8th VDMA Mechanical Engineering Summit

VDMA India

The 8th VDMA Mechanical Engineering Summit was held on 6th September 2019 at Hotel Sheraton, Bangalore and was attended by around 250 people from various industrial segments.

The Summit commenced with a welcome from Mr Rajesh Nath, Managing Director, VDMA India. Mr. Nath spoke about the year 2019 which was eventful in many ways starting from the domestic side where Narendra Modi government was re-elected with a thumping majority leading to beginning of Modi 2.0 era and on the global side the escalating trade war between the U.S. and China is rippling through the global economy, hurting confidence among U.S. small businesses, crippling trade among industrial giants in Asia and hitting export-oriented factories. The glooming uncertainty of Brexit followed by the slump in the automotive sector in India in the first two quarters of 2019 has already raised a lot of pertinent questions including where the Indian economy is heading for. But this is the ideal time to consolidate and also to have an optimistic view. The monsoon revival followed by a lot of positive steps taken by the Government of India to boost investment and growth will eventually help India to come out of the current debacle. the Indo-German ties go back to more than 500 years and both the countries have cooperated in number of areas right from machinery to space research up to marine science. 

There is a close connection of Bengaluru with Germany as Koenigsberger was the chief German architect behind the first building-the Municipal Swimming Pool in 1940. Reverend Ferdinand Kittel was most famous for his studies of the Kannada language and for producing a Kannada-English dictionary of about 70,000 words in 1894. Mr Nath mentioned in his inaugural address that VDMA has completed 127 years and India happens to be the first overseas office among the BRIC countries. In India VDMA has well-established offices in Bengaluru, Mumbai, New Delhi and Kolkata. 

Some of the key highlights of VDMA activities in 2019 had been organizing the symposium - Robotomation on Robotics and Automation application in automotive industry at Pune where there were around 250 participants and 8 speakers from German companies. VDMA India took the initiative of creating awareness on Industry 4.0 and its impact on the Manufacturing sector by organizing programs at Ahmedabad, Chennai and also partnered with the State Government of Odisha in organizing German Technology Day where prominent German companies made a presentation. The program was attended by around 100 Indian companies. The VDMA North India Member Meet was successfully held in New Delhi and it was attended by VDMA members and Indo German companies located in the North Region. VDMA India also organized an ECTS (European Ceramic Technology Suppliers) meet at Agartala which had a good participation of Indian companies from the North East. The Business Climate Survey among the German companies conducted by VDMA was very much liked and appreciated by the member companies. It is held twice in a year and the next survey is planned in October 2019. 
On occasion of the 8th VDMA Mechanical Engineering Summit, the Summit Special issue was released by the dignitaries. This was followed by the special address from Guest of Honour - Mr Vinay Kumar Katyal, Director, Bangalore Complex, Bharat Electronics Ltd. In his speech, Mr Katyal mentioned that there is a wrong perception that most Public Sector undertakings in India were not performing well and incurring losses. Contrary to the perception, Bharat Electronics Ltd had a turnover of Rs 11000 crores in 2018. The fundamental reason for success is the transition from a manufacturing organization to a technological solution provider. Manufacturing set up at Bangalore is world-class and the organization is continuously implementing new technology and upgrading. Even when the current economy is in a bad shape, the organization is being allotted Rs 800 crores under CAPEX. The systems and procedures in the organization are stringent but result oriented. This public sector organization is geared up to reach 17% growth in this financial year even though the economy is not doing well.
Then Mrs Margit Hellwig-Böette, Consul General, Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, Bangalore gave a special address on Innovation, Digital Workplace & Startups. She mentioned that the speed of innovation is slowing down globally because of the trade war between the U.S and China and there is a lookout for a motivated young workforce and in this regard, India is in a comfortable position. The countries like Japan, China and Europe are ageing and therefore countries like Vietnam, South Korea and India are looked upon as the next generation young workforce by the developed countries. Bengaluru is the start-up capital of India and gives a perfect platform for German companies to utilize this opportunity of collaborating with the start-up teams for mutual benefit. Bangalore Indo-German Start-up (BIGSUN) is an initiative of the German Consulate to connect the Start-ups in Bangalore with the German industry.

