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Rajesh Naik

Director—Manufacturing

BASF India

PRODUCTION OPTIMISATION Initiatives for a promising future

Mar 25, 2019

Leaders should take pride in their challenging role as it encompasses many roles requiring them to be a lawyer sometimes; an accountant, a coach, a trainer, a motivator or an EHS professional and so on - Rajesh Naik, Director — Manufacturing, BASF India

Can you share your observations on the manufacturing sector in India? How do you think the sector has evolved over the years?

India will soon become one of the top five economies globally. We took almost 60 years to reach a GDP of $1 trillion, then only six years for the second trillion, and only three for the fourth trillion. This sector plays a significant role in making India an economic powerhouse and making it a major growth engine. We, at BASF, a leading company globally engaged in creating chemistry for a sustainable future, are excited and keen to contribute in attaining the target of ‘Made in India’ from manufacturing. One important differentiating factor is sustained commitment and action from the industry and government to meet global standards in environment, health and safety, which has to come from the top management.

Do you think the plant leaders’ role is also changing with the changes in the manufacturing world? How can plant leaders make a difference in achieving a common goal of the organisation?

At a manufacturing plant, people, materials, machines, environment, energies in different forms, processes continuously interact and add value. A person leading the manufacturing team thus, needs to simplify these complex interactions and keep his/ her team motivated and disciplined for the routines.

Do you think the plant leaders’ role is changing? How can plant leaders make a difference? How can plant managers and their teams work towards achieving and sustaining excellence under the umbrella of a corporate and business unit strategy of continuous improvement?

Companies, both Indian and multinational, have transformed manufacturing in India. A strong value system, good governance, high EHS standards and an inclusive work environment are required for employees to thrive and bring positive change. Leaders should take pride in their challenging role as it encompasses many roles requiring them to be a lawyer sometimes, an accountant, a coach, a trainer, a motivator or an EHS professional and so on. It is this width and depth, which makes the role of the head challenging, interesting and of high esteem. We need to attract and retain the best talents into manufacturing. I am positive on the ‘Make in India’ initiativeand the impacts we can have on the society like skilling, creating jobs, protecting the environment while contributing to the economy.

How big is the impact of digitalisation on manufacturing? Can you suggest a framework for a successful digitalisation journey? Would you like to comment on plant leadership challenges in today’s rapidly changing technology world and a competitive business environment?

Digital operations or Industry 4.0 will transform manufacturing. Industry 4.0 encompasses end-to-end digitisation and integration of the value chain. Mastering Industry 4.0 requires deep understanding of collaboration, top management commitment and a clear strategy. BASF is leading the digital transformation in chemicals. We launched the ‘BASF 4.0’ project in early 2015 and are working to enhance our efficiencies and decision-making processes with digital programmes. Our company is leveraging the power of digital technology by iterative improvements and early customer engagement.

Would you like to comment on any plant leadership challenges in today’s rapidly changing technology world and a competitive business environment?

The future of manufacturing in India will be influenced by factors like digitisation, skill enhancement, high-quality infrastructure, R&D and procuring them will be a major challenge.

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