Taking the Tech Route

Taking the Tech Route

Anant Deshpande, Business Development Manager, Enterprise, Cisco India & SAARC

Manufacturing has and will continue to play a key role in ensuring India's economic development. In the next few years, manufacturing will continue to contribute considerably to our economy. According to a joint report titled 'Made in India-the Next Big Manufacturing Export Story' prepared by industry bodies CII and McKinsey, manufacturing exports from India could be as substantial as US$ 300 billion by 2015. With this growth, India will garner a share of approximately 3.5 per cent in the world manufacturing trade.

The manufacturing industry in India is slowly yet surely looking at technology for business enablement. Traditionally, technology adoption in this sector has been in catch up mode in comparison to sectors like BFSI, IT/ITes and telecom. At the same time, the manufacturing sector in developed economies has a much more evolved deployment of IT.

Over the last decade, however, changes in the economic and technological landscape have made it imperative for manufacturers to adopt technology in order to remain competitive. An explosion of new technologies has created new winners and losers in nearly every product space. New products for transport, communications, medical care, home and business have given rise to swift and disruptive changes in the marketplace, while the onslaught of technology has opened up a whole host of opportunities.

While it has created a few challenges for the manufacturing industry, technology adoption for the manufacturing sector comes with clear benefits as under:

1. Innovation : With increasing consumerism, there is a constant need to innovate and reduce time to market, to be able to stay ahead of the competition. Technology can facilitate innovation by allowing manufacturers to connect and collaborate effectively with suppliers, partners, customers and other stakeholders; provide updated information; make design changes, and respond quickly to shifting market conditions. It also helps improve development efficiency by enabling secure sharing of real-time project status and information across multiple functions and locations.

2. Production efficiency and flexibility : Technology can ensure access to real-time data across the shop floor, integration of communication systems with the existing workflows, compliance updates etc. For example, connected shopfloors with industrial networking and wireless technology integrated with SCADA and ERP systems can help increase event response, facilitate better planning, and hence improve production.

3. Enhanced customer engagement : Timely and effective responses to customer queries about the product specifications, orders, service requests through collaboration tools can help develop strong customer relationships and boost the brand value.

4. Supply Chain Management (SCM) : SCM is a crucial component in the entire manufacturing process. With increasing competition and cluster of new products, a seamless SCM system can create more visibility for the product in the market and thereby increase brand value. Solutions such as mobile warehouse management, unified communication across platforms and technologies like telepresence are advantageous for a process driven function like manufacturing.

5. Security : One of the major concerns of any manufacturer is data and prototype security. This is especially true in highly competitive industries such as automobile, aviation, consumer durables. Technology adoption can help achieve this effectively.

To sum up, technology can offer the manufacturing industry several benefits, enabling organizations to innovate, co create, blur out the geographical barriers and make their product relevant to their customers. Clearly, for the manufacturing sector in India, adopting technology is a definitive enabler for business.

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