Digitalisation is the reason for extensive transformations across several elements of businesses, opening them up to substantial opportunities. In this context, Rockwell Automation recently organised ‘Digital Transformation Forum’ in Pune, India, which highlighted how digital is the way for the industry to go ahead, the challenges at an organisational level and how digitalisation is about more than just technology.
The event kick-started with Arvind Kakru, Country Head - End User & EPC Business, Rockwell Automation India, giving the welcome address and opening remarks. He took the audience through the agenda of the event, briefing on the topics that will be discussed. Next, Sunit Mukherji, Associate Director – Plant & Transformation Lead, Induri, Mondelez India Foods, gave the keynote address on ‘Why businesses need to digitally transform – your future is here’.
Having a solid strategy
“We have to embrace digital, as that is the way for the industry to go ahead. Plus, digital success can only happen when one has a solid strategy in business,” he said. Mukherji further added that blockchain has helped a lot in international logistics because international logistics has a lot of documentation.
Can’t copy the West
Moving forward, Himanshu Jadhav, CEO, Jendamark India, threw light on ‘Digitalisation influencing manufacturing’. “It is important to create a platform and not own everything that is needed by the customer,” he elucidated. Jadhav also explained that India’s social economic background is completely different from that of Europe. Therefore, India cannot copy them in Industry 4.0.
This was followed by Arup Ghosh, Head Information Solutions Business – India, Rockwell Automation India, highlighting the topic ‘Enhancing asset management & maintenance through strategic use of data’. He said, “By implementing digitalisation, we have seen inventory days from 120 days to 82 days. What’s more, lead times have reduced by 50% and there has been a 40% improvement in quality.”
Roadmap of digitalisation
Up next, Sandeep Bhutani, Associate Director, Cognizant, took over and spoke on ‘Roadmap to implement digitalisation in manufacturing’. “The roadmap to implement digitalisation in manufacturing is to envision, build and apply,” Bhutani asserted and continued, “We interact with the end customer on where they stand right now and how they can get ahead in the Industry 4.0 journey with their end goal.”
Communication from the whole ecosystem
It was then time for the panel discussion, which revolved around the theme ‘Maximising business outcome through Industry 4.0’. The discussion was moderated by Shekhar Jitkar, Publisher & Chief Editor, A&D India magazine and the revered panellists were Ruchi Mathur, Head – Marketing, Rockwell Automation India; Kakru; Jadhav; Dr Pradeep Chatterjee, Head – Digital Transformation & Change Management, Tata Motors; Virbus Mirche, Automation Manager, Alfa Level India and Bhutani. The discussion began with Jitkar addressing the audience, saying that while implementing digitalisation, there needs to be a proper understanding of the technology, solutions and the outcomes that are required.
Jitkar then put his first question to Kakru, asking him the challenges faced with customers when adopting digitalisation and the overall approach towards it. To this, Kakru responded, “One should identify what would be the outcome of a project; many projects are not successful when they don’t have outcomes identified very clearly. There are different types of people with a different set of expectations, expertise, etc, while some people might still be testing the waters. So, there needs to be more communication from the whole ecosystem.”
The amalgamation of 'jugaad' and digitalisation
Moving forward, Jitkar then turned to Jadhav, popping the very curious question – while the term ‘jugaad’ comes up very strongly, how can one make a smart combination of jugaad and digitalisation technology? Throwing some light on this, Jadhav returned, “What we call jugaad, is what the Europeans call innovation. Explaining through an example, Jadhav cited, “A problem was thrown at us once, where when a machine goes into breakdown, everyone starts asking when was the last time it was oiled, etc. So, the maintenance person made a diary and wrote down points of what he is doing every day. Taking this ‘jugaad’ solution, we came up with a tool maintenance app, which is given to several maintenance people, who log in, select the machine, get 10 checks to do, can take pictures, report to the manager and solve the problem. This is easier to implement and assures the manager that he gets the record of the 100 odd machines which were checked.”
Challenges at an organisation level
Furthermore, Mirche was questioned from the manpower and skill training point of view across different countries, pressing on how he handles the change in mindset of businesses while implementing new projects. He answered that there certainly is resistance when a business does something new, not because people don’t want to do it, but because it’s something they don’t realise. “And to make them realise it, there is a process,” he expounded and continued, “We experience some things when we start looking into new emerging businesses, where we need to make sure that businesses realise that digitalisation is meant for them to be successful and it will not lead to job loss. We need to change our mindset and way of working.”
Tata Motors is one of the significant companies that has taken a lot of initiatives with digitalisation. Undoubtedly, Chatterjee had quite a bit to say about his experience. “At an organisation level, a couple of things come in the way while using digital technologies,” he revealed and went on, “These include multi stakeholder management, compliance related things and IT security. All of these delay the process of digitalisation. So, we need to find the problem we are trying to solve and the best technology to solve it instead of vice-versa.”
With Chatterjee’s response, Mathur threw light on what infrastructure can be brought in to the customers, similar to such challenges. “People like us would want to create infrastructure where we can come up with some proof points, so that they can understand the outcome they are trying to derive,” she affirmed and continued, “So, when we create infrastructures for people to come and visit, it opens up their minds. Some people are already a step ahead in the maturity curve, but others may have to start their journey or accelerate it – the intent of these infrastructures should be to simplify and accelerate the roadmap rather than beating around the bush.”
Jobs won’t be lost
Jitkar further went on to ask Bhutani, how does one recommend the kind of approach to have while proposing digitalisation. To this, Bhutani stated that we first need to be very clear that we cannot replace the current infrastructure in the plant. “We need to think how we can leverage the maximum from the existing infrastructure and also educate the industry – jobs won’t be lost, only the profile will change,” he asserted.
The panel discussion soon came to a close, with Jitkar concluding that while there has been an industry slowdown, but there hasn’t been any slowing down in technology change and we need to be a part of that change.
This was followed by a presentation on ‘Redefining industrial automation & predictive anayses’ by Ankur Pancholi, Manager Consultant, Rockwell Automation India. “To properly maintain assets, you need to keep track of many parts in your system,” he averred. Giving an example of using predictive maintenance to monitor heat sink fans, he explained the application factors to be determined before configuration, such as ambient temperature, vibration and early notification.
Cybercrime is getting worse
Subsequently, Sabyasachi Goswami, Connected Services Commercial Leader – AP, Rockwell Automation India, spoke on the topic ‘A robust & secure OT network infrastructure is critical to digitisation’. Highlighting cybercrime, he explained how it’s only getting worse. “Most industrial automation environments are poorly inventoried. If you do not know what is connected in the environment, you cannot secure it,” he clarified.
More than just technology
The final presentation of the day was by Mirche, on ‘A case study of implementation of digitalisation and its impact’. “Digital transformation is about more than just technology,” he cited and continued, “Don’t go alone and make sure your partners go with you. Plus, there are no limitations in technology; it’s about using combinations together effectively.”
The event wrapped up with Sadashiv Lad, Country Head – OEM Business, Rockwell Automation India, taking the audience through a short briefing on all that was discussed throughout the event. The forum made it crystal clear that businesses that do not act fast to form a broad digital action-plan will lag behind. India’s digital backbone continues to develop and we will have to mandatorily make it a part of our businesses to provide every customer with an experience that is distinguished.