CII: Aim for innovative manufacturing
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), in association with the Government of Tamil Nadu, organised a one-day conference on manufacturing on December 18, 2008 in Chennai, with the theme, ‘Creating Next Practices in Manufacturing’.
The focus was on topics such as ‘Aligning with emerging consumers’, ‘The growing movement for excellence’, ‘Next practices in manufacturing – the leadership mandate’, ‘Future think – challenges in building the new manufacturing ecosystem’.
According to summit chairman, P S Rajamani, who is the president of Simpson and Co, the manufacturing sector, is witnessing buoyant growth in Tamil Nadu. He added that the manufacturing sector needs to help boost the present GDP and grow at a higher pace clocking more than 10 percent annual growth, thereby leveraging on FDI and generating exports.
“Tamil Nadu is today the most preferred destination for a variety of manufacturing activities, while retaining its position as the only State excelling in traditional and contemporary markets. In order to sustain the competitive edge, manufacturing companies need to shift their focus to innovatively creating domain expertise in product development and design. It is essential that the manufacturing industry embeds the strategy and design element into the value chain, inclusion of which would help in producing better products and meeting the needs of future customers including their latent needs,” he added. Manikam Ramaswami, chairman, CII (Tamil Nadu) and CMD, Loyal Textile Mills Ltd, stated that when the whole world is concerned about global recession and the economic slowdown, it is pertinent for Indian industry, especially from Tamil Nadu, to use this opportunity to scale up in terms of embracing innovative practices.
Elaborating on the themes of the conference sessions, he said that the session on ‘Aligning with Emerging Consumers’ deliberated on key aspects of creating value through innovation, insights on emerging consumers and the inevitable next stage in manufacturing.
The session on ‘Growing Movement for Excellence’ presented strategies on how to grow a lean and green organisation, the roadmap for a digital factory - creating a global shop floor and leveraging manufacturing through agile supply and distribution networks.
In 'Future Think: Challenges in Building the New Manufacturing Ecosystem' the discussion centered around strategies to manage the next- generation workforce, infrastructure: challenges and opportunities, social impact of manufacturing.
M F Farooqui, IAS, principal secretary, Industries Department, Government of Tamil Nadu and K S Sripathi, IAS, chief secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu, were the chief guests at the inaugural and valedictory sessions respectively. The Summit also featured a CEOs panel discussion focusing on the theme ‘Next Practices in Manufacturing: The Leadership Mandate’. Eminent panellists included Stefan Hulsenberg, managing director, BMW India, K Subburaj, chairman, Cethar Vessels, Sriramulu Balakrishnan, managing director, K G Denim Limited; B G Dwarakanath, chief operating officer (PED)- Titan Industries, Ramesh Viswanathan, executive director, Cavinkare Pvt Ltd and A Viswanathan, managing director, Visteon Automotive Systems. More than 200 senior officials from a cross-section of the Indian manufacturing industry took part in the summit.
The CII Southern Region also recommended setting up a council called The Tamil Nadu Manufacturing Competitiveness Council (TNMCC), in order to improve cooperation among various industry clusters and formally handed over the proposal to MF Farooqui.
According to Rajamani, the council’s role could be divided into parts. “Firstly at the industry level where decisions like duties, taxes and incentives could be taken and the other at the sector level. TNMCC’s primary purpose should be to promote the development of the sector’s competitiveness, which in turn would help firms.
"The next step would be to ensure that at an industry/ State level, policies are framed in order to facilitate firms so they can easily acquire, assimilate, and develop the necessary tools and methodologies. The council would be chaired by the chief minister and have representatives from government, industry and academia,” Farooqui said.
“The best brains in the country should invent new processes, instead of imbibing what is taught in institutes. This would help us unshackle the creativity of Indian minds. We can predict that the next two years are going to be tough, therefore I urge Indian entrepreneurs to move forward through innovation to face the challenges of a new world,” he added.
Rajamani added, “The CII joined hands with 165 training institutes in the state to make semi-skilled people employable through training. CII members immediately require 4,000 people and initially the State would bear the training cost. Our target was to train 15,000 people in the first year, but thanks to the slowdown in the market, the number has been scaled down to 4,000. It took nearly eight to nine months to reach this level and the first batch of training will begin soon, with workers being trained in different skill sets. Though we are not promising them jobs, eventually we will help them and the industries.”
While talking at the summit, Mark McGregor, author, originator and coach of Next Practices said, “The business model for the next generation will emerge out of India. India has deep values and culture and the business model for the next generation could emerge by harnessing the inherent potential of the country. Since the western business model is fundamentally broken, the new business model, carved out of your values and culture could benefit the business community across the globe."
He added that "firms should stop resorting to cost cutting initiatives even in these recessionary times. Instead, it is rather pertinent to focus on removing waste so that they can remain competitive."
"Generally companies give problems to be solved to a few teams, but my advice is to convert the entire department into one team to deal with the problem. This would yield the best solution since due to fear of failure the solutions from two or more teams would only be better than the others. Do not dismiss those who committed mistakes as they will not repeat them. There is no guarantee that the new person will not do the same,” he advised.
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