I was recently speaking to a gathering of prospects and customers at a seminar that we had organised. Interestingly, a large number of them asked me this question—how do we get the best out of our equipment, tools and software? Not surprisingly, I have had many asking me this question over the years—from the 90s till date!
Considering that the people that have asked this question have been young trainees, CNC programmers, planning managers, production managers, plant managers, CEOs and investors, I am convinced that this is not a single point question but rather a purposeful, significant, progressive, constructive and educating thought. The fact that this question is being asked is reason enough to believe that the future is indeed bright for our nation’s manufacturing industry.
In an age, where we need to keep moving constantly to even remain at the same position, I cannot stress enough on the fact that we must constantly educate, innovate, applicate, evaluate, compensate and repeat these steps consistently.
Consequently, my answer has always been that a tool is just that—a device, feature or implement that is used to carry out a specific function or activity. What makes the difference, though, is the application. For example, an experienced machinist can make the most out of an old and aged equipment, while a novice may not be able to extract even the bare minimum out of a newer equipment. It is, therefore, obvious that knowledge capital is key to efficiency.
Knowledge capital is a function of good management, constant learning, constant innovation, timely investments and sound organic processes. Given the fact that most of our country’s manufacturing happens in micro, small and medium industries, it is understandable that the above is good in theory but difficult to practice. However, if we change our perspective and start by not looking at where we are today but where we want to be tomorrow, I am certain that decisions will be made differently. Our perception of ‘costs’ will change to ‘investments’; ‘workers’ will change to ‘stakeholders’; ‘suppliers/customers’ will change to ‘partners-in-progress’ and finally, ‘work’ will change to ‘passion’.
Manufacturing is key to a healthy economy. This has been discussed, debated, written about and collectively agreed upon. It is envisioned that India has the potential to be amongst the top three manufacturing economies in the world by 2030. It is my firm belief that a manufacturing economy not only creates jobs, but also economic health, national progress and an ecosystem that is sustainable—far better than any other industry that we currently know of. With increasing access to technology, mobility, analytics, knowledge pool (both academia & industry) and favourable government policies, it should not take long for us to turn probability into possibility.
Therefore, my answer to the million dollar question – “How do we get the best out of our equipment, tools and software?” is still evolving, much like the question itself; and the more I speak to different people from different industries, I find that the better it gets, than the previous one.
This is a guest editorial feature by Vineet Seth, Managing Director—South Asia & Middle East, Mastercam APAC