India has this as an opportunity in disguise: Nirag Chokshi
The Covid 19 pandemic has put Indian MSMEs in a tight spot with issues like liquidity, manpower shortage, delayed payments and others. Nirag Chokshi, Director, Techno Industries in a video interaction with Industrial Product Finder (IPF) discuss about current status of material handling equipment (MHE) industry and way ahead for the MSMEs.
How you serve industry with your products?
We manufacture overhead cranes. These are used for lifting and shifting jobs in the factories and warehouses. We also make wire rope hoist, used as part of material handling equipment for moving objects in X & Y direction. Cranes are used in XYZ direction. All of these are electrical options. Initially, we were into manufacturing of manual hoist that lifts manually with the help of a chain. Due to manpower shortage in the today’s situation, hoist and cranes are largely used. These fall under overhead material handling equipment.
The other field is floor handling. It involves movement of the load through a transporter or using a trolley through a stacker or a pallet truck, enabling movement and to stack in the storage location. Our other areas are goods lift that moves goods from one floor to another, car parking systems which can stack the cars, utilising less space.
How significant is modernisation of automation for techno Industries?
Automation and modernisation has significance not only in material handling industry but for all the industries. We are in the process of automation. We will approach this layer-by-layer. On thoroughly studying the processes, we will decide where to fully automate or semi-automate. We have automatic robotic welding machines to weld stiffeners inside the crane girders.
We are currently working on the automatic crane painting booths. We will also modernise using IT-enabled products inside the factory to accumulate data. This makes the process system-driven and not person drive.
Equipment can be controlled using a remote from far away with access to information real-time data. IT devices accumulate data of equipment which further helps in understanding and analysing operations.
This knowledge and data bank and with different verticals is created with automation. We have all knowledge about each vertical and we do take care of our clients in that fashion.
Do you use and process data accumulated within your infrastructure?
Yes, as data is the new oil. We have recently fragmented the sectors we serve, such as mining, precast, metro, bridge, rail sector and allied, and engineering sector. If you take piping, transformers, pharmaceuticals, defence, airports, around 75 to 80 per cent specifications are the same. You cannot change the engineering beyond a point.
Each process is planned keeping in mind which a crane will undergo, which material is it dealing, and into which process. At Techno Industries, we have documented and calculate this depending upon the size of the plant. With clients input and knowing their preference, we build our knowledge base.
Could you tell us some key trends in the MHE segment?
Market is too competitive and in today's situation, automation and data processing will be very significant. There is cutthroat competition across industries. There is lot of unstructured competition regionally. Supposedly, if we want to send our solutions to Bangalore or Coimbatore, the transportation cost for us is humongous. But for a regional player it is convenient to serve local area. Brands give preference to local sourcing of material. Though key component like crane kits are supplied by us.
We also supply crane kits and components, wheels, gearboxes, crab winching units the side by side trucks, panels, cable drag chains, brakes. Such parts are supplied to an authorised crane builder partner. These meet regional demand for companies who prefer local procurement.
What is Covid 19 impact on Techno Industries?
Manufacturing has been stopped in March. Despatch for export consignments are currently stalled. We have to fight the current situation with our chest in front as market after Covid 19 will experience acute manpower shortage as people have moved back to their natives. Almost a month after, we may be able to commence production.
Post Covid 19 time will completely change the way of operations. Some key changes like social distancing, sanitation spray tunnels, safety gears like gloves and others, new culture, and change in the mindset.
Delayed payments due to the current situations will make market slow. This will consume more three months to come back to normal. Considering these, businesses will take another six months settle down.
And then slowly by 2021-22, we wnat to start moving at a faster pace. India has an opportunity in disguise. Such opportunities though not preferred (as pandemic) but as we have been pushed in; we should accept and strike them with all positive efforts and with an optimistic approach.
What is the requirement of the industry?
There have been reports that PSUs should route 25 per cent of their supplies from MSMEs. PSUs will play a major role in current situation. MSMEs are backbone of India. If you see the maximum taxes and the revenue collection comes from the MSMEs. As PSUs have a bigger role to play such as providing employment and giving the statutory supply contracts to MSMEs.
There is a need to catalyse and understand the functions of the PSUs. Strengthening PSUs in India will be beneficial for MSMEs and this will help market to recover soon.
Indians need to learn and value time. Raw material that goes into your products shall be streamlined through your supply chain as it needs to be sourced domestically. One all these things are taken care, then modernisation, automation and timely delivery will be in focus. Keeping in mind the European Standards, Indian standards, and such other relevant standards and its compliance, will definitely promise a good future for the industry.
ERP Software and automation in documentation will also help to comply with regulations.
We need to find the gaps in management and in your processes. There is a need to upgrade quality checks and also streamline a process of QC mechanisms. Some organisational changes will take place and companies will strengthen themselves. In the years to come, 98 per cent of your efficiency will come through automatic systems. It has to be uploaded on a software in a stipulated time.
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