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The Paradigm Shift in Industrial Tech Experts share their thoughts during a panel discussion at the recently concluded Entrepreneur India's Tech & Innovation Summit 2023 in Bangalore

By S Shanthi

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

The pandemic has made Industry 4.0 a reality. A McKinsey analysis suggests three outcomes of pandemic: a win for companies that had already scaled digital technologies, a reality check for those that were still scaling, and a wake-up call for those that hadn't started on their Industry 4.0 journeys.

Talking about industrial readiness at the event, Ravi Guttal, CTO and senior vice president, engineering and quality, Aequs said, "Let's roll back 20 years. As a country, we focused more on services and we all know that we have prospered from it. And we are good at it. However, with our nearest competitor China, we have 20 years to catch up. So, now we have to leapfrog the China advantage and become the manufacturing hub of the world. It's possible. Some technology solutions like Industry 4.0 platforms, digital twins, additive manufacturing, and computer vision-based quality assurance are very important because our neighbour has mastered the technology."

He also spoke about vertically integrated clusters and that the efficiencies are very high in that. "We cannot compete with China on cost. So our founder had this vision almost 15 years ago and he started the aerospace cluster which is completely vertically integrated. This means that the part has to travel only 500 metres. So, the concept of a manufacturing cluster vertically integrated, coupled with innovations, which we are good at, will work. There has to be a marriage. But, whenever there's a marriage, there will be some friction," he added.

This is because the clock speed of manufacturing is much slower than the clock speed of technology. So, he feels that the manufacturing sector has to step up and match the clock speed of technology.

Technology adoption and value creation

Technology adoption and value creation go hand in hand. Many businesses are today driving digital transformation, but some are unable to create business value. How we solve for that is a pertinent question today. "We are talking about digital transformation and value creation, and the centerpiece is manufacturing. So, if you look at any manufacturing as a scenario, one is you work on increasing the efficiency by XYZ which is, you don't change anything, bring some additional technology tools and process to increase the efficiency," said Dr. Guru Prasad AS, Head, technology strategy, IoT and sensors, Bosch Global, at the recently concluded Entrepreneur India's Tech & Innovation Summit 2023 in Bangalore.

The second way is increasing the value of new production. "Now, when you look at industrial manufacturing setup, you have a lot of uncertainties. For example, every OEM company will have its own product chain, and every line will be dedicated for a particular part for manufacturing, from absolutely nothing to something on the table at the end of the line. So, at various levels, you need to bring technology to bring value out of it. Decisions should be data-driven, unlike past when it was experience, gut and marketing driven," he added while saying that we need time and once the consumption starts, value rises.

Please do not think that you have a magic web, which can actually quickly give you a value creation immediately after digital transformation. It's a journey. Every company has to go through that journey. Enable data to consume and then bring new products with different values.

Generative AI in industrial tech

Generative AI is turning heads across industries, with ChatGPT and DALL.E. Microsoft has made a $10 billion investment in ChatGPT, Google has announced Bard AI, so on and so forth. Will language models allow the manufacturing sector to take use ChatGPT or the likes and take their capabilities to the next level?

"The biggest value that AI can bring to manufacturing is fill the talent gap. While a lot of people are getting into the space, it's not a fun thing to go figure out and learn how, say oil is refined. Or how steel is made. So, with Generative AI, you can get models that have an understanding about physics and mechanical engineering and all these disciplines and have the insight to almost operate a plant, troubleshoot the problems in a plant, come up with insights in real-time. So, that will be the best and the most urgent use case and I don't see enough people solving for it," said Vipin Raghavan, Cofounder and CEO, Haber.

Sectors that are the early adopters

Deeptech has been transforming the global manufacturing landscape and early adopters are reaping the benefits of increased productivity, efficiencies and lower costs. Soon, deeptech is expected to play an even bigger role in India too to realize its $1 trillion potential.

Which are those sectors within the manufacturing industry which are putting their big bets on large-scale industry? Addressing this question from panel moderator Himadri Ganguly, partner, PwC, at the event, Srivathsa N.S, Senior Engineering Director, Solutions, Innovation & Architecture Group, Unisys said, " The focus has today shifted to sustainability along with operational efficiency and financial efficiency. So the obvious assumption we make is that maybe sectors have a close relationship with the environment and resources. They are the ones who come to the fore, but no, it's across the sectors now."

He added that from FMCG manufacturers, automobile manufacturers and electric companies and to pharmaceuticals, many sectors are readily embracing Industry 4.0 technologies. "They are embracing it in a way where they're transforming themselves or they're transforming the landscape," he said.

All panelists agreed, as they wrapped up, that technology adoption and readiness have put India on a fast track to becoming a manufacturing hub.

S Shanthi

Former Senior Assistant Editor

Shanthi specializes in writing sector-specific trends, interviews and startup profiles. She has worked as a feature writer for over a decade in several print and digital media companies. 


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