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3 Ratings

EMPHASIS TO CLOUD TECHNOLOGY COVID-19 emphasised the need for cloud technology

Mar 9, 2022

…says Madan Mewari, Senior Vice President and Global Delivery & Operations Head, (Manufacturing, and Communication, Media & Technology verticals), Birlasoft, in this confab with Juili Eklahare. He gets candid about how India is on the right path to become a global manufacturing hub, how industrial IoT solutions empower plant managers to make data-driven decisions and throws light on the ‘RISE with SAP’ package for digital transformation of customers. Excerpts…

How does Birlasoft combine the power of domain, enterprise and digital technologies to reimagine business processes for customers and their ecosystem? What are the challenges you see through it?

We help manufacturing companies accelerate their Industry 4.0 journey by four elements – reimagining their business models, transforming their product lifecycles, digitising manufacturing operations and improving the customers’, suppliers’ & employees’ experiences. Within this, the key elements include a consultative & design-thinking approach, a robust partnership ecosystem, domain-centricity & industry experience and the inside-out view. Along with this, we also leverage the vision and strategy of our group companies. Another element is strong technology practices that help us convert ideas into solutions. Besides, we keep learning from start-ups that continuously come up with new ideas.

We face two types of challenges – one is in context to the customers or the manufacturing organisations and the second in context to the IT services organisations. It’s not easy to get business & IT together; when you do, it’s not easy to focus on IT KPIs versus business KPIs. Scale on demand is also another significant challenge to deal with.

What are the digital solutions the company is providing for shop floor management?

We have a number of solutions, including some of them that work across functions. One of our solutions is intelliAsset that provides real-time tracking of shop floor assets. Some of our solutions related to warehouse include KwikPick, which is a warehouse picking solution. We have another solution in the warehouse management area called Warehouse Management Extended (WMX) that supports integration with all leading ERPs and supports various devices. There’s also the iLink PLM Adaptor that solves the integration challenge by connecting leading PLM applications to ERP system.

How do you think is IoT driving the smart factory automation revolution?

I recently went through a McKinsey report saying that the IoT industry is to grow into an $11.1 trillion market by 2025. So, this is one area that every company would be stepping into, and these kinds of solutions are not applicable just to factories but also cites & retails. Speaking of smart factory, I’ll touch on five key features – touchless systems, single source of growth, data analysis from connected touch points, enabling real-time action & easy to scale without disrupting existing infrastructure. Manufacturers can actually monitor their facilities in real-time through IoT sensors on industrial equipment & machinery. What’s more, they can also collect a lot of data; industrial IoT solutions empower plant managers to make data-driven decisions for several manufacturing plants, with no delays.

What do you think of India’s capability of becoming a global manufacturing hub?

India is on the right path. When a country wants to become a global manufacturing hub, it requires government support as well as the technology, along with the core manufacturing facilities. There’s a lot of support coming from the Indian government and there is also a push for ‘Make in India’. Besides, most of the technology work that has been happening for global manufacturing companies is actually happening from India. So, if we combine these few things together, then I would say that we are on the right path.

One of your strong areas is how companies can get more insights into the functioning of assets. What has Birlasoft worked towards in order to make this area its strength?

We interacted with industry experts, partners and customers to identify pain points in the asset management area and tried to address the same through one of the platforms that we have come up with. intelliAsset, for example, can help one find out how many assets an organisation has, where they are, how many of them are functional or non-functional, how fast we can allocate them to use and their overall inventory tracking.

In order to strengthen this area further, we are looking into continuous R&D, demonstrating some of these solutions to our customers and asking them for their feedback. In fact, we are getting feedback from real users. Additionally, we are investing in terms of domain capabilities.

Birlasoft unveiled the ‘RISE with SAP’ package for digital transformation of customers. Can you tell us more about the services included in this?

When SAP came up with this concept, there were three objectives – how to provide value to customers, guided journey & simplified engagement. So, our company came up with its own offerings around this that help organisations to transform their businesses at the pace, scope & scale that best fit their needs. We supported ‘RISE with SAP’ with a qualified line of business solutions, pre-packaged industry solutions, tools & accelerators and intelligent automation solutions. In summary, our services include advisory, implementation and application management.

Can you throw light on the need of cloud migration of manufacturing processes?

Ever since cloud technology has come about, the need was always there and the objectives were real-time monitoring, the ability to scale faster & easier and making data-driven decisions (hence, easy access to relevant data). The COVID-19 pandemic emphasised this need – it pressured organisations to go for the cloud journey on priority. All organisations have realised that real-time visibility into everything, from their process to business operations to supply chains, is very critical. In fact, manufacturers have already started realising the need for cloud manufacturing, especially cloud-based ERPs. Customers, in truth, want to weave resilience into their business operations through cloud-based ERPs. The demand for greater manufacturing value chain visibility, shorter product lifecycles and the ever mounting pressure to optimise costs & increase efficiency are also fuelling the need for cloud.

Furthermore, when a company tries to go for cloud, it will certainly be reviewing its overall business processes and try to optimise them. Therefore, this will lead to modernising its business operations, with cost savings, faster time to market, greater productivity and better business agility & scalability.

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