MSMEs must leapfrog competition through adoption of Industry 4.0, say experts

“Having worked with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) for more than a decade, I feel that they are well positioned to take advantage of current wave of technological interventions. With the advancements in technology they too have to have a mindset of taking the plunge with the right partners and see their effort and investment blossom into giving them insights into a healthier business and a more productive team,” said Mrs. Suniti Gupta, MD, Lateral Praxis during an interactive panel discussion on ‘Are SMEs benefitting from Industry 4.0’. The panel session was organised by MVIRDC World Trade Centre Mumbai and All India Association of Industries at WTC Mumbai as a precursor to the 8th edition of the Global Economic Summit, which is scheduled from March 6-8, 2019.

Speakers at the panel session explained how SMEs can benefit from adoption of industry 4.0 technologies in areas such as customer support, operations and marketing. All the panelists unanimously agreed that SMEs engaged in agriculture, manufacturing and services industries can benefit from industry 4.0 technologies.

Mrs. Gupta mentioned how her organisation’s digital technology has brought about supply chain efficiency for milk processing companies in Maharashtra. Mrs. Gupta’s Lateral Praxis has also been partnering with Government of India for efficient delivery of fertilizer subsidy to farmers.

Moderating the panel session, Mrs. Pooja Meswani, Director, Deloitte India remarked, “We live in an interesting era of technological transition, where Industry 4.0 technologies characterized by network of digitally connected ecosystem can bring process efficiency and gains for SMEs. SMEs can benefit by adopting cost-effective technology solutions based on their needs and scale of operation from trusted vendors.”

Speaking on this occasion, Mr. Abhinav Aggarwal, Co-Founder & CEO, Fluid Al said, “Technology is an effective leveler that enables SMEs to compete with large corporate houses. SMEs can benefit from Industry 4.0 technologies if they can identify processes with high RoI (return on investment) and adopt simple, cost-effective technologies. SMEs must partner with trusted technology vendors who can provide cost-effective technology solutions. Artificial intelligence technology such as voice bot can enable SMEs to run customer support functions without having a large team of support staffs. SMEs can use big data to predict consumer demand patterns and adjust production, distribution and inventory management accordingly.

Earlier in his welcome address, Mr. Y.R. Warerkar, Director General, MVIRDC World Trade Center Mumbai said, “MVIRDC World Trade Center Mumbai is always in the forefront in organising seminars and conferences on issues of high contemporary relevance for trade and industry. Fourth Industrial revolution has become a buzzword in business discussions, media reports and policy circles in recent times. Technologies such artificial intelligence, blockchain, 3D printing will transform business models across a wide range of industries in ways beyond our imagination. I am confident that this meeting will create greater awareness among SMEs about the imperatives of adopting Industry 4.0 technologies to enhance their competitiveness.

Mr. Warerkar invited all delegates to attend the 8th Global Economic Summit and benefit from networking opportunities with more than 300 delegates from 30 countries.

Mr. Anil Velde, Joint Director, MVIRDC World Trade Center Mumbai proposed vote of thanks for the event.

The panel discussion was attended by diplomatic corps, representatives from trade and industry, start-up enterprises, academic institutions and think tanks. The event generated useful interactions among speakers and the audience on the applications and use cases of Industry 4.0 technologies.

Photo Caption: (From Left to Right) Mr. Anil Velde, Joint Director, MVIRDC World Trade Center Mumbai, Ms. Suniti Gupta, MD, Lateral Praxis, Ms. Pooja Meswani, Director, Deloitte India, Mr. Abhinav Aggarwal, Co-Founder & CEO, Fluid Al, Mr. Y.R. Warerkar, Director General, MVIRDC World Trade Center Mumbai