Can you share your observations on the manufacturing sector in India? How do you think the sector has evolved over the years?
Companies in the Indian manufacturing sector are restructuring operations and adopting world-class lean manufacturing practices in their bid to improve productivity, quality consistency, profits and become globally competitive. While India has attracted an FDI inflow of USD 22 billion earlier this year, its export numbers are still staggeringly low, which is one of the key indicators in terms of global manufacturing competitiveness. The challenge lies in the adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies by the SMEs and MSMEs, rather than the large manufacturing houses, to be at par with global benchmarks.
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?
Operating in the VUCA environment, the plant leader’s role remains as one of the most challenging ones, where the boardroom meets the shop floor. Being drivers of the future of manufacturing, the plant leaders institutionalise a shared vision across the value chain, from suppliers to customers. Collaboration amongst all stakeholders, while creating value through the seamless adoption of innovation, is one of the key priorities for plant leaders. They also need to focus more on effective use of automation for achieving energy efficiency and sustainability, while creating smart flexible manufacturing setups having demand-driven supply chains in order to meet customer expectations. Yet, another area of challenge for plant leaders is retention of the right talent, which is critical for the success of the future of Indian manufacturing.
How can the plant managers and their teams work towards achieving and sustaining excellence under the umbrella of a corporate and business unit strategy of continuous improvement? Can you give examples from your organisation?
Plant managers need to cascade the strategic goals to the operational level and implement the mantra of excellence down the line in each operation, i.e. differentiate from the competition, be smarter, be more agile and be aligned. We, at Godrej Appliances, have worked towards transforming our factories by creating a strategy model for manufacturing, which addresses needs and expectations of all stakeholders.
How big is the impact of digitalisation on manufacturing? Can you suggest a framework or roadmap for a successful digitalisation journey?
When we talk about digitalisation in manufacturing, we are referring to the use of digital technologies to create sustainable growth for manufacturers of all sizes. Over the past decade, digitalisation, as a tool for growth, has led to greater productivity, efficiency, and flexibility, with optimisation of digital systems and processes throughout the production cycle. The digitisation journey roadmap at our end includes the evolving and integration of ERP, Manufacturing Execution System (MES) and Product Life Cycle Management (PLM) – the three pillars of manufacturing.
Would you like to comment on any plant leadership challenges in today’s rapidly changing technology world and a competitive business environment?
The strategies formulated in boardrooms must quickly be delivered by the plant, keeping in mind the optimal performance at the lowest cost. Benchmarking continuously with the best and innovating at every step is the key to competitiveness. Thus, plant leaders need to be alert and manufacturing must be agile. Secondly, plant leaders need to keep themselves well-informed about the law of land and the societal & political framework.