Please share your observations on the manufacturing sector in India. How do you think the sector has evolved over the years?
The Indian manufacturing setup is still evolving. We are still in a state where we try to copy practices from other countries and follow established practices like TPS, TPM, TQM etc. I can’t find a system which is evolved from Indian practices.
Do you think the Indian industry is at par with global standards? If not, which are the areas of improvements?
Indian shop-floors condition varies a lot. If it’s an MNC, then we follow what we are told to do and are mostly good. If it’s a big Indian company which sees long-term growth, then again, it’s quite good. Otherwise, if it’s a typical small “gala” company, then shop-floors are in a bad condition. Their only philosophy is to grab orders and when any assessment or audit happens from the customer, they present an artificial condition on that day and we are back to the same condition later. I don’t see the Indian industry at par with developed countries; it lacks in automation, systems and discipline. Since we have cheap labour, we still don’t visualise the benefit of smart manufacturing.
How is the workforce evolving with the rapidly changing technology era?
Firstly, we need better engineering and management colleges which teach new technology and systems. It is necessary that our educational institutes upgrade their study material and style as per the changing environment. Secondly, we need a good framework for skilling our existing manufacturing force. The government is focusing on skilling manpower and ensuring that we be at par with developed nations. As leaders, we must support the government’s initiatives of “Skill India” and “Make in India”.
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?
Yes, the plant leader’s role is also changing with the changes in the manufacturing world. Leaders need to realise that they are a part of the big transformation, as per Industry 4.0, which is happening. It is their role to develop leaders from the team and empower them to explore new initiatives themselves in the framework of digitalisation and strive for excellence. They should let their team leave the mundane style of working and incline the organisation towards lean, efficient, fast, and flexible manufacturing.
How can plant managers and their teams work towards achieving & sustaining excellence under the umbrella of a corporate & business unit strategy of continuous improvement?
In order to achieve and sustain excellence, we must follow top to down and bottom to top approach. We must give enough opportunities to our team to learn new approaches. Also, top leadership must give the team the right platform and guidance in order to learn best practices and approach towards excellence. The right kind of monitoring, review and time to time correction is needed, so that the whole organisation is on the right track.
How big is the impact of digitalisation on manufacturing? Can you suggest a framework or roadmap for a successful digitalisation journey?
With Industry 4.0, a lot of work is happening with IoT, cloud computing, Artificial Intelligence etc, and companies have started their journey towards digitalisation transformation. We need to connect all areas for transformation by linking manufacturing with SCM, quality, finance, sales and service on real time. A successful framework would be to first make a digital strategy and time frame. We should digitise processes and start taking real-time data from machines directly. We need to have real-time basis alerts related to CTQs and CTPs, where the team can take proactive actions. That system must be linked with inventory tracking, sales and service through IT platforms, such as, ERP.