The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a damaging blow to the global manufacturing industry by reducing demand, supply, and causing workforce availability challenges. The world is restarting, implementing safe work procedures and flexible strategies. Now it is up to countries like India to stand tall and take positive actions that inspire the world to strive towards a better and sustainable future. To achieve this goal, India must focus on building its manufacturing scale, as the pandemic has revealed a fatal flaw of depending on foreign suppliers with the country’s energy future.
The Current Scenario
COVID-19 pandemic is suspected to cost India nearly Rs 10 lakh crore revenue loss. Additionally, nearly 77% of economically active adults in India had lost income due to the slowdown in demand and manufacturing contraction during this pandemic. The manufacturing industry contributes almost 20% of the GDP in India and it holds the key to create jobs, bring in more investment, start industrial growth, urge R&D improvement, support growth needs within the country, create export capacity, and bring in revenue. This self-sustaining circle can bring positive change within India as it has done for China and transformed it into the ‘manufacturing giant’ we all know.
How to Go About It
The need of the hour is to control the supply chain and manufacturing industries to maintain the availability of products, maintain production cost, create demand, and create jobs (manufacturing employs ~25% of India’s working population). The government of India understood the importance of scaling the manufacturing industry and came forward with initiatives like ‘Make in India’ to build a manufacturing powerhouse. And as we are going through the crises that are revealing the importance of manufacturing to restore India, initiatives are needed to be enforced that can utilize the opportunities through investment in manufacturing.
India’s manufacturing economy is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2025 for very good reasons. However, for that to happen, the country needs to focus on manufacturing. Additionally, manufacturing transformation in the country needs to adopt a few operational changes besides policy reformation.
Digital Approach towards Business
Covid-19 spread has made bare the importance of quick transition towards Digital processes. The industries worldwide are responding by initiating digital transformation to maintain employee health and operational security in times of crises. Digital approach towards business is presenting advantages like-
- Problem-solving in digital interfaces
- Communication management
- Adaptability to a new and flexible digital environment
- Multiple digital platform collaboration capability
- Resource management through digital channels
- Organizational skills
- Better time management
- Ability and acceptance of new technology use
- Information safety and usage
This approach is not only maintaining employee and client safety but also assuring operational integrity. The movement can give rise to technological growth within the country and raise tech aptitude levels within the nation’s workforce.
To become globally competitive, India needs to implement intelligent manufacturing that offers-
- Fewer errors in the process
- Less waste of resources
- Less requirement of the human touch in repetitive work
- Remote process control
Such advantages can reduce the operational cost while offering control over product quality and reduce cost overheads, thus allowing India to claim export markets and generate revenue. Intelligent manufacturing will also initiate industrial growth within the country and bring in more investment with access to globally recognized tech research centres, opening the path for transformation.
Reinventing Business Value Chain
Considering the crisis, India needs to analyse the impact and implement strategies to navigate the unfamiliar business environment. The strategies, that can offer operational intelligence in the presence of rising costs, shrinking capacity, and reduced customers demand, have to be introduced as policies and initiatives within the country. Supporting operations like freight transportation and logistics markets also have to adapt to a much more agile infrastructure to appear competent to manage the business in the face of any crisis and attract investors. New supply chain resilience has to resonate with customer-centricity to reshape the future of the manufacturing industry.
India’s current population is 138 crore, of this, about 65% are said to be in the working age. Digital education has emerged as a clear winner during this pandemic around the world. The government and private education sectors need to invest and adapt to these online and digital models to teach and re-skill the workforce. The Government needs to utilize the existing internet infrastructure to re-start education programs with changed, flexible, adaptable models for a young workforce.
Involving nodal agencies can bring access to information in rural areas. Making knowledge and education available to India’s huge workforce is the only way to reach, inspire, and restart the country to make the ‘New Normal’ work for us.
That can only happen when the Government and private education entities have joined hands to build and utilize the digital infrastructure that promises to bring positive changes to our nation and the world.
India has a great potential to become the world’s next manufacturing hub and the country’s initiatives like Make in India, Aatmanirbhar Bharat, or Vocal for Local initiatives highlight the intent for growth. However, more efforts are needed from the private sector and the Government to implement transformative changes, policies and attracting investment to see positive changes into reality.