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BFW presents manufacturing day threw up solutions to the myriad issues that companies face in today’s times.

There’s a kind of discreet charm to a factory floor. But not many understand that, or are expected to. Even to most of those working on a shop floor, it is possible that life could be just a routine. Few understand the magnitude of their work and the workplace they inhabit. Manufacturing may be the largest contributor to the economy of India in terms of GDP and in other places in the world, but, perhaps, this is the only sector that is least celebrated. So when Bharat Fritz Werner (BFW) endorses Manufacturing Day for the second year in a row, it is food for thought. Though Manufacturing Day globally is celebrated on October 6, BFW presents Manufacturing Day along with Manufacturing Today magazine was held on October 5 at Hotel Westin Gurugram.
The day-long event was well attended and there were interesting discussions and presentations that delegates heard from well-known industry personnel. There was a surprise treat in store too from an exemplary gentleman who has single-handedly changed the course of an entire region and inspired many after him.
The session began with Bibhor Srivastava, group publishing director, ITP Media (India) thanking the guests for their willingness to spend time to attend an event while introducing Manufacturing Day. He said, “Manufacturing contributes 60% to the global GDP. There are only 6 countries in the world that have taken to manufacturing and they have met with remarkable success in terms of infrastructure development, job creation and contribution to GDP. ITP Media (India) is happy to announce our association with BFW presents Manufacturing Day,” he added.
This was followed by the inaugural lighting of the lamp by some of our distinguished dignitaries Kishore Jayaraman, president, Rolls Royce, India & South Asia; Sonam Wangchuk, Engineer, Innovator & Education Reformist; Shailesh Sheth, corporate strategy advisor; KS Malik, operating head & GM power train, Honda Car India; and Ravi Raghavan, MD, BFW.
Welcoming the guests, Raghavan said that manufacturing has always fascinated him as a student. “Manufacturing is all around us. It may not sound attractive, but it’s the foundation of everything on which progress is based. It also pushes the boundaries of science to what we call progress. Manufacturing Day, a BFW initiative, is about celebrating the achievements of this wonderful understated industry. It is a time for captains of the industry to reflect, consider the challenges ahead and find the means to add value. As industry leaders we believe in knowledge creation to take the industry forward. The three key areas that we feel are important are the increasing role of digitisation in factories; the challenge of training and re-skilling people; and, lastly, manufacturing innovation.”

A meeting of minds
Delivering the keynote address, Chief Guest Kishore Jayaraman pointed out that advancements in the industry have accelerated so much that with Industry 4.0 now in play, the world is all about storage, computers and data. Data and connectivity have grown exponentially and this is compelling companies to relook at their manufacturing processes, the way we allocate machines and interface with the machines, and humans and machines, and all these are being scrutinised closely. Firms need a new kind of energy to embrace changes and those that do not do so are going to be left behind. “Robotics was a small niche in the 70s and auto companies were the first to embrace it. But can these machines teach humans to avoid errors in quality? Sig Sigma is passé. The aerospace industry is looking at Seven Sigma and if this is not implemented then there could be fatalities. Everything now boils to being more quality conscious. Distributed manufacturing is another trend and this means creating ecosystems, which is going to be built based on just-in-time and customer requirements, and creativity. We need to be more productive,” he added.
The highlight of the day was Sonam Wangchuk who agreed to travel all the way from Ladakh and has been an inspiration to thousands. Speaking from the heart, Wangchuk elucidated that digitisation for manufacturing is important but when one is surrounded by young people, it is important to bring them up to date in the real world than the virtual. “As an engineer, I have been fascinated with the educational system and after my own education decided to teach. The students are bright, but there are problems in the system. The landscape of our state is different and so are the needs. Ladakh looks inhabitable, but there are green oases carved by our students. People here have enriched nature, and the civilisation has actually thrived. The challenge for the students was the ineffectual syllabus and a language that did not make sense to them. Though the students are bright, the system was not supportive. We then did some introspection, and decide to change the system. We set up Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL) in 1988 and understood that we need to teach students the way they were meant to be taught. Incidentally, we were also keen to maintain the natural resources and so the school we have set up is completely solar powered, uses zero-energy, is built with mud, as it was important that we build with materials that are easily affordable and available. We devised a way that would make the students productive and also fit for the material world.”
The creator of the Ice Stupa was a veritable source of knowledge and humanity. Adopting science as the backdrop and having understood long ago that innovation need not come at a heavy price, Wangchuk received a standing ovation for his creativity and the novel way he has uplifted an entire community of people who were otherwise destined to a life of coarse living and anonymity. Along the way he has won much recognition and grants that he has utilised for further development of the community.
Manufacturing as a sector needs as much in-depth knowledge as it can gather. Speaking on digitalisation, Madan Mohan Vundavally, head of product portfolio management & application support, Siemens, highlighted that an increasing number of devices are connected to the internet today. In 2008, the number of devices connected to the internet has surpassed the number of people on Earth. There’s an estimate that by 2020 about 40-50 billion devices will be connected to the internet. “Industry 4.0 has four guiding principles: Interoperability, Information transparency, technical assistance, and decentralisation. If these are followed, then we are already on the way to Industry 4.0. With products being made faster, one has to find innovative ways to reach the market faster. Siemens has a host of applications that can ease data gathering for manufacturing companies,” he added.

