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  • Revathy Nair

Industry 4.0: Is India Ready for It?

Updated: Sep 9, 2020

"Industry 4.0 has become a buzzword these days. It's everywhere. Do we need another industrial revolution?"

" Yes, we do. why ? For that we need to go back in time in little"

A Brief History of Industrial Revolution

When we look at the history, the first industrial revolution introduced in the 18th century made a transition from agricultural societies into industrialized. with mechanization, for example, steam engines. After that with the second industry revolution propelled a quick and continuous industrialization like running mass production lines with the help of innovations like electricity. The third industrial revolution paved the way for the rise of technologies like electronics that made an effect in every field mainly telecommunication and computers.

So, the first three revolutions have transformed the way our economies and societies functioned. And now it’s time for the fourth revolution or in short industry 4.0. "

Well, that's great. But for what is the significance of industry 4.0 in a country like India?”

As we take a look at the progress that we have achieved both in technical and social aspects, for a developing country with so much potential, industry 4.0 offers an amazing opportunity for India to become a technologically advanced nation.

“Okay, but my question is - whether India is ready for the Industrial revolution 4.0 or not?”

“Good question. Lets explain that in detail.”

Why India is looking forward to Industry 4.0?

The manufacturing industry India is constantly striving to overcome the potential challenges both technical and economic wise. Coming back to Industry4.0 so, what are the top three trends of Industrial revolution 4.0 that organizations can use - AI, IOT and digitization can help in this. How?

With the influence of top technologies like IoT, cloud computing, AI, we can resource in its full efficiency, resulting in boosting the production capacity, that enables Indian production units in the mass production of quality goods saving both cost and time. More productivity means reduced time-to-market. So, the overall investment can be reduced. Also, with the increased intervention of machines, the transparency of the processes will increase thereby improving the overall efficiency.

For example, when it comes to manufacturing goods India has always been opting for medium technology standards. This means that our manufacturing technology stands in between the low technology, low-quality manufacturing approach by China, and the high technology, high-quality manufacturing approach by European countries. But nowadays both these countries are looking forward to shifting to medium technology manufacturing.

So, through adopting the fourth industrial revolution India will be able to maximize productivity (thus, profitability) not only in the manufacturing sector but also in the whole business landscape.

That’s, why Indian companies are ready to adopt Industry 4.0 across functions such as manufacturing, supply chain, logistics, and procurement, etc. They believe that it can enhance their operating profits by 40% at less than 10% of the planned capital expenditure.

India’s strengths over others in adopting the Industrial revolution 4.0

How prepared is India to adopt the fourth industrial revolution? Let’s take a detailed look into this matter.

● India, the country with the second position when it comes to the population has a technically qualified young population with a lot of potential to lead the fourth industrial revolution.

● India’s position among the world’s 10 largest manufacturing countries is 6 owing to the contribution of its manufacturing sector into the GDP. According to IBEF, The Indian government will increase the contribution by the manufacturing sector to GDP from 16% to 25%. This means that India can reach the top position in the future.

● The popularity and way the Indian economy is accepting the ‘Make in India’ initiative looks promising for setting a strong foundation for Industry 4.0. This initiative can be seen just like the ‘Industry 4.0’

● The government is also coming with several favorable policies like National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020 (NEMMP) and Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid land Electric Vehicle. This will also benefit the growth of the technology sector in India.

What India Lacks to Drive Towards Industry 4.0?

Now we have seen what’s our advantage in adapting Industry 4.0, it’s time to look at what holds us from implementing Industry 4.0.

● Even though there is a large number of educated young minds, there is a shortage of skilled or trained workforce. According to KPMG, the percentage of formally skilled workforce is 4.7%. Especially when you need individuals with the right understanding of sophisticated technology like AI, big data, and IoT.

● At present as compared to other countries, in India, for every 10,000 factory workers, there are only 3 installed robots.

● Lack of proper infrastructure as compared to other Asian countries like Japan, China, Singapore, etc to use the potential of skilled and semi-skilled workforce effectively.

● Capital needed for building the infrastructure.

How India is Preparing itself for Industry 4.0?

The heavy industries and public enterprises ministry, India is already into setting up centers aiming to facilitate SMEs implement Industry 4.0 in four major institutes in India. They are Institutions like the Center for Industry 4.0 (C4i4) Lab Pune, IIT-Delhi-AIA Foundation for Smart Manufacturing, I4.0 India at IISc Factory R & D Platform, Smart Manufacturing Demo & Development Cell at CMTI.

These centers will help in providing adequate knowledge for businesses especially related to manufacturing technologies so that they can achieve increased efficiency and productivity.

Also, sectors like healthcare FMCG, telecom is already adopting Industry 4.0. One of the industries which shows a promise is the automobile industry. For example, Bajaj Auto is one of the first automobile company in India which commenced automation in the year 2010. At present 2010, they use 100-120 Co-bots or collaborative robots in their production unit.

Maruti Suzuki also has implemented around 1,700 robots in its manufacturing unit.

Final Question: Is India ready to jump into Industry 4.0?

India has just started it’s a journey in adopting all the Industry 4.0 or fourth revolution t it’s economy and it is still taking the baby steps. But it is true that there a lot more things that remain to be done.

● Come up with programs that can provide eligible individuals the training for acquiring skill sets and knowledge on Industry 4.0 related technologies.

● Focus more on the existing infrastructure and technology asset rather than undertaking capital expenditure for industrialization.

● Adopt smart factories or smart manufacturing.

● Implement policies and initiatives in the right way without any chances of failure.

For India, Industry 4.0 is not just about implementing the latest technologies or automating processes. It’s about creating opportunities and a better living standard. It’s not that easy. but by embracing the right strategy Industry 4.0 can transform the lives of billions of people.

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