)

With the year 2020 now over and done with, what were some of your biggest learnings from the year? How will these learnings help you grow your market position in 2021?

The biggest learning from 2020 is that disruptions in business can never be predicted and they can be from totally unexpected quarters. An effective management has to always expect the unexpected. It has also shown that whatever the disruption or calamity may be, if we sit coolly and think together, solutions can be found. It emphasised the fact that technology is still the biggest driver for both the survival & growth of any business or organisation and harnessing the technology through innovative ideas is the need of the hour. Moreover, it has re-emphasised the importance of human capital in the midst of any grave crisis, and organisations that utilised this synergy of technological innovations & human resource management have been able to withstand the crisis better.

What is your outlook on the current state of the industry? Do you foresee a change in market dynamics? In what ways are you expecting the market dynamics to metamorphose in the coming year?

Notwithstanding the crisis-ridden last year (2020), the Indian manufacturing sector is looking at a future of great opportunities in 2021 and the years ahead. With the emphasis on Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, the Indian manufacturing sector will have to play a very important & significant role in making this Abhiyan a great success. Also, with the ban on imports on certain items for the defence sector, the manufacturing industry will have to ramp up its capacities & infrastructure to meet the growing needs of the country. The markets are, therefore, going to be flourishing as far as the manufacturing sector is concerned. Further, to meeting the increased demand in the domestic market, the emphasis is going to be on ‘Make in India’ for the world. The foray of the Indian manufactured goods in the export market in the immediate years ahead will augment the growth prospects of the industry.

What changes do you intend to bring into your organisation to ensure it adapts to the evolving market competition and meets the changing customer requirements in the future?

From the way things are going on all over the world, as far as COVID-19 is concerned, we may still have to live with this fear of the pandemic for at least six more months, if not another year. Hence, it will be a great challenge for the industry to ramp up the production with lots of restrictions. Another challenge which will have to be faced is with regards to improving the operational efficiency and quality to the international standards in order to be globally competitive.

In our organisation, we have embarked on this challenge with the help of both technology & human beings. New innovations within the manufacturing methods are being adopted, coupled with providing training & development of the workforce & supervisors, to improve operational efficiency and also bring down overall costs. COVID-19 has impacted the management style all over industries and now, leadership will rely on trust & delegation from the earlier command & control.

In the year 2021, what according to you will be some of the big ideas that would make their way into the market, in terms of advanced technology adoption, innovation, shop floor operations, workforce management, skilling, upskilling & reskilling, as well as supply chain management?

All of these would be be very critical in 2021 & the years ahead for the manufacturing industry in order to encash on the wonderful opportunity available today and become a global manufacturing hub. But still, if one is to pinpoint one/two most important/critical aspects, I would like to place my bet on the following –

  • Advanced technology adoption is a must. Modern manufacturing methods, including adoption of Industry 4.0, IoT, smart devices, etc, will have to be introduced by the manufacturing industry.

  • Enhancing the skill and capability level of MSMEs substantially and bringing their level of expertise & equipment to that of the main supplier will greatly benefit supply chain operations.

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