Motown wants agile manufacturing post Covid-19 pandemic

Mumbai: Automakers are looking to fast-track plans for agile manufacturing processes and supply chains as they prepare for a volatile demand environment after the Covid-19 global pandemic.

In fast-moving mass production industries like automobiles, production schedules are rigid and optimised for efficiency.

Similarly, supply chains work on schedules decided months in advance on the basis of demand projections.

However, carmakers are now looking to redesign these systems to cater to an unpredictable demand environment.

Information technology firms servicing automakers said they have received requests from companies looking to quickly move to agile manufacturing processes and supply chains along with undertaking cost reduction initiatives.

Automakers are immediately interested in two initiatives, according to Maneesh Pant, vice president at Capgemini India. “One is continuing the broken supply chain, and another is making manufacturing more agile. Focus is shifting from pure production performance to surviving in an environment of unpredictable change by being able to react quickly to changing market conditions,” he said.

Smaller lot sizes, shorter times to market and lower manufacturing cost will drive automobile manufacturers towards the adoption of agile and lean manufacturing, said Pant.

Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corporation’s Indian unit is among those closely monitoring the market situation.

“Our manufacturing side is prepared to quickly act upon changes or rearrangements that might be required to meet market demands there onwards,” said Naveen Soni, senior vice president, sales and service, Toyota Kirloskar Motor. “We have also been studying ‘best practices’ of other Toyota affiliates in markets that have already revived, like China, post Covid-19 conditions.”

Maruti Suzuki, M&M, and Tata Motors did not respond to ET’s queries.


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