Digital transformation in our business (machine tools and metal cutting as related to our customers’ environment) has been much talked about and experimented for the last few years but its full-fledged adoption has been slow and painful. The reasons are largely to do with diverse unconnected equipment, availability of related infrastructure like connectivity and last mile issues. Competence and the ability to chart a roadmap are the key causes. However, over the last two years, there has been a fair progress. Companies are adopting IoT by connecting devices on their equipment for monitoring them. They are tracking specific outputs like cutting time, idle time, the number of parts produced etc.
Industry 4.0 Engagement in India
As indicated, it has been slow but it appears to be picking up and there is certainly a lot of buzz around it. Companies and industry associations are holding forums to disseminate information and enhance its awareness among the industry players. Programs to get the equipment connected are being discussed and several pilot projects are getting launched. It is expected to pick up pace in the coming year or two.
Specific I4.0 initiatives are under active discussion but its implementation is currently limited to the organized sector only. Many solution providing players – both global and local home grown ones – are getting their act together. However, there still remain large gaps in detailing that are to be filled. This calls for a long-term partnering approach with both partners learning and growing along the way in a trusting environment.
The digital transformation journey of the Indian players differs from their global peers as globally I4.0 is being looked as an alternate for humans for doing mundane data recording and collecting activities as the human resource is scarce and expensive, and also the entire environment is more mature and conducive to automation. Large data analysis needs automation and the requirement of predictive analysis is high.
Meanwhile, in India, with the availability of people and a non-conducive environment, the workability and RoI are under question. Data sets are yet to be structured clearly. From a social perspective, the pressure of providing jobs is high and the environment is yet to be clearly structured. There needs to be a stronger push to make I4.0 happen unlike the global peers.
Enabling Engagement in Digital Ttransformation
Typically, digital transformation is a continuous, long-term initiative with milestone markers. The engagement into it needs to evolve along the way. Thus, it is very important to have a partnering approach with creative financing as we move on. An evolving methodology – right from budgeting to tranche funding, and its accounting – is crucial to make it viable. Digital transformation investments also have high obsolescence rates and a clear understanding, tight monitoring and speedy implementation is the key.
Typically, digital transformation is a continuous, long-term initiative with milestone markers. The engagement into it needs to evolve along the way. Thus, it is very important to have a partnering approach with creative financing as we move on.
T K Ramesh
Managing Director and CEO
Micromatic Machine Tools Pvt Ltd