Foundation to Industry 4.0

For India to adopt industry 4.0 successfully, it is critical that we don’t skip implementation of industry 2.0 & industry 3.0. An attempt to ride on the digital wave when the base level of shop floor productivity is not achieved can prove counterproductive. Industrial automation is at the core of industry 2.0 and industry 3.0. Industrial automation is all about seamless integration of material handling automation, automation of equipment manufacturers, ERP, robotic process automation, MES, PC based interface solution for digital connect, IoT and telematics for smart products. However, in India today, very few end-to-end solution providers exist and even those are highly fragmented as they offer a narrow service in the entire industrial automation value chain.

Smart manufacturing does not mean “people-less manufacturing”. People will continue to be at the core of all operations. Concerns about job loss is more a myth as the expected manufacturing expansion will not happen unless balanced automation with much-improved productivity is ensured. This will call for re-skilling of people and creation of more job opportunities. Manufacturing workforce with advanced training and skills will provide the key competitive advantage to companies. Switching of occupations, re-skills, better education is a necessity and no longer a sufficient condition.

Automation is the fulcrum to address the concern of the increased cost of capital. A blend of effective cost of automation & ergonomic/ operating efficiency focused frugality (India-centric approach) is necessary. There are major improvements in operating efficiency parameters that outweigh the cost of capital linked to automation and ensure adequate payback in the high growth scenario.