IDC's "Factory of the Future" is a five year envisioning of how manufacturing and factories would evolve. IDC Manufacturing Insights predicts evolution of business models from make-to-stock to engineer-to-order, shift in focus from just capacity to capability, rise of new metrics such as the perfect order and increase in participation of people in empowered roles. The objective of Mancon was to evaluate the findings from developed economies on Factory of the Future on Indian manufacturing and to see what it meant to leading players locally. This event was held in 3 cities across India in November 2013, and was supported by CapGemini and HP.
The Chennai participants were primarily from the Engineering Oriented Value Chain (EOVC) or the auto component sub-vertical specifically. Some of the ways in which the participants saw their firm moving to new business models and a Factory of the Future:
• running MRP/forecasts on semi-finished goods. This provides flexibility and it is a gradual move towards engineer-to-order instead of make-to-stock
• transformation from a forecast based push business model to a just-in-time pull model
• movement towards the perfect order: giving priority for orders with higher importance for those with certain volume/urgency/customer
• traceability of product/process details for 10-15 years for regulatory compliance. This would need key technology decisions to ensure quick storage, retrieval, search capabilities and proper back-up
• unique situation where auto component distributors are willing to hold excess inventory on their books and the positive correlation between inventory levels and sales. When there is a stock-out for a particular part, customers always find it with other distributors or from the unorganized sector.
The Hyderabad participants were from Asset Oriented Value Chain (AOVC), from pharma, hi-tech, agriculture and related sub-verticals. Traditional IT systems such as ERP are reaching stability as new technologies are evaluated based on the business need. Some interesting applications of the 4 pillars and emerging business models:
• adoption of mobility for Field teams in hybrid seed production - to monitor and estimate crop quality and yield
• movement from consumer products to project based manufacture, or in other words transformation from make-to-stock using finished goods to engineer-to-order using modular semi- finished goods.
New Delhi event
Delhi had diverse participation from EOVC (auto components) and AOVC (process industry) sectors. Some best practices that were discussed:
• formation of Customer Service Management teams with participation from multiple functions in the steel industry for better customer responsiveness
• usage of NFC (Near Field Communication) technology instead of RFID, linked to ERP, for cost effective solutions in asset tracking automation in the process/dairy industry
• factory automation for proess industry with centralized data storage and mandatory audits to validate and discard irrelevant data. Mobility for order management across 22,000 retail shops resulting in 70% reduction in volume of distress calls at the help desk.
Much discussion was held on how best to start, and as one participant stated "it is better to start in lean times, when we have more time to think about how we want to operate." The Factory of the Future, as developed countries see it may deem like a long way away for Indian manufacturing. But companies have already started the journey.
Primary purpose behind attending the conference for most participants was to gain information on the topics and for networking with peers. Most of them see a 6 to 9 month horizon for emerging technologies (the 4 pillars - social business, mobility, Big Data/analytics, cloud) boosting their organization's competitive advantage.
- Rethinking the Factory of the Future, (IDC # MIOT51U, February 2012)
- The Automotive Assembly Plant of the Future, (IDC , April 2011)
- S Ramachandran, Christopher Holmes