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One needs to understand a lot about Smart Manufacturing - What is in it for me? How ready are we to embrace Smart Manufacturing? What would be the next step?

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Industry 4.0 Smart Manufacturing: What is in it for me?

May 19, 2017

Smart Manufacturing is envisioned as the future of manufacturing. It integrates human ingenuity coupled with data and technology to revolutionise the development and application of manufacturing intelligence to all aspects of business. We need to develop our version of “Smart Manufacturing” by building intelligence into our business processes. But one needs to understand a lot about Smart Manufacturing - What is in it for me? How ready are we to embrace Smart Manufacturing? What would be the next step? IMTMA had recently organised Smart Manufacturing Symposium to address the queries and challenges in this area. The feature highlights a series of interviews with the speakers of this symposium to get real-time views & observations on this topic.

“Customers demand for zero defect products” — Gautam Doshi, Advisor, IMTMA

How ready is the Indian manufacturing industry to embrace Smart Manufacturing?

It is difficult to generalise regarding readiness of the Indian manufacturing industry. If one recalls the quality movement that occurred in Indian industry during the early 21st century, it was driven by the customer and competition with international players. Something similar will happen with regards to Smart Manufacturing. Customers need products faster, with zero defect, on time and customised. It will be increasingly difficult for manufacturing industry to satisfy customers without embracing Smart Technologies. Therefore, companies need to embrace Smart Manufacturing.

Are new technology concepts like Industry 4.0 and IIoT relevant in the Indian context?

Industry 4.0 and IIoT are relevant in the Indian context as it helps in moving towards Zero defect and in improving productivity. In terms of infrastructure, India unfortunately has poor internet bandwidth and therefore, cloud computing remains a problem, but it is not something that cannot be overcome rapidly, provided that the industry and the government join hands. Skill availability can also be an issue but with concentrated efforts, this can also be tackled, as decision making at lower levels is eliminated through automation and therefore, less skilled labour is required.

Can Indian Jugaad be considered as Smart Manufacturing?

Jugaad, in a sense, is innovation. Thus, new products and services are often innovations. The difference between Jugaad and Smart Manufacturing is how one takes the Jugaad forward and converts it into a sound business. Hence, one can say that Jugaad is just an innovation and if channelised properly, it can lead to Smart Manufacturing.

Do manufacturing companies in India need to start from automating their plant as a first step towards Smart Manufacturing or can they take a leap forward?

The days of “Hard” automation can be relevant only in industries with very large production and very low variety, for example, the bearing industry. Even in this case, smart sensors are being incorporated. One sees no reason why currently, companies with low levels of automation cannot leap frog to Smart Manufacturing. The reason is that Smart Manufacturing requires Smart Automation. This means that collection, collation and analysis of data is required, which can be used to make real-time decisions.

Can we draw a roadmap for Smart Manufacturing by defining simple building blocks or a path forward for such companies?

The roadmap for Smart Manufacturing should start with identifying major cost heads/pain points. Cost heads can be machines, (capital) labour, material, energy, quality, product design, logistics, etc. This needs to be followed by the collection of data by deploying Smart technology which will help meet the objective of reducing waste and getting ROI. Smart Tools also aid in automating low level decision making and manufacturers can consider using Data Analytics incase of Big Data. This will lead to informed and clear decision making in this VUCA world and the organisation will learn and gain the confidence to attack other cost areas.

How will you address a query from a manufacturer: “Smart Manufacturing - What is in it for me”? And how cost-effective is it?

Smart Manufacturing is the future of manufacturing. Small steps need to be taken in areas where there is a need for improvement today, for example, quality or significant cost heads. One should not go for grand projects directly where implementation costs are very high and ROI is low.

“Need balanced approach towards Industry 4.0” — Naresh Kantoor, Managing Director, Encon Systems

How ready is the Indian manufacturing industry to embrace Smart Manufacturing?

While there is a lot of buzz around smart manufacturing, it is indeed well known that in India, most of the industries are not ‘Smart’. Some large industries have taken steps in this direction, however, most of the industries that we witness are not clear about the roadmap for automation that would lead to being ‘Smart’.

Are new technology concepts like Industry 4.0 and IIoT relevant in the Indian context, considering the current manufacturing infrastructure and skills available in India?

Of course, they are relevant. Sooner or later, the Indian companies will have to adopt to these new technologies as there is no escape. Although the present infrastructure varies from modern equipment to legacy machines, these must be a balanced approach and it must be upgraded to make it compatible for Industry 4.0/IIoT.

Can Indian Jugaad be considered as Smart Manufacturing?

