Indians have very good engineering capabilities and, that is why, if an industry focuses on innovation, you will have a far greater chance of success, rather than the model which is based on just being a production machine
One tends to totally agree with Baba Kalyani, chairman, Bharat Forge group, when he says that India needs to get rid of the slave-manufacturing mentality and adopt innovation. As he puts it in his unique style, not mincing any word, according to him Indians have very good engineering capabilities and, that is why, if an industry focuses on innovation, you will have a far greater chance of success, rather than the model which is based on just being a production machine. We cannot be enslaved. We are today slaves in manufacturing.
This is not only the logical next growth step but also a pressing need…a matter of survival. Why? Because if we still have to stick to our old cost and labor advantage, studies have indicated that the productivity of the manufacturing industry in India is approximately 1/5th of the productivity in the manufacturing industry of United States of America. It is about ½ as compared to the productivity levels in South Korea as well as Taiwan.
With such figures, it is not enough to be just wise and adopt/ adept the new technologies, but create and innovate new ones…indigenous and Indianised to the core! Right now, technology comes from somewhere else; we are like slaves putting it together. We have to be our own masters. We have both manpower and mind power but we are using only man power.
Staying with challenges facing the Indian manufacturing and the opportunities that lie latent…and talking specifically about the SMEs, the key challenges that these emerging enterprises face are related to go to market and finding the right niche to play in. SMEs need to find a niche for themselves - there is no point trying to imitate companies many times their size but they must use their own nimbleness and speed and ability to serve a unique set of customers really well, to carve a place for themselves.
Going to market and reaching customers across the world is also expensive and hard to do for people without that experience - so partnering with businesses or individuals who are based where the customers are can really help accelerate the process of finding customers and working with them over the long term. This is not an area where SMEs, even though they are strapped for cash, should try and save expenses- this is compulsory and needs careful thought and attention.
As we are gingerly moving from being doubtful about our growth prospects to being hopeful about the prospects that await us, talking about being at the bottom, ZERO happens to be most sought after figure lately with even Narendra Modi propagating to the manufacturing industry to adopt a 'zero-defect' model while producing goods! Can we then safely hum…A ZERO lies in you… without offending the audience?