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Maharashtra: Leading by example

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The changing landscape of technology will surely enable Maharashtra to lead India into the new wave of manufacturing.

Sanjay Sethi, CEO, Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC)

The Indian manufacturing sector has extensively incorporated digitisation in its working processes over the last decade, and is catching up with its global peers at a fast pace. Sanjay Sethi, CEO, Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) talks about the digitisation in manufacturing process in a broader outlook.

According to a PwC report on Industry 4.0, over 65 per cent of manufacturing companies in India will have a high level of digitisation in the next five years, as against 27 per cent currently. Concomitantly, 72 per cent of global firms will adopt cutting-edge digitisation in five years’ time, as opposed to 33 per cent at present. A broad range of companies in India from manufacturing sectors such as automotive, chemicals, heavy engineering, metals, etc. have embraced advanced digital technologies for core functions within their internal operations. For instance, Jindal Steel introduced a digital auction system in May 2016 to streamline the auctioning process for buying and selling warehousing and steel manufacturing items. This integrated auctioning system improved the company’s operational efficiencies and ensured standardisation in mode of applications and auction facilities across locations, which were inconsistent and deficient prior to digitisation.

The new wave of ‘Digitisation’ in manufacturing
With the rapid evolution in technological innovation over the last few decades, the demands of the consumer market have changed radically, commanding simpler, superior and more personalised customer experiences. Further, it has become imperative for businesses to align efforts across the manufacturing sector to optimise productivity and deliver maximum value within minimum resources. In order to compete in this era of digital detonation, companies must embrace disruptive digitisation in their manufacturing methods. Industry 4.0, as signified by the digitisation of manufacturing processes and driven by disruptive technologies, is a cardinal step towards holistic industrial development. This new wave of IT-enabled manufacturing marked by smart factories will proliferate operational efficiency in the manufacturing sector by enabling businesses to become more customer-centric. Further, it will enhance communication and coordination systems, offer an improved perspective on end-to-end business processes through advanced analytics, and consequently help in circumventing blockages and stabilising the supply value chain.

Ways of embracing digitisation
Digitisation in manufacturing entails a cluster of front-line digital technologies including pervasive cyber-physical systems that enable decentralised decision making, cloud computing for sorting and storing large amounts of data, advanced human-machine interfaces, embedded sensors and actuators in machines and equipment that enhance interoperability and transparency, etc. The advantages of embracing digitisation are manifold. First, by allowing products to be modifiable and configured as per customer requirements, it facilitates manufacturers to cater to niche markets and respond to consumer needs in a competitive manner. Second, it augments communication and transparency between OEMs and suppliers by providing real-time visibility into each other’s working mechanisms. Third, digitisation improves efficiency by enabling cyber systems to support humans in scrutinising information, drawing inferences and solving problems, thereby reducing the probability of error and plummeting risks. Further, it paves the way for a digital economy where hyper-connectivity can be leveraged to connect consumers, OEMs, suppliers and assets into a real-time unified digital business that expedites product development to keep up with changing consumer needs.

Maharashtra at the forefront
Numerous companies in Maharashtra have launched digital initiatives to improve their executional efficiencies over the past few years. One notable case is the application of virtualisation technology by Mahindra Vehicle Manufacturers (MVM) in Chakan. The company used virtual machine software to manage its large IT infrastructure spanning over 700 acres, and to ensure data and application uniformity across the 19 units in its plant. This empowered Mahindra to obtain an enhanced server consolidation ratio, efficient CPU utilisation, and helped it reduce its operational time and costs. Further, the Government of Maharashtra is committed to assisting companies in their endeavours towards advanced digitisation. The state government has partnered with Cisco (the world’s largest manufacturer of networking equipment) to introduce a series of local strategic initiatives to boost the digital transformation of Maharashtra. This transformation of Maharashtra with the adoption of Industry 4.0 will lay the founding stones for a new manufacturing era in the country. Additionally, it will help Maharashtra realise its vision of becoming the first state to readily accept the new industrial revolution. The changing landscape of technology will surely enable Maharashtra to lead India into the new wave of manufacturing.

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