There are two aspects to it. Generally, the Jugaad that we see is no way related to Smart Manufacturing. However, I do think that the Indian Jugaad also shows a lot of innovation, and if this concept of Jugaad is enhanced with robust technology, it has the potential to become Smart Manufacturing.

Many of the manufacturing companies in India still do not have good automation systems in their plants. Do they need to start from automating their plant as a first step towards Smart Manufacturing or can they take a leap forward?

The first step to be taken for Smart Manufacturing must be automation of manufacturing operations wherever possible. Automating systems alone will give real-time data, which would get analysed for feedback for better manufacturing and visibility and this will lead to Smart Manufacturing.

Can we draw a roadmap for Smart Manufacturing by defining simple building blocks or a path forward for such companies?

Assuming that the facility has no automation and is just starting in the direction of Smart Manufacturing, the logical steps would be to automate simple operations first and then proceed towards more automation, generate as much data as required to analyse and to make the automation system robust. This must be followed by the visibility of operation at floor, supervision, engineering, plant and enterprise level, building manufacturing intelligence and flexibility and further porting information on mobile devices. This will enable manufacturers to head towards Smart Manufacturing.

How will you address a query from a manufacturer: “Smart Manufacturing - What is in it for me”? And how cost-effective is it?

Smart manufacturing has everything in store for manufacturers. Today, the world is moving from very large batch sizes to small batch sizes, demanding flexibility, and change in varieties with very small batches. Thus, adopting Smart Manufacturing will help with quick change overs. It will also help in smart and autonomous maintenance of assets linking operating hours, quality and schedules maintenance in tandem. It will give you a clear visibility of processes, linking market demands to production to quality to the entire supply chain. Thus, the benefits are enormous.

“Smart Manufacturing will become the norm” — G Ganapathiraman, Country Manager, ARC Advisory Group India

How ready is the Indian manufacturing industry to embrace Smart Manufacturing?

The time has come for India’s manufacturing sector to embrace Smart Manufacturing. The people, processes and technologies for smart manufacturing are available – what is needed is a change of mindset. The most compelling reason for firms to move from traditional to Smart Manufacturing is market pressure. The need to ‘do more using less’ stems from several factors. Some reasons include the need for lower costs and to achieve faster time-to-market, customer demand for top quality goods, demand driven supply chain fulfillment, fierce competition in a global market, fast changing requirements, need for flexibility with shorter fulfillment lead times and easy availabiity of related technology.

Are new technology concepts like Industry 4.0 and IIoT relevant in the Indian context, considering the current manufacturing infrastructure and skills available in India?

Connectivity and collaboration are vital for industrial growth. We are now riding the wave of digitalisation, which encompasses Industry 4.0 and IIoT; and India has joined the bandwagon. These concepts have gone beyond the hype and are actionable intelligence globally. In the era of collaboration, the automation and management of asset-intensive enterprises will be transformed by the rise of IIoT. The industrial internet revolution is taking place due to the convergence of automated industrial systems with the power of advanced computing, analytics, low-cost sensing and new levels of connectivity permitted by the internet. The IIoT architecture builds on current and emerging technologies such as intelligent equipment with an IP address, machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, mobility, cloud computing, analytics, and visualisation tools.

Can Indian Jugaad be considered as Smart Manufacturing?

Jugaad is smart because it is about frugality, recycling, sustainability and adapting to the circumstances. Indians do a fair amount of innovative tweaks to existing products. The most historic, iconic frugal innovation success story for India is the prosthetic limb popularly known as the “Jaipur Foot”. India’s home-grown concepts, with the right funding and policy backing, can be exported to other countries.

Do manufacturing companies in India need to start from automating their plant as a first step towards Smart Manufacturing or can they take a leap forward?

Delaying the decision to automate can prove to be costly for many companies. Innovation is allowing Indian companies to leapfrog generations. Smart Manufacturing is envisioned as the future of manufacturing. The technologies and the processes are available and it’s time for Indian manufacturing to adopt smart manufacturing to become competitive in the global market.

Can we draw a roadmap for Smart Manufacturing by defining simple building blocks or a path forward for such companies?

Industry leaders must provide direction and the roadmap for implementation of smart manufacturing technologies. In terms of cost and adapting to new systems, a phased approach would be practical for Indian manufacturing companies. A four-phased approach is recommended which includes assessment of overall manufacturing facilities, plant and enterprise-wide integration, from plant-wide optimisation to manufacturing intelligence and manufacturing knowledge for business transformation.

How will you address a query from a manufacturer: “Smart Manufacturing - What is in it for me”? And how cost-effective it is?

