SMEStreet along with Tally Solutions organized a webinar on the 12th of Februrary,2022 to mark the occasion of National Productivity Day, on the theme Industry 4.0 – Journey Ahead for MSMEs.
The National Productivity Day is a part of the National Productivity Week observed from 12th-18th February every year in the country by the National Productivity Council under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
In light of the National Productivity Day that aims to highlight the importance of productivity, efficiency and innovation across different sectors of the economy so as to augment the economic growth of the country altogether, the focus of the webinar essentially revolved around understanding of Industry 4.0 and the kind of opportunities it brings to the table for the MSMEs particularly.
The webinar saw the presence of distinguished panelists who articulated their ingenious perspectives on various aspects of Industry 4.0 and the roadmap for MSMEs to navigate the same and equip themselves for the future.
Mr. BB Swain, Secretary, MSME Ministry, shed light on the enormous significance that technology holds as a means to drive the MSME sector and the digitization of manufacturing process therein. He also highlighted various schemes and measures undertaken by the Ministry to promote the integration of the essentials of industry 4.0 amongst MSMEs. The ministry is working on schemes still under discussion that are primarily concerned with providing necessary support and information to MSMEs regarding registration, access to credit and technology and to all related activities which can enhance their performance quality. “The ministry has been running several seminars, workshops and trainings to create awareness and familiarization of M2M, IoT, AI, etc. through its various technology centres.”
Mr. Swain also added, “The Ministry of MSME is working with clusters and associations to assess ground level requirements. Among such endeavours is one of getting in place an IoT readiness index; it’ll be a diagnostic study to assess the appetite and acceptability. Once available, the necessary and customized intervention will be provided.”
Moreover, Mr. Swain elaborated on the endeavours of the Ministry like the Champions portal to curtail the ordeal faced by MSMEs post the onset of the pandemic, especially the micro industries that were impacted the most. The Champions Portal was set up to address the grievances of MSMEs about 15 per cent of which were technology related which in turn affirmed the receptiveness of the sector to technology and Industry 4.0 by and large.
Complete Recording of the Webinar
There exist a multitude of challenges that the MSME sector has to endure so as to sustain in the market and M. S. Ravi, Ex Chairman, BSE India, rightly elaborated on some of the key components that either make or break the MSMEs namely, Efficient business model, Equity and working capital, Operating costs, Ability to bear shocks and lastly an Efficient credit cycle.
Stressing on the relevance of incorporating technology into MSMEs to optimise productivity, M. Ravi said, “The operating costs can be reduced by 5-7 per cent through technology. Technology doesn’t come easy; we have to have a shared platform for common industries so that at least the technology costs can come down.” In addition, M. Ravi opined that the exorbitant compliance costs like GST, tax, etc. can also be reduced by a sizeable amount through the use of adequate technology.
Apart from technology; the ability to constantly adapt to the changing needs of the customers, to be able to engage with them and analyse the changing nuances of the market are all pivotal in fostering innovation amongst MSMEs. “As we look at the culture in addition to the customer, the second important pillar which I think each one of us as we reflect, will recognise, is the need to innovate,” said Mr. Manoj Chugh, Board Member, Mahindra Group. He also added, “As we look at making investments in technology which are very very important, it is also incredibly important to look at reskilling our workforce because if our workforce doesn’t understand how the new world is going to work, we are not going to be successful as an entrepreneur or as a small team which is driving the business.”
Mr. Arun Kumar Jha, Ex Director General, NPC, also gave his insights regarding how industry 4.0 is likely to revolutionize how businesses work in the country in more ways than one and has out and out provided an exponential boost to the country’s economic development through the generation of employment opportunities, foreign exchange by means of export of IT services to other countries so on and so forth.
However, It would be naIve to generalise that all existing entrepreneurs are familiar with ways to navigate the intricacies of technology and the digital ecosystem to operate their businesses. Vedanarayanan Vedantham, Business Head, Razorpay spoke on similar lines that how with the influx of sophisticated digital payment gateway providers such as Razor Pay, the new age start up entrepreneurs belonging to the MSME sector especially, although lack decent levels of financial and digital literacy, yet have been successful at running their businesses seamlessly by virtue of using easy to use digital payment products. He further added, “Digital payments have become democratized and accessible to everybody. It’s no longer elitist, it’s egalitarian. It has become essentially an aam aadmi platform.”
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