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AUTOMOTIVE Reimagining the future of Indian automobile

Mar 26, 2019

Established as an important domain for industrial congregation, the recently held ACMA Technology Summit and Expo intended to combine innovation with sustainability. With insights on the pre-eminent developments in various technological sectors, the event aspired to establish a bridge between the current and futuristic trends such as, Artificial Intelligence and e-mobility. A post event report…

The auto components market has shown a ceaseless augmentation in technology enhancement, quality elevation and congregation of analytical information, which would aid the development of technologically richer automotive parts. Thus, helping in industry's progression towards the dawn of a new era of manufacturing, the auto components industry is evolving with a vision of the future. In this context, the renowned ACMA Technology Summit and Expo for the year 2019 was held recently to showcase the transformative technologies.

The two-day event kicked off with the inaugural session, where FR Singhvi, Chairman, ACMA Skilling & Mentoring and President, Sansera Engineering, delivered the welcome address. Subsequently, an address by Ram Venkataramani, President, ACMA & Managing Director, IP Rings, asserted the technological changes and the increased turnovers in the auto industry. Speaking about Industry 4.0, the Guest of Honour for the event, Tom Flack, President & Chief Procurement Officer, Tata Motors, cited, “Industry 4.0 is a connecting fabric and our vision is to stay connected to our customers.”

Acknowledging excellence

This was followed by unveiling of the Compendium of the ‘Best Practices of Auto Component Manufacturers’ and the launch of ‘Excellence in Manufacturing…Inestimable Mantras’ by C Narasimhan. The MOU signing ceremony with MACE-India, IIT-Delhi, UNIDO, VDA-Germany, Cardiff-UK & AOTS-Japan as the knowledge partners for the ACMA Centre of Excellence (ACoE) and the felicitation of the companies—Microsign Products, Bhavnagar & Kulkarni Engineers, Pune—for supporting differently-abled people paved a path for acknowledgements of excellence in manufacturing, which was done through the ACMA Awards 2018 presentation ceremony.

On this occasion, Anant Geete, Honourable Union Minister for Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises, Government of India, who was also the Chief Guest of the day, addressed the progress of the auto industry, and predicted, “The auto industry will keep moving forward slowly but steadily towards the direction of e-mobility.” These encouraging words gave way to the Summit Expo 2019 inauguration and the award ceremony for ACT Best Cluster CEO and ACT Cluster Hero. The inaugural session was brought to an end with the vote of thanks delivered by Vinnie Mehta, Director General, ACMA.

Overcoming challenges

Delving further into the summit, the first session was heralded by Bhaskar Bhat, Managing Director, Titan Company, who spoke about overcoming competition by showcasing excellence in the entire business stream. “Staying relevant to your target audience is important in order to stay competitive,” Bhat explained and added, “It’s not about the competition but being centred on the customer.”

The social responsibility to utilise resources smartly is a concern acutely present in the automotive sector, which was addressed by Ganga Charan Sharma, Vice President, Supply Chain Audits & Customised Services, TÜV Rheinland India. In his talk on ‘Supply chain sustainability’, Sharma remarked upon business improvement by citing, “Every organisation has to align its businesses in order to achieve its sustainable goals.”

Tackling customer-based challenges was a topic, which was further elucidated upon by Manish Advani, Head — Change Management, Marketing & Public Relations, Mahindra Special Services Group (MSSG) and TEDx Speaker. Through his talk on ‘Switching the gears of the mind-set’, Advani stressed on finding inspiration by practicing gratitude and being people and customer-centric.

Presenting the topic of ‘Artificial Intelligence — Need of hour for manufacturing’, Dr Ketan Kotecha, Dean & Director, Symbiosis Institute of Technology, maintained the topic’s gravity by conferring that, “In the next five years, 60% of companies are going to use Predictive Maintenance, which have several advantages, from increasing production and revenue to reducing equipment and labour cost.” With a brief discussion on advancements in Industry 4.0, he concluded the first session.

The need for transformation

The next session was led by Subbu Machiraju, Leader, CKM & Analytics, Centre for Knowledge Management, DuPont Sustainable Solutions, USA, presenting the topic — Digital (EHS) Environment, Health & Safety. Machiraju expounded on the rapid automation and digitisation in industries and stated, “With the advent of EHS 4.0, an employee’s skill sets can be captured, and all interconnected systems will give more insights and capture the address behaviours. Then, we can predict incidences and avoid them.”

Following this, Masahisa Mizumoto, Senior Management Consultant, Central Japan Industries Association, Japan, gave a presentation on the importance of work place kaizen. He stressed that the workplace should have promotion planning, individual-company activity, auditing and action, which should include implementation.

The need for transformation in the industry was highlighted by Dr Michael Packianather, Senior Lecturer and Course Director for MSc in Manufacturing Engineering, Innovation & Management, Cardiff University, UK. He articulately conveyed the need to move from mass customisation to mass personalisation, using cloud-based services to efficiently deliver manufacturing as a service to customers. He further spoke on the benefits of IIoT for Predictive Maintenance and increased energy efficiency and overviewed the trends in the automotive sector, autonomous vehicles, electrification and connected cars.

The session came to an end with constructive discussions on e-mobility and fuel challenges in Germany presented by Angela Mans, Head of Foreign Trade & International Relations, German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), Germany. She affirmed, “The climate protection policy should not be narrowed down to the efficiency of just new cars but old cars as well. We must consider the idea of e-gas, too, instead of just e-mobility.”

