By Vineet Sahni*:
The Indian manufacturers and the Government are focusing on preparing themselves for a big change. The most critical requirement to be able to adopt advanced technologies is to bridge the existing gap of knowledge and skills required for Industry 4.0 and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
The knowledge and skills required of Industry 4.0 and AI are non-existent in India. There is a lot of work to be done to develop the skill-sets in India to be ready for Industry 4.0. The other challenge is the cost of ownership or investments, which will certainly be high. The quality and productivity expectations of the customers will be accomplished with the advancement in technology. The growing industrial relations situation can also be managed through optimising manpower with advanced technologies.
We encourage disruptive concepts. We have to remain sustainable and relevant in a fast-moving customer-driven environment, keep pace with high customer demands and expectations for shorter product cycles, shorter lead times, multiple product variants, models, higher resource efficiency, and shorter response time. It is only through optimum use of technology and disruptive concepts that we can create solutions. We believe in adapting and progressing with market demands and adopting evolution in technology to keep pace with the changing times. To survive, we will have to adapt to the changing environment.
Will there be any revolution to prevent the mankind-killing concepts? I would disagree here, it is not a mankind-killing concept rather mankind optimisation concept. Within manufacturing, not all processes will be adopting industry 4.0 or AI concepts. A few will have to follow traditional processes, it is a matter of viability of deploying the concepts. Part AI and part conventional manufacturing will be the way, and it will follow a gradual progression.
There was opposition to computers in the initial years, but today without computers life is difficult. There has been automation in the manufacturing process and technological advancements will go on. Machines alone cannot understand the intricacies of business, only a human mind can. Machines alone are not adept at resolving complex situations which can be solved only with human intervention.
We believe both up-skilling and re-skilling of people will be required. Smooth functioning requires re-skilling, for example, the input of the right data is crucial for traceability and managing product liability. Skill-sets are required for accuracy and speed, for which the employee has to be trained. Introduction of SAP HANA (System Application & Products / High-performance Analytic Appliance) to have a complete integrated system real-time analytics. Accelerated business process to deliver more business intelligence is an example of using technology to manage the complex business environment, which needs highly skilled resources.
Handling of electronics, for instance, is also a skill that will have to be ensured, as handling LED lighting requires adequate knowledge of electro static discharge environment. For all electronics and sensors, the future will require trained engineers with adequate knowledge and skills required to manufacture and advance the products.
Electronics manufacturing and design, IT skills like software programming, data analysts etc will thrive. Machines will be fitted with sensors, to connect with each other to manufacture seamlessly and efficiently to customer’s expectations.
Almost all industries will be affected in different ways and time will tell about the impact. However, more precision requirements and complex processes will have direct correlation with Industry 4.0 / AI. We will have to understand ourselves and then sensitise the organisation to the last level to ensure complete buy-in of the technology. It ensures that people are not threatened with the advent of advanced technologies. Improvement or new technology might create disruptions but will also pave the way for newer opportunities.
Front load skilling will have to be done to ensure that organisations are ready by the time the need arises. Induct talent that is already equipped and skilled for disruptive technology. Some resistance to change is expected, but then one needs to choose between survival and extinction. We all know that today’s way of working will not meet the future challenges of improving quality, managing complexity and reducing cost simultaneously.
Change in technology calls for adapting these changes. Organisations, as also educational institutions, need to gear up to cater to the talent requirements of the future and train their manpower for this inevitable future which is right around the corner.
(*Vineet Sahni is CEO and Senior Executive Director, Lumax Industries Limited)