What were the key learnings for your organisation during COVID-19? Can you elaborate on the ways you’re focused on man and machine safety during this pandemic?
The pandemic of coronavirus has changed the way our organisation functions. The key learning was to create a balance between the physical and emotional well-being of employees and keep the wheels of the business running. Both have to operate in tandem for the long-term survival of all. We had to modify policies, communicate them to all employees and ensure the necessary system framework for implementing new norms for staff working from home and the plant.
Given the pandemic and its reservations, what tips can you suggest manufacturing companies to ensure complete shop floor safety?
To manufacturing companies, we recommend focusing on both employee and machine safety. The employees must be appropriately masked up and trained to follow the set SOPs. There should be no loitering, and ensure compliance with MHA instructions to prevent the infection spread. All employees, without exceptions, should get vaccinated at the earliest as per the guidelines. Shop floors need to prepare & invest in upgrading to IoT-based solutions, from a machine safety aspect, with Industry 4.0 on the horizon.
What measures has Schmersal taken to ensure proactive safety management and create awareness, especially during the last and this year?
To reduce accidents and near misses in factories, periodic seminars about the latest applicable standards and training on the tools to implement these standards were done at a high frequency. We also have free online safety courses; after taking the course as per consumer convenience, they undergo a test and get certificated. Besides, individual in-house sessions, with product demonstrations, especially during the safety weeks, helped spread safety awareness in a big way.
Can you highlight the emerging technology trends that are driving the machine safety sector? How mature do you think the Indian machine safety industry is as compared to its global counterpart?
The trend is clearly towards adopting new safety systems that provide higher uptime of machines to users and easy safety diagnostics. All Schmersal solutions, which help the users to achieve their aim of Industry 4.0 compliance, are in high demand. The Indian industry is moving very fast towards this end, although there is a substantial catch-up to be done if we see our global counterparts.
What are your long-term goals and goals for 2021? Can you also elaborate on the plan of action to achieve these goals?
The primary goal in 2021 for Schmersal India is to stabilise the Export Oriented Unit, which has additions of many new lines transferred to India from the global headquarters. Also, the Global IT & Engineering Centre in India, which provides services to our whole Schmersal group, will be spinning off into a separate entity in the coming months. Our main focus now is creating awareness on the standards for machine safety in association with the Directorate of Industrial Safety and Health as well as the Bureau of Indian Standards.