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Event Report

With around 140 participants from the crème de la crème of the industry, the 3rd Engineering Summit organised by VDMA was quite a success | By Indira Rao | 

VDMA organised its 3rd Engineering Summit on September 19, 2014 at Mumbai. The summit has been growing in terms of participation since its inception in 2012 and the event this year witnessed around 140 participants. Talking on the summit, Rajesh Nath, MD, VDMA India said, “The summit is a very focused event and is the once a year meeting point for the VDMA members present in India. We have topics of discussion always relevant to the industry that are important to our members.”

The summit was quite an action packed event and the entire day saw eminent speakers from the government body, the German Consulate and other areas who shared their knowledge and experiences on a common platform. “It is an event our members look forward to each year in a new city. The event this year was a huge success and our members were very happy with the summit and felt the day worth spent,” averred an enthusiastic Nath.

The summit started off with a welcome from Nath who mentioned that the GDP growth had dipped to below 5% levels in the past two years. India’s lumbering economy registered its fastest growth in two and a half years for the quarter ended in June 2014. The GDP grew at 5.7% compared with a provisional 4.6% expansion in the previous three months. This growth pick-up was mainly on account of rebound in manufacturing and mining sectors. “This positivity is only triggered after the elections and the unanimous victory of Narendra Modi and bringing in the new Government into power,” added Nath.

The Chief guest, Michael Siebert, consul general of the Federal Republic of Germany gave an oveview of the contribution of the German industry in India. He mentioned that today, there are over 1450 German companies present in India, together creating several lakh jobs in this country. In Asia, India is Germany’s second most significant market. With the second fastest growing services sector in Asia, India has emerged as an important back office destination for global and fortune 500 companies, also for Germany. “Today, Europe is India’s largest trading partner, and Germany makes up for the biggest part of it. Our bilateral trade is close to 20 Million Euro, and it is growing again after two difficult years,” said he.

Bhushan Gagrani, CEO of the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) gave a very interesting presentation on the growing business opportunities in Maharashtra. Ulrich Ackermann, MD, Foreign Trade Division within VDMA Frankfurt elaborated how the Indo-German relationship has grown over the years.

Out of the many things he stated what clearly stood out was that while India was Germany’s 20th largest trade partner in 2011 (Statistisches Bundesamt, 2012), the previous year saw India climbing up the ladder finishing as 10th largest partner in the mechanical engineering sector.

Another highlight of the event was their Knowledge Partner – BDB India releasing a publication on “An Overview on Indian Manufacturing Industry”. VG Ramakrishnan, managing director, South Asia, Frost & Sullivan presented the keynote address on “trends in Indian manufacturing industry”.

Another area that the summit focussed was on skill development. Nath avowed that the vocational training project of VDMA in cleaning system and facility management was progressing well. “Around 250 youths have already been trained and the response from the industry offering placements has been very encouraging.

These youths, primarily from humble backgrounds, are being absorbed in the facility management industry with a good starting salary,” mentioned Nath. Besides the two centres in New Delhi at GMR Foundation and DB Tech, they just commenced the centre in Mumbai at Don Bosco School. Nath also thanked VDMA members – Karcher and Hako for providing their equipment free of charge at these training centres.

AM Joseph gave an overview of the present educational system in India and the contribution of DB Tech (Don Bosco Institute of Technology) in shaping up the underprivileged youth. The second session saw Rahul Gangal, prinicipal, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants talk about “India Post Elections – Kya Ache Din Ayenge”. The last speaker, Sujata Banerjee, trainer on Intercultural issues, Germany, spoke about the old and new challenges and opportunities in Indo-German co-operations from an intercultural perspective.

The last session of the summit was the much awaited panel discussion on “Leadership in Engineering Industry”. The esteemed panellists were: Debasis Nandi, MD, Lenze Mechatronics; Ramesh Palagiri, MD, Wirtgen India; Anton Reinfelder, MD, Groz, Beckert Asia; Suresh Vasani, MD, Lechler India; Ruediger Schroeder, MD, Karcher India. The discussion was moderated by Rajesh Nath.

One of the unique things about the VDMA Engineering Summit is that it is restricted to the senior management. Seconding, Nath stated, “We provide this unique opportunity especially for the heads of the organisations to meet each other and discuss common issues faced. Further, the deliberations during the summit were based on strategic issues like growth in manufacturing industry, skill development and leadership. All these aspects help the members to be geared to meet the future challenges.”

The members had the unique opportunity under this platform to network amongst themselves and meet the other VDMA member companies from varied sectors. Pradeep Shoran, AGM-marketing, KUKA Robotics India who was present at the summit said, “It was wonderful to see so many German companies actively doing business in India. Every one present in this summit was interested in how to improve and simplify the business environment between the two countries. There are many challenges to overcome but huge opportunities still to exploit. Overall, it was a good networking event.”

PL Muthusekkar, managing director at Nord Drivesystems India also had very encouraging things to say about the summit. “VDMA has been an active and very supportive platform for German companies in India. The highlight of such summits is the networking and getting an insight into what ails and encourages the industry.”

Sanjay Kulkarni, MD, Pilz India also averred that this was his third visit to the summit and that he was really impressed with the way the event had grown through the years. “It was indeed a great learning opportunity because of the focussed agenda on manufacturing, skill and leadership. “India Post Elections-Kya Ache Din Ayenge” was useful for our future planning. Apart from informative sessions and discussions it was a very good event for networking within VDMA member companies”.

Nath too was pretty pleased with the audience feedback and when asked about next year’s event, he stated, “This is still under discussion but as we have broadly covered both the South and the West, it is more inclined to be scheduled in the Northern part of India. The key topics would certainly be relevant to the industrial scenario.” PL Muthusekkar, managing director at Nord Drivesystems India also had very encouraging things to say about the summit. “VDMA has been an active and very supportive platform for German companies in India. The highlight of such summits is the networking and getting an insight into what ails and encourages the industry.”

Sanjay Kulkarni, MD, Pilz India also averred that this was his third visit to the summit and that he was really impressed with the way the event had grown through the years. “It was indeed a great learning opportunity because of the focussed agenda on manufacturing, skill and leadership. “India Post Elections-Kya Ache Din Ayenge” was useful for our future planning. Apart from informative sessions and discussions it was a very good event for networking within VDMA member companies”.

Nath too was pretty pleased with the audience feedback and when asked about next year’s event, he stated, “This is still under discussion but as we have broadly covered both the South and the West, it is more inclined to be scheduled in the Northern part of India. The key topics would certainly be relevant to the industrial scenario.”

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