Future of Manufacturing

“Industrial production contracted for the second consecutive month, falling 2.1% in November, as manufacturing activity slumped, raising concerns of a prolonged slowdown. …

While mining and electricity managed to stay in positive territory a 3.5% decline in manufacturing output meant that the overall index of  industrial production stayed in the red….

What will come as a bigger worry is that compared to October 2013, production across factories and power utilities was lower in November, resulting in a month-on-month decline in IIP. …

This reinforces the belief that fall in manufacturing growth has not yet bottomed out. Urgent and fresh thoughts are required to boost manufacturing, without which the jobs potential here will remain depressed — FICCI president Sidharth Birla said in a statement….”

Times of India, Kolkata edition, Saturday, January 11, 2014

However, as I see it, manufacturing in India and possibly in other countries too, would never be the same. No longer it would be about growth. No longer it would be about scaling up and mass scale automation. No longer it would be about maximizing production. It is quite clear that the earlier ways, models and management would no longer work well.

I guess it would be about:

– flexibility of meeting varying demands

– anticipation of demands to tune logistics and delivery

– simulation to frame strategies

– resilience to meet unpredictable circumstances with courage and fortitude

– innovation in every sphere of work extending to ‘daily management’.

– IT support to handle complexity

– higher discernment of management with regards to policies, rules and engaging people

– higher wages for workers

– easier but nuanced jobs that may only be done by people who are able to feel and ‘see’ their way through complex work.

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