IT Driven Smart Manufacturing

More than 115 lakh manufacturing enterprises all over India command a 7.04% share in India’s GDP. India’s manufacturing industry is on rise and holds the potential to alleviate the economy out of its relative stagnancy. The ‘Make in India’ campaign launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi provided the necessary impetus for this sector to realise its full potential. The SME and MSME are considered important pillars in the purview of Indian industries due to its promise of improving the conditions of the Indian workforce which currently lies on agriculture.
However, one thing that has been often overlooked is consumer behaviour, which has drastically changed since the coming of social media and ecommerce but continues to be an important aspect. This has necessitated a change in the way manufacturing is done-from a labour intensive mechanical process (otherwise known as traditional manufacturing) to an information technology (IT) base process, which is more economical and sophisticated. By adopting new technologies, manufacturing companies can reduce costs by 20-30% by utilising resources more optimally. This will make the ‘Make in India’ products more competitive. The SMEs that cannot afford IT tools can easily resort to cloud based IT and increase productivity.

Smart Manufacturing- To Stay Competitive in the Connected World

It is possible to stay competitive in today’s market with help of emerging technologies such as demand sensing, load balancing, manufacturing intelligence, directed manufacturing processes and supply chain management etc. Here is a look at a few areas which can be transformed in manufacturing by use of IT,
1. Digital Integrated Production Planning and Shop Floor Control: By using advanced manufacturing IT tools during operations, the manufacturing companies can achieve visibility require to manage en-to-end processes. Many manufacturing industries currently use ERP systems to a limited extent: most manufacturing operations are done via scheduling, spreadsheets, e-mails, job cards etc. There is no real time data flow as such. This affects productivity and increases cost. Smart manufacturing with its tools can definitely aid the manufacturing companies with easing data flow. 
2. Supply Chain Visibility: Supply Chain Visibility or SCM is a key item that helps in final product availability at the right time and price and raw material control. In the past, SCM has seen the use of various sporadic and incongruent digital tools that has created a stagnant system, affecting end-to-end visibility. An integrated tool provided by IT can definitely help to nip this gap in connectivity.

3. Cloud Based ERP: The value of cloud based networking has been realised by various manufacturing companies who are actively using cloud based business networks instead of in-house ERP systems to connect their trading partners. This allows the companies to share all of that smartness generated on the factory flow during the process of manufacturing with the entire value chain, and that too in real time. Some have already started while some are yet to adopt it but this trend is sure catching up fast!
4. Social Media Influence & Data Analytics: We all know the power of Social Media-it helps us to widen our reach, connect directly with customers, build a brand name and address grievances and so on. It plays a pivotal role in analysing consumer behaviour. It greatly affects consumer purchase decisions. Analysing the social media data is crucial to make necessary product changes to perfectly suit the customer expectations. IT is definitely a key player in this.
5. 3D Printing: 3D printing (or ‘additive manufacturing’) is a potential business model disruptor and market-maker. The cost and efficiency benefits are obvious – the ability to produce small-lot or highly customized parts in an ‘on-demand’ setting. Integration of additive manufacturing into existing supply chain can help to build capability and enable one to seize rapidly emerging opportunities.
The adoption of IT driven manufacturing will give rise to additional investments with respect to IT tools and training which many SMEs and even large manufacturing enterprises are still unsure of.  A good move on the part of the government can be to introduce training programs at subsidised rates so that SMEs can understand the benefits of IR driven manufacturing.
With the government’s plans to allocate billions of rupees to enable high speed connectivity across the nation, it becomes easy to adopt IT driven manufacturing even in interior places and produce products that can stand out in the global market. 
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About the Author: Arjun N

Founder of SolutionBuggy who has about 11+ years of experience in manufacturing industries. An entrepreneur with astute sales and marketing skills.

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