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From Canter to a Spirited Gallop: Digital Technology Powering the Manufacturing Racehorse

Zurvan Marolia, SVP & Head of Manufacturing Council, Godrej & Boyce

The digital revolution in the manufacturing sector is upending obsolete practices, powering productivity and profitability in a time-bound manner.

Looking at some of the accelerating economies globally, one unifying factor runs beneath all their beings --- a robust manufacturing sector. The reason is simple: the post-pandemic world needs a lot of reshaping and rebuilding as old and obsolete processes are fast annihilating themselves. The foundation for this brave new world has been laid and digital technologies form the first bricks. For the manufacturing sector, this spells everything positive as it turns smart and more adaptable to changes.

The Power of Digital
Industry 5.0 is here and its transition from its predecessor has been quicker. Not only does it take upon the tenets of Industry 4.0, which has the Internet of Things as a cornerstone, but adds with a human factor making the processes more agile. The manufacturing sector has been revolutionized by the IoT, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, eliminating the human touch from daily data-combing and saving time for the brain to invest in innovations. To improve production and operational efficiency, new-age technologies help in project-specific material planning, production planning, tracking factory capacities and job-loads, production reporting, and asset-level planning.

Manufacturing technology has advanced significantly in the last decade. By embracing more current technology to adapt to changing market dynamics in a timely manner, the sector is improving customer experience and increasing revenue potential. ‘Factories of the Future’are incorporating digital technology to remain competitive, efficiently handle complicated manufacturing situations, and fulfil business expansion expectations. These technologies allow the management to make data-driven choices, providing shopfloor to top-floor visibility, predictive analytics on maintenance and in-process quality, paperless automation, vendor-managed inventory, and efficiently use experienced people by de-skilling utilising AR/VR solutions. These technologies provide industrial organisations with speed, precision, efficiency, and flexibility in addition to cost savings.

Smart Technology Making the Sector Smarter
The IoT is a network of smart equipment communicating with an ecosystem both within and outside of a network as programed over the internet. IoT is frequently used in manufacturing to reduce human interaction, from picking programs

in a library through production scheduling to maximize capacity utilization, operation sequencing, and packaging and dispatching. Machines communicating with one another and passing on information needed to conduct the next task in a predetermined sequence might manage the full cycle. It increases the efficiency of the production cycle too --- while humans can only cope with three to four variables analyzing information manually. ML can process data using over 30 criteria and factors. Throughout the manufacturing process, it assists as a production planner. Manufacturing execution systems help companies link, monitor, and regulate complex production processes and data flows, ensuring that operations are carried out properly and effectively.

Then there is AI, which has made predictive maintenance a reality today, by incorporating consistency and teaching machines to interpret multiple signals received from strategically placed sensors to provide early warning signals of any potential disruptions, such as quality deviations and breakdowns, thus reducing downtime. These advanced systems depend heavily on cloud computing and analysis, making it increasingly simple for the manufacturing sector to take technological strides, thanks to greater availability to low-cost equipment combined with cloud computing and analytics. Analysis is where the investment in digitalization starts to pay off, and it's where the terabytes of data are put to work in iterative scenarios. This, in turn, aids in the development of optimal capacity utilization and quality assurance solutions, which, when combined, may enable manufacture at optimal prices and lead times, making us internationally competitive.

It is digital technology that is powering the country’s journey to become a powerhouse --- providing a scalable and domain-rich talent pool as well as cutting-edge solutions for new product development, design agility, and aftermarket capabilities

Reading Consumer Preferences
Advanced apps, performance management/KPIs, and visualization are the most popular cloud applications. Although cloud adoption is growing, on-premises deployment remains the most common for apps. Companies are migrating apps to the cloud for which they do not require rapid access to data. It allows remote personnel to successfully manage operations.This, in turn, aids in the timely implementation of corrective measures, improves quality, and gives the operator predictive insights, resulting in increased profitability.

It's all thanks to digital technologies researching into consumer attitudes, propensity and purchase behaviors, and segmentation has become simpler --- all aided by data and analytics. As a result, the sector is now better prepared to meet the demands of customers with best-in-class products.In the future, the sector will progressively use newer technologies such as thermal imaging and plug-and-play systems that are simple to use. These technologies will help manufacturers achieve better results by improving the predictive maintenance procedure. Industry players will also look to provide predictive maintenance as a specialized service, and the function to develop as an independent business model.

Powering India’s Journey to Become a Manufacturing Superpower
The Ministry of Information Technology in its budget for the Digital India initiative increased by 67 percent in 2022-23, putting a strong emphasis on manufacturing. According to the paper, if India's manufacturing sector completes its digitalization journey properly, it may become an intelligent industry and attain the national growth objective of $1.1 trillion by FY26. India is fast emerging as a global hub for automobiles, aviation, electronics, engineering, telecom, industrial automation, healthcare, energy, and IT. It is digital technology that is powering the country’s journey to become a powerhouse --- providing a scalable and domain-rich talent pool as well as cutting-edge solutions for new product development, design agility, and aftermarket capabilities. That is the direct effect that digitizing the manufacturing sector has had and will continue revolutionizing the industry’s gameplan in the future.

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