India is witnessing a newfound, insatiable demand for Indian brands and their home-manufactured products. The country is inching forward in the global manufacturing landscape and is attracting attention thanks to its manufacturing potential, which was earlier untapped. India accounts for only 2 per cent of the global manufacturing, clearly underutilizing its potential. Several factors and government initiatives are now helping in promoting manufacturing in India.
Initiatives like Atmanirbhar Bharat or Make in India or Vocal for Local gained momentum because of the sheer national sentiment and as the immediate reaction of the recent pandemic and the cause for it. The dislike for Chinese products fuelled by anger and the national sentiment is kindling the popularity of Indian made products.
The corrective measures taken by the Government of India have eased a bit on the economy and steps taken for sustaining GDP. But the bigger challenge placed in front of Indian manufacturers is maintaining the supply vs demand and cost-effectiveness, in which China is in a stronger position. Moving from our service-oriented nation to the indigenization of products can prove to be highly rewarding.
It is imperative that all the manufacturing organizations need to keep a healthy bottom-line, it is also important to streamline the capital to ensure a proper fund flow. During this crisis time, we need to have service level improvisation and meet the demand vs supply for smooth functioning. Companies need to have robust inward and outward inventory management systems. However, we feel that it may take some more time for the retailers to adapt to the changing environment.
Coming to the preference, Indian products are not only favored due to the national sentiment but because the products and services provided by major players in the industry are gradually proving to be of international quality. Stating that Indian talent is now strong enough to compete with global players is no understatement. A lot of companies have wisely used the lockdown to upskill and train their pool of talent. Those who have seen this opportunity to globally benchmark and elevate their workforce will stand far ahead of the rest of the pack – when the air clears and the consumer sentiment stabilizes.
We need to simplify and adopt relevant and effective policies and ensure that all the states in India accept and follow the guidelines laid by the Central Government. When we have a One India and One trade policy, things will work effectively and efficiently. From what we have observed pre and during COVID-19, the Indian Government has done relatively well in allowing the free-market enterprise to help water find its own level post-pandemic, with strategic nudges now and then to keep things moving in the right direction.
It is up to the manufacturing executives to make the best of this unfortunate crisis and rather use it as an opportunity to excel in the global competition. We have everything we need including a talent pool and what the previous manufacturing powerhouse, China, lacks - a young labour force.
Opportunity to expand internationally
Recently, we have observed a strong Swadeshi sentiment that the bulk of the demographic is displaying; and the time may be ripe for Indian manufacturers and brands to proudly wear the ‘Make In India’ tag on their sleeve. However, it must be noted that at the same time – it is incumbent upon the Indian manufacturers to upgrade their products, processes, and infrastructure to live up to the expectations of the digital-savvy consumers. Not only is it economic and profitable domestically, but it is a huge opportunity for Indian manufacturers to expand internationally with global companies looking for alternatives to minimize their dependency on China.
The pandemic, unfortunate as it is, presented the Indian manufacturing realm an opportunity to optimize its potential and offer futuristic products to rise globally
If you take an example of our industry i.e. the comfort and bedding industry, it has seen a shift towards the organized segment right from demonetization to the implementation of GST. Now with the COVID-19 shock, this shift has only been accelerated as the unorganized players have found it hard to keep up their supply chains.
Consumer Durables is one of the key sectors that can help realize the Atmanirbhar goals of India. On the demand and consumer behaviour front, there has been an increased emphasis on the ‘trust’ aspect which a brand provides. Additionally, consumers are now more mindful and aware than ever before regarding the ‘health & wellness’ offering of any product. This is where the comfort and bedding industry has seen a huge boost in the demand for quality products. Players in the manufacturing segment must anticipate and prepare for contingencies and step up the offerings with the most innovative product line combined with state-of-the-art technology.
Also, e-commerce and omnichannel retail have played a major role in the expansion and establishment of the industry. Brands such as Centuary have invested in enhancing their digital footprint, and also bring health-related innovative value additions to the product mix to connect better with the consumers.
In a nutshell, the pandemic, unfortunate as it is, presented the Indian manufacturing realm an opportunity to optimize its potential and offer futuristic products to rise globally. Now it is up to us how we convert the challenge into an opportunity.