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Can India turn itself into the next global manufacturing hub?

From left: Amrit Acharya, chief executive officer, Zetwerk; Amit Khatri, co-founder, Noise; and Arun Kapur, president, MicroTek International Pvt. Ltd.Premium
From left: Amrit Acharya, chief executive officer, Zetwerk; Amit Khatri, co-founder, Noise; and Arun Kapur, president, MicroTek International Pvt. Ltd.

The first dialogue of Zetwerk Smart Manufacturing Summit 2022 saw a cross section of thought leaders from the world of manufacturing come together to discuss what the country needs to get a spot on the global manufacturing map

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NEW DELHI : The first dialogue of Zetwerk Smart Manufacturing Summit 2022, titled ‘Shaping the Future of Manufacturing: Resilience in Supply Chain," saw a cross section of thought leaders from the world of manufacturing come together to discuss what the country needs to get a spot on the global manufacturing map, the roadblocks in the journey, the way forward and the role of supply chain resilience in it.

“Supply chain is something which has come to the fore over the last two years. Earlier, the disruption was for one or two days or a week. Now, it is two years of disruption. A reconfiguration has happened, and many companies are doing a lot of analytics around supply chain and risk management. I think it is pivoting," said Shalil Gupta, business head, Mosaic Digital.

Emphasizing the importance of having an integrated approach to the supply chain, Amrit Acharya, chief executive officer, Zetwerk said: “To get real agility, firstly the upgradation of the technology table is very important, both for making the product and in terms of secondary technology for workflows, process orientation, etc. Credit is another very important part, especially now with interest rates increasing, the pinch will ultimately fall on the last mile itself."

In the manufacturing space, creating agility can prove to be a challenging task, unlike in the service industry, where the deliverables can be customized and reconfigured. “When you try to look at a problem on a piecemeal basis, you can identify gaps like no timely access to raw material, or financing issues, or outstanding receivables. But, to actually solve them, you have to take a leap of faith in terms of refinancing the entire supply chain or creating a new tier-II or tier-III supply chain below it, which is hard to do," Acharya said.

The manufacturing industry in India sees a bright future with the push towards Atmanirbhar Bharat. “India as a country, with the kind of population and consumption we have, can consume everything that we make. The second part is exports. With the kind of manpower we have, which is still evolving. There is definitely a lot of scope, and I think we are heading in the right direction," said Amit Khatri, co-founder, Noise.

In 2011, the investment in manufacturing IT was around $10 billion, which has grown by $10 times in 2021 to $100 billion. So, can India expect to see the same growth in the manufacturing sector as was seen in the IT sector a few years ago?

“Now the focus is on manufacturing. Everything has to be technology-driven, and a lot is coming up if you see Industry 4.0, smart factories, etc, who are trying to put the pieces together. If someone can stitch the story together and help understand the gaps, that is going to make that big difference," said Manish Misra, Chief Innovation Officer, Panasonic India.

In terms of government policies, the sector is getting the right push from the backend.

When the pandemic hit two years ago, manufacturing plants were shut for the initial few weeks, and the whole value chain stopped. So, what are the key ingredients to make the environment anti-fragile? “Agility, leadership, the ability of an organization to dribble around and find alternatives and technology are the four key elements," said Arun Kapur, President, MicroTek International Pvt Ltd.

The need of the hour is to build a platform at scale where companies and the government work in unison towards creating resilient supply chains.

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