Food Marketing and Technology magazine, on the sideline of PackPlus-2017, had a free- wheeling conversation with Mr Sameer Gandhi, MD, Omron Automation, India. The company, specialising in ‘Integrated’, ‘Intelligent’ and ‘Interactive’ industrial automation has one of the world’s widest and most sophisticated portfolios of Input-Logic-Output-Robotics + Safety based solutions. His candid and free flowing comments make an interesting read:
Omroninitiated its automation business in India in 1996. Our journey, over the last two decades, has been quite rewarding in establishing Omron as a complete end-to-end automation solution provider. We do not believe in justshipping boxes to customers. Rather, we work with our customers tobe a part of the whole process right from conceptualisation to implementation including solutions training and after sales support thereafter. This is Omron’s way of working across the globe. It may be customised depending upon the industry and the country that we’re serving however the basics remain the same. Being a global company with global factories producing solutions of global standards, we can provide after sales-service anywhere. This is the comfort and convenience that customers feel while associating with us. It is very relevant in today’s scenarioas many of the Indian manufacturers are eyeing the export market.
Our manufacturing facilities are located in different parts of the world and we treat these units as global hubs. A particular unit typically focusses on a few products and ships to a number of countries.
Talking about India as a destination for Omron, we consider it as one of the ‘hot-spots’ indicating its importance in Omron’s growth strategies. We are not looking at just the short term and hold India very high in terms of long term business potential. The country has many reasons for attaining this significance. A huge base of young population, growing disposable incomes, the ever rising middle class, enhanced spend towards betterment of infrastructure, a stable political outlook and government –led national level initiatives like Make in India, etc. are some of the most important trends expected to have a great positive influence on the manufacturing sector and thus on the automation sector in the long term.
F&B/FMCGand Automotive are some of the growing sectors in the manufacturing industry which are showing better growth in terms of adoption of automation because the players have realised the benefits of Industrial Automation and Industry 4.0. The established companies are upgrading and the small and mid-size companies are buying machines which have automation embedded in them. They have understood that automation-based upgradation gives them a competitive edge and lots of other advantages which are the key differentiators (apart from adopting automation only for complying tothe norms).
There has been a debate and a lot of anxiety amongst the fraternity and the stakeholders regarding automation displacing jobs. I would like to state here that one of the notable benefits of automation, to which all manufacturers agree, is that it leads to increase in productivity. With increase in productivity, a manufacturer could generate more capital for making more investments and so could come up with an expansion or even a new greenfieldmanufacturing facility. So here we can say that automation can lead to creation of some more jobs. Of course, the nature of these jobs will be different and so re-skilling of the work force will be required. To sum up, it is apt to state that automation does not take away jobs; it may take away activities which are monotonous, repetitive, hazardous or which no longer need creativity. In any case it’s a genie out of the bottle and one can’t put it back! And so, we must prepare to skill up our workforce to be prepared for this.
For last few years, Omron has been witnessing a growth of close to 20 % (which is better than the market growth). We are bullish and strive to clock in a better growth rate going forward. Looking ahead, the market is steadily shrugging off the GST impact and we see a renewed demand from our customers.