Interview with Rajkumar Munot, GM, R&D, Factory Automation & Industrial Development, Mitsubishi Electric India

Mitsubishi Electric is one of the world's leading names in the manufacture and sales of electrical and electric products and systems used in a broad range of fields and applications.

SME Futures spoke with Munot on how SMEs are a critical component of smart manufacturing in India and Mitsubishi Electric India’s (MEI) plans to strengthen its channel ecosystem.

  • Please throw some light on your relationship with smaller vendors and service providers in India.

Mitsubishi Electric India has an exhaustive list of vendors and service providers to support our product development and manufacturing activities. 74 per cent of our vendors are Indian SMEs and we have plans to increase this number further. Also, we are committed to support the growth of India MSMEs and therefore want to empower our clients as well as vendors through technology and knowledge sharing. We treat our vendors and service providers as part of MEI family with whom we nurture a symbiotic relationship.

  • Can the Indian SME sector depend on MEI for technological assistance to explore Asian markets?

Most SMEs in India have good technical capabilities, however, they need to implement and improve their processes of Design and Quality Measurement. This will help them to expand their horizons and help them explore markets in Asian countries other than India. Apart from helping them with technological assistance, we also help them in strategy formulation and quality assessment.

  • How do you involve Indian organizations and researchers to enrich your product line?

MEI does R&D activities for branded products by both MEI and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Japan (MELCO) and we plan to develop and improve our R&D ecosystem. As a part of this initiative, we have already outsourced the new technology development projects to various Indian SMEs based on their skill set and specialization and will continue doing so. We support the Make in India campaign and encourage local SMEs by outsourcing projects to them, wherever they are capable to do so.

  • How is MEI encouraging smart manufacturing in India and what, in your opinion, are the challenges and opportunities in doing so?

SMEs play an important role in smart manufacturing and should focus on quality, efficiency, traceability and collaboration. India is a dynamic and growing market with lots of opportunities and a few challenges also.

Challenges with Indian manufacturers are:

  1. Variable market demand;
  2. Leverage flexibility in manufacturing and/or sourcing;
  3. Management’s readiness to start smart manufacturing;
  4. They need to get more disciplined and change their work culture;
  5. Lack of design standardization;
  6. Need to automate manufacturing processes without reducing efficiency and compromise on quality; and,
  7. Need for complete supply chain to be automated.

One of the major contributors to smart manufacturing is IT and India is a talent-rich country, especially in the IT sector which is full of opportunities. In the future, India can create its own path for smart factories.

To strengthen India’s manufacturing sector, MEI provides the customizable FA-IT Open platform and encourages SMEs to become partners in providing various customized solutions to Indian manufacturers. This platform’s users can optimize procurement, manufacturing, and logistics by connecting production site and supply chain.

  • The growth of the Indian industry is dependent on the growth of infrastructure in cities. How do you see this impacting the growth of market and industrialization in five years?

By 2020–22, the Indian Economy is expected to grow by 8.1 per cent and one of the major contributors to this growth will be the Infrastructure of the country.

Megatrends that are transforming India economy are:

  1. Urbanization, which enables SMEs to visualise cities as customers;
  2. Infrastructure Development;
  3. Smart being perceived as the new green; and,
  4. The trend of innovating to zero, zero defects and debt, i.e.

A few examples of how infrastructure development projects leads to growth in various industries or industrial sectors are:

  1. India’s finished steel consumption is anticipated to increase to 200 metric tons by 2025 from 90.68 metric tons in 2017–2018;
  2. Metro Rail System–Since Metros are the answer to heavy transit traffic and inefficient existing mass transport system, many cities will have metro projects and many existing metro lines will undergo expansion in coming years.

Utilities – Smart Energy Systems; Water Distribution and Treatment

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