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The third revolution

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IT in manufacturing

No manufacturer worth his salt can progress without a strong backend technology

There is a critical link between
manufacturing and economic growth. For every Rupee spent in manufacturing, another Rs 30 is added to the economy—this is the largest multiplier of any sector. Manufacturing investments create ripples across the economy, creating jobs and growth in other industries. With that said, the industry is at a turning point.
A lot of new innovations are changing the landscape for the manufacturing industry. There is the emergence of industrial robots, IoT, and 3D printing that is revolutionising manufacturing. In India, while 3D printing is yet to catch on, a significant number are adopting 3D printing in some way, and according to industry reports and our own sources, more will join (those who are not the early adopters of technology). The growth of these technologies is on the verge of being mainstreamed. Manufacturing jobs are becoming increasingly high-tech, requiring a demand for more advanced skills, and as a result, many manufacturers see the talent shortage worsening in the coming years.
However, development in technology and innovation comes with a more globally competitive industry and a stronger economy; and an increase in skilled jobs results in higher wages. Many manufacturers also believe that the adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies will result in hiring additional employees. The industry is seeing advanced manufacturing as a job creator, not a job killer.
Manoj Vachhani, chief information officer, Varroc, says, “We have recently implemented IoT for Industry 4.0 solution. As a part of this digital transformation we are focusing on analysing Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) and Capacity Utilisation (CU) in real time across plant machines, assembly lines and plants. With IoT and Industry 4.0 solutions we are aiming to improve OEE and CU through planning, process and machine utilisation. This will also help us monitor energy consumption from each machine to manage energy costs and drive energy efficiencies.”

people in technology
As manufacturers adopt more advanced technologies, the need to recruit and upskill workers is rising. The key to closing the growing skills gap is public-private partnership – where the education system provides industry-based training and is supported by private sector standards and on-the-job learning. Aligning manufacturing education with industry standards sets high expectations and establishes an effective and critical talent pipeline. It is essential that policy makers advocate for education and job training policies that strengthen the manufacturing workforce.
In terms of the people who manage the IT at the backend for the shop floor, there seems to be an intent demand for them. Korn/Ferry, Heidrick & Struggles, RGF, Hunt Partners, Michael Page and EMA Partners expect manufacturing to be the highest contributor to their revenue this year, with them currently working on at least 40 searches from this sector. Hiring for manufacturing at the CXO levels echoes also the trend at the India’s premier engineering colleges, Indian Institutes of Technology. “With rising labour costs in China, India is becoming the next focus for all the major manufacturing companies,” said Mohit Bharti, associate director at Michael Page India. In the first eight months of 2016, Michael Page has seen double-digit growth in CXO hiring within the manufacturing sector.
“Demand has been quite high this year compared to last year owing to the government (both central and state) spending especially in sectors like power and roads. Also, the automotive sector has picked up both due to the surge in domestic demand and exports,” said Navnit Singh, country head (India) at Korn/Ferry International. Manufacturing has been the highest contributor to the company’s revenue this year, he added.
In spite of the visible shift to a services-based economy, manufacturing is alive and well. As one industry blogger put it, “With the rise of the cloud services economy, it’s easy to forget that the heart of business actually is making ‘stuff’.” Manufacturing firms are leveraging new digital technologies to accelerate output by improving productivity, streamlining operations, and reducing time to market. Mastering effective IT operations however, is crucial to ensure that these technologies deliver the desired competitive advantage.
Earlier there were a lot of challenges to adopt newer IT solutions due to process maturity and limited IT savviness. Initially it took companies time to migrate legacy systems, processes and skill development while deploying solutions and building the centre of excellence. Another challenge was to manage time, scope, SOP and cost of tool to drive business/IT initiative.
Tech firms up the ante
BMC Software’s Sunil Thakur, country manager, India, talks about solutions to enable machine-to-machine communication. He says that Atrium Discovery and Dependency Mapping (ADDM) automatically discovers data centre inventory, configuration, and relationship data, and maps business applications to the IT infrastructure. Atrium CMDB provides a complete, accurate, and up-to-date view of the people, processes, and technologies that make up your business and IT environments. While TrueSight Operations Management goes beyond mere monitoring to handle complex IT environments and diverse data streams to find and resolve availability and performance issues
Autodesk has the Generative design in software technology that lets one create highly optimised designs that meet predetermined goals and constraints. Using shape synthesis algorithms and multiphysics performance analysis in the cloud, the software generates thousands of design options—many that you’d never think of on your own—from a single idea.
Mitsubishi Electric India has the e-F@ctory solution that promises to enhance productivity. S Sriram, general manager, marketing, factory automation and industrial division, says, “An “e-F@ctory-based plant” incorporates a system that is capable of addressing various issues by collecting shop floor data such as production performance, operating performance and quality information from production equipment and devices “directly” and in “real time,” and directly interfacing with enterprise database’s. In other words, the e-F@ctory platform substantially improves quality, work schedules, and productivity, by having significant vertical data integration from shop floor to enterprise.”
Similarly, VARROC has an IT centre of excellence supporting various business transformation initiatives. In line with their corporate strategy and growth plan, VARROC has implemented collaboration tools such as Office365, cloud solutions for HR & compliance; SAP for operations, sales, inventory, financial & HR; business intelligence for real time management decision making and competitive advantage, IoT for improving real time operational efficiency and enhance asset utilisation and governance tools. The HR & SCM improvements have been done through Sharepoint and ERP integrations. Finance consolidation was done for global reporting, data centre co-location and network optimisation. “We use advanced engineering tools such as CAD/CAM, Matlab, Simulink, Simscape, Creo, Pspice, Labview, Ansys Maxwell and rmXpert for new product development. In order to have transparent procurement process we have implemented cloud based ARIBA solution to automate the procurement bidding process and supplier collaboration,” says Vachhani.
The company is looking at implementing MES solution for bar code and traceability which has significant investment from time, cost and technology compatibility perspective aligning with existing assets and people. In the near future the company would also like to expand IoT for plant maintenance and energy saving.
Talking about how the company has been scaling up operations, Ashish said his company has built 60 military cargo aircraft in india. and this they are doing in collaboration with the Tata Group. This programme has a lot of promise for the India based supply chain here. It’s a programme where the company has to demonstrate 50% indigenisation. “We are also looking at helicopter manufacturing for the defence side with the naval utility helicopters Panthers and when we do these programmes we don’t do it with only Airbus is an integrator. We own the platform but when we do establish these programmes we come up with a whole ecosystem of suppliers who feed into these programmes when we fly the airplane and there will be a host of supply chain that comes along. One advantage we see here in addition to the cost arbitrage is also the engineering, re-engineering and frugal engineering aspect of it,” he added.

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