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Sanjay Koul

Managing Director

Timken India

FUTURE TRENDS IN INDIAN MANUFACTURING SECTOR We must be ready for disruptions

Jan 28, 2021

Sanjay Koul, Managing Director, Timken India - Frequent interactions with customers will help us develop the mindset of our people to react to customer needs faster (Interview by Juili Eklahare)

With the year 2020 now over and done with, what were some of your biggest learnings from the year? How will these learnings help you grow your market position in 2021?

This was a very challenging year for businesses around the world but it gave us some important lessons. The biggest learning was that manufacturing will have to use Internet of Things (IoT) to minimise the stress on lean enterprise models. We will have to use analytics to predict things before they occur, which will help us be better prepared to deal with uncertainties. We will continue to employ cutting-edge technologies & automation to serve customers. Also, we must be ready for disruptions and be very swift in dealing with them.

What is your outlook on the current state of the industry? Do you foresee a change in market dynamics? In what ways are you expecting the market dynamics to metamorphose in the coming year?

The pandemic is not over yet. If we overcome this pandemic, India is poised for a quantum leap, mainly in terms of exports. This is because of both the inherent demand in the industry as well as the geopolitical changes brought about by the pandemic. In the short-term, demand is buoyant. In the long-term, however, India is poised for a solid run. The government is trying to push for infrastructure agenda, which should boost demand further.

What changes do you intend to bring into your organisation to ensure it adapts to the evolving market competition and meets the changing customer requirements in the future?

Manufacturing organisations need to be very nimble and responsive to the changing dynamics & needs of the market. One of the major changes we’re bringing at Timken is to cross-skill our employees so that we can understand and react to the market needs faster. We are going to speed up the implementation of IoT, process automation and robotics for manufacturing. Apart from that, education and frequent interactions with customers will help us develop the mindset of our people to react to customer needs faster. Long story short, we’ll have to respond to the crisis or market needs much faster. The market will not wait for slow movers; only the most agile and responsive will succeed and grow.

In the year 2021, what according to you will be some of the big ideas that would make their way into the market, in terms of advanced technology adoption, innovation, shop floor operations, workforce management, skilling, upskilling & reskilling, as well as supply chain management?

One big idea in the manufacturing industry will certainly be to bring more automation in processes. It means less paper flowing around and more processes going into automatic mode. Going forward, digitisation will have to be adopted as a part of our daily sphere of manufacturing life. In this pandemic, we’ve witnessed that IT & service industries could react very easily by working from home. We will have to devise ways & methods to see how much manufacturing work can be done through digitisation. For example, the supply chain doesn’t have to be completely paper-based; it can function in a fragmented mode in a way that makes things move faster in order to have a very lean enterprise model. Apart from that, cross-skilling and upskilling are going to be the orders of the day. Innovation is going to play a bigger role in the growth of business than ever before. And by innovation, we mean to understand the market needs quicker than others and bring products to the customer at a faster pace.

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