Modular Manufacturing: Will it be able to pave a hopeful ground for MSMEs in India?
Modular manufacturing indicates the reign of an era that structures and makes the processes of manufacturing lean and cost-effective. Steep competition within the garment sector clubbed with the evolving pattern of customer demand is resulting in the growth of a trend that supports greater product variety and innovation. This new structure of production supports and gives the backbone to shorter product life cycles and lower unit costs. This amps up the product quality.
So, in short, the concept of Modular manufacturing integrates intelligent and complex machines into the production pathway. In large-scale systems such as manufacturing systems modularization is indispensable for clarifying the logical structure and assuming a high degree of ease of construction. The parts, products, and manufacturing equipment as well as the design and operating activity themselves are described in units called modules. A manufacturing system is constructed and operated by combining these smaller units or building blocks.
Why is this effective for small and medium-sized businesses?
Unlike large-sized businesses, medium businesses need a small base to operate. The leaner the structure of operation the better it will be for them. More importantly, this lean structure is less labor-intensive and cost-effective too. Here, the creation of manufacturing systems relies on bringing together operating systems that allow for most of the design and simulation to happen in the virtual world alongside the production and control in the real world in a unified approach. This way, part of the work happens remotely but is always in line with the real offline work. It frees up space, and time, and allows for the skilled laborers to apply their attention to tasks that are absolutely not possible to happen online. The output is focused and linked.
So, for instance, an MSME can undertake its QC and stitching production part offline in the real world, while the designing can happen remotely. This way, the investment in design tools and set-up will almost be negligible and the company in turn can hire senior resources to work for the production on a decent budget. This way, when work gets done in small blocks and units, the average cost comes lower as compared to when it happens under one roof. As that may require a big team to function in departments all at the same time and place.
Modular manufacturing for MSME growth
MSMEs contribute nearly 8 percent of India’s GDP and act as a major source of employment and entrepreneurship. So, by adopting the modular model of manufacturing the MSMEs can become more profitable and still continue serving as a source of employment and entrepreneurship in India. The flexibility of modular manufacturing is immense and it can free up resources and offer a lot of commercial benefits to the MSME, especially by helping it save on working capital.
Moreover, since MSMEs heavily depend on skilled manpower, there is a requirement for skill improvement to keep up the operational uprightness consistently. When operating with a lean or modular manufacturing process, the companies can invest a part of their funds in skill empowerment and this will in turn help them create a stronger pathway to the international markets. As the international market demands innovative products. Further, by creating employment opportunities and lowering the capital expenditure per worker, they can be useful to any economy’s growth.
The profound impact of modular manufacturing
Modular manufacturing is an innovative approach that has the capability of improving execution in the manufacturing industry, particularly in the apparel sector. Another factor of modular manufacturing is that the top management could sit through the entire process of apparel creation, all the while upgrading teamwork, quality and output. Both these factors work in favour of the MSMEs. Moreover, it makes the manufacturing process more coordinated and facilitates the progression of any product through the different cycles or processes with ease and efficiency.
Moreover, when transferring the production and manufacturing to the modular platform, MSMEs will have to introduce a lot of innovative tools, which reduces the time taken for manual production cycles for order fulfilment. Then owing to high demand, the workers may fail to deliver as expected when the process is ruled by manual work. Digitisation in itself brings in a significant part of the weight off workers while ensuring a strong record of the work process. That liberates the most important asset – labour – to deal with all the other things. So, the idea of bringing modular manufacturing into the larger scheme of things is beneficial and produces impressive results.
So, for MSMEs modular manufacturing can work wonders as they need not spend a hefty sum to invest in heavy duty equipments. Rather, they need to invest and introduce innovation and smart manufacturing processes and smart gadgets controlled either manually or with the help of IoT (internet of things), artificial intelligence, machine learning, and so on. The investment in these technologies will make the working of the MSME more agile and long lasting as compared to investment in age-old manufacturing processes, which are cost intensive and needs regular maintenance too.