Smart manufacturing will soon become the norm. It allows organisations to improve manufacturing processes. The cost for enablement for smart manufacturing is not that high and affordable for SMEs as well, due to availability of open source technologies. The cost of implementation varies with respect to the type of manufacturing. The initial investment should not be a deterrent as the ROI is guaranteed.

“India can take a leap forward to Industry 4.0” — Ajay Kumar, Business Management Consultant & Advisor, Ernst & Young, India

How ready is the Indian manufacturing industry to embrace Smart Manufacturing?

Like any other country, in India too, some manufacturing companies are more ready and some are less ready to embrace new technology. In today’s open and global environment with increasing requirement for customisation and shorter product life cycles – manufacturing companies will have to take suitable steps to improve several aspects in their products and services offered such as quality, increase in productivity, implementing efficient and flexible manufacturing and delivering faster products and solutions that are available in the market, while ensuring zero-defects and providing a one-stop solution package for customers. This is the realm of Smart Manufacturing, which needs to be considered seriously by Indian manufacturers in order to compete globally in today’s rapid pace of digitalisation.

Are new technology concepts like Industry 4.0 and IIoT relevant in the Indian context, considering the current manufacturing infrastructure and skills available in India?

Yes, they are very relevant in today’s scenario in India. We are not operating in isolation and we must embrace and adapt to global concepts and standards to help us have globally acceptable products and manufacturing companies. With an increased focus in IT in the new concepts, we need to leverage the globally acceptable and locally available IT skills and improve the current manufacturing infrastructure so as to create the suitable foundation for adopting the latest technologies with regards to automation and Industry 4.0.

Can Indian Jugaad be considered as Smart Manufacturing?

Jugaad tends to have a negative connotation and in my opinion, it is not considered as Smart Manufacturing. However, there are good examples of real innovations done in India, which is very progressive and different from Jugaad.

Many of the manufacturing companies in India still do not have good automation systems in their plants. Do they need to start from automating their plant as a first step towards Smart Manufacturing or can they take a leap forward?

Having robust processes, which may be manual, is a necessity in today’s competitive global market and companies and manufacturers in India can take a leap forward from there and move to the next level of connected systems, which will enhance their production processes and ensure better quality of products and services. Adding automation at the right places can also be done step by step, which will help in the deployment of Smart Manufacturing.

Can we draw a roadmap for Smart Manufacturing by defining simple building blocks or a path forward for such companies?

Once the goals are clearly defined about what is desired from Smart Manufacturing, a roadmap or the path forward with simple building blocks can be drawn.

How will you address a query from a manufacturer: “Smart Manufacturing - What is in it for me”? And how cost-effective is it?

Manufacturers need to do a good in-depth market assessment in the area they operate in or want to operate in and based on this analysis, they should set their strategic goals (mid and long term) on where they want to be. Then, they should start looking at how can they remain in or reach the top quartile competitive position. It is highly unlikely that it would be possible without ‘Smart Manufacturing’. Factors like the specific industry, market environment, competitors, current status/position versus desired position, etc. will determine the scope, scale and timing of investment in Smart Manufacturing. This can be achieved in a step by step process.

“Adoption of advanced technologies vital” — Pradeep David, Country Head – India and Sri Lanka, Universal Robots

How ready is the Indian manufacturing industry to embrace Smart Manufacturing?

While Industry 4.0 is still a work in progress, many leading Indian companies are working their way through new methods of automation in order to be prepared for digitisation. Manufacturers are upgrading their competitiveness by bolstering their operations to improve the productivity of labour and capital, while launching targeted programmes to train professionals to reach their manufacturing potential. Bridging the gap to reinforce the economy, the manufacturing industry in India is shifting its focus to smart or low-cost automation, extended utilisation of robotics, collaborative robots, implementation of time standardisation modules like MTM and REFA to optimise ergonomics, manual processes and production lines, and digitisation of manufacturing.

Are new technology concepts like Industry 4.0 and IIoT relevant in the Indian context?

Yes, the concepts like Industry 4.0 and IIoT are relevant in the Indian context as Industry 4.0 is the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. There is no doubt that it is the future of manufacturing as it enhances technology, digital systems and automated processes making it optimum for manufacturing of quality products. It transforms the design, manufacture, operation and service of products and production systems.

Do manufacturing companies in India need to start from automating their plant as a first step towards Smart Manufacturing or can they take a leap forward?

Many manufacturing companies in India still do not have good automation systems in their plants but Indian manufacturers are now willing to invest a substantial amount of time and resources to boost productivity and efficiency and opting for automation as a first step towards this. Employing a good automation system in their plants can enable Indian manufacturers to remain efficient and become globally competitive. It has become imperative for manufacturers to rediscover their processes with analysed data to improve their processes, systems and machines and re-augment their workforce. India has a unique opportunity to innovatively pave its own road to Smart Manufacturing. It can skip several steps that other countries adopted in their evolution from their agrarian society to their current stage of development. India can definitely take a leap forward to become a manufacturing powerhouse.

