What do we recall when we first hear the term, “Industrial Revolution”? A term in our Economics or Social Science textbooks back in high school, right? It signified major developments in the world of manufacturing and technology, spanning between 17th to 20th centuries.  Who knew we could witness more revolutions in the times we are living? The beginning of 21st century saw the third Industrial Revolution or Industry 3.0 which saw the advent and rise of Information Technology, internet, renewable energy as well as mobile and other connected devices. This phase saw remarkable innovations and changed the way modern world functions.

Several years have passed and now we stand on the cusp of another Industrial Revolution. The fourth industrial revolution or Industry 4.0 has become quite a buzzword. Economies across the globe are all set to adopt it and India is also treading the path in its own way.

What is Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 is a blend of advanced analytics, Big Data, Robotics & Automation, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT) and Process Digitisation across the business value chain.

Why should India adopt Industry 4.0?

  • Advanced analytics would help to enhance production capacity and its quality. The model would shift towards prediction and prevention of defects through data analytics.
  • The adoption of Robotics & automation would shorten production cycle, reduce time-to-market and bring inefficient utilisation of resources.
  • The digitisation of various business processes would lead to cost-saving and a better experience for customer and employees.
  • IoT and connectivity of machine to people and machine to a machine would tighten supply chain and reduce lead times.

According to an analysis by McKinsey, if Indian companies adopt Industry 4.0 across functions such as manufacturing, supply chain, logistics and procurement, they can enhance their operating profits by 40% at less than 10% of the planned capital expenditure.

How is India preparing for Industry 4.0?

  • India is keen on adopting Industry 4.0 and has taken several initiatives. According to IBEF, the Government of India plans to increase the contribution of manufacturing sector to 25% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2025, from the current level of 16%. India is also prepared to face global competition by undertaking the Make in India programme. It is all set to lead the world with Smart Manufacturing.
  • The heavy industries and public enterprises ministry are facilitating the establishment of four centres in the country to help SMEs implement Industry 4.0
  • India’s first Smart factory is being set up at Bengaluru. This smart factory powered by data exchange in manufacturing and the Internet of Things (IoT). This Smart Factory is being developed at the Indian Institute of Science’s (IISc) Centre for Product Design and Manufacturing (CPDM) with funding from The Boeing Company.
  • Andhra Pradesh government aims to turn the state into an Internet of Things (IoT) hub by 2020. The state government plans to set up 10 IoT hubs with the participation of the private sector which will create 50,000 direct employment in various IoT verticals.

Reports state that the Smart factory industry is poised to touch $215 billion by 2025 and most of the major economies in the world are adopting it.

Sectors in India which have adopted Industry 4.0

FMCG: The Indian FMCG sector has started deploying Cobot or Collaborative Robots in their manufacturing process. Cobots are industrial robots that work alongside workers in a factory and require minimal supervision. Factories with weaker infrastructure and limited workforce can leverage Cobots to reduce lead time and do optimum utilisation of capacity.

Telecom: Vodafone Business Services provides smart IoT solutions for connectivity across the range of verticals such as industrial manufacturing, automotive, healthcare, smart city, and utility management.

Healthcare:  Diabetacare’s smart glucometers is a classic example to demonstrate how patients can manage their diabetes better using IoT In the healthcare sector. IoT is making its presence felt in healthcare by connecting devices. This helps patients to keep track of their blood sugar, blood pressure etc.

India should adopt smarter strategies for Smart manufacturing

To leverage the best that technology has to offer us, India must embrace Industry 4.0. Industry 4.0 has just started making inroads in Indian manufacturing and other sectors. Data-based decision making is also being adopted across industries. While certain steps have already been taken there is a lot more that remains to be done. There needs to a shift in mindset before there is a shift incapacity. Instead of just undertaking more capital expenditure, the focus should be on enhancing existing asset base. Adopting Smart manufacturing, analytics and IoT will give a new lease of life to industrialisation in India. Apart from policy implementation hurdles, one major bottleneck is lack of skilled labour or fear of job losses owing to Robotics & Automation. A smart strategy to counter this is to upskill workers and millennials in these fields and create more jobs.