India has the highest number of manufacturing organizations investing in technology, according to the 8th annual “State of Smart Manufacturing Report” by Rockwell Automation Inc, the world’s largest company dedicated to industrial automation and digital transformation. The global study surveyed more than 1,350 manufacturers across 13 of the leading manufacturing countries including India, China, Germany, Japan, the United States (US), and United Kingdom (UK).
The report found that digital transformation is being embraced to make manufacturing more productive and efficient, particularly in India. Manufacturers in India are investing 35% of their operating budgets towards technology investment, ahead of the global mean average (23%) and countries such as the US (27%) and Japan (24%). Globally, the top five technologies that respondents invested in and had the highest return on investments over the past year were process automation (33%), cloud/software as a service (SaaS) (30%), industrial internet of things (IIoT)/internet of things (IoT) (25%), machine integration (24%) and machine learning/artificial intelligence (23%).
Smart manufacturing continues to grow as an important catalyst for digital transformation for manufacturers in India, the study showed. Fifty-nine percent plan to adopt smart manufacturing within the next year, while 57% of companies already use smart manufacturing solutions.
“The 2023 State of Smart Manufacturing Study reflects the growing interest of the Indian manufacturing sector to adopt digital technologies to achieve operational excellence. Manufacturers in India want to optimize processes and focus on performance enhancement by embracing smart manufacturing,” said Dilip Sawhney, managing director, Rockwell Automation India. “Moreover, companies are recognizing the skills mismatch and importance of reskilling and upskilling, along with automation to optimize manufacturing potential. The overall emphasis is on leveraging Industry 4.0 to achieve global competitiveness, which aligns with the Indian government’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat and Make in India.”
When it comes to talent and the workforce, 58% of survey respondents in India shared that employee resistance to technology adoption and change is the main barrier to adopting smart manufacturing followed by the lack of knowledge and skills to take advantage of smart manufacturing technology and benefits. Half of the manufacturers in India (51%) plan to introduce flexible scheduling (for example, working hours as able and short shifts) to address the manpower shortage, and utilize technology to create more engaging jobs (49%). Furthermore, 37% believe that smart manufacturing can help to mitigate the skills shortage.
The report includes recommendations and adoption guidelines for manufacturers on system-level approaches to reduce ‘time to talent’ and achieve Industry 4.0 business outcomes too. It also highlights the growing significance of environmental, social and governance (ESG) for manufacturers – 87% of Indian respondents have at least some formal ESG or sustainability policy in place. In addition, the report advocates for collaboration between government and industry in creating the manufacturing workforce of the future.