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Rebooting Indian Electronics Manufacturing post Covid-19

By Pradeep Chakraborty


Messe Munchen India organized a webinar on: Rebooting Electronics Manufacturing- Surviving the Covid-19 Crisis and Future Planning.

The participants were: A.M. Devendranath, AVP & Head – Energy Vertical, Feedback Consulting, Amandeep Singh, Head Purchase – Digital Appliances, Samsung, Amrit Manwani, President, ELCINA, and CMD, Sahasra Group (AM), Atul Lall, MD, Dixon Technologies India Ltd, Dr. Sreeram Srinivasan, CEO, Syrma Technology, P.V. Moorthy, Technical Advisor, BPL Ltd, and Vinod Sharma, MD, Deki Electronics Ltd. The moderator was Rajoo Goel, Secretary General, Electronics Industries Association of India (ELCINA).

Welcoming all the panelists, Rajoo Goel requested them to talk about the supply chain and government support. The post Covid-19 scenario will be more challenging for the EMS suppliers where the manufacturing cost will reduce and an increase in the efficiency will be required. Currently, India contributes to <1 percent of global EMS.

P.V. Moorthy, Technical Advisor, BPL, said that the impact of Covid-19 is huge. Raw materials are hit, and so is the payment cycle. The logistics challenge is also there. We need to make use of this opportunity to reboot a robust electronics manufacturing platform. There should be transparency in the system with SCM in place, in India.

Large component investment needed
Vinod Sharma, Vinod Sharma, MD, Deki Electronics Ltd, said that they are planning to do things differently as a components manufacturer. We have a lot of constraints in the resources. Our customers are also coming back to work. Cash is also a constraint. The more you communicate across the supply chain, the better it will be.

We will allocate what we can, based on what the customers want. There should be some policy combinations that need to be made. It will reduce a lot of time. We need to through out the annual budget, and have a weekly rollover plan. We hope to be out of the current situation in 8-10 weeks. We have a lot of opportunities, from the other sectors as well, besides, mobile/TV, etc.

The Modified Electronics Manufacturing Clusters (EMC 2.0) scheme is led by states. The states will take responsibility for all the clearances. We have a successful supply chain in auto components, led by Maruti. We need to ensure there is a large component investment made in this country. This is a national responsibility. This new roadmap should be led by the industry and supported by the government.

Atul Lall, MD, Dixon Technologies India, added that there will be significant opportunities in the post-Covid-19 situation. Three things have gone up. Electronics consumption, acceleration in components, and exports. There should be more opportunites for components. India should be ready to take them on.

Multiply vendor base
Amrit Manwani, President, ELCINA, and CMD, Sahasra Group, noted that we will be able to make electronic products and do business with friendly countries, especially in medical electronics, etc. We also have bonds with African nations, and that presents opportunities as well, along with the Middle East countries. You also have to multiply your vendor base.

We should also not forget the role of MSMEs. They have to look at the challenge of going overseas. We also need to put in more efforts in R&D. Workforce management will become critical. WFH will need to be looked at carefully. Only the fittest will survive. Banks may be reluctant to give funds as they have a system. We should all work together as a nation.

Wave of transitions
Sreeram Srinivasan, CEO, Syrma Technology, said it is mandatory that we have to transform the way we do business. We are now going to have wave after wave of transitions. Those who transform quickly will be the leaders. You also need to go digital, and now! Social distancing has become a norm.

Next, we now need to go short term! You now have to strategize in the shorter terms. We also need to go green. We have to stress on values. There is a need to define a greater vision for your business. Be generous, but don’t be charitable.

There is a bright future for all of us, post Covid-19. China+1 will become the new mantra for a lot of companies. People are bugging us regarding when we are going to restart. Agriculture will be a very big area, besides space science. Be ready to transform your business.

Amandeep Singh, Head Purchase – Digital Appliances, Samsung, said that there are experiences in sourcing. There will be resetting in factories. This is the peak time that we sell our products. We now have to look for opportunities on how to generate demand. The full workforce cannot join the companies. The overheads will also be going up. Localisation is one of the biggest opportunities. New segments are opening up. We have to push our resources. Sales forecasting will now need to be very accurate. We have to diversify our supply chains.

Making use of opportunity
A.M. Devendranath, AVP & Head, Energy Vertical, Feedback Consulting, said that the pandemic has changed the way we are living and going to work. Social distancing will be there on our minds. The use of electronics and electronic products will only go through the roof. How can we make use of this opportunity?

The Indian market for electronics is set to grow leaps and bounds. China has been exporting most of the electronics worldwide. We now need to be able to match that. There are many contender nations as well. The pandemic has escalated our timelines. We should be able to come up in 5-6 months regarding mega projects in electronics. Any future planning needs very good industry data that is continuously updated.

We now have a wider opportunity before us. Electronics manufacturing can be a huge pillar. We need more partnerships and mega factories in the future. We also need to have a vision for the sweet spots of Indian manufacturing.