Mr Ulrich Ackermann, Managing Director of Foreign trade division, VDMA Frankfurt then gave a presentation on the challenges of global trade. Global trade and investment or broadly, globalization, is a common market condition for all countries of the world now. However, it is not free from challenges. There are seven major challenges to global trade and investment the world is facing now starting with economic warfare. The world is experiencing increased conflicts, major economic powers are seizing influence, financial sanctions are being used as a weapon, and the Internet is breaking into pieces. Therefore, the international flow of money, information, products and services may slow down. Secondly, the United States is still a dominating economy and the hallmark of the international financial system. Moreover, the information age is promoting the democratization of information. It is paving the way for demanding more information and the autocrats now need to care more about public opinion. The developments of developing countries are making them more or less like America. The United States was a strong nation in the last quarter of the century. But now, state capitalism in a modern form is gripping many nations. This is creating new segments in the markets and destroying the uniformity expected from globalization.
On occasion of the Summit, a Knowledge paper on "Automotive industry-Impact due to Electro Mobility" was released by BDB India Pvt Ltd.  In his presentation Mr Chetan Ligade, Director, BDB India Pvt Ltd. mentioned that the study came out with very interesting inputs with regard to Electric Mobility. The prices of battery have almost come down by 70%, rent sharing has started getting preferences, also the subsidy announced by the Government on EV buying would have a positive impact. According to this report the public transport, two-wheeler and three-wheeler segment are expected to be quicker in adopting to EV in India.
The Session I commenced with a presentation on Macroeconomics Trade and Digitization by Mr Suvir Davda, Global Market Corporate Sales, HSBC, India. Mr Davda mentioned that there is a need to watch out for US-China trade tension, RMB movement, domestic slowing down of the economy and resultant impact on capital flows. On the positives, lower oil prices and a possible movement of global supply chains to India could give a push to exports. The USD / INR is expected to end the year at 70.00. This was followed by a presentation on Foreign Trade benefits and GST update given by Mr Prashanth Bhat, Partner Indirect Tax, Deloitte. Some important points that were mentioned during the presentation were the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures permits the host country to provide export linked subsidies when the gross national income per capita is less than USD 1,000. As of 2016, India has crossed this threshold and all the export subsidies including the MEIS, SEIS, EOU/ STP scheme, SEZ scheme, have come under the radar from major economies. WTO has set up a dispute panel on India-US case on export subsidies. The introduction of authorized economic operation scheme will lead to a reduction in non-tariff cost and also exemptions are given in case of bank guarantees. The FTP policy is intended for employment generation and capacity utilization. There have been 36 meetings of the GST Council since its formation and it has overall benefitted the industry in India. The last presentation before the lunch was from Mr. Debabrata Sinha, Chief Financial officer & V.P, Rittal India. Mr Sinha shared his experience on Anti-profiteering in the engineering industry and mentioned that the anti-profiteering framework under the goods and services tax (GST) has been extended by another two years.

The post-lunch technical session began with the release of the report "Industry 4.0 and its impact on the people practices- within the HR domain" prepared by the HR Strategy Partner Maier+Vidorno.
Addressing the gathering Ms Deepmala Datta from M&V mentioned that the report tried to elucidate the key strategies and roadmaps required by HR to successfully restructure the various departments within the company and to pursue the establishment of end to end Industry 4.0 technologies. By quoting that "Industry 4.0 is not a destination, but it is a journey", she emphasized that there is a need for continuous organization-wide change coupled with a clear vision on the end goal. Further, she added that this revolutionary technology will cause the core business models of companies to be revamped and will call for a more collaborative ecosystem that is conducive for concretely establishing this technology as the industry-wide standard. Along with the elimination of repetitive jobs, companies must enforce comprehensive training and skill development initiatives to attract and produce competent employees. As this technology provides an opportunity for producing tailored goods, HR must create departments and jobs that focus on interdisciplinary work and subsequently empower the employees with independence and a vision for the future.

The theme of Technical Session II was Industrial Automation to Industrial Autonomy. It began with the presentation on Future on Automation by Mr M R Subramanya, Vice President, Siemens Technology and Services Private Limited. As per Mr Subramanya, all revolutions are disruptive, and the fourth industrial revolution or industry 4.0 is no exception. Efficiency, Flexibility, Quality and Time to Market have always been the key metrics that quantify the establishment of a particular technology in the industry. Automation systems are no different. Today’s automation systems have excelled in efficiency as well as in quality and reach the market within months of product development. However, the Classical Automation Systems of today are largely data-driven as well as operated under crystal clear instructions from a human being and hence, lack the flexibility that is required to categorize them as "Autonomous". The future of automation lies in the transformation of these technologies, first to modular systems and then to fully autonomous systems. To ensure this transition and subsequently solve global automation problems through cost-effective methods, collaboration between industries with a keen focus on data sharing is imperative. Furthermore, for an Automation system to become self-learning, this existing data-based decision making must evolve into an inference-based system where human interaction is confined to a bare minimum. 
This was followed by a presentation by Mr Shankar G Rao GM & HEAD, Mrs Anuradha Preet, Strategic Consultant – Robert Bosch Engineering Private Limited. The presentation gave an overview of the salient role played by the employees and their effective re-skilling in the successful realization of industry 4.0 throughout the organization. Having conducted exhaustive research, the company has gleaned important insights into the reasons that lead to failed digital transformation in organizations. Lack of clarity, cultural ignorance, not adopting agile methods, high investments, bad leadership and inadequately leveraging the collaborative ecosystems are some of the key reasons that drive an unsuccessful digital transformation campaign. Furthermore, to combat these negatives and pursue Industry 4.0, rightly skilled people under leaders, who build digital cultures and bolster the ecosystem, are imperative. With the RBEI NxT 2025 initiative, Robert Bosch aims at training over 20000 associates per year through tailored Artificial Intelligence and Data Science courses that are focused on making them competent for a digital future. The presentation concluded with Mrs Anuradha sharing Robert Bosch’s vision for the future and quoting the following: "By 2025, all our products will either feature AI, or AI will have been used in their lifecycle of manufacturing".
The final leg of this session before the tea break was the presentation on Future Business and its challenges in the Manufacturing sector. It was presented by Dr Eric Maiser, Head of VDMA Competence Centre Future Business. The presentation focused on the technologies trending in the year 2030 and the key activities being carried out by the VDMA Start-up Machine in coaching start-ups that build their businesses with futuristic technologies at the core. In this big ocean of opportunities, the VDMA Future Business forum bestows companies with valuable insights that will help them ride the waves of change, instead of drowning in them. Diving deep into the analysis of these future trends, the forum discerned that Digitization (AI & Machine Learning), Advanced Materials (3D Printing & Lightweight Production), Climate Protection (E-Mobility & Power-to-X), Autonomized Supply Chain (Drones & Blockchain) and Circular Economy 4.0 are the technologies that will revolutionize future businesses and create a market opportunity for the tech start-ups to capitalize upon. The presentation concluded with a few glimpses of the invaluable assistance provided by VDMA to start-ups focusing on these groundbreaking technologies.

