Manufacturing is a critical factor of the Indian economy and with the government’s push to become a $5 trillion-dollar economy by 2022, it is vital to reap the benefits of manufacturing to propel the country into middle-income status. Amid trade wars and an ageing China, there are many opportunities for India to grab the market share in global supply chains, which has been the majority stronghold of our eastern neighbours so far. In order to do that, Indian manufacturers must become more high-tech, with world beating standards which play on their own strengths. Combining the strength of their workforce on the shop floor with the engineering talent in their ecosystem, OEMs and Tier-1 manufacturers located in India can bring about a revolution of high-tech manufacturing. India has a window to catapult itself as a leader in this field by adopting new nimble technologies and avoid investing heavily in 20th century equipment that had worked for advanced economies during their period of growth.
While IoT and Big Data have gained a lot of traction as popular trends, the implementation on the ground is largely focused on manufacturing logistics, production planning and maintenance. These types of IoT solutions have increased the communication between machines on the shop floor and the people involved in operations. However, IoT technologies need to get deeper into engineering insights and touch the products that are being manufactured. Touching products and gauging their assembly and performance requires a sophisticated use of sensors and other technologies. It would be wise to partner with specialist players and start-ups in these areas and deploy smart tools on the line that sense various parameters of products being manufactured.
In an age of tech-savvy customers, reliability has a high premium. Cars, bikes, machines or any other products, whether B2C or B2B, must live up to their brand promise. Product reviews are up online and comparison data is available at the customers’ fingertips. To stay in the game, manufacturers, especially those in the automotive world, should strengthen their roots of lean manufacturing using new technology. Sensors and smart devices can help us “Go the Gemba” like never before. It gives extra vision or a sixth sense to operators on the line. If operators can see the problems in assembly as and when they happen and correct them with informed decisions, automotive OEMs can save tremendous amounts in down the line inspection, testing, field and warranty costs as well as preserve their brand image.