Looking into the future

The third session commenced with the revision in manufacturing by Yogesh Kulkarni, Co-founder & COO, Altizon Systems. Kulkarni talked about IoT and ways to reduce the apprehension surrounding it and selecting the right technology. While talking about the quality of a product, he highlighted how collecting data and focussing on spaces of improvement helps.

The subject of ‘Reimagining future automobile’ was taken up by Omkar Panse, AVP & Head of Product Management (Infotainment, Telematics & IoT), KPIT Technologies. While elucidating on the expanse of the automotive industry, Panse spoke on the upcoming trend of electric vehicles and laid importance on data accuracy in learning-based automated and semi-automated environments.

Subsequently, Kavan Mukhtyar, Partner & Automotive Leader, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, discussed the transformation in Indian & global automotive industry. He pointed out that companies are re-organising themselves to see how agile they can be—digitally enabled, focused on speed and experienced. He emphasised on collaborative designs and added, “Machines and assets are the same, but people and skills are very important and are different.”

Managing transformation

The last session for the first day began with Frank König, Senior Project Manager, Siemens, UAE, discussing the topic of ‘Industry 4.0 – Airport logistics’. Dr Rene Van Berkel, UNIDO Representative, Regional Office India, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), then presented the case study on ‘Resource efficiency & cleaner production for enhanced competitiveness & innovation in auto components sector’. He explained the need to maximise efficiency to improve the well-being of workers, communities and customers, and averred, “The outcome of this is increase in productive output per unit and decrease in pollution intensity per unit of productive output.” Berkel further spoke on the relevance of Material Flow Cost Accounting (MFCA), an environment management & accounting tool developed in Germany and adopted widely in Japan, which focused on tracing and quantifying resource waste.

The matter of collaborations among the global markets was addressed by Adrián Gutiérrez, Science & Technology Counsellor, Embassy of Spain in New Delhi, Chief Representative of CDTI India and Southeast Asia. “Spain is a key player in the European car industry,” Gutiérrez informed while speaking on collaborations with Spain, “and worldwide, it is the sector with one of the higher investments in R&D and professional training. It also has a consolidated network of universities and research organisations working for the automotive industry.” Patrick Galster, Business Development Manager, in-tech GmbH, Germany, focused on new charging solutions, in-vehicle infotainment, cluster instruments and EV charge controllers. Galster further conferred on shared mobility and extending vehicles’ life-cycles.

In the final session, Professor David Worsley, Vice President (Innovation), Swansea University, UK & Dr Ian Mabbett, Associate Professor—Chemistry, COO—SUNRISE, Swansea University, UK spoke on the topic, ‘Solar Power for a zero carbon future?’. Elaborating on this, he highlighted the sustainability of solar power while Mabbett discussed on new types of solar power harnessers and photo-voltaics. Thus, the first day of the summit concluded with the award ceremony for ACT Best Cluster CEO, ACT Cluster Hero, ACT Cluster Best Performing Company Award, Best Poster Award and Best Slogan Award.

Embracing technologies

The second day of the summit was initiated with a presentation by Mailam Engineering College, Tamil Nadu, on ‘Auto Emergency communication on vehicle for securing human life’. This was followed by Arindam Lahiri, CEO, Automotive Skills Development Council (ASDC), who shared his valuable insights on the importance of industry-academia collaboration. His topic, ‘Adopting learning technologies for better evaluation of skills training’ emphasised that linking learning to assessment is critical. He further spoke on upskilling and re-skilling and cited, “Both, learning and accessing that learning is a key component of this process.” He also elaborated that this assessment can be carried out through standardised test, which are non-informative in nature or by workplace assessment, which gives on-the-job training.

In addition to this, the interest of the audience was amplified by two sessions of success story sharing, which were realised with ACMA Award winners. These were directed to Subros, Gurgaon; Nandhini Rubber, Chennai; Sanjeev Auto Parts Manufacturer, Aurangabad; and Excel Plast, Coimbatore.

Digitisation

An intriguing panel discussion soon followed, focussing on ‘Business imperatives to drive efficiency in the supply chain’ and was moderated by Balaji Iyer, Partner, McKinsey & Co. The panellists for this vital session were Tom Flack; Lalit Verma, Sr VP, CDMM-Automotive & Truck and Buses division, Mahindra & Mahindra; D V Ranganath, Sr VP - Materials, Bajaj Auto; Rajesh Kumar Seth, GM & Divisional Head - Purchasing, Honda Cars India; Sowmya Chaturvedi, Purchasing Leader, Cummins India; Vishal Khanorkar, VP - Head Central Purchase, Tata Autocomp Systems; Prashanth Doreswamy, MD & Market Head, Continental Automotive Components (India); and Milind Doiphode, GM-Procurement and Supplier Quality, Mercedes-Benz India.

The panel discussed the value drivers in technology and new business models, such as, Big Data decision-making, agility in work processes and minimum incremental costs. While discussing the rapid changes in technology, the exchange centred on making it more cost-effective as it is still at the pilot stage and not that developed in terms of scale. The key points emphasised the need for an ecosystem of partners and multi-paced organisations with a critical importance given to readiness.

This ended the two-day ACMA Summit, which concluded with a valedictory session. With intense sessions covering several aspects of the auto components industry, the technology summit expounded the remarkable scope for e-mobility and flexible solutions, which are cost and resource - effective and sustainable.

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