Smart Discussions
This session was followed by the first panel discussion, Factories of the Future: Productive Shop Floor. Moderated by Jayashree Mendes, editor, Manufacturing Today, the panellists comprised Mahesh Kaikini, AVP, plant head, Hero MotoCorp; Madan Mohan Vundavally, head of product portfolio management & application support, Siemens; V Ranganathan Iyer, group CIO, JBM Group; and Anil Singh, plant head, AkzoNobel.
Replying to the question on automation, Kaikini said that manufacturing has seen a sea change. From 400 motorcycles per day, his company now makes 7,000 motorcycles within the same infrastructure. “It is important to understand the value chain of manufacturing. Garnering flexibility has been the biggest advantage. The level of automation would depend on the output one is looking at and the performance. One needs to adopt a mix-and-match and look keenly at the processes before venturing into advanced manufacturing and adopting automation,” he added.
Speaking of matching to OEM expectations, Iyer of JBM said that a strong facility is a must-have. Information flow from the tier-I supplier to the OEMs facility is another. And, importantly, one must not compromise on the quality. Quick deployment is what everyone wants and JBM is looking at building this up. Knowledge transfer between OEMs to Tier-I are a common occurrence. Singh of AkzoNobel said that automation may not have been state-of-the-art in his plant, because the nature of the products did not demand it. However, the company has realised with global procurement and supply, it has become necessary to have connected plants and deploy automation to the fullest extent as required. Vundavally spoke about the three kinds of disruptive technologies in the world, such as 3D printing, advanced robotics, and digital twin technology.
Few can predict what manufacturing holds in the future. In this light, Shailesh Sheth, corporate strategy advisor, took a holistic view of competitive manufacturing and suggested that one needs to find a roadmap about implementing it within companies. “An uncertain future in the VUCA world is compelling people and companies to seek out novel ways of doing business. Volume manufacturing of standardised parts is going to be disrupted by small batch sizes. Long time to market is the next issue. Contract labour and permanent jobs are classical conflicts now, but the next generation workforce is going to be extremely internet savvy and therefore the factories will have to undergo changes. Supply chains are going to become major issues because they are unable to keep pace with the growth in the market place and distributed manufacturing is coming in at a larger pace and that disrupts the well integrated factories,” he added.
The answer to that, Sheth said, is to think global, act local. Production systems will determine business strategy and makers will have to understand market needs and find ways to produce those products. It is the responsibility of the production managers to look into the possibilities and scan the future and make capital investments which are likely to remain relevant for the foreseeable future. I don’t think we can wait five years to know what data we require, we should know it today. He eded with saying that companies should not adopt automation blindly.

