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ITP Publishing India established its hold on the manufacturing industry with the resounding success of the 3rd Annual Manufacturing Today Awards & Conference on September 17, 2014 | By Indira Rao | It’s not often that one sees the glamorous side of manufacturing.

However, this is exactly what Manufacturing Today, a magazine brought out by ITP Publishing India, did. September 17, 2014, saw the manufacturing industry take centre-stage at Hyatt Regency, Pune, with the 3rd Annual Manufacturing Today Awards and Conference. With Aditya Birla as the Primary Sponsor and Walter Tools and Siemens Industry Software as Associate Sponsors, the event recognised and rewarded the best in various categories of the industry.

We, being a media company, provided just the platform for such an event to take place and had no hand in selecting the winners. Who then was responsible for selecting the best of the best, you ask? This year, our excellent 14-member jury team vetted the 280-plus nominations that came in from across the country. Our icing on the cake was when we received nominations from nearly 100 new companies this year justifying that we have grown to become a premier platform in honouring and shaping the future leaders of Indian manufacturing.

Our jury team consisted of: Kishore Jayaraman, president, Rolls Royce South Asia; Pradeep Bhargava, director, Cummins India

 

Rajesh Nath, managing director, VDMA; S Ravishankar, deputy managing director, Yamazaki Mazak India, Michael Surface, executive director, PricewaterhouseCoopers; Satish Jamdar, managing director, Blue Star; S M Bhat, managing director, Ador Welding; Robindranath Som, president, Nickunj Eximp; TK Ramesh, CEO, Micromatic Machine Tools; Sanjay B Baljekar, director, Precomp Tools; Wilfried G Aulbur, managing partner, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants; Ian Smith, managing director, SK Sourcing and Management; Sameer Prakash, head business development, Automation Products & Systems for India & Bangladesh, Siemens; and Chandrakant Anant Salunkhe, founder and president, Small and Medium Business Development Chamber of India (SME Chamber of India).

This year we upped our ante by creating three new award categories. That took our total to 14 awards – 11 company and three individual. The jury was divided into teams of three and each team was given four to five categories to judge. The judges had to score between 0 to 10 with 10 being the highest and 0 the lowest. It was interesting to see that the judges did not refrain from giving some companies zeroes. Companies that failed to explain and justify exactly how they qualified to compete in a particular category but just sent in their brochures were giving a nought straight away. On the other hand, the jury deliberated and discussed extensively when it came giving out scores to the others in the race. The nominations were also judged solely on the basis of the turnover of the plant and not the company as a whole. It is also imperative to mention here that the jury members had no commercial connection whatsoever with ITP Publishing or the sponsors of Manufacturing Today Awards 2014.

The winners were announced on the September 17, 2014, but unlike other events ours was not just a function to reward the winners. Manufacturing Today had its own conference to deliberate issues that lie at the heart of the manufacturing industry and saw stalwarts of the industry participating in it. The show flagged off with the keynote address from Dr Santrupt Misra, director, Group Human Resources, Aditya Birla Group and CEO, Carbon Black. Speaking extensively on the opportunities that lie in manufacturing, he said, “I have always been a firm believer in manufacturing being the backbone of any economy and more so of the Indian economy. Unfortunately, if you look at data and statistics you find that manufacturing is hovering at around 15-16% of our GDP whereas we should be looking at around 20-25%.”

He also mentioned two important points that need to be addressed to push manufacturing forward – skill development and making manufacturing attractive. “Today, there is no excitement in the minds of the youth with respect to manufacturing. The responsibility lies with us to bring back the excitement. The other challenge needed to be dealt with is skills and unless we work on the supply side of the Indian economy, the demand side cannot be addressed by itself because demand will continue to grow. One of the primary things we should do is to focus on competitiveness that comprises cost, quality and service. We need to create a mind-set of innovation”.

Manas Majumder of Walter Tools took this point forward and in his speech elaborated on the innovations made in the Indian manufacturing sector and how the sector has changed over the years. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his speech had mentioned that we need to make things with zero defect and only then can we strengthen our position as a brand. I think, we can strengthen our brand in terms of value for money,” said Majumder.

