Facing heavy competition from China, while being heavily dependent on imports, the Indian tooling industry needs to gear up significantly to cater to customer and OEM demands. Industry pioneer Jamshyd N Godrej, Chairman, Godrej & Boyce Mfg Co Ltd as the chief guest at the 11th Die and Mould India (DMI) exhibition, elaborates on the current hindrances that plague the industry as well as solutions to up the scale of manufacturing and exports. Speaking to APF, Godrej calls for support from the government and the industry to boost export, as well as domestic production scale and assures the industry that its services will still be needed, seeing as how current disruptions to the automotive sector are still in their nascent stage.
The rise in EVs can result in problems that the tooling and die casting industry can face. Can you elaborate on that and what solutions can be implemented.
Everyone needs to understand that the entry of electric vehicles is not going to change the scene right away. If it does come in on a huge scale then it can have some effect on the industry. But this is going to be a gradual move over. The internal combustion engine (ICE) is not going to get replaced in a hurry. There are many technologies like hybrids which will come as part of this process. This is why I don’t think that there should be any alarm about electric vehicles (EVs) coming in and taking away jobs.
How would you say the past fiscal year has affected the die casting industry or the tooling industry?
Well, this is a support industry so if the industry grows, the manufacturing industry grows this also grows. So it is part of the same process. If you have 10 per cent growth in the industry, you’ll have 10 per cent growth in the support industry.
China is our biggest competitor. How can India scale up to the Chinese production level?
There are several things that need to be looked at first. Currently, China’s GDP per capita is five times that of India. They are also growing at a rate that is faster than India’s, so catching up with China is not something that can be done in a short period of time. As our industry grows, it will be a matter of decades. The only way to catch up with China is to grow the industry by much more than 10 per cent. The infrastructure to support that is not in place today, but it is in the process of being built. And so over the next 10 to 15 years, I think that there is a possibility that Indian industry manufacturing capacity can grow much faster. However, it needs the support of tool making, machine making, and of exports. If you notice, China has also grown on the support of export to a large extent. Therefore, India needs to be more outward looking.
How can we strengthen our export game?
We have to understand what the customer wants and build what they want. If you see the die casting and tooling industry, Everybody is involved in exports. The question is can you increase your exports, possibly double or triple them? And for that you need better understanding of the foreign markets, more technological innovation, and better trained workers.
What is the biggest hindrance the industry is facing?
As of now the biggest hindrance is skill. For most industries finding skill labour is a big issue.
What kind of support is needed from the government?
The government is already building infrastructure in a very big way. Whether it is roads or ports or air ports, everything is being built. I think the only thing that is remaining is the development of good industrial estates such as Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) estates. More of those spaces will be helpful.
One issue with the mould making industry is delivery time. How can the delivery time be optimised?
To build moulds-or anything for that matter-on time, you need all the supporting industries to function well. So the supply chain that is required in order for the industry to be efficient has to be continuously improved. It is not that there is no supply chain; it is there. But it needs to be a lot faster and better. Yet another thing that mould makers will have to do is to start specialising and streamlining in certain things or sectors instead of trying to produce everything. By doing this they can improve their speed of manufacturing and delivery.
The only way to catch up with China is to grow the industry by much more than 10 per cent and that can happen over the next 10 to 15 years
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