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DIGITALISATION Global manufacturing: Its evolution and the future

Mar 28, 2019

Global manufacturing is being disrupted from the very core and is evolving drastically, with industries only coming closer. To add, we see the fourth industrial revolution intensely reshape the manufacturing industry and companies within, step-by-step, creating humungous prospects for growth – an opportunity not grabbed by everyone. The Viewpoint section finds out from some global CEOs across the industry about what is changing the most in the global manufacturing landscape, their strategies to expand and what manufacturing success is really all about.

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India is a price-sensitive market - Winfried Przybyl

We have eight different brands and each of them is specialised in a different grinding part. Accuracy and precision are the key drivers of our company’s growth. We have end-user sectors from automotives, aerospace, to die & mould and the medical industry. Also, the industry, especially in Europe, keeps talking about switching to electric vehicles; this switch is going to be a very big step and is going to have a huge impact on our future. However, I am not afraid of the future; it would, in fact, be a challenge for us & my company is preparing itself for that big impact.

Plus, we are extremely strong in China. China wants to be a technology leader and they really concentrate on high technology. Unfortunately, in India, technology, accuracy and quality come second and price comes first. Therefore, we are struggling in India, since it’s a price-sensitive market. But I see the mentality changing slowly, where even the local companies want to produce quality. One talked-about topic in the industry is Industry 4.0. It has a different meaning for everyone. Our machines are used 24/7 in most parts of the world. Unfortunately, in India, very few machines have a loading system; most of the machines need an operator. Besides, the world has become very small and concise. Information is flowing very fast; anything new is developed and the world knows about it immediately. So, one has to be careful about the information shared with others and on public platforms.

The manufacturing mantra of maintaining flexibility - Ujjwal Baid

For manufacturers, the identifying marker is to ally the company with market needs and putting the structures out there. The areas of global focus — aerospace, electronic industry segment and transportation — have to be given special attention.

The digital thread

For digitalisation, the Industry 4.0 has been a boon. One of the challenges that the industry faces is strengthening the skills of the workforce with experience. The newer generation need time to get familiar with speed. Digital technology is the best way to facilitate it.

The global perspective

The realisation to change and evolve, to be competitive and relevant is something that most industries globally have comprehended. Though not every company will have the assets to be able to go from I1.0 to I4.0, lots are seen embarking in the direction to be better, this is a changing perspective—to look at industry from different angles. With the increase in competition globally, there is also an augmentation in newer insights that industries can gain from other industries. Most importantly, it’s about learning from other industrial segments and taking that inspiration and merging it with your industries.

The dictums of bringing in quality and flexibility should also be stressed on. With changing times and dynamics in the industry, you need to have a really flexible manufacturing setup, whether it is increasing performance or reducing diversity of performance. To continue being relevant, industries have to put in equal effort to maintain quality.

Adding value to viable manufacturing

A manufacturer’s mantra should be to ensure customer intimacy and delivering productivity in solutions. This has to be achieved through training, launch of products and building necessary tools with partners. Finally, issues such as having the data for programming, selecting the right tooling have to be resolved and technology has to be made easily accessible. This gives the customers an imperative leverage. Additionally, innovations that are based on linking everything together to the machine feedback should be also highlighted in this age of digitisation. With the upcoming solutions for SMEs, it is essential to have a system that can enable it.

Delivering solutions for satisfaction

Digital platforms have to help the customers put together project plans based on their applications. It has to also increase the speed of communication with the company’s partners — if they have questions, it is paramount to deliver solutions or advice to solve them.

The industry expands through its inputs from customers and markets alike. Companies have to focus on taking customer’s experience and further analyse it. It is a prudent step in innovation — to innovate and communicate in tandem customers’ expectations and feedbacks. As an industry, it is no less than a duty to deliver reliability to the customers — through speed and sensibility. This will be the driving aspect of a rapidly progressing industry.

Data alone is not useful. You make decisions with it - Michael Eneberg

As a global market leader, we see ourselves as a household brand. We have been in the industry since 1942. We evolve very much with the manufacturing progress of countries. So, the rise of China has been a big change in our sales distribution. India also is among the fastest growing countries in terms of GDP. Our sales size is reflecting these GDP levels quite well. So, we expect India to grow, too, in terms of GDP and more. We have quite an interesting production footprint as well. It has been somewhat consolidated over the years. And given the number of tools we produce, we now have a footprint of about 10-15 plants. Additionally, the production footprint and sales footprint are related, but sometimes they live a little different life.

We have a very wide exposure to industries and can cater to pretty much anything. That is why the drive for the growth of our company is the general economic development, general manufacturing development and new materials. Changes are fairly quick but not the quickest in this industry. Also, customer acceptance is very traditional. So, it takes a few years to make major changes. We don’t change our strategies that quickly and stay on course as long as it’s leading us to our global targets. Moreover, the accessibility of data at your fingertips is something that’s altered majorly in global manufacturing. Data alone is not so useful; it’s what you do with it, which is make decisions. Quick decisions are required everywhere, in R&D, production, etc. The speed of decision making is so much faster now, which I have seen in my own behaviour and even colleagues’.

Image Gallery

  • Winfried Przybyl,

    Director - India& Russia,

    United Grinding

  • Ujjwal Baid,

    Director Global Product Management — Marketing,

    Widia Products Group

  • Michael Eneberg,

    President - Sales Area South & East Asia,

    Sandvik Coromant

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