The PM emphasised on “making in India” during his inaugural Independence Day speech, and while he repeatedly asked investors to “Come, make in India”, we wanted to look at what we can do to globalise the ‘made in India’ brand. And our CEO roundtable focussed exactly on this topic. The panellists for this roundtable included some of our jury members: Pradeep Bhargava, SM Bhat, S Ravishankar and Ian Smith who also moderated the session. The other members were Navjit Gill, MD, Rolls Royce Marine, India, Santrupt Misra and Manas Majumder.

The discussion started off with many global players who had set up their base in India, expressing their apprehensions about recognising Indian made products. On this, Bhargava asserted, “We must give credit to the service sector; it was the IT that created a brand for India. I think, on the point of quality specifications we are quite okay. Our challenges lie in logistics, supply chain and being able to work together with a system. On the innovation front, one of the things I would want to look at is green manufacturing and that’s something India can excel in.”

SM Bhat too emphasised on adopting the innovation culture. He averred, “There are a lot of gaps between what is expected and what is delivered, and these gaps create a block in the mind of the global consumer. This basically creates a dent in the brand ‘made in India.’ Hence, we will have to do anything and everything to supply as per the promises made to the customer.”

Ravishankar urged the industry to leverage on the small column of production of smaller batches. “With the help of the internet and apps on mobiles we can do mass customisation. Also, those products that are to be customised for customers could be done in small batches but specific to the requirements. This precision would help make the product globally successful and this could possibly be one of the thought processes we could look at to developing the ‘made in India’ brand.”

Gill stated that today it’s a matter of great pride when they dispatch automation control systems; switch boards, complicated systems for vessels from India, which get installed at shipyards in Brazil, China, Korea. “These are fully tested systems that go with the Indian certificate of origin and it gets accepted. We focus on product integrity and apart from that despite using the best quality control measures it is the speed and quality of response that makes us stand out from competitors and market the Indian brand name.”

Concluding the session, Smith remarked, “We have a long way to go in globalising the ‘made in India’ brand but I don’t believe it’s the politicians who will do it. I think it’s important for every one of us to make the difference, to pride ourselves in what we make and deliver any and every service on time at the right cost. We need to stop focussing on China and start focussing on India. India’s biggest risk is India, there is always somebody faster, stronger and cheaper than you. And we in the industry of manufacturing have to try and make ourselves better with every passing day. And one way to do that is to use every single brain in the organisation.”

The other two panel discussions that took place throughout the course of the day were on sustainable manufacturing and maximising the workflow on the shop floor. The sustainable manufacturing discussion focussed on top environmental issues affecting the manufacturing sector and highlighted measures that would help mitigate perennial business challenges. Santhosh Jayaram, technical director, sustainability and climate change, KPMG moderated the discussion. The other panellists were: K Umesh, vice-president, Plant, Operations, Business Excellence, Car Programmes, IT, Validation, Materials, Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicles; Rajeev Mittal, head, IT/IS, Piaggio Vehicles; Shrikant Savangikar, director, business excellence, quality and sustainability, SKF India; Tony Henshaw, chief sustainability officer, Aditya Birla Management Corporation; Ramchandra Mahind, vice-president and head, Kondhapuri Plant, Kirloskar Brothers, Shridhar Revinipati, CEO, Pune Facility, Essar Steel and Girish Parundekar, GM, R&D technology, Blue Star.

Parundekar mentioned that sustainable manufacturing is not related only to production or operations but to the entire gamut of manufacturing segment. He said that there are several factors like man, machine, material, method, measurement, material handling, money, time, tools, etc that affect sustainability. “In order to address these factors one has to follow the principles of reduce, reuse, recycle, recover, remanufacture and redesign.”

Umesh and Revinipati explained the concept by stating examples put in place by their respective companies. Umesh asserted, “Our mission was to support the green vehicle with an eco-system which is sustainable. We used green technology quite effectively and concentrated on four or five factors: energy and water conservation, indoor air quality, material conservation and training and skill development.”

The Essar Steel plant in Pune has a zero discharge facility. Revinipati stated, “The effluents are recycled and taken through multi effective evaporation. The sewage water from the plant is treated and the same water is then used for gardening purposes in the plant.” Savangikar said that his company realised that there are two major avenues on the sourcing aspect – one is power trading and the other is bilateral trading that they use in Maharashtra. “With all of this we have saved 70 million rupees in the last one year.”

