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A Watershed Moment in Manufacturing-Tech

Vinay Kumar, CIO, MMG Group | Tuesday, 15 June, 2021

The global business realm is at a watershed moment forced by the pandemic. The technology leaders across the world are not only propelled to bring their A-game to the table, but most of them are required to add an extra dimension to their thought processes and interventions, while contributing to the respective organization’s growth.

The technology leaders in the Manufacturing segment are the reason why most of the retail organizations are keeping their head above water during these unprecedented times. According to IBEF, the manufacturing sector of India has the potential to reach$ 1 trillion by 2025.

To know more about the endeavors of technology wizards in the manufacturing segment, I recently talked to Vinay Kumar, CIO of MMG Group. At MMG, Vinay is responsible for heading technology for the world's two major F&B brands Coca-cola and McDonald’s.

Below is the excerpt of the interview with Vinay

The pandemic has almost not spared any business sector without forcing a paradigm shift. What does covid-19 era and post Covid-19 era mean for the retail & manufacturing industry? What are the challenges that the organizations are facing, especially in a country like India?
It’s really a hard time for any core sector where people have to be physically present for the production and distribution. The impact on the businesses is quite high and there is an inevitable dip in production. The biggest challenge is to manage documentation and goods movement. We have a hybrid setup for our ERP and that is helping our data capturing process offsite. Only a limited number of teams are there at the plant and restaurants to do execution. Bringing new technology and automation into the process is always on priority.

Cloud migration is an extremely time and cost sensitive process. There is no room for a ‘go-around’. How do manufacturing organizations ensure that they get cloud migration right the first time?
I think cloud is the need of the hour and now the CXOs are also recognizing it as the new normal. We have also started to move our entire setup to cloud during Covid-19. A few projects are already completed. It’s not only for manufacturing, but for any industry, cloud is the right option, since it’s very hard to be at your own data center in this uncertain situation.

How do you describe the penetration of technologies like smart manufacturing, smart warehousing, IIoT, and RPA in MMG?
While we have restrictions on people's head count in any of our plants, we are going with more automation and bringing smart manufacturing & smart WMS using IoT / machine language. It’s the next big thing. Also, when we have this kind of automation, the core ERP like Microsoft Dynamic F&O or any cloud based solution should be on priority.

How would you describe your team? What's your mantra while building a team? What do you look for in a new candidate?
We always need to have a very effective team to manage different sets of business and its requirements in terms of technology. Looking at the continuity of business, we have a mix of technical and functional teams. Everyone is accountable for his/her own work, but the responsibility lies with all of us.

Every member of the team must have an understanding of the core business, and then only they will be able to give solutions using the right technology at the right time. For every group, we have three levels – Team Managers, Assistant Managers and Executives. All are looking up to each other and respecting each other’s work.

It’s not only for manufacturing, but for any industry, cloud is the right option, since it’s very hard to be at your own data center in this uncertain situation

The Key Mantra we follow is very simple: Clear Objective, Cooperation, Individual development and respect for each other. As a lead, I have to build connections between the team and work on their weakness and utilize strength. Any new candidate, who is going to be a part of our technology team, must have a good attitude and approach, in addition to the specific technical skills.

The manufacturing sector has started to embrace digital transformation at a good rate. What will be the kind of role that CIOs play while hacking these new opportunities?
Today, our business leaders understand the requirement of digital transformation in any industry. Manufacturing industry, having been very slow in terms of adaptation of technology, now has realized in this post-Covid era that technology adoption is of paramount importance in order to keep the volume and production intact.

From a technology standpoint, how are Industries looking at these opportunities? What’s your technology road map?
Now the industries witness the power of technology, since all of the important meetings and decision making over the last one year have been happening virtually. When it comes to MMG, our few key initiatives will be pertaining to migrating our entire setup to cloud along with new ERP implementation and upgrading our existing NAV 2016 to Business Central. The cloud based network monitoring will also be on agenda.

Vinay Kumar, CIO, MMG Group
Having had a humble beginning to his career as a web designer and developer in Delhi NCR in the early 2000s, Vinay soon learned the importance of measuring & understanding different domains – meeting people, customers, & business expectations, and ensuring operational excellence and technology innovations were table stakes. Today, he boasts an exceptional professional journey that spans across technology leadership roles in Flyjac (Hitachi Systems), Bata India Limited, and Flaktwoods (across UK and Sweden).

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