I would demarcate the Indian industrial growth in four decades of 1980-1990, 1991-2000, 2001-2010 and from 2011 till date. These four decades are an important era of futuristic growth in India. Among these, the last decade starting from 2011 started bringing in transformation associated with Industry 4.0 technologies. The Indian industries came a long way from manual operations to CNCs to PLCs and industrial computers to use of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
India is certainly joining the league of the countries adopting the Industry 4.0 and its associated technologies with a slow and steady pace. The progressive Indian industries are preparing a roadmap to maximize the benefits of adopting these latest techniques of digitization which will optimize their operations and make them smart. It is clearly understood that the adoption of such advanced technologies will ensure better value for money and will improve industries' competitiveness which is essential for survival in the globally competitive environment.
Being one of the highly populous countries across the globe, India’s unique advantage lies in its young aspiring population. Over 65% of India’s population is below 35 years of age. The countries at the forefront of driving and adopting Industry 4.0 (such as Germany and other European/Western countries) are having either stagnant or declining population growth. This is not the case with India. We have to take cognizance of this fact and choose and implement the best parts of Industry 4.0 and its associated technologies and make use of human talents in a collaborative manner. I am of the opinion that India should not adopt Industry 4.0 as it is adopted in the West. In fact, we should leverage the best of these advanced technologies and achieve quantum growth. Industry 4.0 is a confluence of trends, technologies, and processes. Though Industrial Internet, Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud Computing, Big Data Management, Data Analytics, 3D Printing, Augmented and Virtual Reality are beyond the flashy catchphrases, one must customize and use these techniques in practice. This digital transformation will reshape every industry and service sector. Therefore, the Indian industries should choose and adopt the best part of Industry 4.0 technologies and make use of the skilled, talented, aspiring human resource for improving their competitiveness which is essential for survival and growth of the business.
Industry 4.0 will compel engineers to become practicing engineers. Today we have practicing doctors, practicing lawyers; but there are very few practicing engineers. Adoption of Industry 4.0 will come up with pre-requite of having practicing engineers at the plant. A practicing engineer means a multitasking professional who applies engineering knowledge, uses world-class manufacturing tools and techniques, and also acquires data analytics skills to understand and interpret patterns to find the most cost-effective solutions. The engineers and managers need to become enablers of the connected enterprise. However, the main challenge is the unavailability of proper infrastructure, in terms of systematic development of manpower and connectivity, which form a major part of the manufacturing industry. Improving connectivity and infrastructure will boost the adoption rate of Industry 4.0 for creating connected enterprises and confidence in the Indian industries to go for it.
In December 2016, we organized a day-long sensitization program on Industry 4.0 at Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies (KIAMS) and invited experts and practitioners from various fields as panelists of the “SMARTECO” conclave. Over 200 CEOs and decision-makers from various manufacturing sectors marked their presence. This conclave cleared that there is a latent need and people at large want to know more about this 4th industrial revolution - Industry 4.0. We realized that we need to first assimilate the essence of Industry 4.0 and mold it in our context for achieving the highest degree of success. To make this possible, a group of industry leaders and solution providers came together under the patronage of S. L. Kirloskar Center for Executive Education (SLKCEE) and founded the Pune City Centre of India’s unique Smart Manufacturing Platform – C4i4 (Centre for Learning in Industry 4.0) on December 11, 2017.
As you know we at C4i4 have been doing mentoring, coaching and hand-holding with the industries. At C4i4, our basic approach is to help industries to enhance competitiveness and productivity with a particular focus to MSMEs and SMEs. We are reaching out to them as they are the ones who require support in adopting and getting accustomed to Industry 4.0. We intend to make them aware of industry 4.0 and help them adopt the best-suited technologies of this industrial revolution.