Mittal advised companies to start adopting IT technology as speed is everything in todays connected world. “In a scenario where IT integrates everything from the shopfloor to the top floor it is necessary for companies to join the bandwagon and adopt virtualisation technology.” Henshaw made an interesting remark. He said, “I strongly believe that there is no reason why India cannot take sustainable manufacturing to the world. In fact, I would put a hypothesis that if India does not take the leadership in sustainable manufacturing, neither India nor the world would be sustainable.”

Mahind stressed that in order to become sustainable we need to put a lot of emphasis on lean manufacturing, which advocates using minimum resources to get maximum advantage. Jayaram cited a very interesting example. “Recently, I came across a pilot project in the cement industry. As you know, the cement industry takes calcium carbonate from the mining sector. This new technology takes atmospheric CO2 and pumps it into buying solutions and it actually mimics what happens inside the ocean. Corals are formed in the ocean when atmospheric CO2 reacts with the sea water and corals are nothing but calcium carbonate. This revolutionary process in manufacturing looks at mimicking the produced calcium carbonate to make cement. Such innovations will be game changers in sustainability.”

Apart from the panel discussions there were other presentations from our sponsors that focussed on the manufacturing industry and its drivers. Satish Pai, deputy managing director, Hindalco Industries, shared a very enlightening thought. He opined that everybody looks at progress in the time frame of five to 10 years. “I think we need to be a little more eager because it is at an inflection point now. Manufacturing is a very important aspect when looking at the development of the country and no country can be called developed unless it has its hold on manufacturing.”

Brigadier (Retd) Prakash Tolani, senior director, Siemens Industry Software who hailed from the army and later joined Siemens PLM spoke about bridging the gap between the army and the industry particularly in technology. HR Shashikant, group executive president, Group HR, Aditya Birla Group, spoke on the immense career opportunities at Aditya Birla Group and took the audience through the Group’s footprints. Representatives from Walter Tools too gave an insight into the company’s manufacturing prowess and how their tools can aid companies to machine effectively.

The final panel discussion on maximising workflow on the shopfloor was moderated by Narendra Soorabathula, director, operations consulting, PwC India. The panellists were: Anil Singh, head manufacturing and sourcing, AMW; Aditya Shrivastava, Sr VP & head of manufacturing operations, VE Commercial Vehicles; Sharad Dalmia, Sr VP, manufacturing excellence, HIL; Madhusudhan Varadaraj, senior director, Siemens Industry Software, Harish Chatterjee, VP manufacturing, Raymond; K Vinayagamurthi, head, technical & operations, Dalmia Cement – Ariyalur.

Opening the discussion, Soorabathula said, “One can maximise work floor by optimising cost, quality and time limits. And then when you really think about it, workflow on the shop floor is no longer a discrete event. Manufacturing, learning, maintaining workflow in certain sectors of the industry has become the foundation for quite a few organisations.” Dalmia reiterated the thought of making products with zero defect and emphasised on how by enhancing quality and making products right the first time can lead to an efficient shopfloor. Chatterjee opined that in order to get efficient, companies should adopt automation and look at designing the plant right. Singh, Vinayagamurthi and Shrivastava spoke on leveraging the human factor in any organisation. “We have the best of the equipment and technology but what use would it be if we do not have the people to sell the product in the market or make these wonderful products right at the factory? Hence, people are very important aspects that need to be taken into account in order to bring about efficiencies in any organisation.”

Vinayagamurthi concurred, “The human factor plays a major role. More so, if you have the correct qualification and the correct competence that provides for more than 50% of the requirement to achieve the job strength. Apart from that we need to give correct training and skill development to the members on the shopfloor.” Singh reiterated that one needs to change the mindset that if a person works overtime only they will be able to deliver better. “No employee should be strained while working. Following this practice will definitely help get better results.”

Varadaraj spoke a bit on the futuristic side and presented aspects that would change manufacturing. One of the most important things he said was, “Optimising on the shopfloor means optimising time and cost because that is the only way of getting things done properly and effectively.” The panel discussion was followed by the gala awards ceremony where the takeaway was nothing but smiles on the face of the award winners.

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