An industrial revolution with digitalisation & IoT at its core

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Updated: Nov 22, 2018 3:04 AM

Companies need to align what they offer to reflect Industry 4.0 and add digital solutions and services to their portfolio.

digitalisation, Make in India, Digital IndiaSMEs run the risk of their business models becoming obsolete because of shifting customer expectations.

With the digitalisation wave generating potential for almost $100 trillion of growth, India is in a strong position to boost its GDP with its emphasis on government programmes such as ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’. The next decade of manufacturing will focus on cognitive solutions that infuse intelligence in all its processes with digitalisation playing a big role in this transition.

Companies face financial and executional roadblocks while undertaking digitalisation. Here, imparting digitalisation training and ensuring its implementation through the entire workforce can benefit the business through increased cost efficiency and productivity. Other likely challenges include strict government policies to non-disclosure of customer data, limiting the scope of Big Data analytics.

Challenges faced by SMEs

While 42% of small and medium enterprises (SME) in India have begun the digitalisation process, only 23% have adopted the IoT. Traditionally, SMEs have been tentative adapting to game changing technologies. However, associating with start-ups and corporations can infuse fresh ideas and experiences, which can help kick-start the process.

SMEs run the risk of their business models becoming obsolete because of shifting customer expectations. It should be the core while strategising to provide indemnity against irrelevant processes in the near future. The biggest hurdle SMEs face is financing a digital overhaul. However, the return on investment on such a move would certainly outdo the financial risks.

Siemens India inaugurated its showcase digitalised Low-voltage Switchgear factory at Kalwa in 2017. The upgraded factory using Siemens’ own digital enterprise technology is the most advanced switchgear manufacturing facility in India and is in sync with the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative. The deployed production methods are expected to be a standard for SMEs. We are now taking our experience of digital transformation to the Indian enterprises through a unique road show called the ‘Ingenuity Tour’—a multicity tour through the industrial corridors of India.

Disruptive technologies have been amidst flattering demand, because of the extent to which they can bring down operational costs, increase organisational efficiency and optimise performance. The cloud technology will face some resistance from a few quarters, especially the large corporate houses and medium scale organisations.

However, the SMEs, because of their size and immediacy in demand, are expected to stoke the need to move on from on-premise models and be the flag-bearers of modern disruptive solutions. Another industrial revolution is on the cards, and this time around, it will have digitalisation and the IoT at its core.

In order to propel India’s growth, digitalisation must be a top management priority on two levels: First, companies need to align what they offer to reflect Industry 4.0 and add digital solutions and services to their portfolio. Second, they must undergo internal transformation to meet the requirements for digitalisation.

India, with its reservoir of human capital and sound technical acumen, has moved up the technology curve despite having leapfrogged certain intermediate stages. But to sustain the inertia, acknowledging the need to revise existing models and adopt digital solutions holds the key.

The writer is head of Digital Factory, Siemens Ltd

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