Working out new possibilities
Post-lunch was time for the second panel discussion. With the theme of Innovation led Manufacturing Practices, this discussion was moderated by Abhijit Majumdar, executive director, consulting PwC, with panellists such as Sanjiv Kumar Jain, group CITO, Spark Minda; L Krishnan, MD, Taegutec India; and MK Agrawal, senior VP, DS Group.
Majumdar asked the panellists to list out their thoughts on innovation led manufacturing practices. Krishnan replied that meeting the abilities of countries like Korea and China in cutting tools would take years for India. “They have outpaced others in terms of innovations, technology and automation. We need to start investing and though the returns may not be high early on, consistency, productivity, maintaining quality parameters will get us there,” he added.
Agarwal said that his company has constantly looked at ways to offer customers innovative products through novel packaging methods. “Retaining quality of confectioneries are constant challenges and we have always managed to find solutions. Innovation in manufacturing calls for thinking. In today’s world one has to think of new methods to offer customers and add value to their expectations,” he said.
For Jain, IT was the lynchpin that supported manufacturing. Today the talk is about connected factories, collaborative designs, all which fall under the IT portfolio. “Automation is bought in with a view to reduce outlay on wages. Design systems were isolated from mainstream earlier, but today manufacturers believe in designing and building. Digitisation and security will matter most to companies,” he added.
The last session of the day was the third panel discussion, Talent & Skill Development for Manufacturing. Moderator Bibhor Srivastava, group publishing director, ITP Media Group, engaged the team of panellists and the audience alike by addressing issues of skilling and re-skilling. The esteemed panellists included Ravindra Dayal, executive director, Maruti Suzuki; Rajeev Sharma, VP manufacturing, Honda Siel; APS Gandhi, VP, supply chain, Daikin Air-conditioning; KS Malik, operating head & GM power train, Honda Car India; Manish Sinha, head, IT, Vectus; and Rajeeva Lochan Sharma, sr. plant director, Barco Electronics.
Srivastava asked the panellists to explain where India stands in talent and skill manufacturing and where we want to be. Malik said that industries are focussing strongly on this and organising trainings and skill upgradation. HCIL has 30 training modules for its staff, and 11 at the global level. The aim is to make this generation future ready.
Sharma said that Honda is a philosophy-driven company. “The first thing we are taught is that business is secondary, while respect for the individual is very important. We try to enjoy manufacturing. We have two training modules; one is behavioural and motivational and second is technical.
Sinha’s company decided to create an app that will bridge the gap between the company and the customer or the plumber who can use this to his benefit. The idea was to create a brand image and create trust between the end user and corporate.
Gandhi believes there is much gap between the institutions and the corporate world. “We have created centres of excellence where we are creating model labs and students can undergo new technology trainings. We offer soft skill trainings too. The other challenge is dealers and we train them too. We also bring students from different universities to our factory and train them,” he said.
Dayal said that what matters to shop floor employees most is earning a decent salary and perks, while being able to maintain work life balance. Considering that Maruti Suzuki has new models coming up on a regular basis, it is imperative that it starts customer education training. “We often notice that there is a high turnover of workers and find it even more important to train them so that they stay longer with us. We support our dealers as well with adequate training,” he added.
Sharma of Barco added that in his company re-skilling plays a more important role than mere training. “Our talent and skill management are around two dimensions, one is engagement and second is enablement. We have our own universities which create internal modules for training. For the last 4-5 years, we have also been organising behavioural training. To break the monotony, we started job rotation,” he ended.
In keeping with tradition, the event also offered an opportunity to engineering college students from RV College of Engineering, Bengaluru. The bright youngsters are part of the Ashwa Racing Team and presented their innovative ideas to an attentive audience.
The event ended with BFW felicitating its six partners, while Sanjay Bhan, director, ITP Media (India) felicitated Raghavan and Praful Shende, chief sales & marketing officer, BFW.
Raghavan thanked the delegates for their patience and Bibhor Srivastava delivered the Vote of Thanks.

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