Vipul Anand, SVP-IT & Group CIO, Hindware Group and Strategic Adviser for Digital Transformation & Newage Technologies

The manufacturing sector has seen an increased uptake of ICT solutions in the past couple of years. New age technologies such as AI, IoT, blockchain, data analytics and cloud are being adopted by manufacturing enterprises to improve business efficiency and streamline operations. However, their deployment entails challenges. Moreover, with the emergence of Industry 4.0, there is a need for companies to take a relook at their existing business models and strategies. Vipul Anand, SVP-IT & Group CIO, Hindware Group talks about the emerging ICT trends, the evolving technology landscape, challenges and the future outlook…

What are the key ICT trends shaping the manufacturing sector?

The manufacturing industry in India has been investing in technologies for many years now. Many organisations started integrating ICT into their functions in 1990. At the time, computerisation involved putting in place an in-house or outsourced enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to eliminate day-to-day manual tasks; a centralised database for faster decision-making; a network that can connect factories, dealers/distributors, warehouses and sales and marketing offices; and an email set-up to replace the conventional modes of communication such as fax machines.

At the time, many organisations did not have central ERP systems and decisions were often taken in isolation with no common database for the manufacturing, sales and distribution, and finance departments. Further, the success rate of implementing an ERP was just 50 per cent and enterprises were very cautious during ERP implementation.

In the present day, companies are reaching a mature stage of automation. Over the years, factors such as easy availability of low cost hardware and software solutions, increase in technically skilled resources and awareness about automation have helped enterprises make their products and services technology-enabled. Further, the availability of internet, virtual private networks and multiprotocol label switching connections, and mobility has led to the evolution of automation in the manufacturing sector, thus ushering in Industry 4.0.

Some of the new-age ICT trends in the manufacturing sector are IoT, predictive maintenance to keep production on track, shift in focus from B2B to B2B2C, supply chain optimisation to gain a competitive advantage, ERP systems to streamline processes, use of big data, VR and AR, and 3D printing to make production faster and cheaper. However, finding tech-savvy employees remains a challenge.

What are some of the ICT solutions being used by your organisation? How are these helping in enhancing business performance and efficiency?

Some of the key ICT solutions being deployed by manufacturing organisations, including ours, are:

  • IoT and robotic process automation across the manufacturing value chain
  • Hybrid cloud models
  • Strong analytics and a mobility layer for on-time, online, anywhere and quick decision-making
  • Digital factories, which include L-1,L-2,L-3,L-4 automation
  • Secure, real-time digital buying and selling platforms
  • Secure routes of connectivity across the value chain
  • Documented business processes enabled with a suitable technology layer

What are your views on the adoption of AI, IoT, blockchain, data analytics, cloud and 5G in the manufacturing industry? What is your future roadmap for the deployment of these technologies?

The new-age technology solutions are witnessing significant uptake. However, it is important to find suitable business use cases for the adoption of these technologies. The goal should be to meet the organisation’s requirements and improve business.

What are the challenges in managing the existing IT and telecom infrastructure, and deploying new technologies?

The following factors may impact the success of technology initiatives:

  • Availability of right resources in both in-house and outsourced teams to execute the technology initiatives
  • The company’s understanding of a specific technology initiative and availability of suitable business use cases for the implementation of the initiative.
  • A time-bound and cost-effective implementation plan

How do you see the existing business models transforming with the emergence of industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 and the key trends associated with it need to be understood and embedded into the digital/IT roadmap of organisations and a quick and cost-effective implementation plan should be rolled out.

[Mr Vipul Anand is the SVP- IT & Group CIO for Hindware Group responsible for Information Technology Division of the group. He is a part of the Core Management team of the group and has taken active part in aligning IT strategies with the Business objectives with a focus to implement IT systems in a time bound manner, within cost frameworks and with best utilization of the resources.

He is a Computer Science Engineering Graduate with +28 yrs of strong industry experience in Business and Technology and is a highly successful Technology Leader having led the IT functions of Leading organizations in his career span. Prior to joining Hindware Group , he has served for Jindal Steel & Power Ltd as their Group CIO and had led numerous technology initiatives at JSPL , prior to that Mr Vipul was the Executive Vice President – IT for The Aditya Birla Group – Domestic Textile & Acrylic Fibre Business of Aditya Birla Group and was awarded for his excellent performance and exceptional contribution to the assigned roles and responsibilities. Prior to that he has worked for reputed organizations likes Honda Siel Power Products Ltd as their Corporate IT Head , NK Minda Group as their CIO , Hughes Escort Commn Ltd as their CIO and Dr BK Modi Group companies. His experience is not only limited to India but also includes International geographies.

Mr Vipul is a recognized Star Speaker at various global and domestic technology forums. He was a Speaker at the Economic Times – Yes Bank , Global Business Summit , New Delhi inaugurated by PM Modi ji and his credentials were published in the book published therein. His articles and views have been published in various media publications. His active role in conceptualizing and executing a Digital transformation roadmap for the group which includes speedy execution of initiatives in the areas of Social , Mobile , Analytics and Cloud has been appreciated and awarded for by the Group Chairman. He has also been recognized and awarded for putting in AI & IoT based solutions across the business verticals. Due to his efforts, expertise and rich experience in the IT domain and with a mix of strategic and techno-functional role, he has been recognized and awarded at various forums globally. He has also won the “IDG CIO-100 Award”, the “Information Mastermind Award” and “IDC Iconic Award” apart from winning international recognition at Google headquarters.

He is an active speaker and author at domestic and international forums and is a mentor to technology innovation solutions group across CIOs of the World and is on the advisory panel of reputed global of reputed OEMs and brands. His profile includes IT Strategy formulation, execution of IT projects to transform and enhance business through technical solutions, managing large IT teams across locations and churning out Business benefits through judicious and cost-effective utilization of IT solutions across the geography and handling large IT setups.]