Competence enhancement and innovation were shortlisted as crucial to push India’s manufacturing to the next level

NEW DELHI: Improving manpower productivity and focusing on innovation will be key to making India a hub for manufacturing, top executives said at a recent discussion.

India is among the world’s fastest growing major economies, but exports of value-added products are low. Around 50% of total exports are from commodities and low value addition items, while in the US and China, value-added products contribute to more than 75% of total exports.

“For future competitiveness, innovation is necessary,” said Andreas Lauermann, MD at Volkswagen India.

“In fact, in our global skill competitions, our Indian team ranks among the top performers, so it is certainly possible for Indian talent to improve further. We have to build up their proficiencies to achieve short-term and long-term objectives.”

Lauermann was speaking at a recent discussion of top executives at The Economic Times India Leadership Council’s (ILC) sub-committee on manufacturing — moderated by Kumar Kandaswami, partner at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India — which touched upon a host of topics — from talent to cost competitiveness, workforce productivity to supplier network, legal and regulatory mechanisms to educational and physical infrastructure, innovation policy to local market attractiveness.

Competence enhancement and innovation were shortlisted as crucial to push India’s manufacturing to the next level. This, at a time when US and European corporates are keen to explore geographies beyond China to increase their supply chains.

“If one has to look at this holistically, we are creating a strong foundation for manufacturing and this can only be further strengthened by improving labour productivity, processes and driving efficiencies. We need to create a mindset of excellence in quality,” said Ranganath N Krishna, MD, Grundfos Pumps.

Other participants at the discussion included Rajeev Sikand, CEO, Alicon Castalloy; Dinesh Aggarwal, joint MD, Anchor Electricals; Vishal Goenka, chairman, Sterling Auxilaries; L Balakrishna, MD, Brenntag Ingredients; Sushant Kinra, MD, Carestream; Ravi Goenka, MD, Laxmi Organics; Adesh Gupta, CEO, Liberty Shoes; Vineet Majgaonkar, chairman, Armstrong Group; and senior representatives from Toyota Kirloskar Auto Parts, Pidilite, Sealed Air and Sany.