Manufacturing in India: The post COVID-19 era
Milan Thakkar, CEO, Walplast India shares insights on how does the future of the manufacturing sector look like in the coming years
With the Indian government slowly relaxing lockdown norms and the economy opening up for business, manufacturers across sectors are slowly resuming operations. Keeping the social distancing norms and restrictions in mind, manufacturers have to not only tackle the hurdles of bringing back its workers and productivity to pre-lockdown period but also be prepared for any such emergency measures in the near future. Businesses across the world are preparing themselves to tackle any unforeseen scenarios in the near future. So that brings us to the most important question, ‘what would the future of the manufacturing sector look like in the coming years?’
The adoption of technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and Blockchain is expected to accelerate in the manufacturing sector in the coming years. As per a recent NASSCOM report, the pandemic has acted as a catalyst for the adoption of such technology in the manufacturing sector. This need has arisen currently due to the shortage of labour and the importance of tracking consumption trends across the country. This will include integration of technology in the manufacturing, supply chain, sales and marketing process that will help streamline the entire procedure and cut costs. While technology was being integrated before the lockdown, its implementation in a post COVID-19 era can only be determined on how manufacturers would like to balance the responsibilities being divided between its labour force and the technology. Technological integration can also be used to enhance safety norms at factories. In recent times, news about the usage of thermal cameras with AI software to determine if social distancing norms are being followed are one of the few examples wherein technology was used in order to ensure workforce safety and health.
Workforce Safety and Health
The lockdown and pandemic have made many Indian manufacturers realize the importance of workforce safety and protection. While manufacturers are taking several measures to bring back the labour force, it will become important for them to implement safety norms in the future to ensure a healthy and productive workforce. This takes the highest precedence as factories around the country slowly opens up. With most of the labour force either working or awaiting new developments from home over the past 3 months, there will be concerns about the employee’s mental and physical well-being. With rising mental health as well as physical issues, manufacturers would also need to put in place policies that can help make work from home (WFH) policies more comfortable and flexible experience for their workforce.
The Indian government’s call for an Atmanirbhar Bharat or self-reliance comes in response to the rising sentiment of countries across the world wanting to shift their business from China to India. With the Indian government calling for the nation to buy products made by Indian companies, manufacturers would gain an advantage through this movement and could expect sales to increase exponentially in the coming years. In the coming years and continued government support, India can definitely take over China and become a manufacturing hub in the near future.