Rockwell analyses digital transformation in new normal for FMCG industry

Rockwell Automation India recently held a web conference on digital transformation in the new normal for the FMCG industry.

The event commenced with a fireside chat on managing business continuity during the Black Swan crisis. The participants were Dilip Sawhney, MD, Rockwell Automation India, Sriram P, Executive VP Operations, Pernod Ricard India, and Yoginder S. Grewal, CTO, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt Ltd.

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Dilip Sawhney said that we are living through the most challenging phase of our careers. We need to overcome these challenges. We need to come out of the disruption. We are part of an industry with mature supply chains. How are you handling disruption?

Sriram said that we need to accept the status quo. We also need to change our business strategies. We need to relook at our office spaces and the amendment of labour costs. Self-reliant India will provide lots of sectors. We are home delivering now in 5 states.

Yogendra S. Grewal added that we have already prepared and made a plan in advance. We are now executing the plan during the crisis. All organizations now need to focus on BCP. There are several technology solutions available for WFH.

Lessons learned
What are the lessons learned so far, from the crisis? Grewal said that they have simplified everything to the maximum. Once you have simplicity, everything will work. Sriram agreed that they are now making the enterprise more resilient. The employee health is very important. We are looking at the budgets. We also need to change our own mindsets. Cash is very important. For FMCG companies, collaboration is very important. We need to look at the micro supply chain. As you take this ahead, life becomes simpler.

Next, how are the supply chains evolving? According to Sriram, e-commerce will grow in 2-3 years. The Indian household incomes will also increase. We need to deliver supplies across India, urban and rural. Eg., Nestle, has successfully brought back Maggie. We now need to create innovation and re-invent the business.

Dilip Sawhney also touched upon the dynamic play out. Grewal agreed that e-commerce is gaining in strength. We need to depend less on the traditional modes. Digital has become a buzzword. You also need to bring the previous solutions to their sunset. Digital is due to simplicity. We are still designing digital solutions based on our earlier experience. We need to get out of that mold, and think afresh.

So, how are companies now seeing the new normal? Sriram said that technology will play a vital role in the life of any company. People who use technology, their companies are growing at least four times faster. Every factory is manually spraying on people and offices. Less travel is happening. We can also not spend on conferences.

Right now, the virtual conferences are much better. We need to go digital and rely on data. We will need to do this in a very phased manner and adopt technologies. According to Grewal, this is a golden opportunity to drive digital. We, as professionals, should not lose this opportunity. The first experience matters.

Dilip Sawhney asked the question that as the industries transform, how are skills going to evolve? Grewal replied it is all about the attitude. If you have the right attitude, you can develop very fast and learn new skills. Attitude is the key. Everything is possible! Also, what is the impact on trade channels? Sriram said that there will be a huge shift. E-commerce will happen very fast and improve the customer satisfaction. Customers will get what they want.

Finally, how are companies seeing Industry 4.0 play out? Grewal said that everything is possible. We need to answer properly, why we need to do it. If we look at the RoI, we need to bring the customer and the quality into the picture. We need to focus on a high-impact item.

Industry 4.0 and new normal in manufacturing
Arup Ghosh, Head IS Solution, Rockwell Automation India, spoke about Industry 4.0 and the new normal in manufacturing, especially in the FMCG sector. We are seeing lot of innovation in the manufacturing sector. There is an overwhelming spike for new products. We need to keep our plants operational. Businesses, who have gone through digital transformation, are now able to react better.

He added that those who can manage their businesses remotely, are far better positioned to ensure plant safety. AR can be used as a remote guidance tool. AR can also be used for creating an asset digital replica. Rockwell is offering free remote assistance with AR from its Factory Talk Innovation Suite, powered by PTC, to help manufacturers.

IIoT is enabling the remote monitoring. It manages smart devices and industrial data sources, along with the IoT cloud. Eg., real-time plant monitoring can be done. You can now monitor production information. We can also tackle the spike in demand. We can have advanced analytics of digitized operations that provide real-time insight into the functioning of the production lines. We can also monitor remote assets and predict the anomalies or failures. We can bridge the digital with the physical. We can also connect to physical assets and IT/OT systems, understand the context, etc.

Rockwell is partnering with the global FMCG majors. The ultimate lifecycle story is: doing it right, rather than, just present a knee-jerk reaction.

Digital transformation flourishing
There was a panel discussion on digital transformation. The speakers were Aniruddh Verma, Divisional Manager (Engineering & Projects) ITC Ltd, Suresh Madan, Senior Engineering Manager Nestlé India Ltd, Senthil Nathan Srinivasan, GM, IS CavinKare Pvt Ltd, Pranav Majgaonkar, MD, Armstrong Machine Builders Pvt Ltd.

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Senthil Nathan Srinivasan opined that Covid-19 has brought about digital transformation. The new normal will see remote workforce as part of the BCP. Aniruddh Verma said that they are encouraging people to WFH. There is also disruption in warehousing and logistics. There is stress on people’s safety as well.  Pranav Majgaonkar felt that there is a need to automate the entire supply chain. Suresh Madan added that Nestle is now looking at the digital factory and how to handle that.

Actions taken to normalise
Aniruddh Verma said that automation is an area we have been pursuing. Now, it has become the need. We need an intelligent data system as well. Lot of learning has been happening. There is also the need to sustain the social distancing norms in the factory. Lot of regulations will start coming into play.

Speaking about the labor issues, Senthil Nathan Srinivasan felt that there will be lot of changes in the bottom layer. We need lot of manpower. We need to look at improving the yield. The new normal will witness the change to digital. We need remote assistance, and do troubleshooting. This will get replaced with remote assistance. We also have to start connecting the remote locations. Cyber security has emerged as a key area. Availability of data in the edge and on the cloud will be widespread. However, there will always be a threat of security breach.

Tech dealing with disruption
Regarding technology dealing with disruption, Pranav Majgaonkar said that there is a lot of disruption happening. Software can be deployed. We also need partial remote connectivity. We are looking at remote monitoring solutions. There will be touchless operations. There is a need for a centralised software control system, along with an analytical AI engine. We have been giving remote support to a lot of companies.

Suresh Madan added that the biggest challenge in starting the factory is working on the shopfloor. He said: “The next challenge is about project commissioning. We need to do a lot of tool box changes for everyone. We have created a new mantra for social distancing. We are preparing for the future.

“Covid-19 has created and accelerated digital transformation. It is high time we started working on the factory of the future. If and when we do it, in the right way, it will help us in the future. Smart machines will help major producers in a huge way.”

Aniruddh Verma noted that in terms of designing a new plant, the focus of every machine should be connectivity to the data points and the intelligent systems. It should be connected to the raw materials. The end-of-the-line packaging is another area that will undergo a rapid automation. Senthil Nathan Srinivasan added that we need to focus more on remote management. Covid-19 has already decided what needs to be done. Decisions will be much faster.

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