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Goldmedal Electricals to rewire digital transformation for the ‘new normal’

In an interaction with Express Computer, Bishan Jain, Director, Goldmedal Electricals shares how implementation of digital practices before the pandemic outbreak, has ensured seamless operations during the crisis, and what’s in the pipeline for digital transformation at Goldmedal Electricals

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What’s your assessment of the Covid-19 crisis, in terms of the challenges and opportunities for the manufacturing sector?
The Covid-19 pandemic took us all by surprise. The Indian electrical segment has faced a serious impact due to the ongoing crisis. With the restriction arising due to the lockdown and due to the need to maintain social distancing, manufacturing facilities had to be suspended. But as the industry embraces the new normal, there are newer challenges that companies are facing in terms of shortage of manpower and raw material. Furthermore, many companies have suffered manufacturing delays caused by the disruption in the international supply chain and fallen demand.

With limited workforce and movement of people, the production time is also affected to an extent. However, the crisis also provided us with an opportunity to assess and improve digital capabilities, infrastructure and effective policy frameworks in the sector. The crisis also saw a few government schemes to boost electronic manufacturing in India. With schemes like the MSIPs and EMC, the Indian manufacturing sector also stands a chance to grow and support high-value local manufacturing.

These will draw tremendous foreign investment and enable the Indian electronic sector to become the global hub for manufacturing of electronics. This will minimise the need to import components from other countries, which will lower the overall production cost and time, allowing the domestic electronic sector to grow rapidly. Additionally, it will encourage exports, which will allow many Indian manufacturers to expand their businesses to international markets thereby making India a global manufacturing hub.

What has been your preparedness to manage seamless operations through technology, and also in terms of organisational culture?
In order to make a seamless transition to remote working, we have switched to virtual video conferencing tools like Google Meet and Teams. We have taken extra security measures to safeguard our servers and have adopted cloud services to share and store heavy files and documents. We made arrangements for workstations at home for a lot of our employees, made provisions for high speed internet, and prepared them for this digital workspace. Our HR team is constantly in touch with all our employees to boost their morale through several interactive sessions via video calls.

What have been the key IT and digital initiatives that you took before Covid-19, which have proved to be pivotal in these times?
In the last few years, we have been embedding digital into our everyday operations. We have a web-based as well as an app-based system that is used across the company offices and by our channel partners to keep a check on the inventory levels, place orders of products, check their order status, make billings, etc. Our sales team is also equipped with a mobile app that gives all information about their retailers at the touch of a button. This has been a huge boon to us during the Covid-19 crisis as so much of operations can be handled seamlessly without human intervention. We are glad that we had invested heavily in digitising our processes – although we had never anticipated such a scenario. The Dhan Barse app that we developed in partnership with Paytm is another initiative that has been pivotal in keeping us and our channel partners connected on all other aspects of the company’s functioning.

How are you leveraging emerging technologies in an Industry 4.0 environment?
As a company that understands and manufactures smart devices, we are keen to embrace emerging technologies like IoT, robotics and 3D printing technology. Our manufacturing facilities currently use the latest manufacturing technologies to create product prototypes and product components that give a highly realistic projection before we start actual production. These software allow for visualisation and simulation where we can test and optimise its settings thereby reducing setup time and ensuring faster production without compromising on quality.

In a post Covid-19 world or the new normal, what will be the industry best practices? Do you foresee accelerated efforts on automation and Industry 4.0 initiatives?
With the Covid-19 outbreak, work-from-home has become the new normal and it calls for smarter technology and solutions that ensure improved productivity and efficiency. Industry best practices must also evolve with the time. In factories and manufacturing establishments, the importance of safety has always been paramount, but now, hygiene, cleanliness and safe distancing will be equally significant. More companies are likely to adopt technologies like the cloud, cyber security, artificial intelligence and robotics to help them master the challenges posed in a post-Covid world.

What is the digital roadmap set for Goldmedal Electricals in the near future?
As we ease into the new normal, the next step that we are planning to take is in our digital transformation. The company has invested heavily in converting many of its offline activities to online with the help of an in-house software team even before Covid-19. The digital ventures include specific mobile apps for sales teams, dealers, and retailers, which allow them to view every aspect of their interaction with the company digitally. We will be also training our factory workers and employees so that they can implement the digital technologies on a daily basis.

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