What is your outlook on the current business scenario and what are the changes anticipated in this year? How optimistic are you in terms of the economy bouncing back on track?
There is no denying that we have seen an unexpected extended slowdown in the Indian economy that has prevailed for more than a year now. India has also under-performed in most emerging markets in 2019 due to poor economic growth. We can expect the payoff from some large reforms such as GST, Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code (IBC), RERA, etc, in the coming time, which has so far been delayed due to adjustment process. These reforms are positive in the long-term but in the short-term, they are proving to be a drag so far. The government and RBI have taken host of measures in the recent months, and with the budget around the corner, I am hopeful the sentiment on both, demand and supply side, would improve to propel the business mood and revive the economy.
Sales and production are tepid for almost a year now, for a variety of reasons including low consumer sentiment. But at the same time, new entrants like MG Motors, Kia Motors and almost all new car launches from other OEMs have done reasonably well in 2019. Like 2019, the year 2020 would equally be challenging with the industry moving to BS VI. However, we can expect it to rebound owing to improved consumer sentiment under revived economy.
What is your agenda / plan-of-action for the year 2020, in order to be competitive and stay relevant to customers and catch up with the growth momentum? Upcoming challenges can no longer be met using conventional methods. What's your take on this?
In India, our agenda is to remain competitive and agile through this tough phase. We are utilising this period to upgrade ourselves for tougher times and invest in some of the facility upgradation, to be ready for the upward momentum. Conventional methods have limited utility for the newer challenges, and we, at Faurecia, are alive to this factor. We work on several fronts, as independent businesses as well as through collective group initiatives. We are working on developing the local expertise for the global consumption, both in human talent as well as technology. We are also investing in the future via Artificial Intelligence-based technology and leveraging it for efficient practices.
How should a company effectively bridge the gap between optimising existing technologies & investing in advancements? Would you like to share examples from your organisation?
In today’s connected world, it is imperative that organisations not only optimise their core expertise but also leverage the technological advancement available outside its periphery, to rationalise its resources and reach a much wider customer base. We are following the same philosophy globally, partnering with peer organisations – acquiring specialised firms – investing in start-ups, thus accelerating efforts to invest in innovation with a broad ecosystem and new competences. In India, too, we have recently launched an ‘Advanced open innovation and ecosystem acceleration programme’ to build necessary innovation culture & ecosystem, and we shall be accelerating this programme in 2020.
How can India build sustainable breakthrough ecosystems for nurturing global businesses and achieving manufacturing-driven growth? At the same time, how can the industry respond to uncertain economic cycles and technological disruptions, simultaneously?
In India, we need to start thinking big and look to scale up our standards, capacity and competencies to cater to global requirements. Building the right skill-set and hands-on expertise is of huge importance in India which would help the manufacturing sector immensely. Global recognition is what the Indian manufacturing sector needs to aspire for and that should help manufacturing-driven growth in the country. Today, as we live in a fluid world, empowering human capital and agile organisations has become an absolute necessity. And it is equally applicable to the automotive industry.
Technology disruptions and economic cycles are here to stay. Our industry ecosystem is nurturing the start-up culture in a very positive manner, so disruptions are going to be the story of the decade of twenties. Of course, new ground rules will have to be defined for disruptors or else it will lead to chaos. The industry and government will have to work in tandem to harmonise the disruption and amalgamate with other players. Similarly, the economic cycles are more globally intertwined today than ever. Communication technology has breached the barrier of the data flow. The key is to convert this data into meaningful information and fine-tune the strategic initiatives appropriately.