Payers in the automotive sector should utilize this period to invest and realign their business. Here's a primer on how they can do it
After some 10-weeks in lockdown, India is opening up. As things limp back to supposed-normalcy, the news related to the coronavirus epidemic seems to be getting grimmer. While India had successfully curbed the spread with "the most stringent quarantine" in the world, the numbers are rising again as the nation opens up.
Yet, a continuous lockdown is not an option, as post a period of intense economic inactivity, now is the time to start building anew. The same is true for all sectors of the economy, especially so for the automotive industry.
To begin with, the automotive sector is one of the worst impacted by the epidemic. Before the lockdown, there was an apparent reduction in the number of car sales, and the ongoing outbreak has only compounded the issues. The sales of passenger vehicles in India declined by almost 18%, as close to 27.75 lakh units were sold until the March-ended fiscal. In comparison, last fiscal, namely FY19, 33.77 lakh units were sold, as per data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).
The primary concern is that with the ongoing epidemic and its impact on the economy, recovery in the automotive sector seems a little over-stretched. There are predictions that sales could fall by another 15-20% if the scenario does not improve. In a way, the recovery is dependent on the nation's ability to reign in the epidemic, the longer it stretches, the lengthier would be the road to recovery.
In this scenario, what are the options for players in the automotive sector? What are the steps that car-sales showroom, garages, and others can take to ensure a seamless workplace?
Plenty. To begin with, it is vital to understand that the coronavirus epidemic is a tragic blip in the Indian story. While there would be short-term impacts, the long-term potential for growth remains the same. With the biggest middle-class segment in the world, the economy is bound to recover in the ensuing days. Hence, players in the automotive sector should utilize this period to invest and realign their business.
Here's a primer on how they can do it:
Managing the manufacturing plant
One of the primary responsibilities of the automotive manufacturer is towards its employee. To ensure the well-being of the workers is a pre-requisitive. There have been numerous instances of how a little laxity in maintaining social distancing norms could lead to a spurt in cases. Also, government norms need be adhered to stringently. Currently, only a fraction of the workforce is allowed to operate from the factory; a majority of the non-essential staff has to continue work from home (WFH). This can be a bit challenging to integrate live workforce with the one that is WFH.
Coping with inventory
With the lockdown in place, the automotive sector had to deal with the scenario, where the warehouses were full because of zero sales. The cars piled up in the warehouses, leading to an unsavory situation for the company. Managing this inventory, in addition to the supply chain, is a crucial bit that every one company will have to address.
Automation & digitization
Companies in the automotive sector now have the unique opportunity to embrace digitization like never before. Given the slump in the economy, this could be a great time to invest in the future. Through the usage of IT tools, companies can streamline their businesses and make it more resilient and productive. The critical aspect of productivity is to ensure smooth integration of the workforce, and managing customer expectations.
One of the exciting companies that are helping automotive companies with their digital transformation is Hyperlink InfoSystem. Over the past couple of years, the company has developed 3200+ mobile apps and designed 1600+ websites for a vast number of firms in India and abroad. The Ahmadabad-based company has launched a solution that is specifically targeted to the automotive sector. The customer relationship management (CRM) product offers unique aspects to companies to manage, retain and build a partnership with existing and prospective customers. From inventory management to lead management, from predictive analysis to asset management, the solution offers different functionalities based on the customers' need.
Harnil Oza, founder & CEO, Hyperlink InfoSystem, highlights the aspects. "This truly is a 'made in India' solution for the automotive industry. We have spent much effort on integrating as many aspects of business in the package. This solution has been designed keeping Indian companies in mind, like say GST. Also, it will be one of the easiest to configure," adding, "we are in talks in few players in the automotive sector and have received a positive response from their end in regards to implementing the solution," he concluded.Digital transformation can be an essential tool to enable business continuity. In the end, the company that invests in the future is going to reap the fruit. By embracing digitization, the companies can ensure that they continue to stay relevant in the 'new normal.'
This is a partnered post