In an interaction with Industry Outlook, Deepak Sood, Secretary General, ASSOCHAM shared his views on how current technologies are finding their application in the manufacturing sector, and what are the challenges and opportunities involved.
How do you see the adoption of digital and automation technologies in the manufacturing industry in India? What are the major factors driving its growth?
Digital and automation technologies are the next big thing in the manufacturing industry's evolution juggernaut worldwide. Several factors are pushing the envelope for the industry, such as the government's 'Make in India' mission, which is touted as a game-changer for India's economic growth. It would also push the adoption of advanced technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data. Our vision of an Atmanirbhar India makes it crucial to adopt technologies which will play a significant role in accelerating the growth of the manufacturing industry and be a backbone for the economy.
What are the major challenges impeding the growth of this industry? What are the constraints dissuading manufacturers from full scale digitization and automation?
Indian manufacturers are waking up to the global trends in automation technologies. There are a few challenges that one can foresee at this juncture; the manufacturing sector is a fragmented one with 90 per cent of the businesses falling under the small and medium definition. As these firms' operational model is high–volume and wafer-thin profit margins, the entire segment may not find it cost-effective and have trepidation towards adopting newer technologies.
Secondly, the integration of various technologies for maximizing benefits poses a challenge. Lack of alignment of various technologies like operations technology and information technology can be a significant hurdle in implementing a successful digital transformation.
Thirdly, the lack of high- skilled labor force to meet the requirement of an automated work environment that involves smarter machines and even smarter operating systems.
However, the recent push towards self-reliance will encourage players to leverage technology for operational efficiency and value-add, which will allow them to compete globally.
What are the major expectations of manufacturers from digital solution providers? How are those expectations changing in the current times?
Digital solution providers have been playing a role of an interface between enterprises and the new changing world of technology. What a manufacturer expects from its solution provider is advice on transforming their businesses by leveraging technology to benefit and create values. The newer advanced technologies such as AI, Data Analytics can be converging to contribute unparalleled solutions as per the manufacturer's expectations.
In the past, there was a certain disparity in an enterprise's expectations and what the solution providers delivered. Now, the enterprises have clear-cut guidelines to reshape, redirect and focus on the successful implementation of technological innovations.