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Global Competitiveness Key To Sustain Manufacturing Growth Print E-mail
Written by Krishna Kumar   
Friday, 01 July 2011
Chennai: Comparison of competitiveness should be global, not merely with neighboring State or country, prioritise problems to be solved and address them one by one with a time frame, make best use of  micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs),  infrastructure improvement and strong industry-institute partnership for skill development were some of the key suggestions that came up at an interactive session and panel discussion on `Tamil Nadu Manufacturing Outlook 2011-12’, here on Wednesday.

The session was organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Tamil Nadu State Council, in the context of the tremendous changes in the global landscape for manufacturing,  the key sector attracting investments in India, especially Tamil Nadu.

As the second largest industrialized State with a cumulative annual growth rate of 11%, Tamil Nadu required an edge over the other players to be the leader  through quality, design, innovation and best practices to sustain its  lead position, Dr R Mahadevan, Group Technology Director, India Pistons Ltd, who chaired the  panel discussion, said.

The panel comprised experts from key manufacturing sectors of engineering, auto& auto components, pumps, foundries, ICTE manufacturing, textiles and leather.

Dr Mahadevan said that for Tamil Nadu to sustain its leadership position, it need to focus more on growth enablers such as; rapid infrastructure development; availability of quality power; skilled man power and a vibrant manufacturing sector.

Dr M S Shunmugam, Department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT Madras, said that colleges were producing engineers with basic knowledge in engineering but they lacked skills relevant to industry. The best way to fill this gap was industry projects. As industrial house adopt villages, they could partner with engineering colleges and allow students to do projects and develop skills relevant to those industries, he said.

Dr K Selvaraju, Secretary General, The Southern India Mills’ Association (SIMA) said, the textile sector was the second largest employer in Tamil Nadu after agriculture. About five million people were working in this sector which found an additional investment of Rs 1 lakh crore during the last decade.  He said ``we should reengineer the application  of the basic tools of management  and engineering for skill development.

Speaking about the issues in the tyre industry,  Mr John Devadason, Unit Head, Chennai Operations, Apollo Tyres, said 90% of the cost of  a tyre  was raw material. The variables were  only 10% and the industry had to find its  margin in this. Skill development  and technology upgradation were key areas of concern. He suggested that engineering colleges could partner with the tyre industry to impart special training for students identified them for employment in the industry.

Mr Jayakumar Ramdass, Managing Director, Mahendra Submersible Pumps (P) Ltd, said,  that the MSMEs employed over 4.4 million people and contributed over 40% of industrial production.  To be competitive, they  needed innovative financing schemes, technology upgradation fund,  programmes for human resource development, knowledge innovation and supply chain management.

Mr N K Ranganath, Managing Director, Grundfos Pumps India Pvt Ltd said dark clouds were gathering over the manufacturing sector in Tamil Nadu and the country as a whole owing to inflation and slow-down in investment. The trend may continue for a few months.  Industrial production growth rate in Tamil Nadu has  been stagnating at around 11% and factors such as; infrastructure, employment cost and cost of finance need to be addressed.  He emphasised for long-term development plan for Tamil Nadu with focus on balanced regional development.

Automobile industry in Tamil Nadu should possess the global characteristics of precision, quality and productivity to be globally competitive, Mr Sudhir Rao, Chief Operating Officer, Renault India and Deputy Managing Director, Renault Group said.

Mr Rao said a forum of government officials and industry representatives should prioritise issues and take up one by one and solve them within a stipulated period.

Mr Satendra Singh, Head of Manufacturing Operations, India Nokia Siemens Networks Pvt Ltd , said  there was greater need for high quality manpower, dependable infrastructure like clean power and logistics support for a successful manufacturing sector. There were world class ICTE manufacturing companies around Chennai. Efforts should be taken to attract component manufacturers of semi conductor, high quality precision metals, PCBs etc to sustain the growth of this industry, he said.

Dr S Rajamani, Chairman, International Union of Environmental Commission,  said  the government should explore different options to tackle the environmental issues related to leather and textile industries. He said there were no new licenses for tanneries and the existing ones operated only at 50 % capacity utilization. 

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