In your opinion, what should be the roadmap for Indian manufacturers to become globally competitive today?
India is well poised to become the world’s fifth largest manufacturer by 2020. However, the manufacturing sector is yet to achieve sustainable growth, as is evident from the growth figures of the last few months. Growth remains fragile for the sector due to various factors that impact its competitiveness. At the same time, there are rapid technological advancements changing the manufacturing landscape across the globe. This is perfectly exemplified by Industry 4.0, which is going to shape the future of manufacturing technology. Therefore, innovation in the physical and digital worlds can lead to both opportunities and challenges for India’s manufacturing industry.
What do you think should be the Manufacturing Leadership Approach today, in context with the volatile economy, rapidly changing technology, increasing globalisation & competition, and demanding customers?
With the world in the midst of a historic transition driven by technology, there’s a need for a rethink of growth strategy. Integrated computing, networking and physical processes are revolutionising manufacturing. For India’s manufacturing sector to capture the growth opportunity and stay competitive, it will have to focus on bolstering technology adoption at a rapid pace.
With Big Data forming the new currency of realm in a digital-oriented manufacturing landscape, the transformation being brought about by Industry 4.0 is already reshaping business models, which in turn are witnessing a wave of disruptive products & services. Gradually, the existing business structures and supply-chains have begun to move towards the adoption of connected, platform-based delivery models that are in turn linking into bigger manufacturing ecosystems for greater value. Skilling the workforce with new technology will remain a critical area in today’s context. The sector could follow the footsteps of the IT sector and establish in-house training centres to promote vital manufacturing roles.
Becoming future-ready is one of the major visions for the manufacturing industry. What will be your recommendations to achieve the desired level?
Manufacturing and the integration of Industry 4.0 into manufacturing processes will lead to a smarter, even more cost-effective manufacturing ecosystem within the country. With the vast talent pool and growth potential in the country, we strongly believe that India can form a new path by leapfrogging a generation of technology, even in the manufacturing sector. Even though the outlook is optimistic, there are three major factors that will need to be addressed to ensure seamless execution.
Firstly, we will need to grow our IoT industry. Seamless data integration will be the keystone to Industry 4.0. IoT will be the lynchpin that connects all the heterogeneous devices in the industrial automation ecosystem, which in turn will be the building blocks that create a true ‘smart factory’. Secondly, a robust data security environment needs to be created. The security will need to blanket intellectual property; IT networks in manufacturing systems, company and customer communications. The approach to this will be two pronged—government introducing stringent regulations for data protection and the services industry managing targeted cyber-security threats & attack.
Lastly, skill development for new, value-creating roles, targeted at the creation of an Industry 4.0-ready workforce is a must. The lack of a skilled workforce in sectors, such as cognitive robotics, advanced automation and industrial ICT will need to be addressed. Safety-related skills will also come into play with an increased level of human-machine cooperation.
Where do you see the Indian manufacturing heading to, in the next 5 years?
The Indian manufacturing industry is at the cusp of innovation and growth. It is readily embracing the importance of Industry 4.0 and has now made it part of its long-term business strategy. Industrial companies in India are digitising their essential functions with a focus on achieving operational efficiencies, cost control and revenue growth. We believe a business transformation is underway as the manufacturing sector embarks on this digital journey.
At Rolls-Royce too, Industry 4.0 is a critical aspect of business and strategy using connected systems to make better decisions in its factories and deploying the right standards. This brings together a number of technologies, such as the Internet of Things, digital workflow, intelligent manufacturing, digital product verification and smart factories, as well as virtual design and simulation.
Going forward, India needs to intensify systematic private and public-sector partnerships to support innovation and bring technological breakthroughs to fruition. It would help connect the dots, forming collaborative networks between companies and innovators, and transform legacy industries while cultivating new ones.
Ultimately, Industry 4.0 will allow India to draw on the endless possibilities offered by advances in information and communication technology. While the shift towards Industry 4.0 may take several years to reach fruition, key advances are expected to be established in the next five to 10 years.