The sector of manufacturing is increasingly undergoing innovation. Digital ways of manufacturing and supply chain management, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, cloud computing and more, that are already established in leading global economies, are now taking a forefront in India, an economy which has till now been embedded in traditional ways of doing business. The government’s reforms of demonetization, GST, Digital India and Make In India has given a much-awaited digital push to the economy, tapping unexplored potential of a US$ 300 billion industry.
What will take India to the forefront of manufacturing is innovative technology? Technology plays a key role in bringing about disruption. It lies on manufacturing units of all sizes to bring in the culture of advanced technologies in manufacturing. Below are five key technologies that are set to change the face of manufacturing in India:
1. Digital supply chain - Digital supply chain methods strengthen procurement strategies for manufacturing units. They lead to greater efficiencies and cost-effectiveness. Over the last decade, manufacturing units are moving towards aligning their procurement processes strategically and using digital tools of supply chain such as SCOR [Supply Chain Operations Reference], integrated warehousing, and freight handling. Startups in B2B commerce space such as Moglix are creating a promising future for the manufacturing sector by providing digital solutions of supply chain management.
2. Harnessing Big Data in Manufacturing - While manufacturing generates more data than any other sector of the economy, there are hardly any companies in India that are harnessing this data for decision-making. It is important to be working on an operations big data strategy because providing the right data to the right people and at the right time really can drive efficiency, improve processes, and carve a competitive advantage. Use of MRP (material requirements planning) system, SAP, Oracle or ERP systems helps enterprises in harnessing this data and putting it to good use. Use of SAP technology reduces redundant data entry within different software programmes and fewer communication struggles between interdependent facets of a company.
3. Block chain technology has been identified as a potential disruptor in the automotive industry. Block chain is a distributed ledger where the transactions conducted on the platform are visible by everyone. Ideally this block chain network is a chain of all computers who must approve an exchange before it is verified and recorded. This is the technology that powers the popular digital crypto currency Bitcoin and Ethereum. The underlying technology in block chain can be transformative across industries in manufacturing.
4. Internet of Things (IoT) aids more connectivity, better communication and faster response time. In few other industries there are so many opportunities to leverage the Internet of Things in connecting physical and digital, making various assets, such as machines, other production assets and the various object in a non-production sense, as well as a variety of product and manufacturing process parameters part of a vast information network. Enhanced interconnectivity enabled by IoT helps manufacturing facility reduce maintenance cost, increase efficiency and prevent costly downtime.
5. Artificial Intelligence & Robotics – Factories and manufacturing plants in India need to adopt automation, machine learning, computer vision and other fields of AI to survive in the long run. Manufacturers need to embrace automation more than ever before. An unexplored technology in India is the use of robotics. Next level of robotics allows customization and can be used to perform complex functions. Leading global manufacturing units are utilizing the same to solve complex problems in manufacturing and using the technology to complement human resources.
The key steps that manufacturing units need to take towards adopting these technologies is firstly work towards changing mindset towards digital technologies of manufacturing. Indian manufacturing units should thrive to become early adopters of every technology. Currently, there is reluctance among manufacturing units to adept to advanced technologies due to the lack of awareness of the benefit they can bring to business in the long run. Startups, in such a case are breathing new life into the manufacturing sector in India. The need is to bring in more entrepreneurs, industrialists, investors and advisors together and collectively cultivate the culture of innovative technology in Indian manufacturing.