The final session of the summit was devoted to "India Marching Towards a 5 Trillion Dollar Economy – Role of Manufacturing". This Panel discussion was moderated by Mr Rajesh Nath, Managing Director, VDMA India. The participants in the discussion were Mr Vivek Bhatia, Managing Director & CEO Thyssenkrupp Industries India Private Limited, Mr Rashmikant Joshi, Managing Director, Festo India Private Limited, Mr Guruprasad Mudlapur, Managing Director, Bosch Automotive Electronics India Private Limited, Mr Norbert Koenig, Vice President- Asia Pacific & Managing Director India, Seco Tools India (P) Ltd & Mr Satish Sadasivan, Managing Director, Schunk Intec India Private Limited.  The discussions began with Mr Rajesh Nath, asking each of the panel members to explain the readiness of Indian SMEs in adopting Industry 4.0, followed by the impact of GST in reforming the business game and the importance of Re-Skilling as well as the Industry-Academia interaction. 
With respect to the widespread adoption of Industry 4.0 in India, larger companies need to play a proactive role by enlightening, supporting and investing in the SME/MSMEs. Moreover, this collaboration is key for the SME/MSMEs sectors in realizing these advanced technologies and competing in the global market. When posed with a question about the positives of GST, the panellists voiced their understanding of the general public and their initial reservations towards any new transformative reform. Moreover, panellists unanimously agreed that the GST reform has improved productivity and reduced logistics within their organization. To further support this, Mr. Joshi added that foreign companies are also acknowledging and appreciating the GST reform. Concerning skill development, the panellists agreed that the prevailing activities are still not giving the desired result and there is a need to fine-tune the education system in India and introduce technical education from the high school level. The discussions also covered the labour issues, poor vocational training system, inadequate efforts from educational institutions and the professionalism of Indian employees. They are also shared innovative methods and processes adopted by their organization in re-skilling and further strengthening the cooperation between the industry and academia. The panel discussion ended with a rapid-fire round comprised of witty questions and was well appreciated by the audience.
After the panel discussion, the stage was set for the ai 2nd VDMA Manufacturing Excellence Awards aimed at recognizing the VDMA members who have implemented methods either in energy efficiency and conservation or improvement in work conditions and work safety in their manufacturing process. VDMA India along with Roedl & Partner as the award partner conferred the 2nd VDMA Manufacturing Excellence Awards under the following categories namely "Energy Efficient and Conservation Award" and "Work Condition and Work Safety Award". There was a maximum of 2 companies against each category. For the "Energy Efficient and Conservation Award the winners in the large category were KSB Pumps and the winners in the small & medium category were Vulkan Technologies Private Limited. In the "Work Condition and Work Safety Award" the winners in the large category were Sartorius Stedim India Pvt Ltd and the winners in the small & medium category were SMS India Private Limited. The trophies were handed over to the winning teams by Mr Ulrich Ackermann, Managing Director, Foreign Trade Division, VDMA Frankfurt, Mr Rajesh Nath, Managing Director, VDMA India, Mr Rahul Oza, Partner, Head of Mumbai, Pune office, Roedl & Partner Consulting Pvt. Ltd.

The day session of the summit concluded with a presentation by Mr Suraj Nangia, Partner, Nangia Advisors LLP, providing an overview of their organization and their achievements.
The Summit concluded with an evening cocktail and dinner, which provided a good interaction and networking opportunity for both the members and speakers at the event.