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OEM Update
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‘Skilled labour shortage hits machine tool industry’

June 21, 2011 12:45 pm

India is fast becoming a global hub for manufacturing in particular, and as one of the fastest growing economies of the world, in general. Several companies, including multinationals, are investing in India with a view to serve the global market using cost effective manpower and other resources. DD Mulherkar, vice president of machine tools division at Premier Ltd talks on the industry and his company’s performance
 
Growth Drivers for machine tool industry
The manufacturing sector is presently demonstrating an upward trend and will continue to do so for the next decade due to prime growth drivers such as the auto and infrastructure industries. Within these, growth enablers such as power, transport and oil will play a significant role.
 
Customers today are extremely discerning, especially when it comes to technology. Their key interest area when making a buying decision is technology and innovation as they are aware that these two aspects drive productivity. In today’s context customers are often prepared to absorb a price increase as the extra cost is offset by higher productivity which in turn conveys a lower piece rate. Today many customers are considering the ‘life cycle cost’ when evaluating machine tools.
 
Market status
The Indian machine tool manufacturers’ association (IMTMA) has projected that the machine tool industry in India to grow to Rs 23,000 crore in the next ten years and these estimates are in line with our projections for the machine tool industry as a whole.
 
We, at Premier Ltd manufacture highly sophisticated CNC machines, including CNC gear-cutting machines, CNC vertical turning and turnmill centres, machining centres and custom-built special purpose machines. We hold a significant share of the CNC gear-cutting machine and CNC vertical turning centre market, ranking among the top five machine tool entities in India, with a customer base spanning over several public and private sector players such as the railways, defence and public sector undertakings (PSUs).
 
Technological advancements
Technological advancement is a continuous evolutionary process in the Machine tool industry. This can be noticed in basic machine function as well as tooling and accessories. The essence of technological development is always directed towards productivity improvement and ease of operation. Premier is always coming out with innovative solutions. The gear shaper with electronic guide is an example of our recent development.
 
Challenges
Today, shortage of skilled manpower is one of the biggest challenges for the machine tool industry in India. Plant Location is another critical factor. But Premier is relatively fortunate because of its location. The technical man power is abundant in Pune.  A lot of institutes are located in Pune which are churning out a large number of technical personnel.  Another vital factor is ancillary industries such as vendors which can supply precision machine tool components to original machine tool manufacturers.
 
For example, Premier employees enjoy a short commute from Pune and neighbouring areas or regions which enables us to attract talent otherwise unwilling to commute to remote locations, sometimes even for high remuneration.
 
Another growing trend which is a challenge to the manufacturing sector is that many employees are attracted to the service sector, with more pay and fast track growth.
 
Road ahead
We believe that the Indian machine tool companies are poised to grow tremendously and are equipped to face stiff challenges that the market may pose. They are ready to take opportunities that make their way due to growth in Indian manufacturing sector.
 

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