“Coronavirus could be the End Of China as a Global Manufacturing hub”, says Kenneth Rapoza, Senior Contributor, Forbes Magazine. This could be an overreaction, but a more detailed analysis of the fate of thousands of manufacturing units in China indicates that the sentiments aired by the author are not far from the truth.
There are two issues here. Will the world trust China as a reliable, dependable and honest business partner in future? And, can the meltdown that has hit millions of companies around the world including China have a greater impact on China in the neo-normal world scenario?
Instead of taking the wait-and-watch approach, regions like India, Middle East, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia etc should put their thinking hats on and seize the opportunity by offering a viable alternative to Manufacturing outsourcing. The stakes are enormous.
Does India have the capability to be the next manufacturing hub for the post-Covid world?
There are challenges. Infrastructure for manufacturing, logistics, skilled manpower needs to be addressed on a war footing. Taxation, licensing, land & labour reforms, ease of doing business, technology adaptation are some of the pointers that need to be comprehensively analysed. Global competitiveness in quality, pricing and delivery is the need of the hour.
INNOVATION IN MANUFACTURING & DISTRIBUTION
The biggest challenge would be to enable manufacturing & distribution while fighting the Covid battle. Innovation is the only way forward. Traditional production techniques of large manufacturing units that require daily commute of employees, huge machinery and support services are all looking at changes.
Distributed manufacturing, high volume skills, micro manufacturing, factory automation, smart manufacturing, analytics, collaborative manufacturing and 3D printing are some of the new age techniques that could be game changers for all countries trying to get a slice of the global manufacturing pie . The mindset needs a paradigm shift and cycle times need to crash to a new low.
India has already embarked on an ambitious ‘Make in India’ initiative. There are plans to bring down the logistics cost to less than 10% of GDP. Several Indian states have already announced relaxed norms for promoting manufacturing in India including labour law reforms, licensing reforms and land purchase reforms. If India can deliver on these promises, it is possible to woo the countries that are keen on pulling out of China.
The Corona virus has wreaked havoc in the business community across the world. They say it requires a catastrophe to build a new normal. Is there a silver lining at the end of dark clouds? Will India deliver?