Can we draw a roadmap for Smart Manufacturing by defining simple building blocks or a path forward for such companies?

As the world moves towards industry 4.0, India will also have to adopt and adapt new technologies not only in manufacturing but also in its supply chains. Adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies will be vital to gain competitiveness in cost, speed, innovation and quality. Relevant investments also need to be made in skill and technology development as well as R&D facilities to develop the local market.

Indian manufacturers have the unique opportunity to blend the availability of advanced manufacturing technologies with low cost labour to create extraordinary competitive advantage. Automation and digitalisation will need to grow at a phenomenal rate to boost the manufacturing sector and the economy.

How will you address a query from a manufacturer: “Smart Manufacturing - What is in it for me”? And how cost-effective it is?

The advantages of going with smart manufacturing include reduced machine downtime, rapid service, improvement in process performance and improvement in personal productivity. It is also a cost effective solution for manufacturers. When the decision has been taken to automate a process, there is an initial CAPEX which may seem steep. However, this is outweighed by the quick return on investment that follows owing to products being manufactured with the same specifications and precision.

“Top floor must have clear visibility into the shop floor” — Dasarathi GV, Director, Cadem Technologies

How ready is the Indian manufacturing industry to embrace Smart Manufacturing?

There are two aspects to the readiness of the Indian manufacturing industry in terms of Smart Manufacturing. The first aspect revolves around whether the industry has the technical capability to embrace it and secondly, whether it wants to embrace it. The technical capability is available. However, the want is missing. Productivity in India is low because of poor work ethics and poor systems. Machines on a lot of shop floors are idle 30 to 40% of the time. However, there is a complacence about this issue. Unless the desire to embrace Smart Manufacturing increases, the industry will not be ready for it.

Are new technology concepts like Industry 4.0 and IIoT relevant in the Indian context?

Yes, they are relevant. They are a must to improve dismal productivity. The top floor must know what is happening on the shop floor. It must have clear visibility into the shop floor, with real-time data and alerts that have been collected and pre-analysed by software. The software must be able to take low level mundane decisions on its own.

Can Indian Jugaad be considered as Smart Manufacturing?

Jugaad means making existing things work, or to create new things, with meager resources. It is low cost creativity, and is also known as frugal engineering. It is smart thinking or manufacturing smartly, but Smart Manufacturing has a different meaning. It is a system that responds in real-time to meet the changing demands and conditions in the factory, supply network, and in customer needs. It means an automated data collection and analysis system that enables an organisation to respond fast to changing conditions.

Do manufacturing companies in India need to start from automating their plant as a first step towards Smart Manufacturing or can they take a leap forward?

Automation of the plant and machines is a different story altogether, going ‘Smart’ does not necessitate automation. Automation of data collection and analysis is what is necessary. Decision makers need to know what is happening at any instant, and take action whenever required based on this data.

Can we draw a roadmap for Smart Manufacturing by defining simple building blocks or a path forward for such companies?

The first step of this roadmap is to leave all the machines as they are and not invest in increasing automation. Improve visibility into the shop floor and speed up decision-making. This means improving data collection and response times, by putting in place an automatic data collection and reporting system connected to machines. Also, reduce waste on the shop floor – machine down times, part rejections, etc. Depending on the size of the organisation, this phase may take a few months to a year. Over this period, you will see a drastic reduction in waste and a corresponding increase in productivity and profitability. The second step is to increase automation in software and machines, so that a lot of the routine and low level decision-making is done by them.

How will you address a query from a manufacturer: “Smart Manufacturing - What is in it for me”? And how cost-effective is it?

Timely data is necessary for every decision maker, whether he is the owner of a small firm with one machine or the CEO of a large corporate. Smart Manufacturing solutions come in various levels of complexity and price points. It is a Do-It-Yourself product and very affordable even for a small job shop with one machine like a CNC lathe, die casting machine or injection moulding machine.

Image Gallery

  • Gautam Doshi, Advisor, IMTMA

  • Naresh Kantoor, Managing Director, EnconSystems

  • G Ganapathiraman, Country Manager, ARC Advisory Group India

    Image: ARC Advisory Group

  • Ajay Kumar, Business Management Consultant & Advisor, Ernst & Young India

  • Pradeep David, Country Head – India and Sri Lanka, Universal Robots

    Image: Universal Robots

  • Dasarathi GV, Director, Cadem Technologies

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