By Naresh Purohit
Manufacturing sector in India has been driving economic growth contributing up to 17% to the GDP. India’s manufacturing industry has the potential to exceed USD 1 trillion in revenue by 2025 and it is expected to create 100 million new jobs. But the sector is at an inflection point, especially after the onslaught of the pandemic. The sector is transforming itself with innovative and advanced technologies.
It was the 19th century Industrial Revolution that led to new, fast-paced progress in production and spurred wealth creation. India’s manufacturing sector finds itself in a similar juncture with the challenges from the pandemic which necessitate faster adoption of information technology (IT) to survive and thrive. IT plays the leading role in the modernisation of the manufacturing sector.
Unlike in other industries, the drive for IT modernisation in the manufacturing sector is not fuelled by the need of the workforce to adapt to remote or hybrid working environments. Cutting costs also is not a major motivator. Rather, the manufacturing industry is re-examining its IT models and the IT-driven modernisation stems from the pandemic and its cascading effects on the world at large.
In the wake of COVID-19, leaders in the industry have been tasked with reconsidering standard business procedures, particularly how they align with protecting employees through social distancing practices while still maintaining production schedules.
CIOs are looking for new dynamic technologies to move production forward and eliminate inefficiencies in the existing processes. Aided by the tools of Industry 4.0 they revolutionise production and redefine enterprises. Technological advancements help them increase efficiency and improve connectivity among manufacturers, suppliers, and customers.
This digital transformation in the manufacturing sector is supported by direct government initiatives. The Union government’s Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme is a positive move towards making India an even more attractive manufacturing destination. It covers electronic and technological items as well as industries such as battery manufacturing, cars and auto components, and telecom and networking devices.
Similarly, Samarth Udyog Bharat 4.0 (Smart Advanced Manufacturing and Rapid Transformation Hubs), a Department of Heavy Industries (Ministry of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises) initiative, is India’s push for modern manufacturing strategy to spread technological solutions to Indian manufacturing units by 2025 through methods of awareness creation, training, and demo centres.
About 87% of manufacturing IT professionals believe that hybrid and multi cloud infrastructure is the best IT operating model for the business~
Push for hybrid and multi cloud acceleration
The recent Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Index (ECI) report, a study about the state of global enterprise cloud deployments and adoption plans, reveals that about 87% of manufacturing IT professionals believe that hybrid and multi cloud infrastructure is the best IT operating model for the business. It also found that with about 18% penetration, more manufacturers are running hybrid clouds than in any other industry today.
Manufacturers also reported plans to more than double their hybrid usage within three years and grow their deployments to about 52% penetration within five years. This leap toward modernisation will reshape traditional manufacturing practices and accelerate digital transformation across the industry, but the journey to get there will require a concentrated effort from industry IT leaders.
Manufacturers believe that hybrid and multi cloud will help with this transition, as enterprises are looking to adopt the best suited model to better meet business requirements, gain greater control of IT resource usage and increase speed to deliver on business needs.
Toyota Motor made use of a cloud platform to implement virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) that can support use of 3D CAD design software remotely~
Hybrid cloud offerings in auto sector
Industry 4.0, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is underway, and the transition to adopting hybrid cloud offerings will automate current backend operations, freeing up resources to invest in other modern smart technology. This is most relevant for the automotive sector.
A great example of driving digital transformation in the manufacturing sector can be found at Hero MotorCorp.
The company was using a three-tier infrastructure that was not meeting its business needs—causing bottlenecks on front-end applications that cost employees time while trying to do their jobs efficiently. The infrastructure was time consuming to manage, failing to give the company the agility it wanted.
By shifting to a cloud platform, the boost to application performance was 30%, enabling key management tasks to be handled more efficiently. Straightaway, the queues of delivery trucks held up because of a poor performing management application disappeared. Employee productivity went up 20% and IT system administration productivity ramped up by 70%.
Toyota Motor made use of a cloud platform to implement virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) that can support use of 3D CAD design software remotely. Employees in the Engineering Design Group said this move enabled them to work in a new way, and this became even more important when they were forced to work from home due to the spread of COVID-19. They could continue performing design work without interruptions.
Long journey ahead
Despite the strong push for a transition to hybrid cloud architectures, the manufacturing industry has a long way to go before that becomes a reality. Over 15% of global manufacturers are still traditional and non-cloud-enabled data centers.
Manufacturing’s digital transformation won’t be complete until the industry adjusts its current production methods, including how products are designed, assembled, and delivered to consumers. Hybrid cloud offers features that can impact all operations, from planning to the supply chain. The opportunity to introduce automated processes, and other technologies such as robotics, can reduce unnecessary costs and increase production yield, allowing workers to focus on efficiency and quality rather than output.
The digital architecture behind smart manufacturing isn’t there yet, as most organisations are just utilising digital production tools. To make this transition a reality, manufacturers expect to eliminate legacy data center installations as they grow their hybrid and multicloud developments by more than 30% within the next five years.
As manufacturing continues striving to realise the full potential of Industry 4.0, IT modernisation will free up time, resources, and energy for upgrading the physical tools. The hybrid and multi cloud represent the digital engines powering this progress.
(Disclaimer: Naresh Purohit is Director- Systems Engineering, Nutanix India & SAARC. Views expressed are personal)