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Industry 4.0 

Smart operations: An imperative for the future of manufacturing

Manufacturing is emerging as one of the high-growth sectors and India aims to be a global manufacturing hub

Led by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion and through initiatives like “Make in India,” “Skill India,” and “National Manufacturing Policy,” India aims to raise the contribution of the manufacturing sector to 25 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2025. These efforts have already shown some results with India being ranked 30th on the WEF global manufacturing Index in 2018. In H1 of 2019–2020, the Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) in the Manufacturing sector in India stood at US$ 405.88 billion. 

Despite these initiatives, manufacturing organisations are facing numerous challenges and undergoing unprecedented changes. Growing competitive pressures, increasing costs, lack of skilled manpower, increasing supply chain complexity, global fragmentation of production and demand, etc., are seen to have forced organisations to relook at ways of doing things. 

The present pandemic has a multiplier effect on existing challenges. It has elevated the demand, supply, and workforce complexities in many ways. With swinging customer sentiments come increased demand volatility. Organisations must start focusing on a well-connected, transparent, and agile supply chain network that is highly responsive to these changing needs.

To achieve this level of flexibility, manufacturing organisations need to consider changing their operating models and embracing new technologies with efficient ways of working. Certain Industry 4.0 concepts around smart factories and digital supply chains can aid in aggressively implementing such measures. On the supply side, the need for a connected network between the organisation’s and the supplier’s manufacturing units is expected to be felt significantly in the near future than in pre-COVID-19 times. 

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